Give Back: Q&A with Ryan Markewich

Give Back: Q&A with Ryan Markewich

Why does your company believe in giving back to the community?

Good question. I like to joke that I give back for selfish reasons - it makes me feel good but in all honesty, running Creative Roots in a way that incorporates helping others has always felt like a natural thing to do. I feel fortunate to have such a great opportunity, and deep down, I know that building relationships in this way helps me as much as it does others.

Also, the concept of giving back goes hand-in-hand with the Great Game of Business “Open Book Management” system we use to run the company. The driving force behind that is our Core Values which we identify as a team and then live by. When we give all of our employees formal and ongoing education on running the business, both financially and strategically, we are giving back to each of them. We are teaching them that what we do every day is bigger than ourselves. We learn to attach to those values linked to the common good, and in turn, they will go out and build positive relationships with their community.

It starts with our company-wide, weekly meetings to discuss the company’s finances, ways to succeed as a team, and the impact that success will have on the bottom line. Each employee donates an hour of their wages for these meetings to the GiveBack program, which is how giving back to our community happens! Since the inception of the GiveBack program, we have invested more than $125,000 back into our local community.

What are some of the ways your company gives back to the community?

The ways we give back annually are fourfold.

  • We donate $1000 each to two local charities in June and December.
  • We provide $1000 for the “Creative Roots Landscaping Growing Opportunities Bursary” through the Central Okanagan Bursary and Scholarship Society for a local graduating student.
  • We donate $100 quarterly through 100 Heroes Who Give a Damn! Kelowna chapter for a variety of local charities.
  • Our Yard Angels program provides expert landscape maintenance service to three deserving Kelowna residents. The Yard Angels program aims to lighten the gardening load for three Kelowna residents suffering from a debilitating illness or injury who cannot care for their yards. It’s an inspiring way to contribute to the community by doing what we do best: landscaping.

A recipient will be chosen three times a year through our nomination process – spring, summer, fall. Friends, family, and caregivers are encouraged to nominate people who appreciate and need our expert landscape maintenance service. Creative Roots Yard Angels descend upon and complete a yard maintenance miracle at the recipient’s home on the third Saturday in April, August, and November. We hope our gesture will bring joy, ease the burden, and promote the healing of someone in need.

What is your favorite way you give back to the community?

Honestly, I don't have a personal favorite - I feel great about all the ways we give back. That said, from the conversations I have had with our team over the years, I know that going out to do in-kind work through our Yard Angels program or simply helping out at the local food bank in times of need hits home for most.

How do you decide what sort of charities and individuals you give back to?

Since the contribution of what we give back comes equally from everyone within our company, the decisions are made by voting on the causes the employees have nominated.

Do you poll your employees for any preferred give-back methods?

For the most part, most of the choices and our initiative are reviewed in our annual HIP (High Involvement Planning) meeting by our entire team. Then, if there are some minor changes during the season, everyone will discuss them during our weekly meetings.

Do you prefer to do service projects or donate monetarily?

It’s a mix of the two, as answered above.

Why is it important for lawn care and landscape companies to be involved in their communities?

I'll start by saying that in my opinion, all companies should at some level be involved in their communities. In today's world, with all the ways for us to communicate on a more global level, often there is not enough time to consider what is happening in the community around you. Giving back doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. The simple act of helping someone in need to do something as simple as cut their lawn goes a long way in building a better, stronger community.

Do you attract more employees when they know about your community involvement?

I would like to think so, but I can't say that any have come solely and directly because of a project or donation we have given. More so that once a potential or new hire begins to learn more about us and all the ways we are trying to use business to improve people’s lives, they feel the connection to our initiative.

Do you get more business when people hear about you from your community work?

There have been occasions when leads have come our way from the GiveBacks, but it is not something that we have put any focus on or tried to leverage. We subscribe to the notion that you get what you give in life, and if that comes back to us in time or is simply paid forward to someone else, it makes no difference to us. We give, we have fun doing so, and we believe that somehow that has helped our success in business and as human beings.

About Me

Through my experiences, I have been fascinated by business and all it offers to improve people’s lives. From working on the shovel, business visioning, and everything in between to now sharing my experiences through personalized coaching services, my goal is to help other owners work on their business, increase profits, and have more time for themselves while finding enjoyment along the way. To bring the best coaching experience to my clients, I am currently doing my GGOB (Great Game of Business) certification course.

Need Someone To Talk To?

What’s your most significant pain point? Let’s connect to discuss how having me coach you through implementing Open Book Management can change your business for the better.

To schedule a time to chat with me, visit

Ryan Markewich
Ryan Markewich
Ryan started his landscape business, Creative Roots, in 1994. Thirteen years later when he adopted Open Book Management, hired a coach, and started playing The Great Game of Business everything began to change. He went from running the show by himself – while feeling the like the show was running him – to bringing three co-owners on board and educating his employees so they understood the business they way he did. It’s given Ryan the freedom to step back, empower other leaders to step up, and do more of the things he loves – including starting a coaching business so he can show others how they can “put down the shovel” and elevate their business.