Blacklock Consulting


In the months between leaving the bank and deciding to open a bakery, I considered several other ideas: going back to law, becoming a speaker/writer on estate issues and training as an estate mediator. I also met with a couple of psychotherapists about their work and how I could get into that field. I looked into several Toronto schools, including the Toronto Institute of Relational Psychotherapy which has offered a rigorous part-time program for 20 years.

Once I opened the bakery in 2011, I forgot about TIRP – as it is called- until January of 2013 when for some reason I decided to apply for the fall program, “just to see”. After the group interview in May, 2013, I came away from that interview thinking that if I were to be accepted in the program, I would meet people and be exposed to ideas that otherwise I would simply never encounter.


Once of the things I have really loved about PGB is that the relationships I have formed – with my team of course but also suppliers, customers and professional advisors – are completely different than those in my other careers. The possibility of having another chance to see the world through a different lens was exciting – and I was really happy to be accepted and start TIRP last fall: every Tuesday night and two annual weekend sessions.

The first year was an absolutely great experience. I learned things about myself I never knew and, finally, really “got” the importance of listening well, although “getting it” is one thing and actually being a great listener is another…

I am now in 2nd year and this month the program requires me to start taking on clients, with supervision, meaning for every four hours of client work, I meet with a faculty member to review everything, without revealing any information which would reveal the clients’ identities. Since starting the program I have worked at home on Wednesdays to do my TIRP assignments and I will now be using Wednesdays and some Fridays to meet clients an my supervisor.


I’m sure some readers of this blog will be thinking that perhaps I am not enjoying being a small business owner or am looking for “what’s next”. Actually neither is true. I find the current strategic plans at PGB to be really exciting and my plan is to own and run the business for a long time. But the last time  I baked cupcakes was when Andrea and I met in my kitchen in January of 2011 to bake together the recipes I’d been working on before hiring her – and there are now more than 15 bakers on the team, 10 customer service professionals, 2 in operations and an amazing managerial team of 6 people. So although my role is important, I think that if a small business wants to scale up, it is important for the owner to not micro manage operations but to always be available, both strategically and to troubleshoot things when the team needs help.

All of this to say – if you hear that I have started a psychotherapy practice, well, yes that is true!

Here’s the link to my site:




About the author

Jean Blacklock

Jean opened the popular Prairie Girl Bakery in the financial district of Toronto in 2011. She owned and operated the business until it closed in 2021 as a result of the pandemic’s impact on downtown Toronto. Read more about her background in commerce, law, and entrepreneurship here.

By Jean Blacklock


To receive email notifications of new blog posts, please subscribe below.



Hello, You!

I’m so glad you are here.

Sign up to receive my posts and you will never miss one. (and by the way - absolutely no other marketing-type emails will be sent your way!)

- Jean