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CEO Spotlight: A People-First Approach to Leadership

Sophie Blaine

Marketing Specialist - 02 Sep, 2021

Bobbie Racette shares how she scales her business by prioritizing people and leading with authenticity.

Bobbie Racette is the Founder and CEO of Virtual Gurus, a freelancing platform that gives opportunities to underrepresented groups and uplifts their local communities. They are designing cutting-edge machine learning technology, but Virtual Gurus is much more than a tech company. Bobbie has always valued people as their “North Star” and credits her success to those around her.  After leaving her career in oil and gas, Bobbie became a freelancer and quickly noticed a big disconnect — she was not getting paid a fair wage for the amount of work she was doing. Bobbie began to brainstorm how she could transform this market and support those who traditionally face barriers to employment. As a Cree-Metis woman who is a part of the LGBTQ+ community, Bobbie is dedicated to putting inclusivity first. She is an inspiration to many and a natural-born leader, paving the way for underrepresented individuals to champion new opportunities.

 

Bobbie's passion for changing this industry moved her through mountains of work as she balanced her full-time job with remote freelancing and began her one-woman show. The curtains opened, and Bobbie started her journey with Virtual Gurus as the first (and only) virtual assistant. In that time, she gained 19 clients and had lined up her business model, so it was time to expand the team to two. Her goal was to find exceptional talent, provide quality work and give employees fair compensation for their labor. This year, Virtual Gurus is expected to hit over 450 active virtual assistants and is growing exponentially as one of the largest freelance platforms in North America.

How Bobbie Racette drives a rocket-speed startup

Bobbie has scaled Virtual Gurus from the ground up and inspires those around her to pump the gas. She is addicted to the startup culture and hopes to create an unstoppable force that builds people up. Everyone alongside Bobbie is excited to see where the rocket takes off, and this startup’s energy is addicting. Bobbie loves the constant excitement you get in a startup and says no two days are the same, which keeps her looking forward to the next challenge.

“​​Our people are our Northstar. Where other companies are scaling tech, products, and services, we're scaling people.”

The people who work for Virtual Gurus drive this company forward, and Bobbie emphasizes the importance of prioritizing people over profit. As an indigenous woman in tech who is part of the LGBTQ+ community, Bobbie understands the struggle of marginalized people wholeheartedly. She is working hard to build an inclusive platform and provides work for people who struggle to find opportunities just because of who they are.

Everything Bobbie does is about uplifting the people at Virtual Gurus and giving them the tools to succeed professionally. Bobbie created Virtual Guru’s academy to give people a chance to develop their skills and earn a fair wage. Virtual Gurus Academy is an opportunity to improve your professional skills and is incredibly valuable to those who don’t have access to higher education. People are an essential part of Bobbie’s vision, and everyone must own that mission.

“Be bold, be brave, and be you.”

Bobbie wants to bring authenticity to her business and highlights the importance of being unapologetic about who you are. To people in marginalized communities, like herself, she wants to reiterate that you don’t need to change who you are to be successful. Bobbie also highlights the importance of finding an impactful job and building people up so you can inspire others. Ask yourself, “how am I doing good?” and aspire to bring positive change. If you are authentic to yourself and driving an inspirational mission, Bobbie believes that anyone can start a business.

Luck or hard work: To which do you attribute your success?

Bobbie considers herself an accidental entrepreneur because she never envisioned being where she is today, but she has spearheaded significant growth with a lot of hard work and grit. She approaches each day with a growth mindset, and her eagerness to pick up new skills pulls her business forward. You always need a bit of luck to turn a venture into a successful startup, but Virtual Gurus would never have taken off without the work ethic of Bobbie Racette. She believes that success flourishes with equal parts, luck and hard work, and a supportive team passionate about putting fire behind the rocket.