ViRTUS started out as a company that built and ran CEO and VP peer groups called “Exchanges,” quickly became the largest provider of these peer groups in BC; working with over 1,000 of the top leaders in the province. In 2006, ViRTUS shifted the entire focus of the organization to Leadership Development and Strategic Planning.
Today ViRTUS is a top Leadership Development and Strategic Planning firm, with clients and team members across Canada, delivering in-person and virtual experiences. Our amazing clients range from $25M private to $10B+ public companies with over 40,000 employees. Our success is deeply rooted in the culture we’ve created and is the primary reason why our clients hire us.
The leadership frontier is changing quickly; young leaders are expected to be “management ready” in less time, experienced leaders are leaving and taking their knowledge with them, and multiple generations are leading together with differing expectations of work, balance and leadership. On top of that emotional and social intelligence is becoming table stakes for truly effective leadership. We are on a mission to meet these shifts head-on and approach leadership from the inside out; building emotional intelligence and igniting hearts and minds.
How we became such a unique, positive organization.
We have a confession to make: We are the product of burnout…
At 26, Mike Desjardins – then President of Purity – had everything he ever wanted in his career, but was overworked and out of balance in almost every area of his life; on a business trip in California he completely blacked out from exhaustion. It was then that his beliefs about what true success meant were shattered, and what replaced them was a journey of self-discovery and personal development that would eventually lead him to building ViRTUS.
It was 6:32am, February 1998, when Mike Desjardins woke up in La Jolla, CA, stood up out of bed, and promptly blacked out, three times. He called the team member he was due to meet in Anaheim, CA, to let him know that they would have to rebook all of his meetings for the day. It took three days before he started to feel normal again, and six months of denial before he realized that at the age of 26, he had burnt out. That started a journey of self-discovery, personal, and professional development that led to him teaming up with three partners to create ViRTUS (he bought two of his partners out in 2003 and the last partner in 2008).
ViRTUS started out as a company that built and ran CEO/President and VP peer groups called Exchanges. At our peak we were the largest provider of peer groups in BC, generating 90% of our revenue from that. We had the unique opportunity to work with over 1,000, of the top business leaders in this province from entrepreneurs and founders, to CEOs, Presidents, and VPs.
It was in 2006, after opening up five groups in Toronto, and just before starting the first group in Seattle, that Mike realized he was about to go down the same path he was in his last business: growing city by city, province by province, and state by state, across North America; spending three weeks a month on a plane. He worked with the team at ViRTUS to make a bold strategic decision to pivot the focus of the organization to area where it was generating 10% of it’s revenue: leadership development and strategic planning.
ViRTUS has grown to become one of the top leadership development and strategic planning companies in Western Canada, with clients across Canada, and team members in Vancouver, Calgary, and Toronto, delivering both in-person and virtual experiences, in English and French. Today our clients range from $25M entrepreneurial businesses to $10B+ public companies with over 40,000 employees.