HERStory | Lisa Ali-Learning
Meet Lisa – CEO of AtlanTick Repellant Products
Lisa Ali-Learning was born to be an entrepreneur and has been for most of her adult life. She loves to learn about new things, thrives on new challenges, and excels at finding ways to make things happen.
The development of AtlanTick, a tick-safety product manufacturing company, rose from a difficult family experience – the sickness of both of her sons due to the ever-growing Lyme disease epidemic. As with her efforts in the past, Lisa approached the illness with curiosity, determination, and optimism. She focused on the immediate care of her children while developing safe, natural formulas to keep them from encountering future tick bites, the source of the disease.
The process to pivot and start my own manufacturing company:
I’m kind of a “let’s try anything” type of person. I’ve been an entrepreneur my whole life, and the businesses I’ve had have been completely unique in the sense that they’re not the same at all. The first one I had was an art business, the second a property management business, and now I’m in manufacturing.
The most rewarding part of working in manufacturing:
I think the most rewarding aspect is being able to produce a product that grew from my own experiences – my boys got Lyme disease, and that’s why I created the product to begin with. I didn’t realize at that time that I’d be getting into manufacturing, but I’ve learned that manufacturing is very fun and exciting. To be able to see something start from the ingredients, right up to the final product, and to be able to produce that yourself – it’s really rewarding that you get to see the whole process.
Developing and leading innovative solutions:
Lisa is the recipient of CME Nova Scotia’s 2022 Women in Manufacturing Entrepreneur Award
As part of our mandate, we’re constantly trying to see into the future and come up with solutions that are environmentally friendly and people friendly. I think the future is all about the environment for obvious reasons. And I think it’s important that Canadians have these options on the market available to them and that they have been scientifically proven.
A diverse workplace:
I think diversity is so important, but at this level where I’m at, being a woman and Indigenous, it’s not like other companies who are trying to be diverse, we just are. It just happens to be that most of our staff are women, Indigenous or a visible minority. We don’t have to make a shift. We started out diversified and then we end up hiring people that we think are best for the job, regardless of who they are and what their background or culture is.
It’s so important that corporations who have been around forever start to make a change and bring in more diversity if they haven’t already. We’re lucky that we’re starting from the ground up already diversified with an open mind and just willing to take on whoever’s qualified. It’s just our norm.
Advice to my younger self:
Worrying creates false fears and while it might not seem like things are working out, they always are. Whatever happens, happens – you just have to deal with it, plan for it if you can, and if you can’t, deal with it when it happens.
Be open to new possibilities:
It can seem daunting, but everyone should never ever be afraid to get into manufacturing. Before entering this world, I would’ve thought it was a big ordeal, which it is, but it’s not in the sense that there’s always people out there willing to help and willing to give you advice.
Outside of work:
My absolute favourite thing to do is spend time with my family. My family is growing – we’re a blended family and now we have a grandchild and it’s just so exciting. I love spending time with my family outdoors in the backyard and going for bike rides.