“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” — Audrey Hepburn
How does your garden grow? I picture Leslie Bradford Scott’s garden full of resilient flowers that hang on to their colour without fading even when draught strikes. “Grow flowers in the desert. It’s a lot harder and there’s a lot less competition,” she advises. Leslie is a founder of Walton Wood Farm. I had the pleasure of hearing her personal (and professional) story at an event hosted by Women’s Business Network of Peterborough last night. What a story of resilience it is — full of colour and courage — shared authentically with heart.
In a nutshell, Leslie’s life includes a traumatic childhood full of upheaval and betrayal; a difficult, if not abusive marriage; and ultimately a divorce that left her without any kind of financial foundation to rebuilt her life upon. She took on a job at a car dealership in sales to support her two daughters and a dog and stuck it out until they were well-supported and safe.
All the while, Leslie held on to and pursued her life-long passion for writing and creative expression – receiving recognition for her talent with a variety of amateur screenwriting awards.
She also understood the healing power of nature and at a pivotal point in her life, sought clarity in a cabin within Tamagami National Park. It was there, on a trip to the inner parts of the park, that she met a bush pilot who eventually became her husband (and clearly her soul mate). A man named Peter who supported Leslie’s desire to fly her own plane. She earned her pilot’s licence and did just that.
Together, Leslie and Peter purchased an old farm in Otonabee-South Monaghan Township (just outside of Peterborough) – a beautiful spot on Rice Lake that needed a little attention to shine again. Peter said he could bring new life to the fields – if Leslie found a way to fund the restoration of the historic barns that graced the property. She believed she could and she did (and this was just a few short years ago).
This is where the story of Walton Wood Farm really begins to blossom. Like Leslie’s personal story – it’s a story of resilience, perseverance and self-determination. It’s about believing in possibility and making it happen. It’s about having hope and finding joy. Leslie started to make natural bath products in her kitchen and took to the road selling them across the province – one conversation at a time. She took advantage of the opportunities that presented themselves along the way. For example, she entered Peterborough’s Bear’s Lair competition (and won). This is the video that Leslie created to summarize her journey as part of her Bear’s Lair entry. She also successfully pitched her business on an episode of CBC’s Dragon’s Den just a year ago.
Today, Walton Wood Farm is a multiple award-winning family business on a mission to help grow communities by bringing back jobs to our country, saving history icons (watch the story on the barn that inspired its growth here), and breathing new life into rural communities. The seeds of this business originally planted in the kitchen of a rural farmhouse have now spread across North America and continue to grow and flourish. There are now 950 small family business partners who carry their product along with a number of national retailers. I’ve personally used Walton Wood Products and highly recommend them. I love the creativity evident in the labels and stories behind each product – all part of the creative genius resident within Leslie that has found its voice of expression (she writes all the copy on each product). You can find out more about their products here.
Here are Leslie’s 5 tips on how you can create a garden for your business to grow:
1. Pay attention and find the seeds
2. Water the seeds with persistence and unfailing belief
3. Protect them fiercely
4. Grows into a weed – yank it out by the roots
5. Sow more seeds. Rinse and Repeat.
This is a personal shout out to Leslie for sharing her story with warmth, humour and honesty. You are truly an inspiration. (And I am really looking forward to enjoying my Walton Wood Farm “Thaw Out – Winter’s A Bitch Sugar Scrub” that I was gifted with last night).
About The Author: Jennifer Garland is the Owner/Program Director of The Mane Intent, offering Health and Wellness Workshops and Individual and Team Effectiveness Coaching. Jennifer’s intent is to bring horses and humans together to explore new possibilities, getting you out of your comfort zone and giving clarity of voice to your leader within. She has over 25 years of leadership experience in communications, cause-related marketing and change management. As a strategist, facilitator and effectiveness coach, Jennifer has provided counsel and support to senior leaders from all walks of life to build productive relationships, facilitate learning and to embrace change. She is a ‘socialpreneur’ who values the art of living life fully with intent. Book your experience today — call us at 705-295-6618.