Meet Tessa Desatnik

A conversation with Tessa is like a dose of inspiration. Better than a “glass half full”, hers seems to be overflowing with optimism. “We are on this planet for a short time and it is a gift,” she surmises. Tessa is a big goal setter in both her personal and professional life. She believes “you need to choose your goals and face your fears.” As an executive coach with the Organizational & Talent Development practice, she works to empower people in whichever industry they are in. “I enjoy providing people with a set of skills, a frame of reference to enable them to ‘show up’ and share their expertise in any interaction with confidence and impact.”

Getting her “nature” fix

“I am definitely a nature lover. Growing up in South Africa, our family would visit a game park every year. We love that environment, watching nature unfold in front of us. The sights and sounds are profoundly impactful. I sometimes find myself thinking that we don’t deserve this planet—we take it all for granted and at times do not do it justice.”

Tessa seeks her “nature fix” on a daily basis, running outdoors in ravines whenever she can. “At work, I love light, windows and positive energy—don’t put me in a cubicle—I will move!”

Giving back

“I don’t believe in living with regrets. I certainly look back at living in South Africa during the years of apartheid and wish I had done more to contribute to change. I love Africa and its people and today certainly look for opportunities to give back,” Tessa confirms. Today, she is beginning to volunteer her time to Amref Health Africa, which teams up with communities throughout the African continent to create lasting health change. “I feel honoured to have this opportunity to work with this organization.”

Travel—here and everywhere

Perhaps Tessa’s biggest travel adventure was emigrating alone to Canada from South Africa at the age of 20. “I had to grow up,” she says. “The move opened my eyes to new experiences and opportunities, and I am grateful for the challenges and subsequent personal growth. I genuinely love the diversity and culture here in Toronto. Whatever your interest, there are events and opportunities at your fingertips, it’s up to us to take advantage of these experiences.”

Travelling for pleasure is something Tessa really enjoys. “I love exploration – it’s the best education you can give yourself because you meet interesting people and explore other cultures first hand.” And she stays connected with relatives in distant locations – Tessa is very close to her two sisters and family who live in Australia and South Africa.  “We talk regularly and are in each other’s lives all the time,” she says.

Family, food and fitness

Among the simple pleasures, Tessa’s passions include cooking at home – mostly healthy foods – of course accompanied with a good glass of wine and music. Jazz is her favourite genre of music and she often attends live events. “I’d love to play the saxophone and piano,” she muses, “though I understand the sax is one of the toughest instruments to learn.”

She loves learning and is constantly listening to podcasts.  She values fitness and explains that “there is a motto we have created in our home and that is ‘BECAUSE WE CAN.’  Simply put, while we are physically and mentally able, we will not take this for granted. As a result she loves running, ideally exploring new routes with a final coffee destination. She admits to being a coffee snob, but thoroughly enjoys her one good cup of coffee a day. She has participated in half marathons and overnight relay races and intends to participate in many more.  She spies Adam Sliver cycling to work and other team members like Barry Pokroy and Ian Brenner enjoying the sport and is eager to join them!

Her family is certainly her priority. “Between us, my partner Roy and I have four incredible children who we love and adore. My children have always been role models for me.  I am so proud of who they are as people and love spending time with them. We care deeply for each other and we also hold each other to account.”

Creativity at Farber

Tessa joined B. Riley Farber in May of 2018 and enjoys both the challenge and the collaborative culture in the firm. “I love working within and outside my team,” she says. “The mutual business unit learnings and referrals are wonderful. I value the feedback, the creativity, team work and learning. I feel privileged to work here doing the work I love to do.”

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