Karine Samson
Credit: Lindsay Siu

Karine Samson, 29

Founder and CEO

Life Story: Karine Samson has big plans for Optimal Efficiency, the Vancouver-based startup she founded in 2015. The company, which makes project management software for construction, mining and energy-sector firms, aims to capture a sizeable chunk of its multibillion-dollar market. It’s a bold ambition that is grounded in facts and figures, explains Samson, an engineer by trade. She earned her civil engineering degree from Quebec’s Université Laval in 2012, and spent three years working on construction and mining sites in Northern Quebec and Fort McMurray. Samson began Optimal Efficiency as a side project. “I saw all the inefficiencies on the job site and the miscommunication between different parties involved in construction projects,” she says. When she spoke with others in her field, they told her she could radically streamline her outdated industry by delivering superior software and processes. Born in the small town of Beaumont, Quebec, Samson quit her Alberta-based job to launch her business in software talent–rich Vancouver.

The Bottom Line: Optimal Efficiency has received funding from private equity investors and from government sources such as the National Research Council’s Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP). The company employs 16 people and launched its first product iteration at the beginning of this year.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
A good plan executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.

Your favourite book is…
Smarter Faster Better: The secrets of being productive in life and business by Charles Duhigg. It’s very important to step back every day and ask, “Are we on track? Are we on goal?” There are only a few very critical variables to focus on. All the rest is noise.

Who is your role model or mentor?
Jeff Bezos. I like how he thinks. It’s important to have high-quality, but also high-velocity decisions.

A little-known fact about you is…
People think I am a workaholic, but I take time for myself. To make the best decisions, I need to be centred. You really need to step back. So on a daily basis, I meditate. Even if it’s a busy day, I take at least five minutes to meditate and do some retrospection.