Ginger Digest
Ginger Digest Book
Julie Durnan

7 Lessons from 2 years raising Ginger Desk

Raising Ginger Desk from an idea to a scaling business has been a journey like no other. I wouldn’t be here without the support of my trusted advisors and a dedicated team that is driven by our vision.

The past two years have been such an incredible ride – from the first hire, to our 100th client, to pitching Ginger Desk, to partnerships all across North America. Building a startup is a lesson in taking the leap into the unknown and a continuous lesson in change management.

Let’s be honest, building a scaling business requires letting go of expectations, becoming friends with failure, and truly embracing being out of your comfort zone – which is the space you will be in from this day forward.

In these 2 years of continuous change, I have learned so much as a leader, startup founder, women business owner, and boss. I wanted to capture the learning for myself but also for anyone out there reading that could be inspired by my journey.

1. Systems are critical.

Only 6% of problems are people driven. 94% of the problems in a business are systems driven. If you can set the foundation with organized and effective systems, your business and company will run smoothly. And your people will be happier too.

2. Not apologizing as a woman leader.

I used to think that we as women, could do everything as well as men and that in order to prove this, we needed to do things exactly the way men have. I was wrong. Women don’t need to lead in the same masculine ways that men do. We are incredible, compassionate, empathetic, graceful, and hugely effective as workers and leaders.

As women and as leaders, we need to change the system. We don’t need to work harder, we need to do things our way. We need to change “the way’.

And we can do this as leaders starting today. By showing our vulnerability, our home life, and our home responsibilities. Not hiding them. And most importantly, not apologizing for them.

3. Start-up life is living in the unknown.

Building a start-up is so much different than running an existing small business. In start-up life, things change on a daily basis, systems get upgraded in an instant. We accept feedback constantly, we worry a LOT, and we make a bunch of mistakes often.

As Joanna Buczkowska-McCumber, our COO, so beautifully describes start-up life to our team: “being part of a start-up is like riding a rocketship, except we are building the rocket as we fly.” And because things change and grow so quickly in a fast-paced start-up company, we also see our successes come to life much quicker and more regularly than I was ready for. So there are a lot of celebrations that go on behind the scenes within our team.

4. Resilience is part of startup life.

Raising a start-up has so many ups and downs that it’s critical to stay level-headed and to continually remember that building a company is a long game. So often I have been thrown off track by a seemingly urgent matter, it has gotten me down, but consistently remembering what is important in the long term has allowed me to continue on despite the challenges. Resilience to me is the focus on building and promoting foundations that will support the company’s health as we scale. The ingredients for Ginger Desk’s resilience has been a healthy combination of leveraging technology, building effective systems, and consistently promoting team culture.

5. Alignment.

Staying in Alignment with your company values is critical. It’s important that your values are reflected in every single decision you make in business. Whenever I am finding it hard to make a decision, I always think of the values that the decision has challenged for me. From hiring team members, connecting with potential clients, drafting agreements, and even pitching the business. You must consider and reconsider how your values are playing out as you make choices. Especially the hard ones.

6. Community is everything.

What started as a mission of mine to support a few of my fellow health practitioner colleagues, has evolved into something much bigger. Supporting women, health practitioners, and administrative professionals, and building a global community of support has become my ultimate purpose here. I’ve discovered this over the past 2 years and I’m so deeply grateful for the incredible community we’ve built and the connections we have fostered. What’s been so powerful to see is how a community begins to take on a life and personality all of its own. Our community in the allied health care field has this feeling of trust and compassion, an energy all its own, and our community members nurture one another more than I ever could have planned for.

7. Leadership is all about authenticity.

Leadership doesn’t require talent, intelligence, or luck. It requires one to be entirely authentic and to own both their light and their darkness. To understand how and where you are strong and weak, and to own it fully, not hide any of your parts away, allows you to be present with others. True impactful leaders sit in their authenticity and light the way so their team can shine.

Cheers to 2 years of fast, intense, and beautiful growth with this incredible team at Ginger Desk! 2023, we see you on the horizon and we have got you.

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