By Jonathan Bennett
Yes, it’s time for my next adventure. Here’s what I’m up to now—and some reflections on my last 10 years at Laridae.
My Next Chapter: Leadership Coaching
Today, I’m excited to announce that I’m launching a coaching practice under a brand-new banner, ClearlyThen Inc. I’m coaching leaders of progressive businesses and organizations whose purpose is to make a big difference in the world.
I believe coaching is a tonic. It is an expansive and inherently creative act. I’ll be there, for when purpose-driven leaders feel like the whole world is resting on their shoulders, or when they are ready to enact change and push hard for what’s next. Let’s talk! Learn more here: https://www.clearlythen.com/
Saying Goodbye to Laridae
This also means that today, I’m announcing that after almost 10 years, I’m stepping back from my work at Laridae.
One of the harder things to do in life is to get off the stage while at least some of the crowd is still clapping. Politicians and athletes are notoriously bad at it. So are Founders and CEOs.
In an attempt to be an exception, back in 2019 I stepped down as Laridae’s CEO. It was my time. Handing the reins of a firm I’d founded and scaled—and continued to love and believe in—wasn’t easy. But it was right.
Why? Two things were obvious to me then: while I might have been the person to dream up this company, and get it off the ground through sweat and scrappy ingenuity, I was not the right person to take it to where it needed to go next.
Second, I knew that my colleague, Danielle Rocheleau, was precisely that leader. So, we did succession planning—just like we teach it to our clients. After which she stepped into the role, and I stepped back. Over the last 18 months, it’s been a privilege to lean way back and witness her courage and brilliance as she’s guided Laridae through the pandemic and on to even better opportunities.
It’s also been humbling. How many times I’ve watched Dani in action and muttered to myself, “I would not have seen that coming”, or “I could not have navigated that so elegantly.” But, each of these occasions just allowed me some private satisfaction: I’d made a great decision.
Laridae is on its way to new and ever better things. I’m leaving behind a thriving company. One that is a leader in its space. With 15 staff, an Advisory Board, and a growing community-of-practice of non-profit leaders, Laridae is loved by more than 250 non-profit clients across the province, and increasingly, across Canada. Whether it’s the customized training for non-profit managers, Executive Directors, and Boards, or delivering powerful strategic plans and management consulting projects, Laridae is known for its rock-solid B Corp ethics and values, and deeply knowing the non-profit sector like precious few other firms.
For me, highlights were having done the learning and unlearning work required to be able to serve indigenous organizations across Ontario; the first day in the new office at 269 Charlotte; and literally every time a client came back for another project—earning trust and delivering great work never got old. Sure, the risks of entrepreneurship are often testing. I made mistakes along the way. But Laridae exceeded every expectation I’d ever had when I first, nervously, announced it to the world back in 2011. It’s been a precious gift to my life.
To the many clients I’ve served: from the smallest emerging start up, to the biggest multi-site, multi-service public agency—thank you for your trust. And, to my many Laridae colleagues current and past—especially Alicia, Amanda, Laura, Valentina, Rachel, and, of course, Danielle—you were all superb teachers; I will be forever grateful for your passion, guts, brilliance, and dedication to our clients, our communities—and to each another.
I look forward to joining Laridae’s long-standing Advisory Board and continuing to contribute in that way. I can’t wait to see where, and how, the company goes next.
Now, I’m off to coach…
With love and respect,
Ps. You can still reach me at my Laridae coordinates as I finish up a few projects over the fall. Going forward, here’s my new contact: email@example.com