Leaders, Innovators and Big Ideas - the Rainforest podcast
Christopher Drobot Hosts Sahr Saffa on the LIBI Podcast

Christopher Drobot Hosts Sahr Saffa on the LIBI Podcast

February 11, 2020

Thank you for listening to the Leaders, Innovators and Big Ideas podcast, supported by Rainforest Alberta.  The podcast that highlights those people who are contributing to and/or supporting the innovation ecosystem in Alberta.

Another episode from Edmonton hosted by Christopher DrobotChristopher Drobot is a passionate cheerleader for the potential of the Edmonton region. Although not directly an entrepreneur himself, his extensive experience in business operations and now mortgage lending help focus his excitement on the ideas that can see the city grow. He is involved in the push to bring a world-class aquarium to the city, is completing an MBA, and – together with his wife – homeschools his two children. The parallels between entrepreneurialism and homeschooling have been many, and he sees an overarching lesson in both: you have to create the world you wish to see.

Sahr Saffa is a creative problem solver, and one of the problems he's most proud of solving can be summed up in the work he does with the C-Tribe Festival, a community-driven by diversity, and helping innovative and creative people achieve their dreams. Inspired by his experiences in larger US centers of inter-industry collaboration and collisions, he decided to bring that type of experience back to our city - back to his own hometown. In just two years, the festival has grown to four days of collisions between people from all walks of life, programming to expose people to new ideas, 50 speakers, and over 1000 attendees from several different countries. He also works as the VP of Operations for a San Francisco-area machine learning firm AutonomIQ (pronounced auto-nah-mik), and in the spring of 2020 he will be pursuing a Master's in Artificial Intelligence research.

Please be sure to share this episode with everyone you know. If you are interested in being either a host, a guest, or a sponsor of the show, please reach out.  We are published in Google Podcasts and the iTunes store for Apple Podcasts.  We would be grateful if you could give us a rating as it helps spread the word about the show.

Show Summary: 

Sahr recounts his journey through high-level sports, his initial working career, his experiences in one of the biggest cities in the world, and ultimately his path to where he is today after having started something so audacious as an international festival. 

Here’s someone who, upon experiencing how unlikely collisions and un-siloed thinking can contribute to massive innovations, decided to bring the concept back to our city. He had choices. He could have simply left elsewhere. But he poured his energy into making the things he wanted to see come to life, here in his hometown. Sahr’s energy, and the energy of those inspired to act by hearing his story and others like his, is what will continue to move the needle. 

Remember: take action; go do things; make things happen.

Show Quote:

"We're trying to build our own version of SXSW (South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas)...like the same as the Superbowl, but it's bringing together hundreds of thousands of people for two-and-a-half weeks in technology and culture and comedy, and we looked at that model and we thought it was phenomenal" 

Credits...

This Episode Sponsored By: Capturing Legacies Inc.

Episode Audio Editing: Kate Day - KD Sound Design

Graphic Design: Mackenzie Bedford

Episode Music: Tony Del Degan

Creator & Producer: Al Del Degan 

Kate Day Hosts Kourtney Branagan on the LIBI Podcast

Kate Day Hosts Kourtney Branagan on the LIBI Podcast

February 4, 2020

Thank you for listening to the Leaders, Innovators and Big Ideas podcast, supported by Rainforest Alberta.  The podcast that highlights those people who are contributing to and/or supporting the innovation ecosystem in Alberta.

This episode is hosted by Kate Day. After working in radio, as an award winning producer, Kate has made efforts to transition into the tech industry. At the end of 2019, she has taken the leap into freelance work under the name KD Sound Design. She has been editing the Rainforest Podcast since December 2019 and finally gotten behind the mic to host.

Kourtney Branagan.

Please be sure to share this episode with everyone you know. If you are interested in being either a host, a guest, or a sponsor of the show, please reach out.  We are published in Google Podcasts and the iTunes store for Apple Podcasts.  We would be grateful if you could give us a rating as it helps spread the word about the show.

Show Summary:

Our amazing co-community Manager Kourtney Branagan joins new host and audio editor Kate Day to tell her story of how she got started with the Rainforest. We discuss the importance of Culture and Kourtney gives her tips and tricks to help you in your job search.

Show Quote:

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Credits...

This Episode Recorded At: Work Nicer - Red Mile

Episode Audio Editing: Kate Day - KD Sound Design

Graphic Design: Mackenzie Bedford

Episode Music: Tony Del Degan

Creator & Producer: Al Del Degan 

Peter Beaudoin Hosts George Tai on the LIBI Podcast

Peter Beaudoin Hosts George Tai on the LIBI Podcast

January 28, 2020

Thank you for listening to the Leaders, Innovators and Big Ideas podcast, supported by Rainforest Alberta.  The podcast that highlights those people who are contributing to and/or supporting the innovation ecosystem in Alberta.

This episode is hosted by Peter Beaudoin.  Peter manages strategy and partnerships for an innovative alliance of energy companies committed to reducing environmental impacts through collaborative R&D efforts. Peter worked for more than 20 years in Asia building and investing in a variety of businesses. His most recent role outside of Canada was with the World Wildlife Fund, where he was the Chief Executive Officer of WWF China, based in Beijing. Prior to that, Peter lived in Hong Kong for 15 years working in the technology industry.

George Tai, is a Partner at Dentons Law firm in Calgary. George's practice centers on Mergers and Acquisitions, Securities, Corporate Finance and Corporate/commercial transactions, primarily in the energy and technology sectors. George also has extensive experience advising technology companies having successfully negotiated complex licensing contracts, service agreements and software development agreements domestically and internationally with numerous multinational original equipment manufacturers, telecommunications companies and software companies.

 

Please be sure to share this episode with everyone you know. If you are interested in being either a host, a guest, or a sponsor of the show, please reach out.  We are published in Google Podcasts and the iTunes store for Apple Podcasts.  We would be grateful if you could give us a rating as it helps spread the word about the show.

Show Summary:

George discusses some of the legal issues faced by startups in the early stages of company formation, including: when to incorporate, how to protect your intellectual property and how founders can set themselves up for success through different mechanisms such as shareholder agreements.

Show Quote:

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Credits...

This Episode Sponsored By: Capturing Legacies Inc.

Episode Audio Editing: Kate Day - KD Sound Design

Graphic Design: Mackenzie Bedford

Episode Music: Tony Del Degan

Creator & Producer: Al Del Degan 

Anthea Sargeaunt Hosts Kim Wong Harwood on the LIBI Podcast

Anthea Sargeaunt Hosts Kim Wong Harwood on the LIBI Podcast

January 21, 2020

Thank you for listening to the Leaders, Innovators and Big Ideas podcast, supported by Rainforest Alberta.  The podcast that highlights those people who are contributing to and/or supporting the innovation ecosystem in Alberta.

Another episode from Edmonton, this one is hosted by Anthea Sargeaunt.  Anthea is the CEO of 2S Water, and a longtime ecosystem supporter. With an MBA from Athabasca University, Anthea is a 3-time entrepreneur and has more than 15 years of business experience in a variety of fields. Her current project is focused around environmental stewardship and natural resource protection. 2S water has created a sensor for real time water quality monitoring, helping communities and industry to understand what is in their water.

Kimberly Wong-Harwood is the co-founding CEO of Volo Works. As the owner of North Peace Piano school, she believed that anyone who has a business should be able to be seen by people searching for them. When she first started her piano teaching business, she found it very difficult and expensive advertise online. So she and her business partner, Justin Harwood, founded Volo Works, a listing site for businesses where instead of waiting for people to come to the site, they find leads for businesses through targeted ads. Justin, the other half of Volo Works, specializes in online advertising. They have a passion for helping businesses succeed in matching with their ideal clientele.

Please be sure to share this episode with everyone you know. If you are interested in being either a host, a guest, or a sponsor of the show, please reach out.  We are published in Google Podcasts and the iTunes store for Apple Podcasts.  We would be grateful if you could give us a rating as it helps spread the word about the show.

Show Summary:

Kim Wong Harwood of Volo Works tells us about her entrepreneurial journey, all the way from probation officer through piano teacher to peer to peer marketplace. Each of these unique experiences led her to where she is today and bring different skills to the table, some of which are a bit surprising!

Show Quote:

"You shouldn’t have to climb a mountain to get people to know about your business." 

"With this new pivot we’ve solved the chicken and egg problem." 

"There are other listing sites, but you have to know about them before you can search. We’re taking it to the next level." 

Credits...

This Episode Sponsored By: Capturing Legacies Inc.

Episode Audio Editing: Kate Day - KD Sound Design

Graphic Design: Mackenzie Bedford

Episode Music: Tony Del Degan

Creator & Producer: Al Del Degan 

Christopher Drobot Hosts Sarang Dutt on the LIBI Podcast

Christopher Drobot Hosts Sarang Dutt on the LIBI Podcast

January 14, 2020

Thank you for listening to the Leaders, Innovators and Big Ideas podcast, supported by Rainforest Alberta.  The podcast that highlights those people who are contributing to and/or supporting the innovation ecosystem in Alberta.

Another episode from Edmonton hosted by Christopher DrobotChristopher Drobot is a passionate cheerleader for the potential of the Edmonton region. Although not directly an entrepreneur himself, his extensive experience in business operations and now mortgage lending help focus his excitement on the ideas that can see the city grow. He is involved in the push to bring a world-class aquarium to the city, is completing an MBA, and – together with his wife – homeschools his two children. The parallels between entrepreneurialism and homeschooling have been many, and he sees an overarching lesson in both: you have to create the world you wish to see.

 

Sarang Dutt.  With a significant background in Computer, Electrical, and Biomedical Engineering, and an MBA from the U of A focused on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, our guest today is Sarang Dutt of Venture Smartlii. Sarang brings a strong technical- and process-focused approach to his consulting - and combines it with his passion for supporting new entrepreneurs' growth. As he shares on this episode, Venture Smartlii approaches the VC model differently by partnering with founders and startups to help them build strategically on their strengths while pursuing areas of greatest growth.

Please be sure to share this episode with everyone you know. If you are interested in being either a host, a guest, or a sponsor of the show, please reach out.  We are published in Google Podcasts and the iTunes store for Apple Podcasts.  We would be grateful if you could give us a rating as it helps spread the word about the show.

Show Summary:

 

Having lived in India, South Africa, the USA, then eventually finding his way to Canada, Sarang appreciated the diversity and welcoming city he found here in the north. Along the way, however, he had had experiences building companies, investing, and developing his professional skills in ways that would prepare him to become a key part of the Venture Smartlii team.
Sarang provides his perspective on how early-stage entrepreneurs can scale up faster and with less risk by using process-driven thinking in addition to leaning on the strength of their ideas and their team.

Show Quote:

"The first investment I made really really hurt, because it failed and it was horrible to see it fail. Watching your money go is only one part of it, but watching something you've invested into emotionally is hard as well, when something you hoped to help change the world ends up not being realized." 

"Rainforest really gives on opportunity to entrepreneurs to build the resources that they need to be successful. It's the informal connections that count. All of a sudden you meet a bunch of people, and you say wait a minute - there's this alignment, and we might have the opportunity to create something new"

Credits...

This Episode Sponsored By: Capturing Legacies Inc.

Episode Audio Editing: Kate Day - KD Sound Design

Graphic Design: Mackenzie Bedford

Episode Music: Tony Del Degan

Creator & Producer: Al Del Degan 

Anthea Sargeaunt Hosts Jennifer Lam on the LIBI Podcast

Anthea Sargeaunt Hosts Jennifer Lam on the LIBI Podcast

January 7, 2020

Thank you for listening to the Leaders, Innovators and Big Ideas podcast, supported by Rainforest Alberta.  The podcast that highlights those people who are contributing to and/or supporting the innovation ecosystem in Alberta.

Another episode from Edmonton, this one is hosted by Anthea Sargeaunt.  Anthea is the CEO of 2S Water, and a longtime ecosystem supporter. With an MBA from Athabasca University, Anthea is a 3-time entrepreneur and has more than 15 years of business experience in a variety of fields. Her current project is focused around environmental stewardship and natural resource protection. 2S water has created a sensor for real time water quality monitoring, helping communities and industry to understand what is in their water.

Jennifer Lam is the CEO of Discover Coding.  Combining her background in Montessori methods, Education, Computing Science and business, she founded Discover Coding.  She is a passionate technology and coding educator. She believes that computer science and coding are core, fundamental knowledge for the 21st century. Every child should have a chance to learn about algorithms, how to make an app, or how computers and the internet works.  With Discover Coding, Jennifer has developed programs to get kids excited about creating with code and technology. They run after-school classes, camps and workshops in over 14 locations in Edmonton and surrounding areas. It is a progressive program that nurtures kids interest in coding and advances their skills to create music, stories, games and apps.  Jennifer strongly believes in the development of computational thinking as it helps nurture problem-solving skills, logic and creativity. By starting early, students will have a foundation for success for the rest of their lives.

Please be sure to share this episode with everyone you know. If you are interested in being either a host, a guest, or a sponsor of the show, please reach out.  We are published in Google Podcasts and the iTunes store for Apple Podcasts.  We would be grateful if you could give us a rating as it helps spread the word about the show.

Show Summary:

Jennifer of Discover Coding tells us about what drove her to start her company, combining her unique skill sets of teaching and IT into a business that helps change the lives of children and young adults. From technical sales to teaching to starting her own business, Jennifer tells us how her career has evolved.

Show Quote:

"My main objective is to help kids gain the confidence to enjoy coding" 

Credits...

This Episode Sponsored By: Capturing Legacies Inc.

Episode Audio Editing: Kate Day - KD Sound Design

Graphic Design: Mackenzie Bedford

Episode Music: Tony Del Degan

Creator & Producer: Al Del Degan 

Christopher Drobot Hosts Mason Darabi and Angelo Talamayan on the LIBI Podcast

Christopher Drobot Hosts Mason Darabi and Angelo Talamayan on the LIBI Podcast

December 31, 2019

Thank you for listening to the Leaders, Innovators and Big Ideas podcast, supported by Rainforest Alberta.  The podcast that highlights those people who are contributing to and/or supporting the innovation ecosystem in Alberta.

Another episode from Edmonton hosted by Christopher DrobotChristopher Drobot is a passionate cheerleader for the potential of the Edmonton region. Although not directly an entrepreneur himself, his extensive experience in business operations and now mortgage lending help focus his excitement on the ideas that can see the city grow. He is involved in the push to bring a world-class aquarium to the city, is completing an MBA, and – together with his wife – homeschools his two children. The parallels between entrepreneurialism and homeschooling have been many, and he sees an overarching lesson in both: you have to create the world you wish to see.

Mason Darabi is a National Leader, Agriculture Data at MNP and a Chartered Professional Accounting (CPA) candidate with an educational background in Engineering and Management. He is a blockchain enthusiast, an entrepreneurship fanatic seasoned with over 10 years of experience in Information Technology and Business Development in both Information Technology and Agriculture industries.

Mason’s unique work-experience and skill set have enabled him to bridge the gap between the technical and business/financial matters which are both key pillars of success in any venture. He has tremendous passion in supporting the technology ecosystem and collaborating as a team player at Alberta Blockchain Consortium (ABC) as well as the Tech Niche at MNP towards building a strong and vibrant blockchain community in Alberta as an enabler of the prosperity and diversity of the province’s economy.

Angelo Talamayan is leading the tech initiative in MNP’s Edmonton office, and he brings a varied perspective and enriches the conversation with his wealth of knowledge across many disciplines. He was a master-mind behind PwC’s involvement with Startup Edmonton, and he is also a big supporter of the Rainforest Alberta, having helped sign MNP’s sponsorship with the organization in Edmonton.

A driven and client-focused Business Development professional with over ten years of business development, Angelo has both accounting and entrepreneurship/small business experience. He is a natural leader who excels in building strong relationships through an engaging and motivational approach, and he is focused on continually building and evolving the business development function to best support the organization’s continued growth & success. A sizzling 20 under 30 in Edmonton (2014), Angelo has been involved in numerous community organizations and causes.

Please be sure to share this episode with everyone you know. If you are interested in being either a host, a guest, or a sponsor of the show, please reach out.  We are published in Google Podcasts and the iTunes store for Apple Podcasts.  We would be grateful if you could give us a rating as it helps spread the word about the show.

Show Summary:

Aim high, seek advice from your mentors, explore the "corporate startup" opportunities within the walls of your company, take advantage of the #scaling power of the corporate world and marry it with the #nimbleness and #agility of a startup to be at the forefront of disruption in your industry. The final word: "have more conversations"

We discussed a great deal about the importance of taking calculated risks – of finding ways to push the boundaries of a larger corporate structure to allow for innovation to occur within the organization (in order to gain access to the resources the company has, and to de-risk the startup model somewhat). While the historical startup model has glorified the risk-takers, and those who take that giant leap of faith by jumping out of the corporate world – parachute or not – Mason and Angelo contend there is also a place for those who want to push the boundaries of their companies as well, and who can find ways to support the startup ecosystem in the ways they approach innovation. Along that vein: can new business models be developed where big corporations are in partnership with local startups in the communities they inhabit? As Mason said: Have more conversations to find the answers to these, and as yet unasked, questions.

Show Quote:

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Credits...

This Episode Sponsored By: Capturing Legacies Inc.

Episode Audio Editing: Kate Day - KD Sound Design

Graphic Design: Mackenzie Bedford

Episode Music: Tony Del Degan

Creator & Producer: Al Del Degan 

Pete Lafontaine Hosts Karen Judge on the LIBI Podcast

Pete Lafontaine Hosts Karen Judge on the LIBI Podcast

December 24, 2019

Thank you for listening to the Leaders, Innovators and Big Ideas podcast, supported by Rainforest Alberta.  The podcast that highlights those people who are contributing to and/or supporting the innovation ecosystem in Alberta.

After starting in business administration at college Pete Lafontaine came to Alberta as a fur trader with the Hudson Bay Company in 1977, seriously! He took an interest in early microcomputers went to UofA computer programing then joined Apple Computers where he was awarded “salesperson of the world”. He has worked with other industry leaders like Microsoft but has enjoyed much of his career as an entrepreneur and focused on bringing new products and services to market. Pete is an investor, entrepreneur, founder, CEO of Zymeta Media Systems and a long time enterprise technology expert. Currently, Pete is a strong community contributor using technology and business skills to improve people’s lives. He is an active member of Rainforest Alberta, Data for Good, ECL Choppers for Charity, and is Chairman of Rainforest Energy Corp. Pete is also a contributor to many provincial initiatives focused on making Alberta an even greater place to live, including using technology to Democratize Mental Health Services. Pete is practical and down to earth and a firm believer that the journey is the reward.

Karen Judge is an entrepreneur who works with organizations that want to take mental health from stigma to solutions and people who want to enhance the health of their mind. Karen reinforces Mind Health, meaning she works with organizations to build proactive wellness solutions for their unique workplace, culture and mental health concerns. Karen supports wellness programs, employees and management from principal through to facilitation. Karen is also the founder of The Happiness Collaborative, a place that ignites HAPPINESS and wellness of the mind through educational training, products and services.

Please be sure to share this episode with everyone you know. If you are interested in being either a host, a guest, or a sponsor of the show, please reach out.  We are published in Google Podcasts and the iTunes store for Apple Podcasts.  We would be grateful if you could give us a rating as it helps spread the word about the show.

Episode Summary:
Don’t wait, be proactive and learn about mental health. There is science behind happiness and we have the knowledge now to understand being happy. Technology has the ability to help us, but can also be very damaging if people are not aware. It is also important to know when to leave technology aside and getting out into the community and into nature can improve your well being.

Quotes:

"Mental health challenges usually show up when we are in crisis.  That’s when we realize the health of our mind."

"The saddest person can be walking around with a smile on their face, and you may never know what they are going through."

"Understanding your own brain, is understanding yourself."

Credits...

This Episode Sponsored By: Capturing Legacies Inc.

Episode Audio Editing: Kate Day - KD Sound Design

Graphic Design: Mackenzie Bedford

Episode Music: Tony Del Degan

Creator & Producer: Al Del Degan 

Adam Ludgate Hosts Sandi Gilbert on the LIBI Podcast

Adam Ludgate Hosts Sandi Gilbert on the LIBI Podcast

December 17, 2019

Thank you for listening to the Leaders, Innovators and Big Ideas podcast, supported by Rainforest Alberta.  The podcast that highlights those people who are contributing to and/or supporting the innovation ecosystem in Alberta.

Adam Ludgate is a programmer-turned-CTO who is involved in the startup/tech community and is enticed by new and innovative ways of solving problems with technology. He has worked previously with the likes of IBM Canada, AOL UK, tech startups in London's 'Silicon Roundabout' as well as with a variety of oil & gas software firms in various development and leadership capacities.

Sandi Gilbert is a strategic, visionary entrepreneur with experience in building companies with effective operating principles and proven marketing techniques. Sandi is working diligently to develop technology infrastructures to enhance the private equity investment marketplace by making it easier for investors to find good investments and good companies to find the investment they need. A frequent speaker at Industry events.

Please be sure to share this episode with everyone you know. If you are interested in being either a host, a guest, or a sponsor of the show, please reach out.  We are published in Google Podcasts and the iTunes store for Apple Podcasts.  We would be grateful if you could give us a rating as it helps spread the word about the show.

Episode Summary:
Adam & Sandi discuss the angel & investment community in Alberta; Sandi’s involvement in a number of different startups in Calgary; The top 7 over 70; NACO; The state of the Alberta economy and the public policies surrounding it; Getting retired senior executives involved in the startup community to help startups succeed.

Quotes:

"When you can bring experienced people into a startup and avoid pitfalls that often first-time founders see, that really can increase of startup success"

Credits...

This Episode Sponsored By: Workhaus Core

Episode Audio Editing: Kate Day - KD Sound Design

Graphic Design: Mackenzie Bedford

Episode Music: Tony Del Degan

Creator & Producer: Al Del Degan 

Al Del Degan Hosts Robin Daultani on the LIBI Podcast

Al Del Degan Hosts Robin Daultani on the LIBI Podcast

December 10, 2019

Thank you for listening to the Leaders, Innovators and Big Ideas podcast, supported by Rainforest Alberta.  The podcast that highlights those people who are contributing to and/or supporting the innovation ecosystem in Alberta.

I am hosting this episode myself.  For more than 20 years I have provided leadership and guidance in technology and software development. When I am not networking, making connections and trying to help out wherever I can, I follow my creative passions of graphic design and photography.

Robin Daultani is a Dreamer. Doer. Passionate about technology and its impact on people. Lifelong learner. Not afraid to challenge the status quo. Doesn't like the word ordinary unless served with extra. Passionate about wildlife & travel.

Nicerr is a unique meeting+giving platform that enables people to meet experienced professionals, business leaders, entrepreneurs and subject matter experts by giving to charities of the experts' choice.

Please be sure to share this episode with everyone you know. If you are interested in being either a host, a guest, or a sponsor of the show, please reach out.  We are published in Google Podcasts and the iTunes store for Apple Podcasts.  We would be grateful if you could give us a rating as it helps spread the word about the show.

Episode Summary:
Al and Robin have a chat about mentorship, being an entrepreneur, and how the difficulties you go through in your past help to shape the person that you become.

Quotes:

"The things that are important in a corporate culture, are not important in a family business."

"People want to help people, but they are drowning in information."

Credits...

This Episode Sponsored By: Workhaus Core

Episode Audio Editing: Kate Day - KD Sound Design

Graphic Design: Mackenzie Bedford

Episode Music: Tony Del Degan

Creator & Producer: Al Del Degan