Cheryl Broadhead: Bob’s My Uncle Design (BYU)
On this episode of The Chaise Lounge, Nick chats with Cheryl Broadhead. Cheryl shares her journey into design, a successful working relationship with her business partner, and selecting an unconventional name for the business.
Getting to know Cheryl
Cheryl Broadhead is calling into The Lounge from Vancouver on a cold, rainy day. She is a partner at Bob’s Your Uncle Design, a multi-family design firm. She prefers dogs, PCs, and wine. From her parents, Cheryl learned to not be afraid to fail. She imagines herself working in law, if not design.
How did Cheryl get into design?
Cheryl went to school for fine arts and was a nanny in Italy after school. As an au pair, she met an architecture student from australia. Cheryl’s new friend encouraged her to go into design. Cheryl went back to school and the rest is history.
While Cheryl was still in school, she started working at a local multi-unit design firm. She was able to get her friend, Adda, hired there too. They worked on condo and townhouse developments by compiling sample boards and getting to know AutoCAD. They eventually moved on from this position and went their separate ways.
Years later, tired of winter in Toronto and wanting a change, Cheryl reached out to Adda about moving and starting her own business. Adda was interested and they started working together.
Adda and Cheryl didn’t want a namesake because then it’s often all about the principle, not the firm as a whole. They liked the team environment and wanted a name to reflect that. They started Googling names, but everything was taken. Adda’s husband originally suggested Bob’s Your Uncle (BYU Design) and it stuck. The name shows that they work hard but have fun too.
What does the business look like today?
Bob;s Your Uncle consists of 18 employees which include two principles, a studio design lead, a CAD team lead, 3 dedicated CAD operators, designers at all levels, a controller, an admin, and two dogs – Molly Brown and Polly. The team works on multi-unit residential (mostly) large condo projects.
BYU gets involved early in the process when permits are submitted and work with architects and engineers as well as the developers and marketing teams. Projects can last up to four years and BYU is involved from beginning to end. Cheryl likes working in the multi-unit industry because she is planning homes for people. These individuals cannot afford large spaces, so Cheryl and team make these smaller spaces the best they can be. She wants people to be proud of their homes.
BYU Design is a pretty young team. Cheryl likes leading young team and bridging the generations. She is a self-proclaimed “Chatty Cathy” and doesn’t see age as a challenge.
Since 2010, BYU Design has added about four employees per year, steady and manageable growth. The mentality and structure has changed recently in that lead positions have been created.
Both Cheryl and Adda are great delegators, but also still do a lot of leg work as principles. They are working their way out of this. BYU Design has been successful as a partnership due to Cheryl and Adda’s commitment to working together. They both communicate clearly, compromise and balance each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
To learn more about Bob’s Your Unclde Design, please visit byudesign.com.
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