Hilda Broomfield Letemplier
President/Chief Financial Officer Pressure Pipe Steel Fabrication Ltd.
I was born/grew up in: I was born in North West River and grew up in Happy Valley – Goose Bay, NL, Canada
I now live in: Happy Valley – Goose Bay, NL Canada
I completed my training/education at:
District Vocational School, 1979 BTSD (Basic Training for Skills Development)
District Vocational School, 1980 Clerk-Typist
Labrador Community College, 1992 Diploma of Applied Arts, Secretarial Science (Administrative)
Completed several Business Administration Courses at Memorial University of NL
College of the North Atlantic, 2007 Certificate of Continuing Education: Project Management Fundamentals: Effective Project Planning; Management Skills; Personal Leadership Excellence and Monitoring and Control
Do you self-identify as Indigenous?
I am a Nunatsiavut member of Happy Valley – Goose Bay, NL. Nunatsiavut means “Our Beautiful Land”. Further to that the signing of the Nunatsiavut land claims agreement means that resource companies are required to work with Inuit suppliers of products and services. New companies were formed to take advantage of growing opportunities and partnerships. This is an innovative approach to unique opportunities in the region and in our industry. Currently having supply and service contracts with our major client, Vale, (Voisey’s Bay Nickel Mine in Northern Labrador) Pressure Pipe Steel Fabrication Ltd. is well recognized and recommended as a company to partner with to set up new agreements for much needed growing demand from new clients. As well we have many supplier agreements where we partner with major companies to provide the products that our clients require.
Describe what you do at work.
Till now I have been performing all of the accounts receivable, accounts payable, payroll, banking and human resources etc. for the company. I have just hired a bookkeeper who will be taking over the majority of my daily duties which will enable me to concentrate on taking care of our business contracts and forming new partnerships and joint ventures.
In the past I have had to use math constantly. And over the years it was essential to be aware of new technology in order for our company to grow and be in tune with market changes. Since I need a lot of STEM skills, which I do not hold I hire personnel that bring these skills to my business. A very important part of being a successful leader is to identify any limitations and compensate for them.
I make tons of decisions every day! For example, I need to decide which suppliers to use to fulfill my clients’ needs. I consult with my business partners and long standing suppliers for recommendations or to introduce me to their connections. If I can’t find someone from my existing contacts I search the internet and perform cold calls. Before I contract someone I haven’t used before, I have to educate them about who I am and what we do. I also show them the benefits of partnering with us to fulfill the needs of my clients. My goal is to have a win, win, win situation for everyone involved.
My background in STEM is very important as it helps me solve problems and make decisions as part of a team. This helps me meet the highly technical and safety oriented needs of our clients. The safety and wellbeing of all of our people is priority number one.
When I was a student I enjoyed:
How does your job affect people’s lives?
What makes my career relevant and fulfilling is watching the company continue to grow. It is a great feeling to be able to give the people of this region the chance to work with us. This helps them to obtain the experience necessary to fulfill their dreams of becoming self-sufficient. It also helps them with their personal growth. I’m happy that we can provide local students with hands-on training which gives them the chance for advancement into apprenticeship and journeyperson certification.
I am so pleased that we are able to train more multi-skilled employees and introduce new high technology to our operations. I’m also proud that we can offer our clients the best products and services possible by being highly flexible and competitive.
What motivates you in your career?
I am the president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Organization of Women Entrepreneurs (NLOWE) as well as NLOWE’s regional director for Labrador. I believe strongly in giving back to the community to help others become successful in business. I am a long time member of (NLOWE). This organization helps women entrepreneurs start, grow, and advance successful businesses.
Being successful in business is also very motivating. My secret for success consists of not taking no for an answer and putting in a 110 percent effort—along with being a lifelong learner who takes calculated risks. My determination has paid off: today I am an award-winning businesswoman, recently selected by Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada for a case study project profiling five Inuit women in business across the country. And in 2012, Pressure Pipe Steel Fabrication Ltd. won the Small Business of the Year Award from CAMSC which was awarded to an Aboriginal or Minority-owned business based on business growth and development, export sales and growth, and major accomplishments during the previous year.
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
Describe your career path to this career.
I absolutely did not expect to be doing this when I was in high school! I was a shy little girl growing up. I had no idea that I would one day be running a bunch of businesses and dealing with complicated business decisions every day. I started off helping my husband with his original business and now we have a 100% Inuit/Aboriginal-owned business. I like the challenges and the rewards that go with owning your own business and the fact that the successes we have are all ours.
After living several years in Quebec, my husband and I decided to move back to Happy Valley-Goose Bay. My husband had worked as a welder but no longer wanted to work as an employee. So he started a small welding business in Goose Bay. I became interested in helping out in the business so started to take courses including some distance education courses from Memorial University. The courses generally involved business-related subjects as well as business administration courses. After I completed these courses I was hired at the local college where I was pleased to learn that courses were free to employees. So I continued to take more courses.
I realized that I could help run my husband’s business finances. So I left my job at the college and a new company – Pressure Pipe Steel Fabrication Ld. – was born. In those days, there weren’t any benefits or preferences given for Inuit or Aboriginal businesses. And it was tougher as well being an Inuk woman in a non-traditional trade. One of the challenges I faced was that I was a shy person by nature and didn’t have the confidence to negotiate with financial institutions and suppliers. But I worked to overcome those challenges and pushed myself outside of my comfort zone. Today, the company has several employees and has business links with clients and suppliers across Canada.
What activities do you like to do outside of work?
I love to read, knit, crochet and walk our two dogs. I volunteer at NLOWE the (Newfoundland and Labrador Organization of Women Entrepreneurs). I am currently the Labrador Director and President of NLOWE. I like to ski-doo in the winter and sea-doo and boat in the summer. I also love hunting, working on and relaxing at our cabin.
What advice or encouragement would you give others seeking a similar career?
Develop a hunger for learning – “learning is a lifelong process”. This isn’t just a saying; it is an important attitude to have in business. The world changes quickly and to be successful you have to understand these changes and be prepared to adapt your business to meet needed opportunities”
In the early years of your start up, be prepared to sacrifice and spend lots of time and energy on the business. It may not seem like you are getting ahead at times, and the business will demand a lot of attention and effort before it really starts to pay off.
Starting a business involves risk. Very few businesses involve no risk. With careful planning, hard work and not taking too much out of the business at first, the risk of failure becomes smaller and the likelihood of success gets much bigger. Be willing to take risks.
Don’t take no for an answer. You are smart and hard working. Don’t let challenges become obstacles. Figure out how to deal with them and move on.