New Balance: Hubbers talk about staying sane in a hyper-connected world
People & Places

New Balance: Hubbers talk about staying sane in a hyper-connected world

What does work-life balance look like through the eyes of those who don’t have regular 9-5 jobs? To find out, we talked to Impact Hub Ottawa members at their bright space on Slater Street (shown above).

The co-working office brings together solopreneurs (that’s Hub-speak for someone who starts a business on their own), social entrepreneurs, and leaders of start-ups; together, they bounce ideas off one another and generally contribute to the buzzing organization. These aren’t cushy gigs: the hours are irregular, funding is not always steady, and the equilibrium of risk and reward is often in flux.

Nevertheless, passion for the cause keeps things chugging along. We asked for particulars on making it all work.

Those whose work deals with policy often have to respond to the news cycle or other sudden changes. How do you balance the need to be responsive — to what’s going on at the Hill or to a funding deadline — with trying to have a somewhat predictable schedule?

I make the most of “normal” days by trying to be 100 per cent present during family time. Now that I have a child, dinnertime and bedtime are sacred. On days when unexpected things come up and I have to miss family time, I’m fortunate to have an incredibly supportive partner who steps up so that it’s not too disruptive to my family.

Katie Gibbs
executive director
Evidence for Democracy

In this always-on, always-connected world, how do you make time and space for building the meaningful relationships that your line of work requires?

The key to success, in my view, is putting the client at the centre of your systems and processes. These should all be set up to serve their needs as effectively as possible. In the world of fundraising, it’s about having a positive impact with the people you work with so that they are able to thrive and, in turn, have a greater impact with the people that they serve, from both the donor side and the beneficiary side. There is no doubt that when you keep people at the heart of what you — and they — are looking to achieve, you will be more successful at building effective,
successful relationships.

Mena Gainpaulsingh
president and CEO
Purposeful Fundraising

How do you balance your day job with passion projects that may take up as much time but may not offer compensation?

You have to find a way to make time any way that you can. My Twitter bio reads, “Engagement Strategist at McMillan Agency by day, and CreativeMornings Ottawa host by night, weekends, and at least one morning a month.” Dedicating time to passion projects means making sacrifices when it comes to managing your time. Maybe that’s waking up a little early or working on it during lunch — you just do it because it’s important. Introducing a productive habit into your routine is just like quitting a bad one: you have to force yourself to do it, and that’s exactly what I do to make CreativeMornings a reality — that and a really amazing team of volunteers. They don’t call it a labour of love for nothing!

Maxine Patenaude
host and organizer
CreativeMornings Ottawa


Social media can be a great tool for the solopreneur, but it’s also a known “time suck.” What is the best way to manage a presence while balancing all the other needs, duties, and obligations one has in a gig economy?

Entrepreneurs often struggle to keep up with the demands of social media marketing. If we shift the focus from self-promotion and sales to self-expression and meaningful social exchange, we will not only find that producing content is more easily integrated into our daily lives but that our client and partner relationships massively improve because of it.

Toni van Eeden,
partner and manager
Your Urban Carpenter
and owner, Good Attitude