indicatorPeople and Culture

The struggle is real: Expecting the unexpected with Solid

By ATB Financial 11 December 2018 1 min read

As an entrepreneur, you’re no stranger to facing unexpected circumstances; they’re a part of daily life. There’s often no clear-cut line between balancing personal and professional, so when life happens, it happens to you AND your business.


"I slept with the lights on for five months"

Michael Tighe is a managing partner at Solid, a communications and website design firm.

In 2016, Michael Tighe’s web design and communications firm was flourishing. The small team, led by Michael and his business partner, Heath Waller, had just brought on young Alec Bracegirdle as an intern. The brother of Michael’s best friend, Alec was a talented videographer and Michael quickly came to see him as a little brother of his own.

In August, Alec went on a video shoot north of Calgary with another one of Michael’s dear friends, well-known Calgary chef Jonathan Sobol. On their way to the shoot location, a moving van made an unsafe pass on the highway and struck Jonathan’s Volkswagen head-on. Both men were killed.

“That started a very precipitous descent for me,” Michael says. Not only did the event have a profound impact on his personal life, it also resulted in a 60 per cent decrease in company revenue in 2016-17.

“I slept with the lights on for five months. It took me about a year to even start coming out of a rather serious depression. I was the only person in the world who knew both people...and one of the few people who had to attend two funerals.”

Michael speaks openly about what happened and how it impacted both him, his team and his clients, all of whom rallied around him for support.


Michael’s advice to entrepreneurs

Being an entrepreneur is “not about your ability to stand up and stop the tides or part the seas.”

“People think you have to be this otherworldly strong person to start a business, to build a business,” Michael says.

“And that’s not true. To me, what it really means is your ability to bend and not break.”


Need help?

Our Business Support team will be happy to assist.

Chat now
ATB Virtual Assistant
The ATB Virtual Assistant doesn't support landscape mode. Please tilt your device vertically to portrait mode.