Putting people first – and treating them well – will pay off big-time for your business.

When you’re in start-up mode – focused on scaling up, executing on your vision and making the world a better place, often with limited resources – it can be easy to put less pressing tasks on the back-burner. 

Often, HR, culture, programs and rewards fall into that ‘we’ll figure it out later’ category. 

But ignoring these essential things for too long can create (major) problems for a growing business – from a toxic culture, to disgruntled employees to legal risks.

While part of HR is putting out these kinds of fires when they arise, a far better approach is to thoughtfully and proactively incorporate people-centred practices – which is exactly what I’m here to help you do.


I’m Helen Patterson, an experienced HR professional, trained lawyer – and the consultant behind Life Works Well. I specialize in helping small businesses (of 30 to 50 employees) create programs and a culture that attract and retain the best and propel growth.

When you choose to work with me, you get an employment lawyer, human resources professional and business consultant – all rolled into one (and for a fraction of the cost of a Bay Street lawyer). I can help with everything from policies to programming to culture to recruitment – all of which you can read more about here.


My Story

I have been in the working world for a long time. I’ve been on the factory floor, flipped burgers, worked as a cashier, restaurant hostess, receptionist and legal secretary. I put myself through undergrad and law school by working almost-full-time at night.

From there I moved into professional roles (in law and HR) in office environments including government, a large financial institution and a global technology and services company.

Throughout my career I had great experiences – and some pretty terrible ones. I was restructured twice – once at eight months’ pregnant and again upon my return from maternity leave. During a difficult time in my life (due to fertility challenges and seven years of failed procedures), I was met with compassion and given the flexibility and support I needed to weather that storm. As a result, I was able to bounce back from this experience - but many employees don’t.

In terms of professional credentials, I have a BA from York University, a law degree from Western and a Masters of Labour Relations and Employment Law from York. But what informs my passion for human-focused business practices and the work I do through Life Works Well more than anything are my own experiences as an employee – those above and thousands of other ones.


“What informs my passion for human-focused business practices and the work I do through Life Works Well more than anything are my own experiences as an employee”

I’d be delighted to help you shape – and execute – a people plan that supports your business plan. We’ll start by identifying your gaps and opportunities and take baby steps (or giant leaps if that’s more your speed!) to get you where you need to be. The key is to start. You can click here to read more about the ways we can work together – or here to book a complimentary consultation to talk through your unique needs. 

When I’m not working with clients, I like to spend time with my husband Tim, miracle children Katie and Cullen and our dog Joey (JoJo). I mentor a number of young women entrepreneurs, and am writing a book on mentoring. I love to read, do yoga, walk and cycle. There are many ‘L’s that are important to me including love, laughter, learning and life!


Let’s have a chat!