Following her participation in the Discovery Foundation’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Program in partnership with WeBC, we caught up with Fern Sabo, the gifted communications specialist and owner of marketing and design company Spring Creative Inc.
A true collaborator at heart, Spring Creative Inc. evolved from Fern’s desire to provide exceptional brand management services to clients seeking professional support for their online goals. The marketing strategy and promotional design agency is specifically developed to guide clients through the complicated digital landscape that marketing today entails.
We help people understand that their business ethos is key to developing their brand effectively. Ethos is the sum of an organization’s philosophy, character and values; it expresses the way a business wants to behave and becomes its personality.
Specializing in a holistic approach to digital design and marketing, Fern and her team work with visionary companies, organizations and entrepreneurs to help them reach their goals. They also provide education and training, build written and visual content, develop and strengthen web presence, client communication and community connection, create marketing strategies and track progress.
Tell us a bit about your experience and entrepreneurial journey; what were you doing prior to starting a business?
Before starting Spring Creative, I worked on my own for six years as an independent marketing communications consultant and certified website developer with clients from a wide range of industries, businesses, corporations, cooperatives and charities.
Prior to running my consultancy, I had owned several other businesses, was part of multiple start-ups and involved with a variety of nonprofits.
What made you want to be an entrepreneur?
At 19, I entered a youth entrepreneurial pilot program being offered by the Community Futures Development Corporation and Selkirk College in Nelson, BC. This initiative provided extensive hands-on business training for the participants and incorporated the use of the world wide web.
As I had already been involved in conservation and community leadership prior to the program, seeing the potential of the internet to streamline communications and mobilize ideas was revolutionary for me.
From then on, I ran my own businesses based in the services and communications sectors. Wanting to be part of the spread of knowledge, ideas and social movements made possible by the internet was my catalyst for becoming an entrepreneur.
When did you start your business and why?
Working as a consultant I saw that the digital landscape was rapidly evolving and starting an agency was going to be the most effective way to meet the growing demands of the market. It was clear that a cohesive and customized approach was the only way forward for the modern brand to be successful.
Companies were starting to look for holistic solutions to solve their marketing challenges rather than the more common piecemeal practice they had been using in the past. There was a gap in the marketplace and I could see that providing the end-to-end services that my clients were asking for was going to take a team of professionals working synergistically together, on an ongoing basis.
Spring Creative Inc was officially formed in 2018.
What attracted you to the Discovery Foundation’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Program in partnership with WeBC above others?
When I needed additional skills as the CEO of a growing company, I signed up for the Program. Taking on larger contracts and new team members required me to step into advanced leadership roles.
I was interested in learning how to assert myself with more authority and credibility. The program content offered was relevant to my circumstances and the sessions were easily integrated into my increasingly busy schedule.
What is one thing you learned that you were not expecting?
Prior to the course I had not realized that women naturally have intrinsically different leadership styles to men. Behaviors such as being conflict averse, downplaying our accomplishments and struggling with perfectionism are all fairly common for women but not for our male counterparts.
Having often observed these characteristics in women, I didn’t have an understanding of why they happen until participating in the Discovery Foundation training. Learning that these traits are common to other women in positions of leadership helped me better accept and overcome these familiar challenges.
How has the program helped you to form a plan of action for the future?
The course material and exercises that were taught during the program deepened my understanding of who I am as an individual and gave me methods to connect with my strengths in challenging circumstances.
The program significantly increased my confidence as a female business owner. Where many leadership reservations once resided, I now have courage.
What has this experience inspired you to do differently in your professional/personal life?
Even though I had extensive leadership experience as a business owner, I was caught in a perpetual loop of serving many demanding relationships in my private life. This program inspired me to create healthy boundaries with people, both professionally and privately.
I no longer feel badly about saying “no” to someone, and realize that before I had been continually giving away my energy and consequently power, to other people.
I have now shifted my perceptions around what success looks like for me. It is not only about how much I help others, it’s also about listening to my own needs and finding balance.
What’s the biggest lesson/take away you have learned during this series?
I learned about the Discovery Foundation and The Humphrey Group who are actively supporting the success of women leaders by partnering with agencies like WeBC. We are needed, valued, celebrated and encouraged to step into our power.
By connecting with other women in leadership we can access comradery, companionship, resources, mentorship and foster a genuine desire to see female leaders prosper.
What does the future look like and how do you plan to continue to advance in your leadership journey?
Spring Creative has become its own entity and I’m proud to be working with a talented all-women team.
Continuing to build a supportive working culture within our agency promotes commitment to our shared purpose and the expansion of our team’s leadership. Developing progressive digital education empowers our clients to be able to promote positive change.
How we show up for the planet and our community matters as much as profit now. The future of our fragile earth rests with those who have the vision and ability to shape our world for the better. Our agency is passionate about working with clients who embrace Regenerative Branding–the developing of business ethos to support brands and the future of the planet.
I now see familiar faces in current WeBC sessions from my time connecting with other participants and instructors in the Discovery Foundation’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Program.
Building upon these professional relationships and supporting each other in our entrepreneurial and leadership journeys is very uplifting. I have been involved with WeBC for nearly a decade; being assisted by specialists who support women entrepreneurs has been instrumental in helping me build Spring Creative into a thriving agency.
Connect with Fern at find Spring Creative
WeBC are here to support you at every stage of your small business journey. To find out more about how we help women business owners to start, develop, lead and sell businesses visit we-bc.ca/what-we-offer.