Connect with Canadian Leaders Over Coffee

Ten Thousand Coffees | BCBusiness
Ten Thousand Coffees is giving young professionals the opportunity to get free advice from Canada’s business leaders.

Thanks to Ten Thousand Coffees, a new program connecting business leaders with young professionals, you have a direct line to Canada’s influencers

Even if by some small wonder you acquired astronaut Chris Hadfield’s direct contact info, would you be bold enough to ring him up and ask him out for coffee? A new program focused on connecting emerging professionals with established leaders is asking you to do just that.

Ten Thousand Coffees—which calls itself “the first youth movement of its kind in the world, created by young people for young people”—is a website that lists profiles of Canadian business leaders that want to talk to you. Anyone can sign up as a “novice” and request anything from a coffee meeting to a Skype date or phone call with any of the “experts” listed on the profile page. The connections aren’t meant to function as ongoing mentor relationships, but rather a chance for emerging professionals to get free advice from leaders in different sectors.

The list of experts includes heavyweights from myriad industries, such as CBC personality George Stroumboulopoulos; Liberal Party Leader Justin Trudeau; Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada president and CEO Bruce MacDonald; and Elle Canada editor-in-chief Noreen Flanagan.

Dave Wilkin, the Toronto-based entrepreneur who launched the program, told The Globe and Mail that Redwood Strategic Inc.—the agency he founded that is behind the program—will filter requests from novices requesting time with the experts in high demand.

So far, of the more than 240 people listed on the profiles page, a mere 10 live in B.C.—the lion’s share of participants reside in Toronto—but many are willing to take phone calls, or meet “in-person” over Skype or in a Google hangout. So if you live in B.C. and you’re interested in connecting with astronaut Chris Hadfield or Liberal Party Leader Justin Trudeau, coffee may be out of the question, but a Skype date might be in the cards.

Learn more about the current Ten Thousand Coffees B.C. participants:

Bill Good
Radio Host, The Bill Good Show CKNW
Vancouver, B.C.

I’ve never had a long term plan, I’ve just taken opportunities as they come. I never wanted to get locked into a path and miss chances because they weren’t part of my long-term plan. That approach has worked for me. I’ve always felt that my next opportunity has come along at the perfect time. My dad was a successful sportscaster and as a kid I loved watching him work. It’s funny, he inspired my interest in broadcasting but I was actually determined not to do sports broadcasting because I wanted to forge my own path. It just goes to show that you should never discount anything, because my first opportunity to get into television was when CBC asked me to be the BC host of Hockey Night in Canada and I spent a great ten years doing that. I’ve covered sports, two Olympic Games, and news during my 25 years in this industry.

Nick Richards
VP, Creative Director, Cossette
Vancouver, B.C.

So what does a Creative Director do? Well, I work with a diverse team of talented creative individuals to create solutions to our clients marketing problems. The solutions may include brand strategy, brand identity, an integrated campaign, an event or some form of digital solution to name a few. My role as Creative Director is to steer ideas, the team, and often clients, to find truly the great (often simple) answers to complex business problems and to realize untapped potential. I have been fortunate to travel the world doing what I do and have worked for clients in over 25 countries to date. I spent 12 years in London (UK), 1 year in Qatar and another in South Africa, before ending up in Vancouver, Canada. I am inspired daily by the amazingly creative people I work with and the fantastic ideas that come from great collaborative thinking.

Lindsay Nahmiache
Partner, Jive Communications
Vancouver, B.C.

When I was in university I decided to move abroad for a summer and get some international work experience. I lived in London, England that summer and loved it. After I finished my degree, I moved back to London and spent 4 years working in international business. Living abroad and experiencing another culture was exciting and I wanted to do it again, so I moved to Mumbai. I worked in sales and marketing for a while, and also produced films for a Bollywood company. When I moved back to Canada I couldn’t find a job because, while I had experience, none of it was Canadian – so I decided to start my own company. I love having my own business. IT give me the freedom to control my own destiny. I love building something and pushing the envelope on what I can do.

Brad Phillips
General Manager, Corus Entertainment
Vancouver, B.C.

My dad worked in radio and he’s the one who taught me the business. I started out as a DJ and progressed to management. Every few years, I’ve switched jobs or stations, which has given me exposure to lots of new challenges and people in the business. At one point I left radio and managed a TV station for seven years before coming back to radio. I’m a major market radio guy, since 1987, I’ve worked in Vancouver and Toronto exclusively. My headline on my career is that I’m the only person in our business who has managed and programmed the #1 stations in both Vancouver and Toronto. My job as General Manager is to make sure that our team works together to provide great radio programming across all the stations in Vancouver. The biggest part of this job is to make sure that the right people are here. Your team is the most important consideration you have as a manager.

Arlin Hackman
Consultant, Self-employed
Victoria, B.C.

In 2013, I left full-time work after 25 years as a conservation leader with WWF (the conservation organization) and am now an independent consultant. My experience is local to global and I have been motivated throughout my career by achieving measurable conservation results through public policy advocacy and market-based strategies, developing partnerships and coalitions with unlikely allies, especially related to land and resource management. My early success in helping secure Ontario’s announcement of 155 new parks and protected areas in 1983, the first systematic expansion of protected areas in Canada, was a milestone leading to my subsequent career with WWF.

Ron Knight
Owner Operator at RJMB Restaurants, McDonald’s Canada
Vancouver, B.C.

When I joined the McDonald’s family in 1971, there were only three restaurants in Canada, and I thought it was a way for me to make some money in high school. Forty-three years later the organization has multiplied almost five hundred times, and I’m a proud owner and operator. You could say that I’ve grown along with the company, because from those humble beginnings my career has become much more than just a way to make money. An amazing part of my journey is that age was never a limitation. No one ever said, “you’re too young,” but instead gave me a chance to prove myself. One of the most important things I’ve learned throughout my career is not to be afraid to ask for opportunities. By declaring what you want, you define your future path. In sports and in work, I’ve never shied away from going for my goals.

Michael Milardo
Creative Director, Cossette
Vancouver, B.C.

When I was a boy, I dreamed of one day being an inventor. Solving problems through creativity seemed like a dream. Years later, as an overgrown boy, I am somehow lucky enough to be able do this every day for our clients. This is what gets me out of bed in the morning, this and spending time with the creative characters (weirdos?) that seem irresistibly drawn to the world of advertising.

Almira Bardai
Partner and Director, Corporate and Brand Division, Jive Communications
Vancouver, B.C.

My partner Lindsay and I are magic together – we joined forces because we’re passionate about communications and engagement, love the freedom that comes with owning our business, and love building brands. I started my career in Public Relations (PR) when I was 19 years old. I moved all over for work, including London and Australia before settling back in Vancouver. Because I didn’t have recent, local experience the doors were shut in my face when I tried to look for jobs in Vancouver. I was applying for jobs well below my experience and salary expectations. So I began freelancing, and turned it into a consultancy. Eventually I joined forces with Lindsay and in 2009 we founded Jive Communications.

Christine Duhaime
Partner, lawyer, certified financial crime specialist, Duhaime Law
Toronto, ON, and Vancouver, B.C.

I am a lawyer with a specialized national practice in both gambling law and financial crime, formerly with a national law firm and now run my own firm.

Jeremy Wright
President & CEO, Seatrend Strategy Group
Vancouver, B.C.

Mr. Wright brings over 15 years of Executive Advisory and Corporate Development experience to clients through Seatrend Strategy Group, with the last 6 years spent in a senior role at Deloitte LLP. He has broad experience working with senior management developing strategies and solutions to business issues mainly related to corporate finance, cost and risk management, and governance focused on clients in the mining and technology sectors. He was recently interviewed by GBR for their report “Territories Mining and Exploration 2012”; and previously, he authored “Extracting Value – Yukon Mining 2011”, published by Deloitte for the Yukon Chamber of Mines (this report is the first comprehensive assessment of the mining sector in Yukon, and has been extensively cited since its release).

Prior to Deloitte, he led the Canadian expansion of a US-based internal audit company, Control Solutions International, focused on Alberta, British Columbia, and Washington State. Mr. Wright started his professional career with Western Inventory Service, progressing through a number of operational and development positions in British Columbia, ultimately having responsibility for client development and relationship management focused on the retail and manufacturing sectors from 1998 to 2007. Prior to WIS, he owned and operated two businesses in Ontario.

Mr. Wright is a Certified Management Accountant. He has extensive negotiation training, including the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School programs: “Strategies, Skills and Tactics of Negotiation”; including “Advanced Negotiation Skills”. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts, with honours in Environmental Economics from Brock University.

He currently serves as a Director with the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association, and Pacific Community Resources Society, and has previously served on several community associations and municipal advisory boards, including the Gateway Stakeholders’ Advisory Committee for the City of Coquitlam.