alumni UBC’s afterwords is a digital conversation series that shares the stories of some of UBC Okanagan’s extraordinary alumni.
Meet Allisha Heidt
1. What is your current profession?
Founder/CEO of Chickpeace Zero Waste Refillery.
2. What education did you receive at UBC?
Master of Art (2012) with a concentration in sustainability.
3. What do you think makes UBC Okanagan great?
UBC Okanagan is such an incredible place to live and learn at, and it’s really the students and professors who make it so great. What I remember most about my time is how invested the teachers were in me as a student. I felt like I received such incredible support to carve out the education I needed to pursue my dreams. I found the professors to be so passionate about their discipline that it made learning that much easier.
4. If you could start university again, would you do anything differently?
When I started my undergraduate degree in Ottawa, I chose a discipline that I found interesting rather than something I was passionate about. If I was to start my post-graduate journey again, I would spend more time nurturing my passions and experiences. My undergraduate degree was in political science and although I still love politics to this day, it’s not what lights a fire in me. It wasn’t until I had travelled and had more experiences did I realize that studying geography was the path I wanted to pursue.
5. What was your first official job after graduation?
My first official job after graduating from UBCO was as a Project Manager for GreenStep Solutions.
6. What is the best part of your current job?
I love educating and empowering people to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle. It feels amazing to be able to support our community and our planet with Chickpeace and the services we provide. Listening to our community talk about the changes they have made and how proud they are of their actions fills me full of gratitude — especially knowing that my little business played a part in it.
7. What are some of the challenges you have faced in your career?
One of my greatest challenges and biggest learnings was learning how to let go. As an entrepreneur, you wear your heart on your sleeve and for me, I wanted to always make sure I provided the best in everything I did and in every aspect of my business. It was exhausting and not very productive. Learning to let go of control and hand off part of Chickpeace’s everyday operations to someone else was huge for me but also was one of the best decisions I made. I realized you can’t do everything at 100%. The best course of action is to identify your strengths and hand off the rest of your duties to competent team members.
8. What would you like to share with current students who will be graduating in the coming years who have concerns with the current work climate?
Follow your dreams. Surround yourself with like-minded people. Fill your heart and soul with experiences. It’s highly probable that you will have a few different careers post-graduation. Experience each opportunity fully. It is all part of your journey forward.
9. What's the best advice you can give to help plan a career?
Follow your passion. Waking up each morning excited about your day is such a gift. And it comes with being intentional about how you want to use your time. Love what you do and make sure it fills your cup, not someone else’s.
10. Do you have a mentor? How have they influenced you?
My mentor’s name is Angela Nagy, CEO of GreenStep. Even before I started working for her, I admired her passion for sustainability. When I became employed at GreenStep, I looked up to her as a boss, woman in business, mother, and friend. Over the years I have circled back to Angela. She has been an incredible sounding-board and fountain of knowledge and support to me.
11. What is something you continually find yourself saying?
In a world where you can be anything, just be kind. I truly believe kindness is something we all need more of as humans. We are all going through our own wins, struggles, and traumas. Approaching difficult situations with grace and kindness is something I try to do every single day.
12. How do you balance your work and home life?
Work-life balance is something I’ve been working on for a few years and I am slowly getting better at it. I carve out Mondays and Wednesday as work-from-home days. This allows me the space to catch up on admin work for my business but also to schedule self-care time.
13. Where do you volunteer or how do you give back to your community?
Through Chickpeace I volunteer with Mamas for Mamas in a variety of different areas from fundraising to helping out at their farm plot and supporting with food donations. I also regularly fundraise for a variety of non-profits across Canada such as Ronald McDonald House and Pacific Wild.
14. Do you have any books that you would suggest are a must read?
Definitely The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer and Daring Greatly by Brené Brown.
15. Who is one UBC Okanagan alum you would like to nominate for afterwords?
Danielle Marshall. She is an incredible woman, friend, and mother. I met her through my husband while he was completing his studies at UBCO.