Partner Profiles | March 20, 2015

Kathy Smith on Building a Values Based Business

For as long as she can remember Silver Hills Bakery’ co-owner Kathy Smith has always been interested in health. We caught up with Kathy to ask her about the role your values should play in building a business.

partner-profile-kathy

For as long as she can remember Silver Hills Bakery’ co-owner Kathy Smith has always been interested in health. A severe stroke in 2002, however, almost claimed Kathy’s life at the age of 40 and reprioritized healthy living as a core value essential to life and happiness. This value is evident everywhere you look at Silver Hills. We caught up with Kathy to ask her about the role your values should play in building a business.

How did you and your husband Stan first get involved with Silver Hills Bakery?

“Silver Hills Bakery’s origins began at a wellness resort in the Okanagan. Along with our business partner Brad and his family, my husband Stan and I are very committed to the idea that lifestyle is a huge contributor to being healthy and that being healthy shouldn’t be taken for granted. Brad was working with the resort to launch a bakery based on his mother’s sprouted whole grain bread recipe. Stan and I had been indirectly involved with the resort but we were intrigued with what Brad was doing and eventually purchased the bakery business, with Brad remaining at the helm. Our involvement was primarily financial but Stan has been a baker so he and Brad worked closely in planning and problem solving. In 2010 Stan joined the Executive Team of the bakery and we started working more closely with our partner, Brad.”

Silver Hills has a clear set of company values. What role should values play in building a company?

“It really is one’s values that determine how an organization behaves and how the organization behaves determines where it goes. Every company needs to be clear on why they exist as a business and what values guide them. They should be the primary factors in planning, making tough decisions or just refreshing your enthusiasm.

For example, there have been times in our company’s history where we have had opportunity to use ingredients that would make our products cheaper or maybe have more mainstream appeal and we’ve said “No, that’s not us.”

As we’ve grown we’ve realized the importance of documenting and then very intentionally communicating our values so that the larger team also understand and lives.

Based on your experience, what are the necessary ingredients for a successful partnership?

When you do something with other people, it takes good communication and shared values. There are lots of sad stories about partnerships. We’ve been blessed with one of the best. Both Stan and I, as well as Brad and his family, are 100% as committed to a healthy lifestyle and building a business that helps people and that’s what Silver Hills is all about”

What advice would you give other business owners?

“Believe in what you do. Work hard, be patient and have fun! I had a Dad who was a business owner so I have always realized how much a business controls your life. I think it is really important to believe in what you do or you won’t think it is worth the effort. If you love what you do it keeps you energized.”

Silver Hills celebrated it’s 25th anniversary last year. What do you see as being its greatest accomplishment to date?

“For me the greatest accomplishment has been seeing so many people understand the benefits of healthy whole grain sprouted breads and taking steps toward investing in their own health in other ways. I want Silver Hills Bakery to be a company that helps change people’s lives through healthy products and information.”