On this episode I’m delighted to sit down with former Syrian refugee, medical student, entrepreneur, and Peace By Chocolate founder Tareq Hadhad.
In the election of 2015, then candidate for Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, pledged if his party won the election, his new Liberal government would begin effort to bring 25,000 Syrians displaced by the war to resettle in Canada.
Among the families selected were the Hadhads.
Tareq had been studying medicine when hostilities broke out in Syria and his father was running a well establish chocolate manufacturing business in Damascus.
After essentially losing everything they owned in ground fighting and airstrikes, the family fled to Lebanon and eventually were selected to come to Canada as part of the Syrian refugee program. They were sponsored by a community group in Antigonish.
Theirs is a success story by almost every measure. In fact, their hard work, investment, crowd funding project, and community support means has resulted in the construction of a full scale chocolate factory in Antigonish.
Their story was celebrated by the Prime Minister as an example of success in a speech to the UN Refugee Summit…
There are a great many aspects of the Syrian conflict that might be explored, however on this occasion I simply wanted to meet with Tareq to get a sense of his family’s experience and the resettlement process in Atlantic Canada.
I met him in the back of the original tiny chocolate making facility on the side of the road next to their modest family home. We sat down on a couple of squeaky chairs for a chat…
To listen to the podcast click here
On this episode I’m delighted to sit down with the President of the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC), Don Bureaux
As President of NSCC, Don Bureaux serves as the chief executive officer for the operation of 13 campuses, with over 120 programs, and approximately 24,000 students and 2,000 staff.
Don Bureaux has been president of NSCC since 2011 but his commitment to adult education spans over two decades working with adult learners at colleges and universities as well as professional designation granting organizations across Canada and internationally.
At NSCC, he works to bring the college’s vision – transforming Nova Scotia one learner at a time – to life.
Don holds a certificate in Adult Education and a Bachelor of Business Administration from Acadia University and an MBA from Heriot-Watt University in Scotland. He’s Chartered Professional Accountant, Certified General Accountant and holds an international designation as a Certified Business Counsellor through the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).
He’s been granted his Fellow Chartered Professional Accountant (FCPA) designation by CPA Canada and his Fellow Certified General Accountant (FCGA) designation.
In 2015, 2016, and 2017 Don was named one of the Top 50 CEOs by Atlantic Business Magazine and serves on the boards of many not-for-profit organizations in Nova Scotia.
I dropped into visit Don in his office at the Leeds Street campus of the NSCC in North End Halifax
During our conversation he references a book Road to Character by David Brooks. Click for the link and below, you’ll find a link to a YouTube video of a Ted Talk on one of his principle areas of discussion, the difference between resume virtues and eulogy virtues.
Don and I began by talking about his childhood…
To listen to the podcast click here
To watch the Ted Talk with David Brooks, click here
On this episode I’m delighted to sit down with author and social business innovator, Barb Stegemann.
Barb was born in Montreal, Quebec and holds degrees in Sociology and Journalism from the University of King’s College.
Barb built her own boutique PR firm while living in British Columbia and created innovative, award winning campaigns winning numerous marketing awards from the Economic Developers’ Association of Canada
After Barb’s best friend Captain Trevor Greene was wounded in Afghanistan in 2006, she set out to support his mission of economic empowerment creating a new business model that supports trade with nations experiencing war or strife.
She launched The 7 Virtues Beauty Inc., a company that began by sourcing essential oils distilled from legal crops to provide an alternative to the illegal poppy crop for farmers and began manufacturing perfume.
The fragrance line brought to reality the essence of her best selling book, The 7 Virtues of A Philosopher Queen; that women can flex their buying power to affect change and reverse issues of war and poverty.
Barb successfully pitched and landed a venture capital deal on CBC’s Dragons’ Den and has been building her company with mentor Brett Wilson.
Recently the story has been told in the documentary feature Perfume Wars which has won accolades at film festivals across Canada and the United States
She was named on of Canada’s one of the Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada, and received the Women Innovator’s Award from the US State Department for the Economy of Canada.
She is one of the few Women in Canada to have been made an Honorary Colonel for the Royal Canadian Air Force and is the first female to receive this honour for her base, 14 Wing Greenwood…and was award an Honorary Doctor of Letter from the University of New Brunswick.
Barb and her partner, Mike Velemirovich, live in Halifax, which is where I met up with Barb to talk about her life…
To listen to the podcast click here
On this episode I’m delighted to sit down with one of Canada’s best editorial cartoonists, Bruce MacKinnon…
Bruce has been nominated eight times for a National Newspaper Award (NNA), winning five times. He also received the NNA inaugural Journalist of the Year award for 2014.
Among many other honours, Bruce has also been awarded 17 Atlantic Journalism Awards for editorial cartooning…including Journalist of the Year in 1991 and a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000;
He’s been given an honourary doctorate by St. Mary’s University for his work in the field of editorial cartooning and is a member of the Order of Nova Scotia. In 2013 he received both an honourary Doctor of Fine Arts from NSCAD University and the Friend of StFX Award from St. Francis Xavier University.
In 2014 he won the World Press Freedom Award.
Bruce is also a very good musician. In 2015, he and his son, Jamieson (Jay), won The Coast’s Best of Halifax Reader’s Choice Award for Best Cover Band. You can catch them regularly appearing at Durty Nelly’s on Saturday afternoons in downtown Halifax.
Bruce and his wife Peggy live in Halifax, and I dropped by his house where he was finishing up one of his daily cartoons for the Chronicle Herald…
You can listen to the podcast by clicking here or on the picture above
There are a few show notes to mention here. Bruce and I talk about some of the acrylic caricature work he’s been working on which is pretty fabulous. Here are a few examples and there are more great ones that have yet to make a public appearance.
Additionally, we did make reference to a small picture of Justin Trudeau which he keeps on his computer screen and he explains why it’s there…
I hope you enjoy our conversation as much as I did…click here to listen
On this episode, the Commander of Maritime Forces Atlantic and Joint Task Force Atlantic, Rear-Admiral John Newton
Rear-Admiral Newton began his career in the Navy in 1983, after trying his hand as a geologist out west.
He completed tours with the destroyer HMCS Iroquois, HMCS Preserver, and HMCS Montreal gaining a specialty in Canadian maritime sovereignty through countless fishery patrols and three Arctic sovereignty missions.
In 2000, he completed a year of Joint military studies at the Command and Staff College Toronto, followed by advanced military studies in 2004.
Rear-Admiral Newton has deployed on NATO missions of the Cold War, and UN peace support operations, including the Gulf War in 1991, Haiti in 1993, and the maritime embargo of the former Yugoslavia in 1995. He also served at National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa as Director of International Plans in the Strategic Joint Staff.
Beyond professional duties, Rear-Admiral Newton focuses strongly on his family, strives to maintain a balanced work-home life in his home in Lunenburg. I dropped in to visit the Rear Admiral Newton at his office at the Navy Shipyard on Halifax Harbour…
Click here or on picture to listen
Today on Fall Back Up, I’m delighted to welcome Nova Scotia artists Allan Bateman and Holly Carr
Holly Carr is nationally renowned for her colourful and whimsical silk painting and public installations. She not only exhibits her work throughout Canada and designed for theatre, more recently
Holly has branched out into performance art, painting in real time with musicians and performers. This includes performances with world-renowned violinist Min Lee in Singapore, The National Art Center Orchestra in Ottawa, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra as well as her own production with Symphony Nova Scotia. She gives her time and art generously for fundraisers.
Her life partner is Alan Bateman who is establishing himself as one of Canada’s finest realists.
Allan comes from a rich art background. His father is an internationally known wildlife artist Robert Bateman and his mother, Suzanne Lewis is a superb watercolourist.
Alan is a two-time recipient of The Elizabeth Greenshields Award. He has exhibited extensively throughout Canada, including shows in Toronto, Halifax, Hamilton, Edmonton and Victoria and several locations throughout the USA. Recently he finished a commissioned portrait of the outgoing president of the University of King’s College, Dr. George Cooper.
Both Holly and Allan received formal training at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in the mid-1980’s. I sat down with them in the dining room of their farmhouse just outside Canning Nova Scotia where they live, paint and manage their own gallery. Our conversation covered a broad range of topics from being artists as a business, to the controversial idea of un-schooling children and the role of art in education…
I’m delighted this week to speak with Jean-Michel Blais, Chief of Halifax Regional Police. Chief Blais spent 25 years with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
During that time, he completed his first mission with the United Nations in Haiti as a civilian police officer and following his return, worked predominantly on organized motorcycle gangs and Colombian drug Cartels.
He worked as an adjudicator in Ottawa and in 2008, was assigned to the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti as the Deputy Police Commissioner in charge of over 1,700 international police officers.
In January 2010, following the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti, he was dispatched to locate, recover and repatriate the bodies of Sergeant Mark Gallagher and Chief Superintendent Doug Coates.
For a year prior to his appointment as Chief of Halifax Regional Police, he was the officer in charge of Halifax District RCMP.
Chief Blais has two degrees, one in political science and economics from McGill University and the other in law from Université Laval.
He’s an avid reader and has also published several works on international and national police-related topics.
He has been decorated with medals by both the UN and the Government of Canada. We spoke when he dropped by my Halifax office.
Below the Soundcloud file, I’ve also included links for you related to a fairly extensive bibliography, provided by the chief, of some of his go-to leadership books. There are books, articles, Youtube videos and a few Ted talks to check out.
While you’re here, I’d also be grateful if you would my follow my podcast and commentary site. It’s free, there are no strings and you’ll only be alerted when something is posted.
I’d also be very interested in your feedback if there’s somebody you think our readers would like to hear interviewed. Just leave a comment on my site and I’ll get back to you.
Have a great weekend…
JM Blais’ Bibliography
Be, Know, Do by Frances Hesselbein & General Eric K. Shinseki
The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness by Stephen Covey
The 50th Law by Robert Greene
Integrity: The Courage to meet the Demands of Reality by Dr. Henry Cloud
Status Anxiety by Alain de Botton
As a Man Thinketh by James Allen
On interpersonal relationships and understanding people:
The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene
The 33 Strategies of War by Robert Greene
Mastery by Robert Greene
Driven: How Human Nature Shapes our Choices by Paul R. Lawrence et Nitin Nohria
On thinking skill development:
The Opposable Mind by Roger Martin
The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
The Ingenuity Gap by Thomas Homer-Dixon
Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
On effective people management:
The Progress Principle by Teresa Amabile & Steven Kramer
Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman
The No Asshole Rule by Robert Sutton
The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working by Tony Schwartz
In 1997 Brian Titus was in the navy working as a diver in Halifax…but he had a passion for making beer. At the time, the craft brew market hadn’t washed up on the east coast and he saw an opportunity.
Over the last 20 years, Garrison, along with Halifax’s other well established brand Propeller, settled as two of Nova Scotia’s best known craft beer operations.
However, in the last few years, the craft brewing industry has exploded around the world and other new Nova Scotia brands and brewery operations seemingly come on stream every month.
For Brian Titus, it’s been a pretty amazing ride and Garrison continues to grow, trying to compete with new entries into the market and a shifting landscape.
I dropped into Garrison Breweries at their headquarters located in a part of Halifax’s original immigration annex on the waterfront, next door to the Seaport Market. Brian and I grabbed a Spruce beer and settled in for a conversation as a couple of folks nearby worked on a collaborative brew…
This week on Fall Back Up, perhaps one of the most important, yet least talked about issues facing entrepreneurs, their own mental health.
I first met Michael DeVenney after he reached out to me to discuss an initiative he is working on called The Mindset Project.
The work is about the intersection of entrepreneurship and mental health and he thought it would be of interest for the CFIB.
Michael is an entrepreneur himself as well as a strategy consultant and investor for other entrepreneurs.
After struggling for years with anxiety and depression, Michael founded The Mindset Project to study the impact their work has on the well being of entrepreneurs
A lifelong learner, Michael holds his ICD.D and CFA and recently completed a degree in Applied Positive Psychology.
He holds degree in business, strategy, and leadership from Acadia University, Michigan State, Villanova and Notre Dame universities.
He’s completed the largest study ever done connecting entrepreneurship and mental health. The results are incredible.
In the study, more than 72% of entrepreneurs questioned if they were getting what they wanted from their company with more than 68% experiencing some form of mental health challenge.
Respondents also indicated that more than 74% faced deterioration of their social life and relationships while 40% found their physical and mental health had suffered after starting their business.
He is working now to publish the findings and develop actionable solutions.
This week, I have two more episodes of Fall Back Up for your weekend listening pleasure.
In the first I talk with actor, commentator, motivational speaker, restorative justice specialist and now president of the Professional Speakers Federation, Bill Carr. I’ve known Bill for many years and we cover lots of territory in our conversation, from growing up in rural Nova Scotia and his athletic and theatrical career at Acadia, to restorative justice practice and how to give a better speech.
Also this week, entrepreneur, designer and philanthropist Lisa Drader-Murphy. After building a successful career in the textile business in Calgary, Lisa decided, along with her partner, to move their family to a renovated 18th century sea captain’s estate in Falmouth, Nova Scotia. I met her there to talk about why she decided to move to Nova Scotia and what it takes to build a successful business with no debt, on retained earnings and find ways to give back.
You can either click on the images above to go to my PodBean site or play the podcast directly from the Soundcloud players below. I’m still testing each of these platforms and if you have any comments on which work best for you I’m all ears…so to speak.
Again, if you have any suggestion of people you think might be good to interview for this podcast, just let me know on the contact me page up top…