Mon, 26 January 2015
Introducing Janna Hare
There comes a time for every entrepreneur when they would relish the opportunity to pick the brain of those who have come before. Mentors give us the power of knowledge from experience that we do not personally have. They also can give us insights, short cuts, and anecdotes that can save greener entrepreneurs an immense time, effort, and money. Normally, a person would have to stumble upon a worthy mentor, or beg an experienced person to share a few moments together in conversation.
Our guest this week, Janna Hare, is the executive director of an organization that is looking to simplify the process of people finding mentors and mentors finding mentees. Janna helped to form the Mentra in 2014 with the help of 12 different leadership organizations. Though they are currently only in beta testing, the plan is for Mentra to be a center of excellence for mentorship. They seek to offer a sustainable community of credible and connected mentors through an online portal that will have social media functions as well. Not only will the website be available as a database, but Mentra will be offering programs to teach those with experience how to mentor, and those looking for mentors there will be programs regarding how to get the most out of your mentee experience. Janna hopes that the ability to find quality mentors quickly will help younger entrepreneurs grow and thrive in Atlantic Canada.
In this episode
Janna introduces us to the Mentra concept and tells us the importance of mentorship for both the mentor and mentee. We learn the difference between mentoring and coaching. Greg and Dave are both impressed with the steps New Brunswick is taking with innovation, collaboration, and entrepreneurship. Greg notes a difference he sees with Nova Scotia entrepreneurs being more competitive, and New Brunswick entrepreneurs being more collaborative. He also sees the importance of being mentored and then passing on what you learned as a mentor. Dave believes mentorship is critical and that the majority of major business leaders needed their own mentors to get to where they are today.
Mon, 19 January 2015
Introducing Mel Norton
Sometimes the best way to tackle an issue is to stop perceiving it as a problem but as an opportunity to make things better. This is the approach that Mayor Mel Norton has decided to take while attempting to steer Saint John, New Brunswick in the right direction. Saint John has lots to be proud of; it houses two of the largest IT firms in Atlantic Canada, as well as having Canada’s only liquid natural gas plant and its largest oil refinery. However, Saint John has a number of social issues including a very high child poverty rate, and some of the oldest housing stock in North America. Mel’s solution to some of these types of problems is to get people involved, and to stay positive.
About three years ago, Mel visited a conference in New York City that was honoring seven of innovative cities in the world of which Saint John was one of them. During the conference, one speaker discussed taking cities into a new renaissance. This was a concept that Mel has taken and ran with in Saint John. So how does Mel plan on changing the city for the better? He plans to use a shift in mindset. No longer will Saint John be going to “war” with issues, but embracing opportunity. There will always be problems, but embracing them as opportunities cuts out finger pointing or grand-standing, and instead of being critical the plan is to be cooperative and constructive. This approach allows a “living lab” where changes can be tried and modified if needed. Mel suggests that Saint John should look at the positives and what it is doing right and this will help the city to see how some of the problems it faces can find solutions.
In this episode
Mel tells us the importance of staying positive and to manage the amount of negative influences you experience. He tells us how framing problems as opportunities changes the way you think about an issue. Mel talks about the importance in people-centered leadership and we hear of a fateful journey he took as a child to underground Saint John. Greg and Dave both find appreciation for the approach the mayor is taking and the direction the city is headed.
Mon, 12 January 2015
Introducing Glenn Cox
So often, innovation is inspired through the day-to-day lives of people. However, these innovative people are stopped from pursuing an idea because of fear of the unknown. Our guest this week, Glenn Cox, didn’t allow anything to stop him from pursuing his innovation that can save money, people, and the environment.
In his previous life, Glenn was an RCMP officer stationed out of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. He received a call that a tanker truck had been in an accident and was spilling diesel fuel onto the highway and it was threatening to pour into a nearby river. Arriving on the scene, Glenn felt somewhat helpless, as he had to wait almost two hours for someone from the Department of Environment to arrive from Victoria to plug the gash. After leaving the force, Glenn came to the understanding that the process for fixing ruptured tanks hadn’t changed much. So, he formulated a design and started a business from his home. The product that was developed was the Rupture Seal. Essentially, the rupture seal fixes leaks in a matter of seconds saving costly chemicals and the environment. Now the Rupture Seal is sold in 35 countries and what was originally a home based business for Glenn has had to move into three different buildings in the last four years due to the business’s growth.
To kick his growth up a notch, Glenn decided to take his product and his pitch to the CBC television show “Dragon’s Den”. (For our non-Canadian friends, “Dragon’s Den” was the Canadian pre-cursor to the popular ABC television show “Shark Tank”.) While in the “den”, Glenn gave a 45-minute presentation and was offered three different deals from the “dragons”. Glenn ended up picking the deal for $500,000 for a 25% equity stake offered by former RCMP officer and franchise baron Jim Treliving. Glenn pictured his pitch to the “dragons” the same way as he did while offering evidence to a court as an RCMP officer. He emphasizes to all entrepreneurs that they need to be ready in a moments notice to offer their “elevator pitch”. He believes that you need to know your product and your pitch because you never know when an opportunity will strike.
In this episode
Glenn tells us how his training with the RCMP aided him as an entrepreneur and how no matter what your background your previous experiences can prove valuable as you enter the unknown world of entrepreneurship. Glenn also tells us that it is never too late if you have a great idea that is meaningful and unique. Glenn reminds us that success is so often on the other side of fear and the only one stopping you from doing what you want with your life is YOU. Greg expands on this notion by saying that dispelling fear allows you to live a passionate life based on love. Dave is truly inspired by the notion that there is always the opportunity to take the leap to be an entrepreneur and that their will always be lessons you have learned from your past experiences that will aid you in your journey.
Links and References
Mon, 5 January 2015
Commander Hadfield expresses the lessons he has learned from floating around our little blue dot that we call home. Greg is struck by the idea that the higher you get into space the more you can understand humanity. Dave notes that in the commander’s case the message and messenger are totally aligned. Dave is also impressed with Chris Hadfield’s comfort in expressing the lessons from his success. Greg recalls a moment he felt connected to how astronauts feel looking down on humanity.