How to face adversity (according to Winnipeg leaders)

November 3, 2017
Every month, we ask different participants of our Leadership Winnipeg class to blog about their experience…

October 27 was the second class for Leadership Winnipeg’s 2018 graduates, which took place at Government House. It was a pleasure to visit such a historic and beautiful building.

Shortly after everyone arrived, we had the chance to personally meet the Honourable Janice Filmon, Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba.  She welcomed each of us one by one, and took the time to talk to us as a whole group.  She was absolutely wonderful, and it was definitely a highlight having the chance to meet and listen to someone so inspiring.

The day was spent speaking with other inspirational leaders, who are leading successful organizations in our community.  Below are some of the most interesting things I heard and learned from each leader:

Paul Soubry
Paul Soubry is the CEO of NFI group and was recognized as one of Canada’s top 40 under 40.  The love Paul has for Winnipeg really showed throughout the time he spent speaking with us. He made it clear Winnipeg is not a “dead end city” and has a ton of opportunity.  Winnipeg is unique because it has great networking opportunities that many larger cities do not offer.  This is mainly due to Winnipeg’s smaller size, allowing for easily made connections. Paul emphasized the importance of teamwork and used Tug-a-War as an analogy.  If a team in tug-a-war wins, there is no credit to one person, just the outcome as a whole for the winning team.  Paul also reminded us to never sweat the small things, and remember what is most important when dealing with hard decisions or mistakes in our career.

Gregg Hanson
Formerly the President and CEO of Wawanesa, Gregg shared his experiences and success story with our group. One of his most important lessons was the need to adapt to change.  His advice was to never shut down an idea from someone that you may have tried before that was a failure at that time; the world is always changing and evolving, therefore an idea that did not work before, might work now.

Marie Bouchard
Currently an Indigenous art curator and former business owner and consultant, Marie mentioned multiple times how generous the community is that we live in.  She said we would be surprised how many businesses and people are willing to help you make a difference.  Her advice was to find something we are passionate about, and success will follow.

Justin Phillips
Justin is currently the President and founding partner of Sycamore Energy and Solar Manitoba.  We learned Justin Phillips was a contender on the popular TV show, Dragons’ Den.  Justin was passionate about being an entrepreneur, and left his job with a stable income to pursue his dream. It was very inspiring to listen about how he, along with his partner, overcame all of the problems and setbacks that faced them and turn them into a successful company.

Lynda Gunter
The Co-founder of Frontiers North Adventures spent her time talking to us about how her company started and why she believes it has been a success.  Lynda and her husband lived in Churchill, MB for some time, and became huge fans of the small city.  They wanted other people to be able to share some of the same special experiences that they did.   Lynda’s expressed her leadership style a few times, saying that she likes to treat her staff like family.  She also shared the quote said by Richard Branson “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”

Liz Marr
Liz is currently the vice President Institutional Relationships at Greystone Managed Investments.  When Liz was in university, she would enrol in the military program during her summers, where she learned a lot of her leadership skills that she still uses today.  Something Liz said that really stood out to me was that you don’t necessarily need followers to be a leader, meaning that we can go out and make a difference on our own. ​

It has been a challenging task for me to summarize all of the conversations we had during the day. During these visits, we also took time to get to know our fellow classmates enrolled in Leadership Winnipeg. It was very interesting to hear their experiences, advice, and ideas.  We all have very different jobs – our group alone has a nurse, a scientist, a communications specialist, and the list goes on.

​I was born and raised in the wonderful city of Winnipeg, and it is so great to be surrounded by people who love the city as much as I do.  I’m very thankful that we had the opportunity to visit the Government House and meet these leaders who took the time to talk to us about their experiences.   ​

Leadership Winnipeg is grateful for the support of our Vision Partners







Haylie Payne
​Payne Transportation
Leadership Winnipeg 2017-2018