Sitting Down with Tara Osipoff, Vice President of Avana

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When Tara Osipoff joined our team this year, we knew her diverse life experience and perspectives wouldn't only be an asset to our team but a gift to our entire community. As a people-first kind of leader, Tara brings a compassionate and empathetic approach to every facet of her life, work included. Because to her, there is no work-life balance, it's just life -- and her value for curiosity, emotional intelligence, and equality intrinsically flows through every part of what she does. Get to know the new Vice President of Avana with ten questions about her background, favourite movie, what she loves most about Regina, and why she is excited to be with Avana.

1. Tell us about yourself! Where are you from, and what do you love about your hometown?

My name’s Tara Osipoff, and I am the VP of Avana! Born and raised in Regina, I have also lived in Edmonton and Vancouver before returning to Regina. I love this city because our lengthy lineage of farmers has cultivated a strong work ethic; we have a tradition of getting up with the sun and not stopping until the work is done. I appreciate and have an abundance of respect for that tradition, passed down from many generations in our province. As a woman from that family genealogy, I carry that ethic and ethos into my role at Avana.

2. What’s your background/education, and what were you doing before Avana?

Over many years, I’ve studied geology, fashion, marketing, business, project management, and leadership. However, I believe that all people should invest in more than a formal education: embrace change, meet and befriend unique people, and be a learner of life. I believe formal education plays a small part in qualifying and equipping a human for their job. Although knowledge is vital, emotional intelligence (EQ) and curiosity have played critical roles in helping me reach this point in life. 

Before Avana, I owned and ran a marketing agency for seven years. I always knew it would be a stepping stone in my career and be used as a foundation to build my experience in leadership. In 2020, I was the VP of Client Success at Cult Collective. My long-term plan was to have a seat in leadership at a purpose-led company, which led me here. When the opportunity arose to step into the position of VP of Avana, I knew that the life I had envisioned was playing out. I couldn’t be more aligned with the values and purpose of this company.

3. What’s the most memorable career moment you’ve had so far?

Although I feel I have accomplished a lot in my young age (and still have much I wish to achieve), my most significant moment was the bravery it took to utilize the voice that a business gets to advocate for the oppressed. Ayden was a crusader in the fight for equality, and I will forever be proud of myself and my team for the courage it took to use not only the business voice but our voices in the fight for equality.

4. What do you enjoy most about Avana and the direction you’re going in with them?

I am inspired the most by our relentless pursuit for equality at Avana. Working alongside like-minded people who share a common purpose is not only inspiring but rewarding and rejuvenating. It is exciting to be a part of a strategic, forward-thinking company that most of all cares about its employees, impact, community, partners in trades, and primary purpose.

5. Is it essential to you that your core values align with your work and career?

I believe “work-life balance” does not exist: you cannot shut off one or the other when you go home in the evening or get to work in the morning. Therefore, I believe it is of utmost importance that the values we hold align with the work we do. Otherwise, it seems to me, we are living inauthentically in some area, and that is my definition of self-betrayal and unhappiness.

6. You say that you like to approach everything with a human-first mindset. What does that mean?

It means remembering that behind every business are people and that EQ is crucial. We must care about the business, and to care about the business, we must first care about the people. We are humans first and employees second.

7. What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?

The most powerful thing you can do to set yourself up for success is to believe in yourself. Once you do, the rest of the work is easy.

8. What’s something that people would be surprised to know about you?

I was on a hijacked bus in Central America, and it taught me about really stepping into the shoes of others to understand the vast experiences many face in our world. In the same moment, I was abruptly faced with the reality of my privilege. Being close to death gives you an awakening like no other, and that experience changed my perspective.

9. What’s your all-time favourite movie?

An all-time favourite movie of mine is “About Time.” I often rewatch it when I need a reminder not to sweat the small stuff. It always causes me to reflect on how precious life is — something I never want to forget. 

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