“As a founding member of our TEC group, I’ve seen the tides change and evolve over the years – and continue to be presented with different perspectives each time.”
-Judith Veresuk, Executive Director of the Regina Downtown Business Improvement District and TEC member
JUDITH IN 100 WORDS
It’s hard to imagine a business leader who embodies the phrase “If you want to change the world, start in your own backyard” more than Judith Veresuk. Born and raised in Windsor, ON, but now proud to call Regina, SK home, Judith is the Executive Director of the Regina Downtown Business Improvement District (RDBID) – where she actively works with every stakeholder in Downtown Regina to cultivate a thriving environment where people want to be. The impact of her work, which focuses on ensuring growth and equal opportunity for all, has created a positive ripple effect across Canada and recently led to her receiving the 2020 Inspired Leader Award from the International Downtown Association (IDA).
When Judith isn’t designing, implementing, and managing programs to ensure Downtown Regina is a clean, safe, and friendly destination for visitors, residents, and businesses, you can find her devoting time to her family, watching Detroit Red Wings hockey games, and completing small home improvement projects.
The Regina Downtown Business Improvement District (RDBID) is an organization that provides a range of business and community services to promote and enhance Downtown’s unique assets – improving conditions for businesses operating in the district, and elevating the quality of life for those who shop, work, live and play Downtown. Its staff, led by the RDBID Board of Directors, strive to support the creation of a complete and sustainable Downtown neighbourhood, where entrepreneurship and cultural vitality flourish, and a diverse community of people thrive in an active, safe, inclusive, and beautiful public realm.
In 2016, Judith joined TEC as a founding member of Linda-Allen Hardisty’s TEC Small Business group – pioneering the assemblage of enthusiastic entrepreneurs and business leaders, passionate about making a difference at work and in the world around them. “At the time, I had a board Chair at RDBID who felt it was important to develop beyond technical training. He felt that I could benefit from joining a peer group, as it would help me master my soft-skills and expose me to thought-leadership that I would never get at a conference,” said Judith.
Judith expanded her business connections more than anyone else at the table. “As a founding member of our TEC group, I’ve seen the tides change and evolve over the years – and continue to be presented with different perspectives each time. No one ever wants to leave the TEC group – but unfortunately, it’s out of the member’s control sometimes. Even if a member has left, we always look for ways to continue socializing or doing work together. We ask each other – how can we continue to carry a relationship going forward?”
“When I’m struggling with an issue, there are confidential things that I don’t always want to share with my staff. Having a peer group – with the security of confidentiality and a safe zone with no direct competitors – allows me to truly test scenarios and then adequately plan and prepare for the outcomes,” said Judith.
One-to-one executive coaching sessions with her TEC Chair have been a particularly impactful benefit in Judith’s leadership journey. “Linda is a calming force in my life. I’ve gone into one-on-one executive coaching sessions with her when I’m fired up about something – and then the true cause is revealed to be something completely different. She’s always able to get to the root of the problem and determine the best solution. I wouldn’t implement the solutions that I do – and create the impact that I do – without her asking me the right questions first,” said Judith.
As Judith and her team at RDBID have remained agile to continue driving impact during COVID-19, discussing new challenges with her fellow members has resulted in uncharted opportunities to make a difference. “Throughout the pandemic, one of my fellow members – Mark Heise, President of Rebellion Brewing Co. – and I have come up with several new ideas to support our community. We set up a program called ‘Staff Supper’ that delivered meals and a chance for laid-off service industry employees to socialize in a virtual environment. It united restaurant workers that had been laid off while supporting local restaurants in our community at the same time,” said Judith.
“I don’t need to be surrounded by ten other versions of me – I already know what I’m going to say and what I would do. Having access to people who you normally wouldn’t interact with during your day-to-day – that’s the value of a TEC group.”