What our clients say…

1. Emergency Leadership Planning for Nonprofits
2. Family Business Consulting
3. Exit Right® Book
4. Nonprofit Consulting
5. Exit Right® Licensing 
6. Coaching

1 Emergency Leadership Planning for Nonprofits

[Emergency Leadership Planning] was a great workshop. I feel much more confident about developing a succession plan now. This was probably the best workshop I have attended. Dianne Peplinski, Executive Director, Englehart and District Family Health Team

I received an information flyer for Emergency Leadership Planning Workshop at a time when our Board was starting to discuss whether we are prepared for staffing changes both planned and unplanned. I registered and am pleased to say: This workshop provided so much more than what to do during an emergency absence. I have come away with a complete template to assess our organization and prepare to transition staffing when needed whether it be an emergency or not. It was well worth the time and money. Cindy Swanson, General Manager, Enterprise Brant

An important strategic objective for us at Festival Hydro was identifying designates to take on the role of interim CEO, if required. Linda Fairburn from Make Things Happen stepped in and provided the succession process, templates, and leadership to work through the succession process quickly, completely and economically. As a result, Festival Hydro has three designates for the interim CEO position and talent developmental plans to insure their readiness. These development plans guide us in knowing where best to invest our training dollars. MTH has been outstanding in facilitating us to achieve our goal through a thorough needs analysis, inclusive planning and with development plans to guide us in knowing where best to invest our training dollars.

Linda will be a tremendous asset for any company or organization interested in a successful succession planning process and has my recommendation. Ysni Semsedini, CEO, Festival Hydro

It's been a year since I took the Emergency Leadership Succession Planning training program and the application of the training program has paid off in spades. Carefor is a large not-for-profit health and community services agency with 1100 staff, 1000+ volunteers and a $45 million dollar annual operating budget. We did have back-up for temporary replacement of the CEO and key staff management positions. But that's all they were — back-up from a list to be used at point of crisis when an event occurred.

Now, a year after taking the workshop, we have three designates for the CEO position and a succession management program in place for 30 key management positions, each tied into our performance management system with training plans to fit individual staff career paths and personal interests.

The Emergency Leadership Planning process provided the template we used to turn our back-up plans into career development and succession plans. Weighing the cost of hiring consultants to do this against the price of the workshop, is was a great value. Thank you Linda for simplifying a complex process. Bob Cerniuk, Chief Executive Officer, Carefor Health & Community Services

Now that Harmony Centre for Community Living has its Emergency Leadership Plan in place we are not only Ministry of Community and  Social Services compliant but I’m able to take a six week vacation! I highly recommend this workshop. Margaret Kudlowsky, Executive Director, Harmony Centre for Community Living

We are a not-for-profit organization with one employee, me, and half time at that!  You can see why emergency leadership planning is so important to us. I'm happy to say we set and met our goal for completing the plan within one year. Linda was very generous with her time.  She reviewed our plan and gave us suggestions about things we hadn't thought about. I'd highly recommend this process to any company and certainly for not-for-profit organizations! Working with Linda was a pleasure. Terry Mactaggart, Program Coordinator, Niagara-on-the-Lake Community Palliative Care Service

Even though our organization has a second-generation succession plan for my position we discovered there was a whole set of descriptors that were missing. These new ideas will be incorporated into our plan to make it more robust. I think the Emergency Leadership Planning workshop is very valuable and have recommended it to my group of developmental service providers. Dr. Shaune Lawton, Executive Director, Sunbeam Centre (RETIRED)

The Emergency Leadership Planning workshop provided an excellent turnkey tool kit to launch the succession planning process for the nonprofit board on which I serve. Frank Brewster QC, Miller Thomson LLP

With over 25 years experience in senior HR roles I know quite a bit about succession planning, and I still learned something from this seminar.  Linda's workshop provided the valuable framework for implementation. There is a good balance between discussion and hands-on work. Fran Fisher CHRP, Board Member, Saint Monica House

Emergency Leadership Planning and Succession Planning are becoming a greater priority for us in the non-profit sector and your workshop and workbook are especially practical, easy to use and represent a unique resource not readily available elsewhere.  Joanne King, Executive Director, Barry's Bay Senior Citizens Home Support Services

The Emergency Leadership Planning workshop reminded me of where I started with my organization. I learned what I know that I need to put down on paper. The workshop took something I thought was theoretical and made it very concrete. Debbie Boardman, Executive Director, Community Living Dundas County

The Emergency Leadership Planning workshop was a great learning experience. I got to discuss everything about the future with my ED that we don't ever get a chance to discuss. Marja Smellink, Board President, Community Living Dundas County

Succession planning is something I've thought about for quite some time but didn't know where to start. You made the process so easy. Now I have peace of mind. Diane McKinnon, Executive Director, Renfrew County Community Futures Development

Leadership Succession Planning, both short term and long term is necessary for effective governance. Depending on the size and complexity of the organization, this may be the responsibility of the board or CEO to create, but ultimately this is the Board's plan. This Emergency Leadership Succession Planning Workshop provided valuable concepts and tools for creating a thoughtful, comprehensive plan. Andria Spindel, President & CEO, March of Dimes Canada

The workbook is amazing because it provides a structured format and explains what to do step-by-step and how to do it. Claire Masswhol, CEO, Welland Heritage Council

One of the most worthwhile workshops I have attended in my 30-year career! Teena Tomlinson, The In Community

Succession planning is not a sometime in the future discussion. Will spur us to get going Now!! Nancy Wilson, Rural Ottawa South Support Services

Very helpful in developing a succession plan and in encouraging me to be more proactive. Jackie Wright, Rural Ottawa South Support Services

Very good, very useful high-level discussion. Good tools, solid process, well facilitated, good level of depth for the audience and time frame. Nice and practical. Mike Lupiano, Alzheimer Society, Ottawa & Renfrew County

Essential for keeping organizations vital and continuing to do good work. John Dziekon, Jewish Family Services

The more I reflect on the Emergency Leadership Planning workshop the more I realize what I learned and took away from the day.  Margaret Seaton, Board President, Canadian Mental Health Association Peterborough

The Emergency Leadership Planning workshop provided good practical tools and an opportunity to engage senior management in what may be considered a difficult and emotionally charged environment. Jeanette Schepp, Board Member, Canadian Mental Health Association Peel

This workshop gets you thinking and provides a template for moving forward. It was time well spent! The ROI participated in this important workshop in September 2011 and has since undertaken the development of an Emergency Leadership Plan for our organization. Developed by senior staff and the Governance Committee over a period of seven months, the final document was reviewed and adopted by the Board of Directors at our April 2012 Board meeting. Through the developmental exercise and with this plan now in place ROI is very well positioned and prepared for unforeseen circumstances that could arise in our future. Rob Black, CEO, Rural Ontario Institute

Comments from The Kootenay's

I like complicated things that are made easier and the Emergency Leadership Planning workbook does that. Shirley

This Emergency Leadership Planning is very valuable for anyone asked to be an Acting ED. Susan

I have been to a number of succession planning presentations over the years and haven't found them very useful or actionable. This Emergency Leadership Planning is very useful to our organization. Ron

I appreciated the order and guidelines in the workbook. This is a really good step-by-step outline for the process. This workshop exceeded my expectations. John

In this workshop I realized that so far we have been really lucky. Now there is a sense of urgency. This workshop is beyond my expectations. Helen

The workbook materials are easy to follow and the details are impressive. I want to include this in my manual. Cecil

This workshop is very timely. It will enable our organization to continue to operate on as high a level as it currently does. Al

2 Family Business Consulting

Letter of Endorsement — Family Business Consulting

I endorse Linda Fairburn and the work she did to help our company in its succession and strategic planning processes. 

As part of our planning process, we were making offers of partnership to some of our key employees. We needed to put together a partnership package that addressed the numerous questions and concerns of these select employees. We wanted to make a strong initial partnership offer that clarified our candidates' issues and was agreeable to all the parties involved. This was an important piece in our succession and growth strategy, one that had been stalled for some time. We needed to get it right the first time and we needed it fast.

Linda conducted independent, objective and confidential interviews with our perspective partners. She has an engaging personality and easily gained the trust necessary to collect the information that was critical to writing our partnership agreement. She prepared an anonymous report with recommendations for what to include in the agreement.

We used her recommendations in drafting our partnership agreement, one that was ultimately accepted by the candidates. I was impressed with Linda's ability to readily understand our business strategy and succession plan and to bring in the missing pieces.

Based on my experience I don't hesitate to recommend Linda for her people skills, practical experience and knowledge of succession planning.

Bernard Melloul, Chairman, Founder, Melloul- Blamey Construction Inc., Waterloo and Barrie Ontario Canada and Greenville, South Carolina


Letter of Endorsement — Family Business Consulting

My family and I would highly recommend Linda Fairburn as a family business advisor. We've worked together and stayed in touch for many years and continue to rely on her advice. 

We operate a family owned, multi-generational funeral services business employing myself and two of my three children.

When we first started working with Linda, our goal was to figure out how to address the needs of all the children with regards to the business, especially the one not involved. We wondered whether there was a right way of bringing the children into the business. And finally, we didn't know if the kids had the management skills or desire necessary to take over the company in the future

With skill and sensitivity Linda guided our family through some difficult moments to a place of clarity and direction.

We developed a plan for our family that included an assessment of our family's beliefs. We identified our common values and visions and used them to write a mission statement for our family. Then we created a formal family council with guidelines for keeping it going.

We then worked on a strategic plan for the business. We assessed the current and future jobs and roles of family members and long-term employees against the plan.

Finally we produced a development plan for everyone involved with the business.

As a result of working with Linda, we created a framework for separating business functions from family gatherings and we have been able to continue to assess current work place skills against future training and development requirements of our business and industry.

In all of our dealings Linda was knowledgeable, competent and trustworthy and her advice was professional, insightful and valuable.

Paul Newbigging, President, Murray E. Newbigging Funeral Home Ltd., Toronto , Ontario, Canada


Letter of Endorsement — Family Business Consulting

We engaged Linda Fairburn as our family advisor to take us through the following process. We scheduled monthly meetings for four hours each that Linda conducted and still have every month. They were very difficult in the beginning but are great today as most of the issues are behind us. We call this the Family Council where we decide to manage ourselves on a monthly basis, sharing our issues, experiences, wants, needs and business updates at each meeting. I now look forward to them, ensuring that each and every one of them is productive. 

Barney Strassburger, Twincorp Inc., Waterloo, Ontario, Canada


3 Exit Right® A Guided Tour of Succession Planning for Families-in-Business-Together — The Book

Reviews and Endorsements — Exit Right Book


Exit Right provides a road map of the issues, options, and resources to help business owners face succession proactively.

Each of the book's seven main chapters is laid out in a clear and organized manner. The writing is clear and concise, with a practical tone-ideal for the intended audience. Within the seven main chapters, the format is to raise key questions, point out underlying issues, and then at the end of each topic, present the reader with a series of questions for exploration. Finally, there are some suggested action steps to take.

The authors do a very good job of making this an easy-to-read book. The book is accessible, clearly written, pragmatic, and raises the issues to consider when facing the succession process. It has just enough statistics and research to give credibility without appearing too academic or theoretical. The authors also do a good job of synthesizing and distilling much of the information from the field into short, clear chapters. For example, they cover systems thinking in just over three pages, yet they do it well. Likewise, they cover the topic of choosing a consultant or understanding lifecycles in fewer than two pages each. The book also succeeds in providing an overall framework to the reader by describing the pattern of the succession process.

Exit Right fulfills its objective of being a quick read in terms of content, format, and topic coverage, making it an ideal read for business owners both in substance and form.

Greg McCann. Family Business Review, vol. XV, no. 2, June 2002 (c) p.p. 161-162. A publication of the Family Firm Institute (www.ffi.org). 


Reviews and Endorsements — Exit Right Book

Rarely does a book address a complex subject matter in such a way as to make it readily understandable to the reader - Exit Rightis a rare book. In short, this is a great book to give your client and a great resource for consultants who need a checklist of areas to consider when working with a family business.

Alan C. Campbell, Ph.D., Family Business Partners, Mass Mutual


Reviews and Endorsements — Exit Right Book

Exit Right is breezily written, with chapters divided into key issues that an entrepreneur must consider, followed by some questions that will help him or her explore the issue and take steps to turn decisions into reality.

Harvey Schachter, The Globe and Mail


Reviews and Endorsements — Exit Right Book

Of all the succession planning books I've ever seen, I think Exit Right is the best one for business owners. It is comprehensive, yet crisp and to the point. A must read.

Rich Snebold, The Sbebold Family Partners

4 Nonprofit Consulting

Letter of Endorsement — Nonprofit Consulting

An important strategic objective for us at Festival Hydro was identifying designates to take on the role of interim CEO, if required. Linda Fairburn from Make Things Happen stepped in and provided the succession process, templates, and leadership to work through the succession process quickly, completely and economically. As a result, Festival Hydro has three designates for the interim CEO position and talent developmental plans to insure their readiness. These development plans guide us in knowing where best to invest our training dollars. MTH has been outstanding in facilitating us to achieve our goal through a thorough needs analysis, inclusive planning and with development plans to guide us in knowing where best to invest our training dollars.

Linda will be a tremendous asset for any company or organization interested in a successful succession planning process and has my recommendation. 

Ysni Semsedini, CEO, Festival Hydro


Letter of Endorsement — Nonprofit Consulting

The Canadian Mental Health Association - Sudbury/Manitoulin Branch has utilized the services of Make Things Happen's principle owner Linda Fairburn since July 2012.

Linda's company has provided us with background information and has facilitated workshops for us in succession planning in two areas: Emergency Leadership Planning for Nonprofit Corporations, that largely focuses on the CEO position and board direction and; Succession Planning for Staff Positions that will assist us with ensuring strategies and plans are in place for key positions within the organization.

The material was presented in a formal structure using a tool kit with instruction and small group work during the session. Linda advised that all levels of the organization be involved in the process to ensure our succession plan would be truly an organizational document minimizing risk to our agency in the future.

Our CMHA branch has worked through the Making Things Happen CEO and staff succession replacement processes from the beginning and found them to be very helpful. We also appreciate the newsletters as they provide ongoing information and assist us in staying current on succession planning information.

We would recommend hiring the services of Make Things Happen and have found the experience beneficial to our organization.

Marion Quigley, Chief Executive Officer, CMHA Sudbury/Manitoulin


Letter of Endorsement — Nonprofit Consulting

 Linda worked for the agency I founded from January to June 2009. After a personal trauma in my life rendered me unable to devote myself fully to the work of the organization, Linda helped the board come to terms with my decision to step down as the Executive Director. My goal was to return to school and transition to a part-time role as President/Founder with a focus on fund raising. As a fairly young organization with no succession plan in place, this was easier said than done.

Working with Linda made a difficult decision easier. I experienced complete confidence in her professionalism and felt supported and listened to. She educated us to see that what we were experiencing was not personal but a natural process of growth and organizational development. Linda helped us all get to the heart of the matter, a place we couldn't have gotten to on our own.

With Linda's guidance a challenging and stressful time was turned into one of growth and positive change. She helped us identify gaps in our infrastructure and create a stronger scaffolding for our future growth. This was accomplished by having us create and implement policies and procedures, improving our internal and external communications and by mapping roles and areas of authority and accountability to organizational functions and existing and future staff.

I highly recommend Linda for her expertise, knowledge, dedication, humour and heart.

Mary Robinson, President and Founder, Good Grief Inc., CNN Hero, Summit, New Jersey


5 Exit Right ® Licensing 

Letter of Endorsement — Exit Right Licensing

Kootenay Boundary Community Services Cooperative operates in southeastern British Columbia, a rural, mountainous region, serving the needs of our not-for-profit membership in the West Kootenay Boundary and, through its REACH program, community service organizations throughout the Columbia Basin. Here, it's hard to find qualified workers and even more challenging to replace them. Executive director succession and replacement is a huge concern so, in 2011, we set out to bring this training to community service organizations throughout our region.

We wanted to work with someone, but only on the basis of providing a training process for which we could acquire a licensing agreement, so we could provide sustainable year-over-year succession planning support to our members and other community service organizations.

We have found that it is more cost effective to our membership on a per agency basis for us to procure the necessary expertise and provide the process consulting than for individual agencies to contract with consultants.

We considered building a process model and training program but that would have required a considerable amount and time and resources to develop and we didn't really have the expertise.

Our search began for someone who could provide succession-planning training for chief executive officers and staff managers and found one. That was one and a half years ago and we have continued to renew our license because we feel this is an essential service for our membership.

As I write this, our board of directors is actively searching for my replacement. A process made simpler by the preparations we made through the succession and replacement training received from the programs provided by Linda and Make Things Happen (MTH). This training takes the mystery out of what to do and how to proceed.

I'm surprised more cooperatives are not providing this service for their members. It's not a matter of "if" but "when" and I highly recommend working with Linda and MTH.

Andrew Jarrett, Executive Coordinator, Kootenay Boundary Community Services Cooperative, Nelson, British Columbia

6 Coaching

Letter of Endorsement — Coaching

Linda carved a niche in my life to help me to soar as a founder, author, student and educator. Her impact on my life and future direction has been remarkable. Who I am becoming today is due in no small way to Linda's wisdom, encouragement, and gentle guidance through life's stormy waters.

Life coaching with Linda has been life changing.

When I met Linda I was at the cross-roads with a charitable foundation, in the midst of a university degree and at odds with some key life relationships. My work with Linda has been a blessing in many ways that I wasn't expecting. I went to her for help with the succession of my charitable organization and what transpired was far deeper. My work with Linda was life changing. Linda is remarkably supportive, gentle and compassionate yet intuitively experienced at narrowing in on what held the most value to me, what obstacles were in my path, and what next steps were necessary to take to accomplish my goals.

My experience with Linda helped me to achieve new goals, but more importantly, it enabled me to discover more about who I am as a person, what my passions and strengths are, what motivates me and discern what my goals in life really are.

Linda has the gift of being able to find that inner gold, the hidden treasures that make me tick.

My sessions with Linda are always productive and rewarding.

Linda has creative ideas that I've found eye opening, innovative and achievable. It's amazing to look back at the process working together with Linda, how someone could help me sift through what was working in my life and what wasn't and be able to visualize some key goals to help me move forward. As I look back, my next steps weren't all that difficult, I just couldn't see where I was going. Linda helped me clarify what was already there and emerging, see the potential and identify the missing parts.

I think my life came together so quickly because Linda is so tuned in to the inspiration of the moment. I feel more satisfied with the direction my life is taking.

You'll be in great hands if you decide to work with Linda. 


Shari Morash, Founder Josiah's Journey

Letter of Endorsement — Coaching

Linda has an ability to grasp the many aspects of a given situation and hold each of these threads. She is able to see many unnamed aspects that are factors in each of the threads and how that may be effecting the situation as well as changing the direction that things may go. Her vision and over view skills combined with keen intuition are rare and valuable assets.

I have used Linda's skills to help me shape and develop my website which was, for me, a deeply personal process. She was sensitive while being decisive. Her ability to clarify points of interest was most helpful. She has also helped me with interpersonal communication within my peer group. She coached me in defining the issues - both mine and the inherent aspects of the group. We then practiced a more effective way of communicating in challenging situations.

Kim Meisinger


Letter of Endorsement — Coaching 

Pragmatic solutions to complex issues - that's Linda from Make Things Happen.  Applying her years of consulting experience and expertise to coaching and facilitation she guided me through to a satisfying, implementable resolution to my rather complex problems.

R.A. Jackson BBA, Business Analyst
Letter of Endorsement — Coaching
Linda's professionalism and coaching expertise draws on a multi-disciplinary perspective that is grounded in current best practices.  She offers quality work and is intensely focused on deadlines and client expectations.
Catherine Daugherty, Development Professional