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  • Ryan Joyce

Jackie Ranahan, Groves Memorial Community Hospital’s Board of Directors Chair

Today we’re talking with Jackie Ranahan on Episode 13 of the Elora Fergus Podcast. Jackie is a local business owner, Groves Community Memorial Hospital Board Chair and has played a strong leadership role within Centre Wellington for over 2o years. Listen Now!

On this episode

  • New Groves hospital, impacts, insights and the inside scoop!

  • Local COVID-19 impacts to hospital and businesses

  • What are the biggest challenges you faced as a female solopreneur?

  • What piece of advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?

  • And tons more!

Today on the Elora Fergus Podcast, we’re talking with Jackie Ranahan! If you’re interested in Groves Community Hospital, the impacts of the new hospital, operating a local business, female entrepreneurship and strong community leadership, I think you’re really going to enjoy this episode!

If you are a local business owner, Jackie has some great thoughts and advice that’s to Centre Wellington. She is the owner of Mach One Communications, a design and branding firm and also runs Centre Wellington Ball Hockey and Royal City Ball Hockey with her husband.

Jackie is a mover and shaker in Centre Wellington.

Over the years she has served the community in multiple ways and various roles including Past-President of the Rotary Club and Past-Chair Groves Foundation.

She has also recently started a new venture into coaching, personal development and helping others find their next steps.

I put Jackie on the spot and asked her to share three local businesses that are inspiring her and asked her to share some of the biggest challenges she’s faced as a female entrepreneur. Jackie shares some of the struggles of starting her first business and advice for other women.

And with the big day approaching, the hospital is on a lot of our minds. Jackie is the Board Chair for the Groves Memorial Community Hospital so we start this episode to clarify the three different organizations, major milestones over the past ten years, and the economic opportunities that our fancy new hospital is already providing.

This is a great chat, let’s get started! Here’s Jackie Ranahan, a local business owner and an inspiring leader in our community.

Listen to Episode #13 with Jackie Ranahan

Jackie Ranahan

Board Chair/Joint Executive Committee Chair

Groves Memorial Community Hospital’s Board of Directors

Audio Transcript with Jackie Ranahan Board Chair/Joint Executive Committee Chair

Groves Memorial Community Hospital’s Board of Directors

Jackie Ranahan: Hi, this is Jackie Ranahan and you're listening to Elora Fergus podcast.

Ryan Joyce: The virtual space has sort of been thrust upon our well, everyone. I was going to say our community, but really it's everyone. And it's a big, hopefully long term benefit because a lot of it's amazing and you're probably the most ideal person to chat with this about. I'm excited to talk with you and not only do you know, it's valued on the hospital, cause you're deeply connected with the hospital, but you're also, you have many businesses, so I'm so thrilled to chat with you. Thank you for giving me a few minutes of your time. Uh Jackie this is going to be hopefully a little, a little, education for some, but for myself, I'm so excited to hear about the, the hospital because you're so deeply connected as you've been involved with the board of directors, which I believe you're the joint Chair and you're also the past Chair for the Groves Foundation. And there's more so would you explain all that?

Jackie Ranahan: So Groves Hospital has been around forever as you know, it was, it was actually started by Abraham Groves and the hospital was willed to the town of Fergus. Basically, there's three of us that work really, really tightly together to make the hospital tick and to make healthcare in Centre Wellington tick. And actually, I should say that you could expand beyond that, but if we're just thinking Groves specific, there would be the Groves Memorial Community Hospital, there is the Groves Foundation and then there is a Groves Volunteer Association and those three entities work very, very well together in ensuring that our community gets top notch, health care. Outside of that, we are aligned with two Northern hospitals, one in Palmerston, Palmerston District Hospital and Louise Marshall in Mount Forest. So, our CEO and Senior team are responsible for all three hospitals and our boards, work very well together under what's called an Joint Executive Committee, to govern those three hospitals.

Ryan Joyce: I'm imagining a lot of the meetings right now are very Centre Wellington Groves Memorial Hospital-based that's a big time April, sorry. Pardon me? August 9th is the official announcement that's just been made within the last couple of weeks for them. Big move. What's the big item on the agenda right now for the board?

Jackie Ranahan: Well, obviously in the times that we're in right now is keeping our community healthy and safe through the COVID pandemic and making sure that we're on top of everything, making sure that our residents feel safe, coming into the hospital, that the hospital is still a safe place. If you have to use for other services other than COVID related services. Again, the three hospitals all work really well together and services, shared within the three spaces. So it's very difficult for me to talk about Groves specific, without bringing the other two in, because I think it's really, really important, but certainly the, the latest announcement is the moving into the new space in, August. And that's pretty exciting. I found a press release of the very original announcement to the community was 2000 August, 2011. So it's very fitting that it's an August move in date as that was when we originally given the go ahead to start. And that's pretty exciting. A lot of time has gone past and believe it or not, the process started well before that even, it was a, it's a very long and drawn out, process when you're dealing with government. , and we have such an absolutely amazing team at the hospital that has, navigated through all the regulations and rules and been able to get us where we're at.

Ryan Joyce: It's really a remarkable opportunity for our community to have such an amazing new facility come to the area. And it's also a big economic impact as well. There's already big developments in other spinoffs, so it's a real big win. What are some of the major timeline items that have happened over the last 10 years?

Jackie Ranahan: Well, the timeline items are certainly the, the different phases in terms of getting ourselves to where we are at now with, moving into a new space, doing the, working with the ministry to reach the milestones that they set in the process, reaching the milestone in terms of the tremendous monetary support and the community, which, hopefully we'll be able to talk about with Lori Arsenault with, from the Foundation, if it wasn't for this community to fundraise, what we have it's, we wouldn't be able to prove to the Ministry that this is badly needed in our community. It's incredible. Whenever I am at a, at a hospital function and we're talking to other hospitals and other chairs or hospital CEOs, we go right back to the CT scanner and the amount of money that we raised for that, was sort of our first milestone and to be able to raise that people are just shocked. And then for us to be able to raise the amount that we have raised so far for the hospital is also an amazing thing. So our community is, is very supportive of our healthcare and our hospital, I think is a cornerstone.

Ryan Joyce: I think you will have many residents that agree with you, that statement. Have you been a resident all of your life?

Jackie Ranahan: Uh, my husband and I moved here 23 years ago. Oh, from where? From Mississauga actually.

Ryan Joyce: Oh, Oh, nice. Oh, okay. So what brought you this way? Was it business?

Jackie Ranahan: It's a question that we get asked quite often, because to be honest with you, I don't know the answer. I think the community actually found us at the time I was starting my own business. My criteria was just looking for a house that had an, a space in it that I could start a small business, for my husband at the time he was selling paper and he was on the road. So we were looking for a place that was accessible, close to his sales territory and give him that huge commute start sort of from Mississauga because his sales territory was essentially in Waterloo, London, and Windsor actually. So when we were looking I think Elora just found us.

Ryan Joyce: Telling you the truth of time is a magnet. You have, uh, you have a lot of local impacts. You've been past president of the rotary club. You have businesses here. Could you just share with everybody some of the things that you do locally, including your businesses?

Jackie Ranahan: Sure. So you had mentioned Rotary, so that the interesting part about Rotary is I remember my husband and I first moving here and sitting on our front porch, watching the cars go by and not knowing a soul in this community. We didn't know anybody here, and you know, just chatting trying to figure out how we could get involved. We didn't have kids at the moment. So it was difficult to try to figure out how to, how to meet people socially. So I got involved in the Rotary club. My father was always involved in service clubs growing up when I was growing up. So that was something that felt very natural to me. I worked my way through Rotary and I became interested in healthcare and became interested in the hospital.

So it, it seemed like after, being President, it seemed like a natural sort of segue to, to look at healthcare and look at how I could help. And it was actually a fellow Rotarian that said, Hey, the hospital Foundation needs some help. So started in there and chaired that for two terms and then, segued over to the hospital itself. So volunteering and me – it's just something that I do and something that is comes natural to me. I like to give back and I liked the challenge that, hospital healthcare governance brings – I know it’s not everyone's number one, challenge.

Ryan Joyce: We're so glad that, that they have been fighting that fight for all of us. Thank you. We're so glad you have that passion. Oh, I see. I know we're still, I want to talk to you about your business. Have you gotten to peak in it? Have you gotten to go into the hospital step inside or you have impressions? Beautiful. Yes. Oh, that's amazing. I saw the aerial and everyone listening. You can see an inside view and a drone footage on the website and I believe that's new Yes. Everyone can check that out. It's a great resources to get a sneak peek, although we're doing it all virtually. Now I know it was probably going to have some official opening, but, , uh, but uh, now it's going to be virtual. So that brought you to the foundation. Tell us about some of the businesses.

Jackie Ranahan: Okay. So the, the businesses, so Mach One is 23 years old this year. It's a business that's evolved and grown over time. Back in the day, started out with a lot of print marketing for small to medium businesses branding projects. That of course turned into a lot of digital, some social media, et cetera. So that's still there and functioning in the background of my life, but I have pivoted in the last, year or so to, give back again in a way, my experience to other women, business owners and women business owners, more specifically that are around my age group. So the 40 plus who maybe have a business already, maybe want to start a business, maybe are retiring thinking about what they can do beyond the retirement. Retirement doesn't mean that you stop doing. So I'd like to be able to give my experience and my marketing background and my personal experience to women who are, you know, in that position in their life because can be a scary thing.

Ryan Joyce: To start a new business. It seems a, this is a time of pivot for a lot of people. So what would you say when you were starting up your business? What were some of as a female entrepreneur? What were some of the challenges that you face early on?

Jackie Ranahan: I think it was, being taken seriously. And I think a lot of that may have changed a little bit, but I was 30 years old, looking probably 25 or so it was people taking me seriously in terms that I had a business, had a business myself. It seemed to me the most, asked a question at the time was how many people work for you and why that was, I'm not exactly sure. It seemed to be for a lot of people, a status of success. So for the longest time, I sort of worked towards that status of success when I realized it really wasn't. So you can be a solopreneur, you can be on your own and still have, and be very, very successful. And I think, like I said, that was 23 years ago. The world has changed a lot. The internet wasn't really around in 1997. So things have changed a lot. There's a lot more resources out there as well for people.

Ryan Joyce: Do you have a piece of advice or some inspiration for other female entrepreneurs that are, you know, now's not a great time. I know, but there's business opportunities at every time. So do you have any advice?

Jackie Ranahan: I think now is actually an amazing time because I think people have a little bit more time on their hands. And a lot of cases they've been able to sort of take a step back from their life and take a look at the things that matter to them. So I actually think now is an amazing time. My advice would be is don't second. Guess yourself? You have the courage to be able to do this. You have the courage to be able to start your own business. Don't listen to others unless they're being supportive of you. You will reach a lot. And lot of naysayers out there.

I'll tell you a story. When I first started my business, I, I had worked for a small publishing company for eight years, and I essentially had been running somebody else's small business.

When I went to the business owner and told him that I was leaving and that I was going to be starting my own business. He looked at me and said, it will never work. You will never be able to do this. You are going to come back to me because you're not going to be able to do this. And don't even think about taking any of my clients. That was 23 years ago. I didn't listen to him and I did move forward. I will be brutally honest that when you start your own business, you will have everyone's opinion in your ear. You have to stay focused, focus on what it is that you want for yourself. And don't listen to what anybody else says and stay focused, stay the path and stay the course because you will have people that will be extremely supportive. And then you will have people who are not supportive. So I am so happy that I didn't listen to him and that I was able to create a very successful business. That's still successful and create two other businesses along with my husband. So yes, that would be my advice to people.

Ryan Joyce: Really great advice. What's some of the other businesses that you have locally.

Jackie Ranahan: So my husband and I started, almost 10 years ago now Centre Wellington Ball Hockey, very unconventional business, based on his love of hockey. We have eight acres here in Salem and on that, we've built a ball hockey rink. People used to say it was field of dreams. If you build, they will come. And I think it has been, we have so many absolutely amazing, amazing members, and we've seen so many new friendships made. We've had a proposal at our rink. We haven't had a wedding yet, but we have had a proposal there. We've had lots of great, great experiences that we never even dreamt would come out of starting a ball hockey business. And, five years ago we started One in Guelph as well. That's called Royal City Ball Hockey. And that's an indoor rink, sort of a similar premise,

Ryan Joyce: A community in itself. So right now it's obviously shut down and everybody's sort of, kind of waiting to get back into it. I'm sure. Cause this is our reopening. And a lot of, like we mentioned earlier, a lot of us are having to be a little bit more digital, uh, well, a lot more digital and a lot more virtual. And you have great experience in that background. If you had the ability to sort of impart one piece of wisdom on local businesses and some digital impact, what would you would, you wish you could tell them,

Jackie Ranahan: Build your email list. Alot of people put a lot of time and effort into social media, which is absolutely amazing, But you don't own your social media followers. So build your email list. There's a lot of people who still to this day, don't think that email works and it does build your email list, build your following of people, speak to them with a real voice connect with them. And you will be successful.

Ryan Joyce: That's amazing. Well, what's three local businesses we'll end with this three local businesses that you see that are, are doing something that's inspirational or doing it right.

Jackie Ranahan: Well, it's interesting. So with the whole, with COVID, I've been keeping an eye on and looking to see what businesses have been able to pivot themselves to, to support this. And I'm going to say three, but I don't want it to sound like I'm limiting it to three and saying only these three businesses did these things. So I want to be really clear on that because I think a lot of businesses in Centre Wellington worked really, really hard to pivot themselves and to be able to serve their customers in different ways. So I really hesitate naming three names, but I will because you've asked me to.

One of them early on in this that stood out is the Wild Tart. They did a really interesting thing before everybody else ventured into curbside pickup. And when everyone else, I think in a lot of cases, were still sitting there, isolated and stunned as to what to do next.

The Wild Tart seemed to leap into their own space before there were any rules or government guidelines or anything. And they offered a daily baked goods that they were posting on social media and through their email list. And you could come into a small little vestibule that was isolated. They even washed people's money, washed their change so that they really gave people that, that nice sense of security. So I think they did a really, really good job.

Broderick's in Fergus is another business that went online. So they, took their, inventory, spent a lot of time taking their inventory, putting it online through a Shopify website. I know a lot of other businesses have done this as well, but that was one of the things that helped them to pivot. And they offered a home delivery basically to people in the Centre Wellington area.

So that was a really neat, neat thing. And that got them through. They are now open.

The other thing is the hand sanitizer. So Dixon's Distillery in Guelph and also Elora Distilling Company, both pivoted while Elora actually hadn't even opened yet. They barely had their inspection done and their rubber stamp to open and they moved right into the hand sanitizing business. Dixon's Distillery pivoted their business to be able to do hand sanitizer and I'm naming them, even though they're a Guelph business because they delivered a lot of hand sanitizer early on to the hospital and to first responders and Elora Distilling Company is now doing that as well. So I think those businesses did a really, really good job too in pivoting their, their services to be able to support the community.

Ryan Joyce: Then this will be my final question. What's been the support like from the community during this covert pandemic for the hospital

Jackie Ranahan: Amazing, absolutely amazing. Everybody wants to help from putting a sign on your lawn that shows your support. There's been so many different organizations creating signage that when I go for my daily walks, it just makes me smile. Every time I walk past the sign that thinks the front line workers, people want to support, they want to support hospital staff. They in fact, the hospital got overwhelmed, a period of time until they sort of put a bit of process in place for all the people that were wanting to bring food, bring plants, bring this and that, and, and really, really support the healthcare workers. So it has been amazing.

Ryan Joyce: And how could everybody follow you?

Jackie Ranahan: Oh, well you can go to Jackie Ranahan dot com. I'm going to spell that out because a lot of people don't know how to spell it. is my new website and I'd love people to visit me there. @jackieranahanon Instagram

Ryan Joyce: That was great. Thank you so much for your time. Jackie I really appreciate it. You're sharing this insight about so many areas of our lovely community.

Jackie Ranahan: Thank you.

Here are a few of the most significant benefits of the new Groves Memorial Hospital shared by Lori Arsenault GMCH Executive Director. Watch here:

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