Celine Dauphney - Urban Valley Transport
Women have become a force to be reckoned with in the business world and one particular community member who is deserving of much recognition and admiration, is Celine.
Meet Celine Dauphney.
Mother. Wife. Sister. Daughter. Aunt. Friend.
On top of this, Celine is also a very active and involved Mission community member.
Let’s take it back to the year 2000. Celine was 18 years old, and even at that young age, she was living on her own, self-succifient and working full time. Celine had secured herself an administrative position with a local stock trading company in Abbotsford, Scotia McLeod.
Celine had her whole life ahead of her, yet like many 18 year olds in the world, she was unsure about what the future had in store for her.
“I had a bit of interest in the stock market and I really thought that might be what I would pursue as a career,” she admits, looking back.
Life has a tendency to take unexpected turns on occasion and in December of 2001, Enron filed for bankruptcy and the stock market crashed. This collapse affected thousands of employees in North American, shaking Wall Street to its core.
Suddenly, this independent, young girl found herself without a job, and a once potential career slipping through her fingers. With bills piling up and rent needed to be paid, Celine begrudgingly put together her resume and hit the pavement, in search of a new beginning.
This journey led her to the front door of Inter Urban.
Inter Urban was a transportation company that provided nothing of what Celine had become accustomed to in her previous position. The job offered a very low level entry into the world of transportation and Celine endured a major pay cut. Additionally, she had absolutely no experience in delivery and freight, and had zero interest in learning.
She didn’t really want the job.
Walter, the owner of Inter Urban, saw something special in this impressive, young professional and he wasn’t wrong.
Celine threw herself into the position, with a determination to reap the benefits of this new opportunity. Her days were consumed with data entry and when things slowed down in her own department, Celine often found herself seeking out odd jobs elsewhere within the company.
“I was always willing to help out wherever I was needed,” Celine remembers, “but most importantly, I was keen to learn.”
It wasn’t long before this ambitious young lady was skilled in each department.
Four years later, Walter made the difficult decision to sell off the courier division of Inter Urban and move solely into freight. This decision resulted in the loss of all staff. All staff, except Celine. With her competence in each department of the company, Celine had proven herself to be irreplaceable.
Celine recalls this time in her life with both apprehension and admiration. “I was still a kid. Suddenly I was human resources, payroll, accounts payable, administrative and dispatch. It was daunting, but exhilarating at the same time.”
With Walter as her mentor, always pushing Celine to her extreme potential, there wasn’t much she could’t do. In a predominantly male-dominated role, Celinehad joined the ranks and was killin’ it.
With the goal of expanding their freight department, it wasn’t long before the company expanded and a sales representative was hired.
The three of them became untouchable. They had Walter’s years of experience combined with new points of view, hard work, determination and a drive to be the best in their industry.
It wasn’t long before headhunters began to circle, with wage offers far exceeding what Walter could afford to pay. Not wanting to break up their trio, he made Celine and Don the generous offer of partnership. Banking on their dedication, their confidence and a long term vision, they accepted and the three of them were once again, invincible.
“We thought of ourselves as a power trio.”
Then Walter got sick.
Once again, life took the path of the unexpected. Work conditions turned complicated and the success and potential of Inter Urban began to deteriorate rapidly.
Inter Urban was sold in 2013 and from there, Celine and Don found themselves, once again, unemployed and uncertain of what life held in store for their future.
Determined not to put their years of experience to waste, they made the decision to move forward and started an independent carrier for hire.
Urban Valley Transport.
Times were tough. With not much more in their pockets than vision and courage, they sacrificed everything they had, hoping their decisions were leading them in the right direction.
Many sacrifices were made along the way.
Celine recalls numerous occasions of racking up credit cards and lines of credit, as well as borrowing from family to make payroll. Homes were sold in order for profit to be put back into the company. Every time a new piece of equipment was purchased, something had to be given up. Wages were kept low for staff, and Celine made nothing at all for the first two years. Any and all income went into overhead.
Life was filled with sleepless nights, wondering if their hard work and sacrifices would eventually be profitable. A new baby threw another obstacle into the mix, but they endured the long hours and kept moving forward.
Entrepreneurs always start out with big dreams. With the right ideas, the right skillset and uncompromising dedication, we all have the power within us to establish an enterprise which can serve as our legacy.
Celine and Don made their vision a reality.
They had to maintain the mindset of always moving forward, regardless of what hurdles they met along the way.
Today, Urban Valley Transport is the leading courier and freight service provider in the Lower Mainland and the Fraser Valley. They have warehouses in Mission and Langley, and a fleet of over 100 drivers, managers and office staff. The company is highly regarded for its phenomenal customer service and its ability to adapt quickly to change.
“I’m the most proud of our staff,” Celine beams. “They are the forfront of our business and a lot of the reason we are successful.
Celine admits that there are still challenges.
“Working alongside my husband is incredible, but it can be tough at times We have to continually find balance,” she admits. “It can be difficult to not discuss the business 24 hours, 7 days a week. You have to know when to shut it off.”
Celine’s goals are to eventually step away from the business in order to give more to the community. Presently, she is a director on the Chamber of Commerce board, a member of the Economic Development board and secretary of the PAC at ESR elementary.
Advice for women out there trying to make their dreams come true?
“Shoot for the moon. Always shoot for the moon.
Smash that glass ceiling.”