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“To develop Grit, don’t take no for an answer” With Kelsie Sheren and Phil Laboon

Don’t take no for an answer. I was always told I couldn’t do things based on my size. It was no different when I joined the male dominated Military… but I used my size to my advantage when I could, and I because mentally and physically strong as a result of pushing myself. I had the […]


Don’t take no for an answer. I was always told I couldn’t do things based on my size. It was no different when I joined the male dominated Military… but I used my size to my advantage when I could, and I because mentally and physically strong as a result of pushing myself.


I had the pleasure of interviewing Kelsie Sheren, a veteran, mother and CEO of Brass & Unity Jewelry Inc.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what events have drawn you to this specific career path?

After being medically released from the Canadian Forces, it was and is incredibly challenging transitioning back to civilian life (with PTSD). I am lucky to have a good support team around me, but many of my friends are not so lucky. After hearing so many stories of struggling Veterans, I wanted to figure out a way to give back. I thought of a charity, but there are so many great organizations already doing that and providing care for Veterans. After a few years I randomly thought of jewelry, and after playing with some ideas found a great way to tie in the military inspiration with brass shell casings (bullet casings), and we donate a portion of our proceeds to various charity organizations that offer direct care and programs for Veterans.

Can you share your story of Grit and Success? First can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey?

Brass & Unity was born specifically from hard times. Having many of my friends lose their lives overseas, watching them struggle mentally/physically after returning home (and many taking their own life) was a big influence to try and do something about it. I wasn’t even 20 years old when I returned home — no one this age should have to deal with so much loss around them. But, without the hard times the good times wouldn’t be so special.. so we continue to fight and claw our way to success. Our success means help for more soldiers.

Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?

The Military does a good job training you to survive in unpredictable situations. I try to approach business the same way… even though it can be unpredictable at times, just keep moving forward. Failure is not an option!

So how did Grit lead to your eventual success? How did Grit turn things around?

We have a clear strategy and every day we try to accomplish as much of it as we can. Persistence pays off! We just keep marching forward with determination, and have been lucky enough to have many opportunities come our way in a short amount of time.

So, how are things going today? 🙂

Growing rapidly! The great part about a company still in it’s infancy is that there are still so many opportunities out there! We are adding new retail locations carrying our brand every day, online is constantly reaching new people and audiences, and we have some insanely cool products in the pipeline that will be coming out next year!

Based on your experience, can you share 5 pieces of advice about how one can develop Grit? (Please share a story or example for each)

1, Remove can’t from your vocabulary! When I was little my mom used to cut this word out of my dictionary… seriously! 

2, Use negativity as motivation. I was always the smallest person, I got bullied, and I was always underestimated growing up. Instead of cowering away, you need to step up and decide for yourself to prove people wrong. 

3, Don’t take no for an answer. I was always told I couldn’t do things based on my size. It was no different when I joined the male dominated Military… but I used my size to my advantage when I could, and I because mentally and physically strong as a result of pushing myself. 

4, Remember that it can always be worse. Your situation may feel bad at the time, but you woke up today when someone else didn’t. Get out there and create the life you desire. 

5, Embrace failure. Winning all the time doesn’t teach you anything… fail, and fail often. It will help you develop the problem solving skills you need to power through the tough situations.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped you when things were tough? Can you share a story about that?

That one is a no brainer, my husband all day long. He was with me before everything happened and stuck through! I am beyond grateful for him and there would be no brass & unity without him, or better yet there would me no me. He is what pushed me through, he gave me the strength when I didn’t have any, and still does. He puts his family first and my company as well. Ive never felt so supported in every single aspect of my life and thats all because of Brady.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

By helping others in need. This is the essence of Brass & Unity, and it is our continued mission day in and day out.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Always! We are working on new branches of our business to expand our reach and help Veterans in various ways beyond just monetary donations. We hope to make some announcements later next year.

What advice would you give to other executives or founders to help their employees to thrive?

Build your business around a common goal that is bigger than your business. Something that benefits the world, or other people… A mission of change. Our goal is the save Veterans lives… this is a selfless act that many people are very passionate about, and can get behind. This provides a motivation for everyone to march in the same direction. The more we achieve that goal, the better off the employees are in return.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Thank you! We feel we are creating a movement! We are still just getting started but have been receiving an overwhelming amount of support, and we see a real change starting to snowball.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

How can our readers follow you on social media?

www.brassandunity.com. @brassandunity on fb, insta and twitter

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