Tamsin Plaxton

Co-founder @ Tamwood International College | Canada

Time to read: 3 minutes

How did you start out?

I started out in this industry while at university when I worked as a camp counsellor at an international summer camp in Switzerland. That experience inspired me to work with kids and in something international and led me to quit my career as a lawyer a few years later to open and run, with my partner Matt Collingwood, an international summer camp and language school business in Canada. The business has grown and morphed a lot since then.

What helped you get as far as you have?

My stick-to-it-ness and the support of friends and family who believed in me and gave me the pep talks when I doubted myself.

If you could give one piece of advice to your 21 year old self, what would it be?

Read more books now. I have learned a lot in the last seven years from reading non-fiction that I wish I had known in my 20s and 30s.

Can you tell us about a particular low point in your life/and or career and how you overcame it?

Over the 24 years I have co-owned and operated Tamwood I have experienced numerous low points. One was when an employee stole money from us. She had been with us 15 years and was a friend so it came as a huge shock. I got over it by getting busy and focusing on making the company stronger and not focusing on getting back at her. My partner and I used that experience as an opportunity to improve the systems and accountability at Tamwood and I discovered a gratefulness practice that helped me focus on what I have rather than dwell on what I had lost.

How would you describe yourself in one word?

Curious

What are you most proud of in your professional life?

The thousands and thousands of lives that have been positively impacted by their experience at Tamwood. It always amazes me that from two young people (we were 27 when we hatched Tamwood) starting a small business in their attic, came this business that now transforms over 3000 lives a year. I am motivated by impact.

How old were you when you had your first paying job, and what was it?

I was 7 and I started an after school care program for 5 year olds. We charged $0.10 per child per day

What do you do to keep yourself centered?

That has changed over the years as I have learned more about mindfulness. It used to be sports and being active in individual and group sports is still important for my mental and emotional health but I also like to spend time with my daughter and friends and to walk in nature with my dog as ways to stay centred.

What is your newest project?

I love starting things and for the last two years I have been working on the development and launch of our new Global Startup School @ Tamwood Careers. This innovative school offers hands-on training and experience for aspiring entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs.

With the speed of innovation occurring today and the introduction of so many new disruptive technologies, the world of work is changing rapidly and jobs in this new world are going to be largely in business and product startups. Young people today need to develop an entrepreneurial mindset whether they want to start their own business or work in someone else’s business.

We have partnered with local and global organizations in the startup world to provide students the latest ideas and training for entrepreneurship. It’s been very rewarding and exciting for me to network with so many unique people in the startup community in building our team of instructors, advisers and mentor as well as our program partnerships. Our three new programs were recently approved by the Ministry of Advanced Education in BC and start in January 2018.

What is your favourite quote?

It’s more of a question than a quote: When was the last time you did something for the first time?

What would your superpower be?

To live on little to no sleep so I could get work done at night and spend more day time hours with my daughter and friends and family.

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