Best Practice Forum: Ouch! Navigating the Pains of a Growing Business

By Sustainable Business Network of Greater Phila (other events)

Thursday, September 14 2017 9:00 AM 11:00 AM

Best Practice Forums are a series of workshops from SBN that use member case studies to create meaningful opportunities to learn, connect, and build a better business. The next program in the series will discuss the challenges of scaling your business. 

Growth in business is a good thing, right? Though all businesses change, evolve, and grow, the experiences can be uncomfortable for any business owner: from creating new systems, to building and managing a diverse team, to transitioning to new and unfamiliar roles. In this program, Kate Strathmann of Elysian Fields will moderate a discussion with several SBN members who are at different stages on the growth continuum. She will ask about the good, the bad, and the ugly in the evolution of their businesses and how the growth they have experienced has shaped who they are as business owners today.

Member participants include:

Members will tell stories about how they identified and made changes to their business practices and how they managed those changes, including the uncomfortable parts. Tricky challenges like succession planning, handling big and incremental change simultaneously, and what to do with newly discovered free time (!) will be addressed.

Join us to hear about the journeys your fellow members have taken after asking themselves, "Where is my business now, and where do I want it to be?" You will come away from the program better equipped to handle the often unexpected hurdles that come along with growth and success.


Kate Strathmann, Director + CEO, Elysian Fields

Elysian Fields partners with passionate business owners, consulting to support healthy and thriving systems, structures, and strategy for businesses interested in more than just making a buck. As the leader of Elysian Fields, Kate turns unruly ideas into inspiring successes and believes that a business is like a massive art project: you lead with a vision, and then you gotta get granular and execute. Kate is an expert in translating big, creative, passionate ideas into sustainable reality. By turns a farmer, artist, nomadic web developer, Delhi-based yoga teacher, and marketeer at the Walker Art Center, she now lends her breadth of experience to shepherding ideas from napkin sketches to robust balance sheets and emboldening owners to exceed their own expectations. Kate uses her knack for seeing both the forest and the trees to lead owners in focused, day-to-day actions that create ambitious, momentous growth. She lends her skills to organizational development, community-minded strategy, and, of course, making a kick-ass business plan with staying power.


Peicha Chang is the founder of Vault + Vine. In 2009, she founded Falls Flowers, a floral design shop in East Falls, before transitioning the business to Vault + Vine in 2017. She and her team are committed to offering a welcoming, immersive retail experience while promoting a sense of community with a café, gathering place, and small scale event space.

Peicha is a graduate of Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. She lives with her family in East Falls, where she’s able to walk to work and share her lifelong love of plants and flowers with her community.

Robert Cheetham is the founder and CEO of Azavea, a B Corporation that applies geospatial technology for civic, social, and environmental impact. Azavea creates software for the web related to infrastructure, climate change, ecosystems, elections, transit, public safety, and other domains. The firm’s public service mission and research focus are at the heart of its work including: open source projects, R&D partnerships with universities, the Summer of Maps fellowship program, the OpenDataPhilly project, and donating a portion of its profits to charitable organizations. Prior to founding Azavea, Robert served as a software developer and GIS analyst for the University of Pennsylvania, the City of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Police Department and as a civil servant in Japan. He has an MLA in Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning from the University of Pennsylvania and a BA in Japanese Studies from the University of Michigan. He serves on advisory boards for the Penn State University Masters in GIS and GeoDesign programs and the Professional Masters in GIS program at Temple University.

Heather Marold Thomason is a whole-animal butcher and the founder of Primal Supply Meats, a company committed to providing local and sustainable meat to Philadelphia. She is is working to build up the region's supply chain by sourcing direct from local livestock farmers, partnering with area processors, and creating wholesale and retail markets for pasture-raised meats. Heather left a successful career in graphic design and marketing in 2011 to pursue the trade of whole-animal butchery in the interest of supporting sustainable, local food systems. She learned to raise pastured animals from birth to slaughter as an apprentice on a livestock farm and has worked as a whole-animal butcher at retail shops around the country. Heather regularly hosts private classes and public demonstrations on whole-animal butchery for both home cooks and industry professionals.


Whether you’re looking to develop targeted prospect lists, find demographic information for your neighborhood, or monitor industry-specific trends, there are free library resources available to help you grow! Librarians at the Business Resource & Innovation Center (BRIC) at the Free Library of Philadelphia specialize in curating information, providing research services, and coordinating programming for small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs.  We also offer robust grant-seeking and funding information resources for nonprofit organizations.  

While you’re here, check out the Pitch Corner!  The newest addition to the BRIC, the Pitch Corner is a space where you can practice and record your pitch in front of a video camera and receive a copy of the video to help you refine your message.  

Doors open at 8:45 AM. Coffee and a light breakfast will be served. Program will begin promptly at 9:15 AM.

Mailing Address

2401 Walnut St. Suite 206 Philadelphia, PA 19103