Mon, 27 October 2014
Introducing Nancy Mathis
Nancy Mathis is a lady who knows how to lay down the framework that allows entrepreneurs to become better and achieve more. She is the founding executive director of the Wallace McCain Institute; a group that was formed in 2007 to see the entrepreneurs of Atlantic Canada have a better chance of success. Nancy has a background in chemical engineering, and a designer by nature. Prior to the Wallace McCain institute, Nancy ran a venture capital backed company, which unfortunately went into bankruptcy. Not to be dismayed, the unfortunate circumstance allowed her to take the reigns of an organization that has benefitted numerous entrepreneurs of her region.
The Wallace McCain Institute offers about 20 programs, serving 200 members. It is based out of the University of New Brunswick, but is unaccredited. Its main program is its Entrepreneurial Leadership Program, of which our hosts Greg Hemmings and Dave Veale are alumni. This program takes in 16 rising entrepreneurs from the region that must meet once a month for two days over a yearlong period. Not only do the entrepreneurs learn from the program, but from each other as they relate and commiserate. The program also encourages leaders to be vulnerable and honest as everything discussed is confidential. Entrepreneurs can often feel lonely at the top of their businesses, and such program allows them to bounce ideas off others in very similar circumstances. The response rates show that 92% of those who take the program say their business is stronger; they feel more connected and more confident after concluding the program.
The institute was formed after a $2 million donation from Wallace McCain. Wallace and his bother Harris formed the McCain Foods Group back in the 1950’s and it has since grown to an $8-9 billion business. The brothers originally worked in a single office with their desks butted up against each other. This allowed for them to connect easily and frequently bounce ideas off each other. This idea is the spirit of the institute, to find like-minded people to foster the best courses of action. The institute also offers programs for those that are second in command and those who are the future leaders of multigenerational businesses.
In this episode
Nancy tells us about the Wallace McCain Institute and what it has to offer entrepreneurs. She further explains how those who have taken the program are three times more likely to helping others in the entrepreneurial ecosystem by doing things like angel investing, sitting on boards, and mentoring. Greg and Dave recount their experiences in the program, including how Dave was labeled a dove. Greg recounts how his experience allowed him to become vulnerable and build trust with other leaders. Dave is inspired by the fact that the model for the program can be taken to other communities around the world. Also, Dave and Greg jam on "Drop it like it's Hot".
Mon, 20 October 2014
Introducing Gene Fowler
Gene Fowler is a man who knows the ups and downs of running a creative business in an untraditional location. He is the owner and creative director at the animation studio Loogaroo, which is a boutique animation agency focusing on commercial animations and tablet gaming. Gene is also the creative director at the publicly traded e learning company Blue Drop. He works both jobs out of his hometown studio in Miramichi, New Brunswick-- an area mostly known for fishing and the pulp and paper industry.
Loogaroo wasn’t Gene’s first kick at the “animation” can. Back in 2000, he and a few fellow animators were laid off at another animation studio and decided that they would try to take the reigns of their own gig. They formed Fat Kat Animation Studios in Halifax, Nova Scotia and made some animations and put them online. Soon enough, they got noticed and started creating flash animated training videos. Three years later, Fat Kat had 50 employees and was making animations for Fortune 500 companies like Nike and Boeing. Gene ended up giving away the company to its CEO for next to nothing and the company went out of business shortly later. Gene went back home to Miramichi and decided to try again, but this time focusing less on e learning and more on entertainment. The idea of a successful animation studio in the middle of the woods of New Brunswick was originally scoffed at, but a few years later, Fat Kat was employing around 120 people, had $175,000 in expenses, and was billing around $10 million a year.
The success lasted until 2008, when people’s attention shifted from televisions to iPhones. Big companies started to spend less on traditional advertising, and broadcasters stopped buying content at the same volume. On top of this, New Brunswick changed their tax credit for film and television producers, which made it much more difficult to compete. Fat Kat had gotten too big, too quick and the company fell into ruin within a year. Clients got what they were owed, employees were paid but the shop was closed. Not to be defeated by failure, Gene picked himself up, walked across town, and opened back up again under the heading Loogaroo. The new studio is a much smaller, but tighter business. There are fewer people and projects, but Gene is much happier.
In this episode
Gene tells us the stories of his past success, failure, and then success again. He explains how telling this story can be cathartic and helps him move on. Greg relates with his own business failure, and explains how it really isn’t a fail if you try again or can take something from the experience. Gene also tells us about his enlightening experiences in Jamaica and how it has influenced his attitude of living everyday like he is already retired. Dave is impressed by Gene’s attitude toward the past and that he doesn’t shy away from it. Dave also coaxes Greg to reveal a great achievement.
Thu, 16 October 2014
Introducing Ibarionex Perello
Ibarionex Perello is a man who lives the creative life and knows how to parlay his lifestyle into a career. He is a photographer, writer, educator, and podcast host. In his previous life, Ibarionex was an editor for some photography magazines including Outdoor Photographer. During his long Los Angeles commutes, he got into the habit of listening to books on tape and eventually podcasts. He found that most of the photography podcasts he was listening to revolved around equipment choices and ways to practice photography, but not so much about the creative process. So, Ibarionex decided to fill the void leveraging the skills he had as both a photographer and editor.
Ibarionex started The Candid Frame in 2006 as a show with conversations with photographers and has since gone on to produce more than 250 episodes. He has since been able to make podcasting a main component of his income and was able to retire from his editor’s job. He did this by producing a show that he would want to listen to personally and now has a devoted audience of listeners from amateurs to pros. The authority the podcast gave him also offered Ibarionex the opportunity to write books on photography including “Chasing the Light: Improving Your Photography Using Available Light”.
Ibarionex is a proponent of living a creative life and believes everyone should find an opportunity everyday to do something creative. You might think to yourself that you are not a creative person, but you would be wrong; everyone can be creative. You don’t have to be a photographer, painter, singer, etc. It can be as simple as creating a moment, or striking up an interesting conversation with someone. These creative moments will add more than you think to your lifestyle.
In this episode
Ibarionex tells us about the importance of living the creative life and gives suggestions to how to start. He fills us in on what he believes to be the best interview style. Greg is reminded of uncomfortable interviews he has heard in the past. Dave is encouraged by Ibarionex’s interview style of conversations, and Dave and Greg decide to go skipping arm-in-arm down the street.
Links and References
Mon, 6 October 2014
Introducing Dr. Bill Howatt
Dr. Bill Howatt has a goal to improve the lives of people and to improve the productivity of their employers. Dr. Bill works with our host, Dave Veale, as a coach at Vision Coaching Inc., along with being an author of over 60 books, a columnist with the Globe and Mail, and a number of other things with his bag of tricks. He has done all of this and achieved a PhD, despite not being able to read or write proficiently until the age of 19.
Dr. Bill credits his success to a number of mentors that have helped him through the years. Firstly, there was Bill’s mother. Then there was Mrs. Stewart, his grade five teacher, who knew Bill was having difficulties and asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up. Being a “Smart Alec”, Bill said he wanted to be a writer, and that was exactly what Mrs. Stewart made him try. There was also Dr. Bill’s tenth grade teacher who exposed him to the legal world, which led to a fascination for Bill during graduate school. These people didn’t need to be mentors for Bill, but they were, and so now Dr. Bill pays it forward.
Dr. Bill is now trying to find an all-inclusive equation to reducing stress and increasing wellness for employees, while aiding in productivity and quality for employers. He is doing this through collaboration with the University of New Brunswick to teach leadership skills, and through a survey being conducted by him and the Globe and Mail called, Your Life at Work. Stress in the workplace accounts for a $50 billion loss of productivity in Canada today and an expected $300 billion by 2040. It is estimated that stress causes a $2 trillion loss in productivity worldwide.
In general, employers expect their employees to come to work and work at 80 – 85% of their maximum capability on a daily basis. However, 27% of the population comes to work and puts forward 30 – 75% of their best effort. These same employees have higher levels of stress, lower coping skills, higher health issues, lower engagement, and less job fulfillment. Through his research, Dr. Bill hopes to develop a corporate wellness solution for employees and employers, and allow a happier and more productive work environment.
In this episode
We learn about Dr. Bill’s survey and how it could change the way workplaces function. Greg is inspired by Dr. Bill’s story of perseverance and his desire to give back to the community. Dr. Bill gives us his vision statement and tells us the secret that failure in life and business is part of forward progress.