We had the good fortune of connecting with Calia Brencsons Van Dyk and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Calia, what do you attribute your success to?
My success is based on trust. It is based on finding good people who are dependable, talented, creative and fun to work with, and giving them the tools they need to do their jobs well. It’s about quality – setting a high standard and asking others to give the best of themselves. I have the words “no complaints without a solution” printed above my desk, I learned it when I joined McKinsey & Co. shortly after graduating from College.  Since then, I have shared it with every person on my team. I find that it encourages a positive outlook.  We all know that things can go wrong, but rather than dwelling on the negative, finding creative and innovative solutions helps us move forward.  It’s very empowering. 

I also trust in the adage that people don’t need to watch me suffer.  I once interviewed someone who told me how difficult every project he was showing me had been.  I thought to myself, “I don’t want to work with this person.” I want to work with someone who says “right then leave it with me” and comes back with a couple of options that we can choose from.  That’s how I like to work.  I’m not a micro-manager, I like to build a team that is dependable and supportive.  I love working with fresh talent and getting new ideas from them – it’s what keeps me young at heart. So far, I have found that this strategy has served me well.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I started Caliativity Productions/Communications almost 20 years ago, since then the vision has changed but one thing has remained constant: my commitment to excellence and to helping others bring their creative goals to life.  Caliativity Productions specialises in digital branding solutions, food and lifestyle television and live events management.  For the past ten years, I have started to do public speaking engagements, conducting personal branding workshops at universities and for veterans’ groups.  I really enjoy mentoring others and helping them to succeed and live their dreams.


Also during the pandemic, I actively started telling my own story on Instagram through my dog “Patashu the Westie” and Caliativity.  I’ve received some very positive feedback.  It’s been a change of direction for me, as I usually tell other people’s stories.  The pandemic forced many of us to think out of the box, for me, it opened new doors that I would never have tried before. I am proud of this new chapter in the life of Caliativity Productions and look forward to seeing where it takes my brand.

It has definitely been a bumpy road and continues to be challenging. Finding funding, believing in myself and getting the word out to others has been an uphill climb since day one…but it’s one that I continue to enjoy.  I think my most valuable lessons were learning to say “no,” accepting “failure” and learning from mistakes. Then learning how to pick myself up and keep believing in myself and my brand and knowing when to change it. I am now a limited liability company in the US and the UK and I am always looking for new ideas and I find inspiration through travel and discovering the world around me.  So, after 20 years, I continue to pick myself up, reinvent myself and enjoy the journey!  I hope I can serve as an inspiration to other entrepreneurs out there who want to branch out on their own.  

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
For the past four years, I’ve made London my home, so I am often reminded of the lyrics of a song by Ralph McTell called “The Streets of London.”  The lyrics are “Let me take you by the hand and lead you through the streets of London, I’ll show you something that’ll make you change your mind.” London is such a resilient city that continues to change and evolve. One of my favorite parts of this city are the beautiful gardens that my son gets to use as a playground.  I would meet you for high tea at the Langham hotel where they have been serving afternoon tea for over 150 years and then take you for a stroll through Regent’s Park to the beautifully landscaped gardens. This park is so abundant in things to do, there is a tennis center, a rose garden, a pond that you can pedal a boat on, and even the London Zoo with its very important conservation program. After that…a stop at our local (Pub) to finish the day on a very British note. That’s if it were a day trip…a whole week would include the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, the Victoria and Albert Museum, but also some time in Camden and Soho.  Portobello Road and Notting Hill are also a must, an afternoon in the West End and Covent Garden would have to be a part of the itinerary as well, I am a theatre major after all!  Finally a Sunday roast at my favorite pub in London, Lore of the Land is an absolute “must”.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My number one shout out would have to go to my family and friends. They are the reason I get up in the morning, the place I find joy and my entire reason for being. I find joy in seeing the world through my son’s eyes and discovering the world that he so loves and my husband is the rock that keeps me alive and grounded. My parents have been my loudest and most vocal cheerleaders and I am so grateful for them every single day. They have never once given up on my dreams and have pushed me when I didn’t think I had anywhere else to go. My friends keep me honest and  grounded.  I like that we are there for each other and can share our highs and lows together, even across the miles (thank goodness for Whatsapp and FaceTime).  A huge shout out would go out to my friend and career coach, Maggie Mistal whose Soul Search continues to push me forward and keep me honest.  I also need to give a shout out to Courtney Jones, Jenn and Tony Mark whom I met at CayFilm who continue to believe in my talent and are incredible work partners.

Website: www,caliativity.net, www.caliativity.com

Instagram: caliativity, lettering by Calia, Patashuthewestie

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/caliabvandyk/

Twitter: caliativity

Facebook: Caliativity Productions

Youtube: Caliativity Productions

Other: https://www.amazon.com/shop/caliativity

Image Credits
David Russell photography Courtney Jones

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