Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in leadership development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Sandra Summerhayes, Founder of Sandra Summerhayes & Associates, located in Wainfleet, ON, Canada.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

My mission is to help leaders succeed. I believe there are leaders at every level of an organization. I am a leadership trainer/facilitator. I design and facilitate customized training programs for companies. My audience is anyone who wishes to enhance their leadership capabilities.

Tell us about yourself

I began my career as an Employment Counsellor and Workshop Facilitator with Human Resources Development Canada. After my 12-year tenure, I was hired as part of Casino Niagara’s pre-opening Management team, where I managed the Training Department for three years. In 1999, I started my own Training & Development company. I am a Master Trainer, Certified Training Professional, Certified Laughter Leader, Certified Coach Practitioner, and one of only 3 Thiagi Certified Trainers in Canada.

I also hold certifications in Teaching Adults, Human Resources, Personality Dimensions® Levels 1 & 2, the Myers Briggs Type Indicator®, Emotional Intelligence, DISC®, and The 6 Types of Working Genius®. I love helping people succeed at their jobs and personal life, and I try my best to help them do that. I get motivated by learning new tools and techniques and then being able to teach them to leaders.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment is being able to do what I love every day while helping others do what they love to do every day. Another big accomplishment is that I just got a book published this year entitled: Choosing Happiness at Work - Stories from Truly Happy People. My book offers tips and different perspectives from people who I have met during my life who I found to be truly happy people. I am in the process of designing training around the book. People spend so much of their time at work. It's so important that they are happy there.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Well, I hate doing accounting, LOL! The biggest challenge as a sole proprietor is finding people to bounce ideas off of. However, I now have a few people that I can count on to help me with that.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Understand why you want to start your own business. Once you've done that, write a mission statement. A mission statement helps you focus on what you want to accomplish and helps with decision-making.
  2. Building relationships is key to a successful business. Be curious about people. Don't sell to someone as soon as you meet them. Get to know them and understand their business concerns and then see if you are a fit for them. If not, freely refer them to someone else. That's building relationships and will, in the longer term, get you business.
  3. Stay up to date on what's happening in your field. You need to be ahead of others.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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