Meet Shannon Bernadin, the owner of, and horticultural devotee responsible for creating The African Garden. She’s been enamored by planets and flowers since she was a child, which ultimately led to her becoming a botanist so that she could turn her passion into her career.
The African garden began as a seed that started to grow in the back of her mind and eventually morphed into what it has become today, an indispensable resource to help you find out as much as possible about your favorite plants and flowers and how to properly care for and nurture them.
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Table of Contents
We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to Valiant CEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
Shannon Bernadin: ‘m Shannon, and when I’m not in work I’m a craft beer fan, adore old Disney movies and love to roller skate. However, when I am in work, I take life far more seriously. The African Garden was established so that I could share the information that I learned in my old job as a botanist with anyone who wanted to find out more about flowers and fauna. It was originally supposed to be a platform to launch a landscaping business of the same name, but then COVID happened and we had to change our plans…
Who has been the most influential person(s) in your life and how did they impact you? How did that lead to where you are today?
Shannon Bernadin: Honestly? Walt Disney. He said, “When you’re curious, you can find lots of interesting things to do” and that became my life mantra. It’s a credo that I’ve lived by and used to establish The African Garden.
2020 was a challenging year for all of us, particularly for businesses. How did the pandemic impact your business? Please list some of the problems that you faced, and how you handled them.
Shannon Bernadin: It stopped us evolving from a full time website into a full time landscaping business, which was our original vision for The African Garden. We had to lay three workers off, put everything on hold and focus on the site. It was incredibly difficult, and I’m not sure if we’ll ever get back to where we wanted to be. How do you overcome the restrictions of the pandemic if you can’t work on someone else property? Hopefully, now that the vaccines are here, we’ll be able to build a navigable roadmap to success.
The pandemic led to a myriad of cultural side effects, including one that was quite unexpected that is informally known as “The Great Resignation”. Did this widespread trend affect you in any way?
Shannon Bernadin: Unfortunately, it did. The two gardeners that we’d retained with a view to starting again after the vaccine rollout decided that they didn’t want to work for the wage that we were paying anymore, and left and trying to replace them has been difficult to say th least, but I think we’ve managed to find new employees after interviewing some candidates earlier this week.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4 million Americans quit their jobs in July 2021. How do you feel about this trend? Explain.
Shannon Bernadin: I don’t understand it. I mean, we all have to work for a living, don’t we? Where do the workers who quit go? What are they doing now? From a purely economic point of view, it makes no sense, but I guess it’s one way to ensure that people are paid a fair wage. It’s mean that if you want people to work for you, you have to pay them fairly and on time. I guess it’s a lesson for all of us.
According to a study by Harvard Business Review, Employees between 30 and 45 years old have had the greatest increase in resignation rates, with an average increase of more than 20% between 2020 and 2021. That can be quite an alarming rate. What advice would you share to increase employee retention?
Shannon Bernadin: Ensure that you pay a fair wage from the beginning and that the hours employees are expected to work are excessive. And if your staff do have to work overtime, make sure that they’re adequately compensated. It’s the only way to prosper and be successful in this new economy.
According to a Nature Human behavior study, In 2020, 80% of US workers reported feeling that they have too many things to do and not enough time to do them – a phenomenon known as “time poverty”. What is your take on the work-life balance? Explain.
Shannon Bernadin: I’ve never been a fan of the idea that you should leave before a job is done. If you work hard, you can play hard after the job is done. I guess I’ve always thought that your career should come before everything else, and that the balance should be geared more toward work.
A more recent survey by Joblist asked about 3,000 respondents if they’re actively thinking about leaving their job. That survey found that 73% of 2,099 respondents who answered this question on their employment plans are considering quitting. How are you preparing for the future to counter this potentially persistent problem?
Shannon Bernadin: We’re implementing a procedure where our staff, if they are thinking of leaving, can discuss whey they want to leave and give us an opportunity to adjust their contract if we want them to stay to ensure that they do.
Thank you for all that, our readers are grateful for your insightful comments! Now, if the Great Resignation isn’t your greatest concern, what is the #1 most pressing challenge you’re trying to solve in your business right now?
Shannon Bernadin: Trying to figure out how to transition to the place that we were in before the pandemic began. COVID changed everything, and we’re trying to figure out to get back to where we were before it all began.
Before we finish things off, we do have one last question. If you had $10 Million Dollars to spend in one day, what would you spend it on?
Shannon Bernadin: I’d hire more staff and buy a fleet of trucks and equipment so that we could hit the ground running when the last restrictions are lifted.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Shannon Bernadin for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
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