COVID Continuity Champion: Ted Kouri

Contributors to the COVIDContinuity website are known as Champions, as they provide their leadership, insight, and resources to assist other business owners in these challenging times. We will be featuring these Champions on our blog.

Ted Kouri

Founder and President at INCITE, Edmonton

How have you adapted your leadership style through the crisis?

I would suggest it is less a matter of adapting, but rather emphasizing key elements of my leadership that were always important. I’ve focused primarily on trying to show up for my family, my friends, my colleagues, my clients, and my community. When we look back on this time, I want both them and myself to feel proud about that. How I show up every day is a choice I get to make. It provides a great deal of clarity for me and my leadership style. It places the emphasis on what I can control in an environment where there is a lot going on that I can’t.

Being positive, focused, kind, and caring help me to stay hopeful. This attitude often results in others modeling similar behaviours. Seeing this helps to lift me up too. Ultimately, I am focused on doing and giving my best every day. I know that no one around me can or does expect anything more.

Describe a tough decision you’ve had to make since the pandemic started.

The toughest decision has by far been the decision to buy out and lay off one of the minority partners in our business. Given the direction we were taking our business pre-COVID, combined with the new financial realities created by COVID, his role was no longer strategically aligned with the needs of the business. However, he’s a friend, a long-term partner, and as loyal and hard-working of a person as you will ever find. It was gut-wrenching. Despite his being in total support of the decision, I can’t help but feel I’ve let him down. It’s difficult not to think I could have navigated the business to a different outcome.

How are you feeling?

I’m continually surprised at the rollercoaster of emotions. I’ve found the pandemic has increased my sense of engagement and importance in all that I do, both at home and at work. I’m inspired by much of what I see. I feel energized by the impact I believe I am having on those around me. I’m also tired. Many days feel like riding a bike uphill into a headwind. You are working really hard and don’t feel like you are getting anywhere. The “put your mask on first” metaphor resonates with me intellectually, but I have found it difficult to actually do it. I find myself focused almost exclusively on those around me and am not spending enough time on some of the basic self-care behaviours that I know are needed. Most days are a crazy mix of positive engagement and self-doubt.

Learn more about INCITE

Connect with Ted Kouri. 

CommAlert’s Tim Carwell is a co-founder of This website provides current and useful information, resources, and support to business owners and non-profits as we’ve navigated through the public health emergency. It is all available all for free. The CommAlert Group continues to support this movement and strongly believes that mutual aid is essential for organizations to survive and thrive during crisis.