For Becky Warkentin (grad 1997), the opportunity to travel the world by motorbike was a chance of a lifetime. As an avid traveller with a love of motorcycling, it was an opportunity she couldn’t pass up. So she and her husband quit their jobs and travelled the world for ten and a half months before the COVID-19 pandemic forced them home.
It was during that time of travel that Becky came up with a new business idea that could bring together her skills and passions to help support women. So about a year after flying home from Costa Rica she launched Amplify Management Group, a company that provides small businesses with the support they need, powered by a collective pool of women who now have a flexible way to earn a living.
It’s a concept she sometimes has a hard time explaining when people ask what she does, because Amplify is not just one thing. Many small businesses need help in several areas like bookkeeping, social media management or human resources, and they don’t have enough work or money to hire someone to do all of those services full time. Often the business owner will try and learn each skill themselves, which costs money and time.
That’s where Amplify comes in. Becky works with a group of women who have skills in all those areas and more, which means a small business can contract out all the different tasks in one place. “It’s basically the idea of keeping the things that you’re good at, that you can do quickly,” Becky says. “Get someone else to take care of the things that you’re not good at, the things that just drain you…. Because even if you have to pay for it, it’ll still save you money.” She’s the connector between the small businesses who need help and the women who can do the work. Simplifying the process for both sides.
A key part of her vision for the company is supporting women and giving them the flexibility to do what they love, but in a way that works for them. “These women could take on projects that they want to,” she says. “Build their lives and build their time and then do it from home remotely … and have more flexibility with their lives and take on as many clients as they want.”
Becky attended RJC for her grade 12 year, following in the steps of her mom and sister and many extended family members. One of the things that stood out in her experience was the more informal style teachers had that allowed for deeper relationships. “They talk to you like you’re an adult,” she says. “It was a very different learning experience for me, so I really liked that.” After graduation Becky got a degree in commerce from the University of Saskatchewan, and has worked in different roles in the business world since, including starting up her own company selling wind turbines.
As a woman in business for more than 20 years, Becky has seen why it’s important to support other women in the field. “I’ve just visibly seen with myself and with other women complete discrepancies in how we’re treated and dealt with in terms of pay and benefits and all sorts of things.” So providing a workplace that supports women and gives them the flexibility to earn a living on their own terms was important to her. “It’s not just about creating CEOs, and it’s not just about putting people in management positions,” she says. “Sometimes it’s about getting them the work-life balance that they want, getting them the pay that they need for what they’re actually providing, and in providing support and ways for them to be able to grow and develop.”
For Becky, her work is also a part of giving back to the community, by providing support for women and in providing a workplace that helps them flourish. Looking at business more holistically is a shift Becky is seeing in the business world as a whole. “Instead of just looking at the profit as being the main goal, providing their employees quality of life is actually becoming one of the main goals and development within their communities is becoming a main goal,” she says. For her the idea of giving back is more than just donating money herself or as a company, it’s making sure employees are paid well and supported. And that has ripple effects beyond any one company. “You understand that the community is important, as well as the whole well-being of the business and the employees.”