Out of all our “Meet the Innovator” series, we are especially excited to introduce our Innovator in Chief, Debbie Wooldridge! Since ttcInnovations started in 2001, she has worn many hats and been involved in all aspects of the company. While she still juggles many pieces, with a dedicated team behind her, she’s able to remain at the helm of ttcInnovations and lead us into a growing future. When she isn’t answering calls, tackling her to-do list, chatting with clients, holding meetings, or fulfilling other important responsibilities (like refilling her coffee cup), Debbie is off enjoying active hobbies or spending time with her family. Get to know her a little more right here!
What is your role at ttcInnovations? How has it evolved?
CEO and Founder — my role has evolved so much since the day I started the company. I began working on my own with clients as an instructional designer and training facilitator. Within three years of starting the company, I had an opportunity to acquire another company, which kickstarted our growth as ttcInnovations! What used to be an individual operation has now morphed into an amazing team of 12 employees and almost a hundred contract Innovators!
What are you most proud of when it comes to ttcInnovations?
The relationships we have built. Our clients and our Innovators could honestly choose any of the many training companies out there, but they choose ttcInnovations because of the relationships we build! We are genuine in our care for both our client representatives and each other. It is what separates us from other organizations.
Out of the 4 core values, which one resonates with you the most?
Easy — integrity! Without integrity, none of the other values work!
What does life look like outside of work?
I’m a family person through and through. I love exploring the world with my husband, Chris, and spending time with our kids, their spouses, and the new love of my life — my grandson! My free time is often filled with hiking, camping, and traveling, but I also love a nice quiet evening at home reading a great mystery novel or watching silly reality TV and baking shows. I’ve recently rediscovered how much I enjoy the challenge of a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle!
What’s one of your favorite places you’ve traveled to recently?
It’s hard to pick just one, but Chris and I just finished spending a month up at Mammoth Lakes, CA. We have been there before for skiing but never in the summer — so we bundled our cats up, packed my office, camping gear, fishing poles, and a few other odds and ends that are necessities for us (our coffee machine being most important), and rented a condo for the month. It was an amazing change of pace; I started many of my work days with a nearby hike or run, worked, then enjoyed an evening walk around the trails that surrounded our condo. We also fit in a few days of camping and some fishing and got up close and personal with the sights and sounds of the mountains. The highlight of our trip was a very early morning hike at Devil’s Postpile where my husband and I spotted a mama bear and her two cubs playing around a rock formation — a magical moment!
Where’s next on your list?
I’m super excited to head back to Africa with Chris in November. We are going on our second safari, and this time we’ll be headed to Botswana, Okavango Delta and Victoria Falls. I cannot wait!
Do you have a few tips for work/life balance?
Give up the idea of balance! There is work and there is life — sometimes you spend more time in one area than the other, and that is okay! It’s too stressful to try to achieve that impossible 50/50 balance. Accept that sometimes you are going to have to focus very heavily in your work world. And that is okay as long as when you do have the time to focus on your life, you really do it! It’s easy to get caught up in the trap of sitting at your desk, so GET UP and walk away… then if you need to come back and finish it up later — do it! But life is too short to spend 50+ hours a week working all the time. Put in your time, do your very best work, finish what you committed to, and then focus your energies on the you that exists outside of your career. Otherwise, what is the point?
Coffee or tea?
Definitely coffee. I used to prefer it as black as could be but over time, I’ve learned I like a little cream to soften my cup o’ joe. (Really it is more like cups but who is counting??)
What inspired you to write your two books and who is the ideal reader?
Honestly, I’ve always had a dream of writing a book, although I thought it was going to be the great American mystery. But it turns out my passion is more about writing content that I hope will help my readers find success both personally and professionally. For Unleashing the Intrapreneur, my ideal reader is a young professional who is passionate about bringing an idea, product, service, or process to life within a company environment — someone who wants that ability to be an entrepreneur within the supportive structure of a company environment. A Manager’s Guide to Unleashing the Intrapreneur is targeted to help companies successfully embrace and support the intrapreneurs in their organization.
If you were stranded on an island, what 3 things would you have to have with you?
My kindle with solar charging battery, chocolate, and coffee. (The solar charging battery can also be used to fuel my coffee pot!) Wait, I also want a tent, my self-inflating sleep pad, sleeping bag, and Chris will need to come along as I don’t really cook — so I’d starve without him. And can I have my kids and grandbaby too?