Craig Manness along with his wife Cheryl owns and operates Impact Group, a Calgary based business coaching firm and communications agency. Craig was raised on a farm in Domain, Manitoba and earned a Bachelors Degree in Agriculture Economics from University of Manitoba. Upon graduation he returned to the family farm. But after 10 years and 3 droughts, Craig and Cheryl decided to leave farming and Craig took a job as territory manager for Elanco in Red Deer, Alberta. After 2 years in the territory, Craig accepted the position of Marketing Manager, Eastern Crops for DowElanco and moved to Newmarket, Ontario. After 2 years in marketing, Craig returned to Western Canada, accepting a position as Public Relations Manager for The Parker Group Communications in Calgary.
After a year, Craig became a partner in the firm as it expanded to the US. The company changed its name to AdFarm. Craig moved into the position of Account Director and worked on many accounts including Bayer, Caterpillar, Dow, Flexi Coil, and Agricore. In 2001, Craig became Chairman of the Board.
In 2002, Craig sold his shares in AdFarm and started Impact Group, with the focus of helping small businesses with strategic planning, marketing, human resources, and leadership development. Impact Group has worked with over 150 businesses in 4 provinces and 10 states. Craig has a particular passion for helping family businesses. “Over 80% of the businesses we deal with have some family connection in them. The challenge is keeping them strong because when a family business is strong, its good for both the business and the family. But the same truth holds when it’s bad.”
Cheryl joined Craig as partner in Impact Group in the fall of 2002, 23 years after she joined him in marriage. Cheryl’s many roles include CFO, Associate Business Coach, and Project Coordinator.
Cheryl was a partner with Craig in his two previous businesses and has a proven ability to discern the important and fundamental truths that are at the heart of strong and successful small businesses.
She is excellent at reviewing mounds of the data that we collect from customers and staff and can quickly wade through it to find out what is relevant. This is the greatest attribute of a business coach and her contribution to the business is invaluable.
“I think small businesses have a greater sensitivity to both their customers and their staff needs than many larger businesses. Because it’s small, no one is seated in a glass tower, hopefully. The ones that succeed have leadership that is accessible and keep their organization focused on ‘serving’ the needs of customers and its managers focused on ‘serving’ the needs of those who serve customers. It works every time."
Jenny has officially been a part of Impact Group since July 2009. She holds the title of Lead Writer, but finds during her working time she only writes for 25 percent of the time.
Jenny started with Impact Group after finishing her Bachelor of Arts in English at University of Calgary, which she decided to take after completing her Journalism Diploma at Southern Alberta Institute of Technology and really disliking freelance journalism.
Among the roles of copywriter, editor, assistant designer, and overall executer of things, with a history of 10 years in the hotel/service industry under her belt, Jenny has taken on the role of event planner, which has become a major aspect of Impact Group’s business.
Jenny likes travelling (three continents to go), Broadway, literature, shopping, long walks on foreign beaches and is excited for the ever-expanding future of Impact Group and it’s potential.
Kate is the one and only original employee of Impact Group, starting as a designer in 2002. While Kate is a self-proclaimed colour genius and really punny, she also holds the role of Creative Director after years of placing her artistic stamp on Impact Group’s and clients’ identities and materials.
Kate’s natural eye for design and artistic flare have made her the perfect fit for Impact Group and has taken on great responsibilities as the agency side of the business has grown.
Kate has been working alongside her husband, Mike, since 2008, and while most people cringe at the idea, they seem to make a great team.
Kate enjoys taking long walks on foreign beaches with Jenny and sharing all of her artistic passions with her daughter, Emma.
Kate also enjoys blogging. Witness her artistic flare at ohdeerithinkiloveyou.blogspot.com.
When Sheena completed the Journalism Program at SAIT, she wasn't sure what direction she would go.
Travel was on her mind. She ate chocolate in France, watched hockey in Germany and surfed the Australian coast. When she returned home she knew what she wanted in a career. She was craving creativity and a fast pace. She knew from the first visit to Impact Group that it was the place for her. She did her best to dazzle the group, and it seemed to work. Since then she has used her skill in coordination and her crazy love of organization to help streamline Impact Group’s processes.
She has been with Impact since May of 2011 and has not looked back.
With a true gift for communicating with people and knowing what it means to be part of a team, Mike puts the ‘gem’ in account management. His clients rely on him for his ability to survey a situation and find the critical elements which turn problems into opportunities.
Before joining Impact Group in 2008, Mike ran a fertility program for seedless watermelons. It wasn’t until we were able to convince him this endeavor would not be fruitful that he agreed to join us as a junior business coach. In 2010, he was promoted to account manager.
Since then, Mike has developed a reputation among his clients as a leader and visionary, with an uncommon eagerness to go the extra mile. In fact, his only fault is that he can get a little over-excited.
Chris is currently a student at University of the Fraser Valley in his final year of a bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems and Communication. Before coming on board with Impact Group, Chris did marketing and communication work within the university where he created the, Get a Better Letter campaign advertising support options for struggling students. He has also been a guest speaker for groups such as the Student Leadership Institute where he has shared his passion for technology, social media, and the ever-changing landscape of the web.
His work at the university led to an invitation to participate as a communications and marketing consultant during the inception of the British Columbia Prior Learning Action Network Society. The network, in partnership with the BC provincial government, and which includes representatives from provincial post-secondary institutions and industry, seeks to increase access to post-secondary credentials for adult learners and immigrants. Chris’s contributions have included: representing the society on the national stage as a speaker in Toronto and Ottawa; helping to plan and execute BCPLAN’s inaugural summit held at the Vancouver Convention Center in 2010; and the network’s website (bcplan.ca) which he continues to develop, maintain and write articles for.
Chris also moonlights as a consultant for educationplanner.ca, BC’s premier web resource used by more than 60,000 high-school students each month to shop and compare their post-secondary options in BC. Chris is part of a team that is actively developing a new interface and Web 2.0 experience.
At 928km, Chris has the longest commute to our Calgary office where he contributes his web expertise and passion for exploring how people use the web. When not honing his PHP and WordPress skills, or being part of the eye candy around here, Chris can be found spending time with his two daughters, and down at the pub cheering on the Canucks (but not both at the same time[that was only the one time]).