It’s funny how people deal with “tragedy.”

In the south end of Barrie is a little dynamo whose outlook on life bubbles right up to the surface.

Vicki Southon is one of those “glass-is-half-full” types. Her longtime job with Toronto Dominion Bank went the way of the do-do bird as automated teller machines took the positions of smiling faces behind tellers’ wickets.

Despite lamenting the end of a career, Vicki took her knowledge gained from a lifetime in the financial business and fuelled an idea that fits right in with today’s economy. She looked at the demographics of the Barrie region (high numbers of people with kids moving into this area, high numbers of new schools), the economy (continually reducing funding for social/physical/cultural activities), and the psychographics currently pushing us into a new way of thinking.

Out of this study came Funtastic Fundraising, Vicki’s dream of using her energy and her knowledge of schools and sports teams to raise money. Vicki’s goal is to offer a fundraising program that benefits the sponsoring organization, at least as much as the business.

She’s started her business with two basics: 1. items should be a quick sell, consummable, and beneficial to the buyers 2. the sponsoring group should make a good chunk of money from their fundraising activity.

Vicki’s program moves into schools, sports teams, cultural groups, people raising money for trips or other worthy causes. Right now her company is focussed on selling high quality microwave popcorn, packaged in two, with 45% of the sale price going into the funding group’s coffers. From the remaining 55% Vicki purchases in bulk, wraps, prepares, develops recording sheets, incentive plans, delivers, collates, counts, and celebrates.

It’s certainly a win-win for everyone, and groups signing up to raise money are finding that a toonie for a package is an easy sell.

The story here, from my point of view, is that Vicki is starting carefully, keeping it small as she develops methods that make the fundraising program effective for her client base. But, she’s certainly fixed her eye down the road to a time when her company rivals the others, but offers a quality and a cost percentage that rewards the people pounding the pavement, bags of popcorn in hand.

Vicki’s able to do all this with the support of her husband and two school-aged kids. She’s also enjoying the support of the vision of the federal government which sponsors the Self Employment Assistance Program. This program gives Vicki a hand up as she launches her own company.

Has her former job been a help? Sure it has! Her ability to meet people, to explain what she does, to project profit/loss statements, to look at effective costing, to plan carefully for the future... all these elements are skills she’s bringing with her as she leaves the realm of “employed” for “self employed.”

Thanks, Vicki!

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