13 Questions for Pat Hirst of Touchstone Resources
1. In business since: 1995
2. What exactly do you do: I started Touchstone because I was frustrated by my own experiences in dealing with conflict personally and professionally. I noticed most people were ineffective at managing conflict because they either avoided it altogether or tried to overpower others. My quest to improve my skills let me to become a mediator.
My business is unique because as a mediator I don’t just teach theory; I have lived it. I have hundreds of hours of experience working with people in very difficult circumstances. This experience has given me insight into what gets people into conflict and how people can resolve it. I also understand the opportunities that conflict brings, including improving relationships, personal growth and direction in decision making.
3. What is your Vision and Mission for the business? What are your business Values? Connect |Evolve | Resolve – Building Relationships and Workplace Cultures. My mission is to help others pursue the life they choose through enhanced interpersonal skills; personally, and professionally.
4. What exactly do you do and who will we meet when we visit your business (staff)? I offer a range of services, including workshops, facilitation and mediation. Many people meet me through workshops and as a keynote speaker at conferences and retreats. I wrote a book to share strategies and stories as a resource for others. I also develop training programs and curriculum. I have taught at universities as well.
5. What is your background, education and/or work experience?
I received a Bachelor of Commerce from the U of M, a Certificate in Adult Education from St Francis Xavier University and a Certificate in Conflict Resolution at Mediation Services in Winnipeg where I apprenticed in workplace mediation.
6. What has been your most satisfying moment in business? There have been several satisfying moments in business for me. These moments are the conversations I’ve had with people who have attended one of my workshops or keynotes or have read my book – who say that they were inspired to make a choice that changed their lives for the better. Some of these choices have included finding new professions, changing relationships or interacting differently with others. Writing my book was also a satisfying milestone that has allowed me to make information more assessible to others and give back knowledge that I have gleaned as a mediator; working in the sacred space of communing with others.
7. What are your five key elements for running a successful business?
- Building relationships.
- Identifying needs & expectations up front.
- Keeping promises.
- Being Transparent.
- Creating Value
8. What inspires and/or motivates you? What makes you happy? I am motivated by being of service, empowering others and connecting with people.
10. What causes / charities / local events do you support? I have volunteered with Mediation Services, mediating disputes since 1997. I also provide complimentary workshops for various service organizations to support staff and volunteers and build community through skills development.
11. If you could tell your customers one thing about your business that they don’t know, what would it be? People may not know that this isn’t just a business to me – but a calling. A calling to help others make a difference in their homes, their workplaces and their communities. That I have a profound faith in people’s ability to access their own wisdom, resilience and grace. My intention is to inspire others to use their skills, talents and gifts to create a better world, through respect, tolerance and compassion.
12. What do you hope your customers experience when they walk in the door? Whether we meet through a conference keynote, retreat, workshop or mediation; I strive to create a welcoming space where people are accepted as they are, where they can learn, think and explore and be inspired to make choices for themselves to live the life they choose; personally and professionally. I also want to normalize that everyone has issues to deal with in life that are challenging and difficult; and that you don’t have to be a mediator to deal with conflict productively.
13. Plans for the future? I look forward to continuing to offer workshops to organizations and speak at more conferences annually. I am also expanding into a series of public workshops that I am offering, including a series entitled, “Workshops for Women”. I am also planning to offer on-line learning to make knowledge more accessible. I am always interested in ideas that people have for me to provide services that can make a difference and am always happy to hear from others.