Get to know commUNITY co-founder Deanna Burger

What does the word community mean to you?

Kindness.  Knowing there are people or a system to help lift you up, even if you don’t see it.  Having support when you least expect it but need it most.  Community offers a subtle strength of commonality, shared knowledge, and possibly a little relief.  It’s knowing you’re not alone and someone cares. 

What has been the hardest part about the pandemic for you personally?

The loneliness can be difficult and, at times, crushing.  I’m very fortunate to have a very present family and strong network of friends, but being the sole parent leaves quite a lot of time by myself, particularly the evenings.  As we live in a condo, it’s challenging to have people over after he’s asleep and although my friends and family are always happy to chat, I know their days are overwhelming too and they need to decompress, and I don’t want to bother them.  We spend most weekends with my elderly parents, which offers a nice break, but also contains its own stressors and mental load.  I know this is a moment in time and this too shall pass, but it can be difficult spending so much time alone. 

What is your role in commUNITY?

Best Little Sister Ever!  😊

I manage financial health, legal and insurance, manufacturing, human resources, strategic partnerships, and product development, among a few other things.

What is the biggest strength you bring to the team?

My super-powers are my relentless resiliency and an ability to get stuff done.  There have been times, specifically at the beginning of the pandemic when global scarcity was at its height, where we would be challenged by various roadblocks and we would need to quickly figure out solutions.  I usually find a way to make things happen.

What does the day-to-day working on the business look like for you?

Lol – it’s been one single day since April 5… 😊

I am most creative from 2-4 am, so I often find myself lying awake at night developing new ideas, creating lists of new opportunities, reviewing our business and its operations, thinking and rethinking about improvements, considering how to be a better team member / how to support the team more, dreaming of ways to evolve our business, breaking down competitor’s tactics, and dissecting the market and its movements.  I think about our business canvas and how we can connect with our community differently to strengthen our relationship. Most of the time, I keep these thoughts to myself, but my brain doesn’t stop working.  It also helps to work these things out when I run.

What has been your favourite part about building a business?

Owning our actions.  If we want to try something, we do it.  We gift ourselves the opportunity to try things and know if it doesn’t work out, we will have learned something.  The wins are yours and they feel great.

What has been the biggest challenge about building commUNITY?

Being part of a market that has experienced extreme change in such a short about of time – but that’s also been exciting about it.  From market inception in April, growing into a mature market by August, then to extreme commoditization by October.  I don’t know of another time in history where that has occurred.  Every week, sometimes every day, there have been new challenges to navigate.

Did you have any hesitation starting a business during a pandemic?

Honestly, I didn’t even think about it as a risk – it was just a fun idea which allowed us to help keep people safe and bring an end to a scary time.

Did you always want to be an entrepreneur?

I didn’t know I was supposed to be one until I was one… it just fit. 

Have you been able to find a good work-life balance?

One of the biggest learnings from this experience, has been understanding that I need to slow down in order to speed up.  Taking time to be present with my son, family, friends, vendors, customers, or anyone I’m chatting with is a priority and knowing it’s ok to send the email, or do “the thing”, later is just fine.  Often taking a little time or space will result in a better outcome anyway.   

What does the future look like for commUNITY – what happens next?

I believe there are a few different paths commUNITY can grow into, each with a different way to support our customers and our community-at-large.  And I have to remind myself that just because something is possible doesn’t mean it’s a path we should take.  I’m proud of the brand and product we’ve built, and we need to decide what sparks the electric feeling and move forward from there.

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