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Prince Edward Island's Heather MacAulay, a shift disturber in the professional world

Heather MacAulay. Photo illustration by Belle DeMont
Heather MacAulay. Photo illustration by Belle DeMont

Everything starts with attitude


There’s a notable shift in energy when Heather MacAulay enters a room.

An avid runner, go-getter and perpetual-motion machine, Macauley exudes energy.

Her unique trait is so apparent, it’s translated into a change in job title and position at Volume 18. She’s the chief movement officer.

“I’m always bouncing around, so it’s fitting,” she says with a smile, smacking the table in front of her.

She’s a founder of Volume 18, a marketing and communications firm dedicated to doing things differently.

MacAulay has deep Prince Edward Island and Atlantic Canadian roots. Growing up on a farm — and now with a lobster fisher as her significant other — she understands the importance of hard work and passion.

“Those two factors — and that I’ve worked in tourism — have shaped the factors that I have for the primary sectors in Atlantic Canada. It’s shown me the importance of hard work and passion.”

It’s that upbringing and relationship that shape the way MacAulay executes her job.

“I’m a firm believer in shifting our mindset. I think we can quickly get wrapped up in P.E.I. and our size but I want to see a more positive ‘We can do that. We can do anything,’ in our communities.”

“I’m really motivated by people and when I’m in a culture like that, that’s thriving, I get a lot of motivation.”

Finding balance

MacAulay and two others — Christina MacLeod and Alicia Arsenault — run the communications firm. The business launched earlier this year and has seen a successful few months.

But MacAulay has a background in the marketing and communications field dating back 12 years. And while she’s content in her work, family life and more, she looking to find balance in 2019.

“That [equilibrium] – family, business, community involvement and ‘Heather’ is tricky. It’s hard. And now it’s even more important to find that balance for myself and for my daughter, Charlotte. She’s two,” MacAulay said with a grin.

Admiration of others

During the conversation, MacAulay is moving — not being fidgety, it’s just that she’s always moving. Sipping at her coffee, tapping on the table, leaning forward to answer a question. It all adds to her energy.

Her co-worker, MacLeod, the chief task maker, knows the energy MacAulay brings to a room.

“She brings it to work and so many community groups. She gets everyone revved up, interested in what’s going on and gathers them together to become one force. She’s really brilliant at getting people interested.”

She also sees opportunities everywhere, MacLeod adds.

“Nothing is too big to tackle. And that translates from her running marathons, too.”

MacAulay has many admirable qualities. “One thing I think I admire most is her ability to enjoy each task and do it well. She gets everyone excited to be participating.”


Shaping the future

MacAulay’s passion for running has also played a key role in her work life.

As stated, she is a marathoner and Iron Man competitor. “Running has taught me that everything is achievable. It takes time and effort, of course. But it’s always possible.”

She also credits running with teaching her patience, discipline, structure and time management.

Her background in marketing at a radio station has played a role in shaping her current way of thinking. “That time in my life really instilled the importance of relationships, forming a strong network and delivering a valuable product and experience.”Perhaps the biggest influence has been the role of mother.

“Becoming a mom is really something. Again, it’s taught me patience, but it’s also shown me that life is bigger than a job. It’s the importance of family and a new desire to know more.”

MacAulay says she and her partners started Volume 18 because they saw a need for the service but with a fresh perspective and spin. “We knew we could bring something new to the table. And opening a business has been all-encompassing. You never shut off. It’s 24/7, I learned that very quickly, but in the best possible way.” She said she would like to see more Island entrepreneurs step up. “I’d really love to see more people taking a risk and taking action instead of sitting back. One way I try to get more people involved is through volunteering. We need to bridge the divides and work to see changes we want.”Bring on the new year

“One thing I’m focused on is growing the business as well as my own health and wellness. Both are very important to me.”

One goal, what may seem trivial, is important to MacAulay.

“I want to get better at Microsoft Excel. Man, that’s lame,” she said with a chuckle and shake of her head.

As for reading, MacAulay would just like to find the time for a book. If there was one message MacAulay could share with everyone, it would be that everything starts with attitude.

“It’s also really important to find what you love, because then you’ll never work a day in your life. But also work hard… like really hard.“I’ve always wanted to own my own business and it’s been a roller coaster, in the best way, and only possible through passion and hard work. I guess in that sense I’ve surprised myself, but it just goes to show that anything is possible if you put your mind to it.“If I had to pick one thing I knew for sure … I’m living my best life. That’s it. Full stop.

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