Colleen Chapman- CEO Founder and Active Angel Investor
Colleen Chapman is a career entrepreneur, primarily recognized for her role as the CEO of CanScribe Career College, Canada’s top medical transcription training institution, which is currently expanding in the USA. In Canada, CanScribe is considered the industry leader in Healthcare Documentation training, as the first and only school to have its Healthcare Documentation course approved by the AHDI (Association for Healthcare Documentation). The school has also received the BBB Torch Award for Marketplace Excellence.
The entrepreneurial spirit is ingrained in Colleen’s DNA. As far back as kindergarten, creating and capitalizing on business opportunities has been both her passion and pastime. Whether she was selling Kelowna Buckaroos programs, providing horseback lessons, or bagging manure to sell, Colleen’s keen eye for finding niches and value in the market has continually developed throughout her life.
While her career began with a background in accounting, she quickly made the switch to marketing, achieving a Marketing Certificate from BCIT in Vancouver. Understanding both sides of the business would pay dividends for Colleen in both her entrepreneurial and angel investing pursuits. After working on the marketing side of Rogers’ operations, Colleen transitioned to working in the Vancouver ad agency world, where she collaborated with clients such as Chevron, Intrawest, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the RCMP, Pharmasave, and many more. This agency experience was the foundation for her next moves: starting up a small boutique agency and opening her own consulting firm.
Colleen headed up Detroit Studio, a small boutique agency that supported large ad agencies and developed their own clientele. Within two years, Detroit had successfully carved out its niche within the marketplace. She was also busy providing consulting work on the side for business colleagues, which led to the serendipitous circumstances that birthed CanScribe.
Colleen was approached by a large American company that was buying Canadian medical transcription companies, but wasn’t having success with their current agency in driving new customers. She figured out the solution and gave the firm an ultimatum: give me the contract and I’ll solve your problem. After implementing her plan, the number of calls to this US medical transcription company were piling up in droves, but the candidates weren’t high quality. Colleen investigated the issue, and ended up retaining the exclusive rights to market a Medical Transcription Program in Canada.
CanScribe began in the basement of Colleen’s house. As it grew, she began to focus on the United States as her primary market, because of the increased job market for medical transcription course graduates. In 2010, she developed her own medical transcription course, and CanScribe was also the first in the industry to offer a practicum in the field. Since 2002, she has placed thousands of graduates in jobs, as the top training outlet in North America and Australia.
The success of CanScribe has allowed Colleen to help support others in achieving their goals. She has always been involved with volunteering through both sports and charity, and giving back is an important part of who she is as a person. One of the main angel investing projects that she has been a part of is based in Nepal.
While in the country in 2016 to build a school and work with several women’s groups, Colleen became aware of a microloan program in the area she was helping. The basis of this program was to provide ‘a hand up, not a hand out,’ giving small sums of money (sometimes as little as $100) to local entrepreneurs. However, when Colleen came in contact with the program, they had a long waiting list, well beyond their current budget. So she asked how much they needed, and immediately cut a $10,000 cheque to cover it. To this day, they send quarterly reports of how the program is progressing, which are posted in the CanScribe offices. One of the most inspirational stories from the Nepal microloans program is that of a woman who began with just one pig, and through her hard work has built up a thriving pig and vegetable farm. Her success has allowed her to become the only one in her town who owns a blender and electric fan. This program and story shows how a small investment can be life changing, and how things we take for granted can be objects of admiration for others. Colleen and her business partner are currently in the process of starting their own charity, HELPUS.care. ”
In this winding journey through her professional life, lessons abound. The most intense challenge that Colleen faces on the day-to-day is compressing so much work into a single day. As the owner of three companies, angel investing and volunteering, 24 hours is rarely enough. Colleen has learned to delegate, to say NO, to ask for advice when she needs it, and understands that others are willing to help her when she faces a new challenge. While managing a team was never a problem for her, the success of CanScribe has come from her learned ability to trust her team members to perform as they are expected to. On the other side of this coin, Colleen has also come to emphasize lending her expertise to those who want it, and to help those in need. Part of the reason her time is stretched so thin is that she is always willing to establish herself as a support base to help companies become successful. Grooming success is her main kick, and she always values the joy of watching those she helps thrive, over her own ROI.
Another challenge that Colleen has overcome with CanScribe is explaining the industry that her business functions in. Medical transcription is a fairly unknown career path, and marketing it to potential job seekers was difficult in the early days. Thankfully, her experience in the advertising space helped develop the strong brand that CanScribe has become, now recognized as an industry leader.
“Being a Valhalla Angel investor is invigorating! It has given me the opportunity to meet some great people, including other angels and startup founders, and to visit new, exciting parts of the globe where I can invest and effect positive change.”
In addition to helping others with their companies, Colleen has always pushed her children to access her entrepreneurial drive. Both of them have worked in several roles within the company, and she will gladly recount stories of them answering phones or filing things for her, on their volition, when they were young children. With educations in Marketing and HR, it’s only a matter of time before the next generation of Chapmans are leading CanScribe into a healthy future.