Devon (D): Tell me a bit about yourself.
Lacey (L): I am a member of the Xat'sull First Nation of British Columbia. I was raised in Salmon Arm, BC, and ventured off to Yellowknife, NT when I was 19. It only took me a few months to find the boy of my dreams. We ended up in Saskatoon, SK so he could attend the University of Saskatchewan for med school. I say "ended up" as I begrudgingly followed him to Saskatoon because we could not afford to attend university in Vancouver. At the time, I was still a BC girl at heart. To this day, I tear up every time we drive west and I see the mountains. That said, I have lived in Saskatoon for 25 years and now consider it my home.
I am still with that same boy, who is the must supportive and amazing husband any girl could ask for. We have raised two amazing teenage girls whom I am incredibly proud of and adore. I am also a very busy entrepreneur who spends her days managing three companies.
My favourite time of day is around 9pm. My little family has done their homework and settled down after finishing the day's tasks. Everyone ends up in the kitchen and we have a little half hour catch up on how everyone's day went. My girls tell me about their great adventures or provide me with a review of the homework projects they are working on. Then I get a little quiet time with my husband before we toddle off to bed.
My passion for running businesses comes from the excitement of seeing their growth and success.
I love transforming old buildings and spaces into new beautiful and functional spaces. I take pride in my projects. As many of my projects are done on a tight budget, I do much of the demolition and rebuilding (insulating, tiling, painting, flooring) myself. I recognize my limitations, though, and am happy to bring in framers, drywallers, plumbers and electricians.
I love process management. I always start my businesses on the ground floor with my staff — making my way through each level and implementing changes each step of the way — until I know we are running as efficiently as possible. The exciting thing about growing businesses is that it is an endless but very rewarding job. I am very proud that my staff have taken on this mentality as well. I love that they come to me to suggest efficiencies for our business.
I love utilizing technology to help realize efficiencies within my companies. At the moment, we are implementing a new point of sale software. This has been an exciting but exhausting system to implement. I have spent countless hours learning the software to ensure that it will work best for my company. Mapping our business into the system requires patience and attention to detail. Both skills challenge me, but the outcome is worth the frustrations along the way.
D: What drew you to SheNative?
L: I was drawn to SheNative because of its great message — #ChangingHerStory. The company has beautiful products, supports local creatives and inspires change and positivity. I believe that all women have the power to succeed, and as an Aboriginal woman, I know that success comes with its own set of challenges.
D: I am sure you have heard of the #MeToo Campaign. I have seen so many stories on Facebook about this. What are your thoughts on it?
L: I am a very private person. I have never been one to tell my story. I have also never been an activist on any level. I have a very high sense of ethics and morals. I believe that people should always be strong and stand for themselves. It is important to have a firm understanding of what your boundaries are. It is important to defend yourself.
That being said, yes, I have been harassed and sexually abused many times in my life. I hope that my daughters never experience it themselves.
I believe that change comes from educating our young ones at home. Educating our children to respect others and stand up for themselves. Perhaps for that change to begin, it requires a campaign like #MeToo.
D: Resilience and overcoming adversity is a common theme among Indigenous women in their lives, including mine, which is why I started SheNative. What types of barriers have you faced in your career? How did you overcome them?
L: I have always been conservative about sharing my past. However, the older I get, the more I realize the power and resilience it took for me to overcome the obstacles I have encountered in my life. I realize that there are women who have been through the same experiences as myself, but the outcome was devastating for them. I feel that I am now strong enough to share a little bit of me and hopefully inspire and provide courage to others so they can overcome their own obstacles.
I want women to know that we can be abused, overlooked and seen as less than others, but this does not mean we cannot be successful.
I am not just a victim; I am a survivor. I am not just a survivor; I am a success.
I am a success because I refused to be overlooked.
I am a success because I refused to fall into the depths of despair because of abuse.
I am a success because I refused to give up..
I am a success because I refused to believe that because I was raised poor, I was destined to be poor forever.
I am a success because I chose to surround myself with people who loved and supported me.
I am a success because despite the abuse I endured, I chose to recognize that I still had worth. I relentlessly looked for work and opportunities. I would apply for any job that I was remotely interested in, regardless of whether or not I was qualified for it. Eventually, I would be lucky enough to get called in for one of those interviews. Whenever I made my way into a job, I gave it 110%. I learned every aspect of it and always went above and beyond the job requirements without seeking additional pay or acknowledgement. At the end of each job, I would always have an amazing reference to count on. I continuously gained experience and worked myself into higher positions with higher pay.
I am a success because I chose to pursue success. It does not come from someone insightfully seeing that you have talent and providing you with the path. Instead, success comes from realizing that it will not be handed to you. You are the only one who can ensure your success. You must believe in yourself and fight for what you know you are worthy of.
The way you have been treated in the past is not a reflection of your worth. #ChangingHerStory
D: Do you keep something in your handbag that nobody knows about? What is it?
L: What don't I have in my handbag?! 5 lip glosses, 3 pairs of sunglasses, a yoga outfit, a small pharmacy...
But to answer your question, I always have a measuring tape in my handbag. You never know when a project will present itself.
Thank you for sharing your story with us, Lacey. We are honoured.
Lacey Crocker is the Chief Operating Officer Lady of LB Distillers, Goldney Holdings and Broadway Family Physicians.
Over the next few months I'll be interviewing resilient women changemakers in Canada and the United States for SheNative's blog. Some interviews will be on video, others written, and some will be podcast style. With this in mind, I have a question for you: If you could choose one woman who embodies resilience and changemaking, who would it be and why?
Next week our Chief Changemaker Devon Fiddler travels to China to speak at the Alibaba Global Conference on Women and Entrepreneurship as well as the Asian Women in Leadership Summit.