Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Kristen Liesch, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Tidal Equality Inc., located in Toronto, ON, Canada.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Tidal Equality is a tech-enabled strategy firm solving the problem of inequality at scale. We equip organizations large and small across vast regions and diverse sectors with a powerful, practical, and impactful decision-making framework called Equity Sequence™.

Equity Sequence™ is made up of 5 questions that anyone can learn to spot bias in their work and decision-making and transform it for greater equity and inclusion. It's easy to use and has been described by one global diversity and inclusion leader as "the one thing that's been missing in the D&I space for 30-odd years." A well-known behavioural scientist described it as "like LEAN, but for what matters."

And everyday people - from school teachers and accountants to UX designers and COOs - use the Equity Sequence™ to connect the dots between their intent to be inclusive to their day-to-day work and decision-making, with an impact that can be measured and stories of change that can be shared.

Tell us about yourself

My co-founder Anna Dewar Gully and I come from different career backgrounds, but we've shared deep frustrations with the pernicious and persistent injustices we've observed and experienced over the course of our lives. We started Tidal Equality with a deep desire to equip individuals and organizations with simple but effective tools for increasing the pace of equitable change.

We are motivated each day by two factors:

  1. The fact that inequality is on the rise around the globe and that the systems that shape our daily lives are riddled with bias and continue to produce inequitable and unjust outcomes for too many people and groups.
  2. There are passionate individuals everywhere who care about the problem of inequality and want to make a change, who has been on a personal journey of education but who find themselves asking, "now, what?" - we answer that question with the Equity Sequence™.

Do you have daily rituals for work / wellness / fitness / mindfulness?

Work Rituals

I use a time-blocking daily calendar (analog style) where I plan every day at the end of the previous day. It allows me to see the time I have to work outside of meetings and prioritize key work deliverables. I set 3 high-priority items, and when those boxes are ticked, I let myself off the hook. Without that last step, I'm prone to overworking, which I know sabotages my overall productivity, so I'm diligent about that.

Wellness Rituals

I'm a biohacking nerd, so I keep an eye on biometrics like sleep quality, readiness, heart rate variability, etc. Keeping track of my metrics helps me know if I'm in a good position to push myself mentally and physically or if I'm headed into stress-induced decline. On a daily basis, I make sure to put my feet on some grass, get some early morning and late afternoon natural light into my eyes, and prioritize good sleep hygiene.

Fitness Rituals

Using my biometric data (including menstrual phase data), I plan my workouts accordingly. I aim for 350 min a week of intense exercise via resistance training, endurance training, and REHIT; my goal is for functional health and longevity - I want to enjoy a long health span. I also try to embed movement into my family life by playing outdoors with my four kids.

Mindfulness Rituals

I've been working on tapping into the power of mindful breathing. I'm grateful for the various devices I have that guide me through various breathing techniques. But one of my favorite ways to be mindful is to leave the devices behind and go for a walk on the beach or in a forest near me and get in touch with the earth.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

As co-founders, we're proud of all we've accomplished in a short period of time during which our own pursuit of efficiency and effectiveness led us to invent the Equity Sequence™ (which launched officially in January 2020). Since its launch, Equity Sequence™ has equipped dozens of organizations and many thousands of individuals with a practice they can use over and over again to make equitable change and inclusive innovation. The scale of Equity Sequence™ practice across the globe inspires us every day.

It's practiced in palliative care settings in the United Kingdom, a humanitarian camp in Ethiopia, we've worked with some of the world’s leading universities and in partnership with international telecom giants, and a wide range of sectors, systems, and settings in between and beyond.

That said, we are equally inspired when an individual uses Equity Sequence™ to make ripples of change wherever they live, work, and play, like when a local theatre director changes pricing to be more inclusive or when a corner store owner makes their layout more accessible, or when a disaster management officer transforms emergency response measures to ensure they're communicated more effectively... Every day we celebrate the equitable and inclusive change the Equity Sequence™ equips individuals and organizations to make.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

As female founders, we've struggled to overcome the many systemic biases that prevent us from achieving our full potential. Female-founded businesses receive only 2% of all VC funding (that number is even less for women of color, LGBTQ women, immigrant women, and other equity-deserving groups). Furthermore, funding criteria of all kinds are built upon a status quo default that doesn't serve founders who aren't white, male, straight, and already tapped into resources, supports, and networks that bolster their work.

In addition to the bias challenge, we face an additional challenge that comes from building a for-profit business in a context where the work of making equitable change isn't always valued and, therefore, underpriced. We've worked hard to educate our market about what works and what doesn't (see: "Don't do unconscious bias training") and to demonstrate the value to the business that equitable transformation can have.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Get strategic. You need to know deeply who you serve and how you will serve them, and keep checking your tactics against your vision, values, and the strategic priorities that will help you get there.
  2. Surround yourself with people who want to see you and your business succeed. You can tell someone's in the fray with you when they're willing to leverage their influence, connections, network, or resources on your behalf - beware the people who will pump you up but never back up their actions with words.
  3. Hire slow and fire fast. Your business will succeed or fail based on the people you bring around you. Take your time and ensure you hire for values and vision alignment in addition to skill fit and experience.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Tidal Equality exists to serve you with the inspiration, education, and tools you need to make a change in your day-to-day life, to help you take your desire to make an equitable change and turn it into reality. We invite changemaker individuals and innovative organizations to partner with us so that together, we can co-create a world where equality is the new status quo and everyone can achieve their full potential.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

Turn your craft into recurring revenue with Subkit. Start your subscription offering in minutes and supercharge it with growth levers. Get early access here.