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Forty Under 40 Award winner Q&A: Priscilla Anderson

This year’s cohort of recipients will be celebrated at an event Feb. 7, 2024

BIV is recognizing Priscilla Anderson, founder and COO of Ollie Quinn Canada, and 39 other exceptional business leaders as part of the 2023 Forty Under 40 Awards cohort.

Longer Q&As with each recipient are included in BIV's annual Forty Under 40 Magazine (out in print Dec. 11). Award winners will be celebrated at an awards gala Feb. 7, 2024.

This profile may have been edited for length and clarity.

What career highlight are you most proud of?

I take great pride in the vibrant community we've cultivated around our stores. By opening our locations for others to use, they have become places where creators, entrepreneurs, speakers, artists and many others come together to further their visions and contribute positively to their local communities. I love hearing people say that they first found out about us by going to a concert or yoga class in our store.

What was your toughest business or professional decision?

Some of the most challenging business decisions I've ever had to make were around the COVID-19 outbreak. With obvious safety concerns for the team and the uncertain outlook associated on the length and severity of the issue, we were forced to layoff a significant portion of our team for a few months. This difficult choice was necessary to ensure the survival of our business, protect the team's safety and ultimately protect those jobs in the long run.

How do you lead?

I try put great people in place and get out of the way! I try to lead by example, communicate expectations with clarity and provide appropriate support when needed. It is impossible to be an expert in every domain, which is why I trust in the team I've assembled to carry out their role.

What is the biggest lesson you've learned in business?

If you think something is wrong, address the issue. I am yet to regret making a change too early whereas I certainly wish I had acted earlier on some occasions.

Best piece of advice ever received?

Give purpose, scope and an expected outcome. Then follow it up, and follow it up again, and once the project is delivered talk about what worked and what didn't.

What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?

Don’t limit yourself to what you’ve always done or been. Try new things, there’s a whole world of possibility.

What's left to accomplish?

I suppose taking on the chief executive role or leveraging my experience.

Is there anyone you would like to thank or acknowledge?

I would like to express my gratitude to my partner, Michael Andersen, for his invaluable guidance throughout my career. He has consistently afforded me the autonomy to lead and, perhaps most importantly, placed his trust in me from the very beginning.

Read Q&As with all 40 award recipients here. Tickets to the 2023 Forty Under 40 Awards gala on Feb. 7 are now available.