SHAD|Five was nothing short of inspiring. Over 200 Fellows, supporters, and SHAD friends heard five outstanding stories from five incredible entrepreneurs, innovators and change makers.
The event started with our President and CEO, Tim Jackson, giving opening remarks. He mentioned that when he first began his role at SHAD he thought he had been hired to run a summer enrichment program. After being a part of our organization for over two years, he now believes SHAD is an incredible network of empowered change makers, which begins with a summer program.
Next, Natasha and Lindsey of the McCall MacBain Foundation, a supporter of SHAD, presented our Dave Black Award - also known as our SHAD of the Year award - to a surprised Janat Hamidova, a SHAD Fellow from SHAD UBC.
Then the stories began.
Each speaker was welcomed to the stage by a 2018 SHAD Fellow, all carefully selected for having a shared interest with the speaker. Special thanks to Lucas Gordon, Janat Hamidova, Anjana Somasundaram, Karan Tayl, and Eva Greyeyes.
Our first speaker was David Chilton, also known as the Wealthy Barber. He is a Former Dragons’ Den “Dragon” and author of the bestselling book, The Wealthy Barber. David shared a story of two sisters who approached him, determined to fulfill their dreams of publishing a bestselling cookbook. (Spoiler – they did!) His advice? People deal with people they like and people they trust, so be those kinds of people.
Next up was Sharon Avery, President and CEO, of the Toronto Foundation. Before landing this role, she served for eight years at UNICEF Canada where she led a pivotal initiative, The 25th Team, aimed at saving the lives of the world’s most vulnerable women and children. Sharon shared her belief that the world needs a new kind of philanthropy, and this philanthropy is built on three pillars: relentless curiosity, rigorous compassion, and radical generosity.
Our third speaker was SHAD Fellow and entrepreneur, Richard Harris. He is the CEO and Founder of Intent Media, a machine learning platform for large-scale digital commerce enterprises. He stated that in the time he had to speak he was going to share everything he knew with us. Some key takeaways? Experience is greater than money. The team is more important than the idea. Your gut feel about things is just as predictive as all the analysis in the world. Growth is more important than profit (until it isn’t). And good is more important than perfect.
Next was Carol Leaman, CEO & Co-Founder of Axonify, serial entrepreneur and award-winning thought leader with an impressive track record of successfully leading tech companies. Carol offered up a juxtaposition of why people become entrepreneurs, and the actual reality of being an entrepreneur. You want to be your own boss? Carol is not really the boss of herself at all; she has customers and investors that she has to answer to. You want flexible work hours? For Carol, flexible hours mean she gets to work any 70 hours a week she wants. Carol shared that even from when she was a young girl she knew she was going to run companies. She succeeded because she always believed in herself, even when others did not.
Our final speaker was Gabrielle Scrimshaw, the Co-Founder of Aboriginal Professional Association of Canada, an organization dedicated to advancing Aboriginal leadership across Canada. Gabrielle shared her story of how she left her small community in Saskatchewan and moved to Toronto. As the first person in her family to go to university and the first person in her family to have a manager, she felt like she lacked the social capital to navigate this new world. Feeling this way, she discovered there was a gap that needed to be fulfilled; she had an idea to create a network for Aboriginal professionals. Gabrielle’s biggest piece of advice was to just be brave, stand up and say “I have an idea.” It was this act that led her to where she is today.
Thanks to all who came out to reconnect with the SHAD network, gather some insights and leave a little bit more empowered.