Jill Walker

The Ambitious Among Us

Meet the amazing business and technology minds of the Vancouver-metropolitan area and beyond.

PERSONALITY, CHARACTER, MOTIVATION AND ASPIRATIONS


We, as designers fight for the user…To understand a user’s perspective in life and to have empathy is what makes us great at what we do.

Balraj Chana, 2017, Prototypr.io

This interview was to be about the ambition of a coffee cafe manager. But, who knew? Jill Walker seemingly manages Boomerang Bistro on the side. That is not so, and neither is Boomerang Bistro just a coffee cafe.

Boomerang Bistro has the facade of a cafe, the grit of a restaurant, the elegance and versatility of a parlor, and the goodwill of a community service. Sure enough, the place matches the ambitions of its manager – who is also its designer, executive director and, now, event manager.

Sow, Build & Advance

For those who have been reading my blog, they’ll know I subscribe to Michael Porter’s definition of strategy. At its most basic, “strategy is the creation of a unique and valuable position, involving a different set of activities” (Porter, 1996).

I observed from Jill’s anecdotal history that her personal attributes and foci (the white arrows in the above graphic) turned into motivations and aspirations (the blue arrows). And those aspirations continue to materialize into a unique career.

Dollar For

Family members of both Jill and her husband, Jared, each endured medical challenges a few years ago. It spurred them to create a new venture that supported others.

Learn more at dollarfor.org; donate here.

This effort remains close to Jill’s heart as she experienced the ups and downs of building something from just an idea.

Ideas of Her Own

When a server in a restaurant and later as an event manager, Jill explained, she saw alternative opportunities. Corporate processes standardized tasks; although, they disallowed individualism and situational decision-making. This sort of ‘organizational slack’ brought about a desire to create something new (Näslund, 1964).

Boomerang Bistro

With a keen sense of careful risk-taking and overall startup experience of Dollar For, Jill was ready to design anew. And by all visible cues, Boomerang Bistro is a success.

Why?

Jill noted that the place and organization, both, are “friendly, inviting and [give the sense to customers that they are] part of the community.” A large sign on the wall dignifies success along with the values of Jill, the Executive Director. Boomerang Bistro, the nonprofit, has to date raised more then $91,000 for various charities.

Sitting at Boomerang Bistro’s over-21 bar behind which sits the old-fashioned hand-press orange juicer–one customer I know has raved about Boomerang Bistro’s screwdrivers–Jill’s gaze moved about as she spoke. There is a charm to the space – openness, the color scheme, she had the faux ceiling raised, and she wanted the brick wall behind the bar exposed. Jill didn’t build the place, but she built the space.

Events

Now, Jill coordinates events in the space (including the attached Tandem Hall area).

The first big event will be Vancouver’s Largest NYE Party | A Huge Count Down [sic] to 2019!

Get your tickets…


Chana, B. (2017). Your Journey to Becoming a Designer. [online] Prototypr.io. Available at: https://blog.prototypr.io/your-journey-to-becoming-a-designer-ca6405b3142a [Accessed 12 Dec. 2018].

Porter, Michael E. “What Is Strategy?” Harvard Business Review 74.6 (1996): 61-79. Cengage Learning, Inc. Web. 30 Dec. 2016.

Näslund, B. “Organizational Slack.” Ekonomisk Tidskrift 66.1 (1964): 26-31. JSTOR. Web. 24 Feb. 2017. http://www.jstor.org/stable/3438856. Wiley on behalf of The Scandinavian Journal of Economics.

Kassar, A. (2018). Serial Entrepreneurs vs. Lifestyle Businesses. [online] Inc.com. Available at: https://www.inc.com/ami-kassar/serial-entrepreneurs-vs-lifestyle-businesses.html [Accessed 11 Dec. 2018].

This article is sponsored by…

Published by Rehr Consulting

About Danny

Some have called me an expert at informational interviewing. What does that mean, exactly? I am concerned with understanding the whole person, the people behind the job, and the whole business from within.

It should come as no surprise, then, that I support the ambitions of others to meet promise and potential

My MBA is concentrated in Strategy. I have 20 years of work experience, most of which is in the field of organization development. Conducting informational interviews, I have engaged local professionals and written research-backed articles about their ambition. 

Writing is fun, and so is sharing what I learn. I’ve given talks throughout the Portland-metropolitan region about informational interviewing, and more recently about scaling-up ones activities – recognizing one’s current resources and opportunities, and then pairing them with potentially new resources and opportunities through creativity, new possibilities and strategic fit. 

I am heavily involved in the community, and I love coffee and fountain pens!