LeaderImpact Podcast

Ep 46 - Andrea Currie - Wisdom of the Pause

October 25, 2023 LeaderImpact Episode 46
LeaderImpact Podcast
Ep 46 - Andrea Currie - Wisdom of the Pause
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

What's the most daring risk you've ever taken in your career? In this episode, we've got Andrea Currie,  telling us all about her brave leap into the startup world. She had more than two decades of geology under her belt, but zero management experience. Yet, she didn't shy away from the new opportunity, and that bold decision eventually led to a thrilling ride that reshaped her life. 

Andrea's wild startup experience didn't just build her courage and resilience, it also honed her compassionate leadership skills. She shares how effective communication and mutual trust played key roles during the company's challenging times. Don't miss out on this invigorating conversation packed with insights on leadership, resilience, and the beauty of taking risks.

Thanks for listening!

Click here to take the LeaderImpact Assessment and to receive the first chapter of Becoming a Leader of Impact by Braden Douglas.

Remember, impact starts with you!

Speaker 2:

Welcome to the Leader Impact podcast. We are a community of leaders with a network in over 350 cities around the world, dedicated to optimizing our personal, professional and spiritual lives to have impact. This show is where we have a chance to listen and engage with leaders who are living this out. We love talking with leaders, so if you have any questions, comments or suggestions to make the show even better, please let us know. The best way to stay connected in Canada is through our newsletter at LeaderImpactca or on social media at Leader Impact. If you are listening from outside of Canada, check out our website at LeaderImpactcom. I'm your host, lisa Peters, and our guest today is Andrea Curry. Andrea is a professional geologist with over 20 years of experience and is currently vice president of exploration at White Horse Resources Limited. Andrea graduated with a BSC a bachelor of science in geology, from the University of Calgary and spent 12 years working as a geologist at Devin Energy and another two years at the Canadian Natural Resources. After its purchase of Devin's assets In 2016, she joined the executive team at Kicking Horse Oil and Gas Limited, a private equity startup focused on the Monteney formation as vice president of exploration. Kicking Horse was acquired by White Cap Resources for $300 million in 2021, after which the team continued on together in their new entity, white Horse Resources. Andrea and her husband have been married for 21 years and live in Calgary with three school-aged children. She spends most for free time getting her sports-loving children to all of their activities, but loves to enjoy the outdoors whenever she finds some spare moments. Welcome to the show, andrea, thank you. Thanks for having me. Do you ever find spare moments?

Speaker 1:

Right now not a lot, but you know I try and you know go for runs while they're at practice and you know you try and squeeze it in whenever you can.

Speaker 2:

so yeah, you have to Sure you know. Yeah. And when you say you're sure you know my kids went off to university. I'm an empty nester, so it goes really fast, andrea.

Speaker 1:

Yes, I know, enjoy it. Thank you, I will try.

Speaker 2:

Well, thank you for joining us. What a great resume, and it has been a pleasure to just meet you. So far we haven't got a chance to get to know each other, so I'm excited to ask you these questions. We've been asking about pivotal points along your journey. We've been talking about successes, failures and what else we've been talking about. There's lots of questions, but we're just, we're going to jump in, okay.

Speaker 1:

As I said, we make mistakes.

Speaker 2:

We just keep going. So, yes, all right. So our first question is you know we're looking for a little bit of your professional story, and how did you get to where you are today? So can you give us a couple of snapshots that were pivotal during pivotal points during that journey?

Speaker 1:

Sure, I think probably the biggest turning point came, you know, in 2016, when I was offered that VP role in a new start up, and so, you know, I was looking for a change but, like it was a huge jump for me, like professionally, you know, I had a one year old, I had no management experience. I had no, not much experience with this play. I didn't know the team, but I was also desperate for a change and, keeping in mind that we were in this prolonged downturn in oil and gas, like you know, there had been rounds and rounds of layoffs. Many of my friends had been off for years. So, you know, making a jump at that time was scary, but yet I also was kind of like I really wanted a change. I remember hearing this quote you know, if I'm, if I'm going to bet on somebody, I'm gonna. You know, if I've got a 50-50 shot and I have to bet on myself, I'm gonna do it right. So I'd been at big companies. I knew I was really good at my job, I'd been making them lots of money, and then, you know, so I went for it and probably at the time, in some ways, it's good that I didn't know the roller coaster that I was going to be on, because you know, I always say the highs are higher and the lows are lower, and I've come out of this, you know, a totally different person, I think. So, yeah, it was. It was a huge turning point, it was a huge jump. I'm very glad I did it, but it was not easy, yeah.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, do you remember that feeling, when you made the decision like that, what did you, what did you feel, what it was it like?

Speaker 1:

Like I probably didn't sleep for two weeks. Really, yeah, it was just. It really was kind of like you know you're when you're, you're about to do a really steep, you know ski run and your, your skis are sticking over the edge into the air and it's that you know. I think once, I find, once you make the decision, you feel good, yeah, but it's that time in between that you're just like you know and and really you know it was like you I was giving up. You know 14 years of experience, severance, what like it was. It was it was really scary, but you kind of feel alive once you've done it right. And then you also feel like other changes don't feel so hard, right, once you've made one of those big ones. You know, then they're the other ones Don't? They don't actually feel so hard because you've done the big one right.

Speaker 2:

So yeah, that's a great way to put it. I remember making a very large change in my life and I remember the feeling I wanted to vomit.

Speaker 1:

Yes, so I wasn't.

Speaker 2:

And then my life just changed.

Speaker 1:

So good, but it was so hard to jump and yeah, but then you kind of think like I'd rather have given this a shot, yeah, and have it fail, then have, then have to sit later on and and wish I would have done it or wonder how it would have gone. So you know, oh, but it's hard, it's really hard.

Speaker 2:

Yeah and you know, I think we need to talk about that more Because, yeah, we look at each other like you got it good, I mean, look, you know, and we don't think there was a really rough time, and I didn't sleep for two weeks and I was yeah, I was literally sick, you know, we need to go.

Speaker 1:

You're right. And as leaders, we don't talk about that right. Or as people who have done startups, you generally hear the success stories. You don't hear all of the pain in between. You don't hear the times. You know. You don't talk about your failures enough, you know. But but we, you know they're a big part of the story.

Speaker 2:

For sure they are yeah, and I think we're gonna. We're gonna talk about failures, and in a big. So our next question is just give us your best principle of success and tell us a story that illustrates that.

Speaker 1:

So I, like I listen, I Listen to Brené Brown a lot. She she often says like clear is kind, and I that runs through my head a lot, because sometimes it can be Scary to be clear, it can be hard to be clear, but I think we don't do it. People favors when we don't communicate clearly. But then we also have to be an environment where it's safe to do that right. And so, like you think of Simon Sinek's circle of safety, where you know people are not at their best when they're not safe. They're not innovating as much, they're not creating as much. So you know, as a, as a leader, I do always think I got it have my people have to feel like I have their back, they need to feel like I'm there to keep them safe. But then, on the other hand and my husband has this too, he's a vice principal, so we talk about this a lot there needs to be a place where leaders can go to be safe and to be supported, and that's where leader impact has been really great for me, and I think it's really rare. You know, being leader can be lonely. You it's hard to be vulnerable, and leader impact for sure was a place where I could kind of go, you know, just lay it all out and be with other people who had been through the same thing, so that I was going through right. And so, you know, I think I saw it the lack of safety was during the downturn, right, we had, like companies have rounds and rounds of layoffs and the people who were remaining I don't think we were as able to be effective because we were all very stressed and skittish, right. And then I think, two of the private equity model that many of us are in, you know, we've had to put often they want you to put enough money in that it's painful and like you're going to lose your house if this doesn't work. And that's the model, that's what they want. But I really don't believe in that. Like, when I worked at a big company, I gave everything to make my company successful. I didn't need to have my house on the line, right. So, you know, I really just think like that model is wrong and it needs to be worked on. You know, we don't have to be worried about losing our houses in order to do the job.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, I love that. Clear is kind. Yeah, you know you mentioned a few books, so obviously I mean with Leader Impact, you know, you do you read these leadership books. Yeah, are you in a just you know sidebar? Are you in a group right now and what are you doing?

Speaker 1:

We are starting up next week. I have bought the book. I don't even remember what it's called, but yeah, I've been in I mean I've probably been in since I don't know at least 10 years with the same group. Yeah, and we've done so many good ones, like you know. I was trying to remember like Essentialism and, yeah, the Semi-Synic book. Right, yeah, we've done so many I mean not all of them I have loved, but, man, there are being some that I go back to again and again.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, when you talk about Clear is Kind and just the book we're doing right now is the Advantage by Patrick, oh, yes, yeah, we did that one too.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it is.

Speaker 2:

And we're like we're on Chapter 2. I mean, we're not far into it.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

And it's a page turner, exactly, you know, and it's something so easy, but no one's doing it, you know, and Clear is kind yeah, and then just sit with people at the end of each chapter, your few chapters you're reading and discuss like real life examples.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, you know it's really really good. So yeah, yeah.

Speaker 2:

And it's funny because when you say Clear is kind, everyone has a different and that's why I love showing up here is everyone has a different. Best principle of success yes, yes, and I love you and how you are. How are you telling the story? And, yeah, how, how it, how it integrates into your journey of success yeah, exactly. All right. So our third question is you know we learn more from our failures and mistakes than our successes. Talk about this. Yeah, we do, we do. So I'm wondering if you could share one of your greatest failures or mistakes and what you learned from it.

Speaker 1:

Yep, Um, so yeah, I can do this. Yeah, at the beginning of our of this company, we had some major technical failures, like in the tens of the millions of dollars and investment gone, and it was, it was right at the very beginning and Like, I thought we were done. And then, you know, even to go back to what I was saying before, you know we'd had to put money in when we first started and then when we got our private equity funding, we were expected to match that. So now I was in for double what I had intended with the group. I didn't really know and so I had to. Really I had inherited some money from when my grandfather passed away, so that money kind of went in to fill this gap. And then, you know, we really thought we were done and you think I have lost the money that my grandparents, who came as immigrants with nothing, worked six days a week, labor jobs for decades. You know it's. It's that like I thought I this cannot be, this can't be right. So like still talking about it. It's that you know we were talking about feeling physically ill. Still talking about it. It's like proof that was. Yeah, you know that was hard. So it was, it was. It was Part of the lowest part of the roller coaster, right, yeah. So what did we learn from that? I think, pretty, we'd put our trust in some of the wrong people on the team and off the team. I think a lot of you know you go get those in the way a lot where you think you're smarter than you are or your team thinks they're smarter than than you are. And so when we went to make decisions later, you know we asked more questions. We, you know we made sure we had the right people make it, we made sure we were talking about the decisions, they weren't siloed. So it was working on those communication skills as a team and and being humbled, right. So, yeah, I am a much different person. I think I'm a lot more street wise than when I went into this and I think it's another Brunet Brown thing where it's like I think she says like you know, soft, soft heart, like strong back, like you know, still maintaining that openness but also, you know, asking the hard questions and, yeah, being careful, right.

Speaker 2:

So, yeah, it is humbling to Step back and admit and, and then to talk about it, yeah, yeah, yeah. We don't want to, we just want to think it all is great.

Speaker 1:

Exactly, it was easy, you know anyone can do it. Yeah, yeah, yeah a million, you know exactly yeah, yeah, yeah.

Speaker 2:

We all need to move forward, learn from our mistakes.

Speaker 1:

Exactly and ultimately, we did end up successful. We sold for 300 million. We've just now sold our second one, so it worked. But there were times when it felt like it wasn't going to. So, yeah, I'm very grateful, but yeah, it was not a guarantee?

Speaker 2:

Nope, life isn't a guarantee, exactly so. I mean you're involved with leader impact and we want to grow professionally, personally and spiritually for increasing impact. Would you be willing to share an example of how the spiritual makes a practical difference in your life as a leader?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, like I think I always think of like Jesus was the ultimate example of leading with. You know, leading with compassion, vulnerability and kindness, empathy, courage, and then I think a lot of people like to make it super complicated, so like I think it's just comes down to love people and it's actually that simple. So, you know, my husband likes to say to is like if you haven't paused long enough to find gratitude, you haven't paused long enough, and so so all of those things, like I think it comes down. You know, sometimes you are hard decisions, you have hard interactions and when you, you know we talk about the Salah at leader impact, when you can center down to your core values and go, okay, how does this align? It makes those decisions easier because you go ahead with the core value. You know there's lots of distracting things and I think you go back to your core value again and again, right, yeah.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, oh, love people. That was a. If you haven't paused long enough, repeat that again. That was really good.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, what was it If you haven't paused long enough to find gratitude? You haven't paused long enough, Right.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, so true, yeah, I used to have the gratitude journal and I would write in the morning, right yeah. And sometimes I am just mad and I'm like there's gotta be something good and it's like coffee, coffee's good.

Speaker 1:

Exactly Some days. You're gonna have to pause a lot longer than other days, right, but just pause.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, all right, there's two final questions we love to chat about at Leader Impact. It's about making a lasting impact. Yeah, so I can continue to move through your own journey on this world. Have you considered what you want your faith legacy to be when you leave this world?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I think, I think like I'm a Jesus follower, but I and I think I work hard to love my neighbors as myself, as sort of the core principle, but like open-hearted, open-minded people, loving Bridge Builder, that's it. You know, I think that's it. So, yeah, yeah.

Speaker 2:

That's really good. I love doing this podcast for that reason of just asking these questions and listening to everybody. Yeah, it's funny because I think I have my answer and then I'm like, oh, that was a good one, oh, that's a good one.

Speaker 1:

And I was thinking to, like you know, my grandparents, the ones who did labor for years, like I had people, years after they passed away, who I didn't even know and I didn't even know they knew them very well saying, like your grandparents changed my life, they helped me when I needed it. They, you know, and it happened multiple times and it's like my parents do. So I've had lots of good examples. Like you don't have to be a C-suite, you don't want to be at the C-suite table. We're all. We're all leaders in our we can all be leaders in our own community and we can all be bridge builders, and I think we need it now more than ever. Right now.

Speaker 2:

You know those bridge builders, so yeah, that's a great example of just. I mean, you have seen it in your own family. Your grandparents and people are saying it to your. Your grandparents changed my life. Yeah, and you know, I I have stopped and paused and asked the how, why versus that is. That's very nice to hear you know, but tell me what did they do for you? Because everyone has a story and it's it's. We need to stop and listen as leaders, you know, because everyone has a story and where they're coming from, you know, if you're having a bad day at work, maybe something set them off. It's not for happy people all the time you know. Listen to the stories.

Speaker 1:

And then that's about the wisdom of the pause too right To just kind of like don't make assumptions. Yeah, ask more questions, listen more, follow that Right.

Speaker 2:

So yeah, Well, how many people are are with you at White Horse Resources?

Speaker 1:

We are sort of down to like our six executive and then, yeah, probably about eight to 10 right now, but we're sort of in our serve and officials sort of wrap up phase. So you know, that's funny too. Like I've never had a big team here, I've actually done most of the technical work at the same time as everything else. So in some ways that's been a challenge. In some ways, you think, am I, you know, am I? Should I be on a leadership podcast? I've had a, you know, team of very small team. But yes, you know, we are all, we are all leading, no matter what size our team is, and we're all building right.

Speaker 2:

So and didn't you just say about leaders just two minutes ago? We know, we are Exactly, exactly. Even about the size of our teams, you know, because some people are leading two and 200 or 2000,. You know Exactly we. Some are leading their homes and I think we forget about those too. It's huge, right, that's a big job. You know family schedules? Yeah, it's, we don't. We shouldn't underestimate that Totally. So my last question and I, you know, ask everybody this is just what brings you the greatest joy?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and I, everybody, well, most people say to their family, it's true in my case, my husband is, you know he's, he's such a thoughtful leader in his own job and so you know I get so much wisdom and advice like from him. And you know, lately, seeing my kids be bridge builders and, you know, approach their stuff, their hard stuff at school with kindness and empathy, like that brings me great joy and you know, what more could you ask for? Really right? So yeah, and then I do a lot of work with refugees through my church and building those connections. You know, while it is difficult to hear those stories, it is hard work on both ends. There's a real magic to that too. Yeah, and again ties in with the gratefulness and yeah, those relationships have been a real blessing to me too.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I think volunteerism can bring great joy. Yes, you know, if it's for sure. Whatever you choose to volunteer with. As you said, I am sure that is hard. Yes, the refugee stories. And do you make a difference? Someone one day will say Andrea Curry made a difference in my life.

Speaker 1:

you know, yes, yeah, no, you know our and our church has a has a decades long history with sponsoring refugees. So there is already. Then, you know there's so many times where there's generations of families who you know they're like family to us and, yeah, it definitely goes both ways right. They've changed our lives, we've changed theirs. Bridges are built. It's beautiful.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I think we forget that they can change our lives as well. Yeah, exactly, yeah. Well, andrea, I want to thank you for joining us. It has been a pleasurable 21 minutes. It has been nice to meet you. I one day hope to meet you in person. I think I'm just going to drive up to Calgary. Do that, do that. I think we would have fun. If anybody wants to get ahold of you or find you, what is the best way to engage with you?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, you can find me on LinkedIn. I would love to connect. So, yeah, yeah.

Speaker 2:

You never know. Well, thank you again. I have enjoyed this time.

Speaker 1:

Me too. Thanks, Lisa.

Speaker 2:

All right. Well, if you're part of Leader Impact, you can always discuss or share this podcast with your group. And if you are not yet part of Leader Impact and would like to find out more and grow your own leadership, find our podcast page on our website at LeaderImpactca and check out the free leadership assessment. You will also find on our webpage chapter one of Brayden Douglass' book Becoming a Leader of Impact. You can also check out groups available in Canada at LeaderImpactca or, if you're listening anywhere else in the world, check out LeaderImpactcom or get in touch with us by email info at LeaderImpactca and we will connect you. And if you like this podcast, please leave us a comment, give us a rating or review. This will help other global leaders find our podcast. Thank you for engaging with us and remember impact starts with you.

Speaker 1:

Drink.

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