Ariane Laird

Ariane Laird

The Short Version

LinkedIn Profile

The Longer Version


Why I started ConnectsUs

Simple.  After providing HR consulting services for many years, I saw an unmet need. There was a serious lack of tools for implementing HR in small business, and it was hindering their ability to compete for, reward and retain top talent. 

So I put together a team of HR professionals, writers, trainers, and employment lawyers to create HR toolkits specifically for small business.  Our clients loved them.  “Instant return on investment,” they said.  “Indispensable.”  “No-brainer.”   

We then proceeded with products for HR consultants. They also wanted to win, and compete. 

What I do @ ConnectsUs

My formal job titles are Founder, Leader, CEO, CFO.  But what I really am is CIO—Chief Improvement Officer. I’m always asking “How can we do this, that—anything and everything—even better?”  Then we execute. The Japanese call it Kaizen.  ConnectsUs staff call it 'Shiny Object Syndrome', aka 'Major Pain in the Butt'.  I call it the key to better products.

We've been working remotely since 2006, way before the pandemic hit because we're all introverts and are simply more productive working from home. It also ensures that we skip the commute, don't have to wear suits, and spend more time with our families and on our own personal well-being.  But more important to me is the impact on the environment. Working remotely means no paper, no emissions, and greatly-reduced environmental footprints.  

Background

The rebel in me started early. I was the kid who always questioned the teachers in grade school.  I was polite, but relentless.  I was sent to the Principal’s office a lot and my mother received endless phone calls from the school office.  Looking back on my report cards, there was definitely a pattern.  But I like to think it just made me more determined to question the status quo.

I started my work life as the proverbial mail room clerk.  Those who believed in me took me under their wing. (Thank you, Jason Nyman). With their support, I steadily progressed to more senior positions in Admin and Finance.

Along the way, I volunteered to take on those dreaded HR projects that no one else wanted to do and I knew nothing about. Can you say pre-audit Employment Equity reporting?  Yawn.  But those projects taught me the art of ‘feeling the fear and doing it anyway,’ and I learned that execution and results matter.

I have worked with, and provided HR consulting services to nearly 50 companies in Canada and the US.  While most of them could be classed as ‘small business,’ I also gained ‘big business’ HR experience during my time at Avon Corporate offices, Amcor, and Glenayre Electronics.  I later co-founded the HR Tech Group, and became a partner with BC Social Venture Partners, and a founding parent of Brockton School.  

My HR consulting gigs provided me with the opportunity to work closely with many entrepreneurs. Through this, I acquired a great appreciation for the blood, sweat, and tears it takes to win in small business.  Those engagements also showed me that the HR pains I was hired to resolve were consistently felt by most small businesses.  Combine that pain with my obsession for making things better and I was a start-up waiting to happen.

In 2006, I took a deep breath and launched ConnectsUs HR, providing HR toolkits to small business.  Our flagship product was ClearSite, a collection of templates and binders for creating employee manuals. 

Today, we are an online resource center and we live in the cloud.  We have thousands of customers with great reviews and we continue to grow. 

It’s not all about work though. I make time for my favorite down time activities:  walking, hiking, 'porching', volunteering, and spending time with my family in downtown Vancouver.