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06 Allison Gibson

In today’s episode of the Grow Ensemble Podcast, we speak with Allison Gibson, part owner and Operational Director of Paintbox Catering and Bistro, a B Corporation located in Toronto.

It was an awesome conversation with Allison and we cover a number of things in this episode, a few of those being Allison’s and Paintbox’s thoughts on culture and leadership and how that’s led to the success of not just Paintbox but also their staff, the social enterprise certification, specifically the B Corporation Certification, and how that was an early difference maker for Paintbox in companies and early customers choosing to work with them over others.

Finally, Allison shares how she manages herself given some of the crazy commitments, times etc that are oftentimes required when working in the catering and service industry as Allison does.

So stay tuned for this incredible episode!

Also, don’t forget we are hosting a giveaway! Click the image below to learn more:

Episode Links:

Allison Gibson —

Paintbox Catering and Bistro —  

Grow Ensemble Giveaway

Show Topics:

  • Allison’s background and her current role at Paintbox.
  • Unique features about Paintbox and how it operates to service the community.
  • How Paintbox has grown over the years, and adjusted to the market.
  • Understanding the B Corporation Certification process.
  • What drew Allison to Paintbox and the social enterprise style of work.
  • Allison’s mindset in the early days of working at Paintbox.  
  • Finding the priority and balance between business and family.  
  • How Paintbox gains new team members, and their exit opportunities.
  • Allison’s method for bridging the gap between her employees and their social needs.
  • The open door management and leadership style at Paintbox.
  • Why Paintbox almost went out of business the very first day.
  • Disconnect between what a social enterprise is and what it can provide.
  • How Paintbox sets themselves apart, even when doubted.
  • Personal practices that help Allison manage herself.
  • Paintbox’s plans for the new year and why they are scaling back.
  • And much more!


“I feel like because we’re a B Corp, because we’re a social enterprise, people just expect us to suck.” — Allison Gibson [0:33:31.7]

“People don’t understand that social enterprises cost way more to run than a normal business, and then they expect it to be cheaper.” — Allison Gibson [0:34:00.7]

“We’re still doubted, we’re still looked down upon sometimes as being inferior because we’re a social enterprise.” — Allison Gibson [0:35:14.7]


“I think I’m just driven by the want to succeed so that I can bring everybody with me. I can improve everybody’s life around me, so why not?” — Allison Gibson [0:39:50.7]

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