Calgary

Olympic bobsledder on a Wild Tea Kombucha ride

Emily Baadsvik is a Maritimer who now calls Calgary home. Over the course of the last seven years, she has taken her background competing at an elite sport level, and transposed it into the work ethic of running Wild Tea Kombucha. Along with her business partner Brigette Freel, the two are constantly pushing themselves, as well as the boundaries of Kombucha. With Emily successfully represented Canada in Women’s Bobsleigh at the 2014 Winter Olympics, and Brigette’s adventurous motorcycle & sailor lifestyle, the two are passionate about health and wellness. Brigette has her Masters in Environmental Science, while Emily just completed her Executive MBA this past May. From being part of District Ventures, the TAP program, as well as the abundance of mentors, they’ve become friends with, they are proud of the journey of Wild Tea Kombucha, and look forward to its future and showing people how they can Stay Wild!


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Unlocking New Opportunities For Expansion

For the past 32 years, Duane Hertzer, President and Founder of Optima Manufacturing Inc., has led the Calgary-based organization to become an industry leader in the manufacturing of precision machine products and assemblies for a variety of industries across North America, Europe, Asia and South America. Mr. Hertzer’s success can be accredited to his devotion to challenging the status quo through impactful partnerships and groundbreaking technology.

Mr. Hertzer’s pioneering nature, keen listening skills and focus on developing relationships has made him a force in the manufacturing space. Holding a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of Calgary, he has consistently demonstrated his unparalleled skillset in business development and executive management.

Mr. Hertzer’s approach to cultivating an efficacious operation is rooted in establishing a workplace that is progressive and instills confidence to produce precise results. The foundation of his business is people and technology partnering in manufacturing solutions, and he achieves this by creating meaningful, close relationships with both his team and clients alike. Mr. Hertzer’s passion for growth extends to that of his team where he celebrates individual accomplishments while ensuring an equitable team environment. He is steadfast in his belief that people are the most valuable resource to a business, fostering a culture built on respect and innovation.


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Taking the Headaches Out of Remote Work Accommodations

Trevor Haynes’ vision and strategy guides the dynamic growth of the Company. Under his leadership, LodgeLink merges a deep understanding of remote workforce accommodation and transportation solutions and the technology needed to help serve a growing number of customers who manage workforce travel.

Before launching LodgeLink, Trevor co-founded and launched several successful companies in the workforce accommodation, energy services, construction and modular space solutions industries operating in Canada, the United States and Australia.

He serves as Chairman and CEO of Black Diamond Group, Director of PTW Group Inc., and Chairman and Director of Claryn Equities Inc. Trevor is also a Governor of the Canada Sports Hall of Fame and Order of Sport for Canada, a member of the Business Council of Alberta, a past Chair of the Petroleum Services Association of Canada (PSAC), and Past Chair and a Founding Funder of the Fig Tree Foundation. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Toronto.


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Pivoting from a career in the financial industry to being an entrepreneur

Robin Kovitz is the President & CEO of Baskits Inc., one of Canada’s fastest growing companies. Baskits designs, manufactures and delivers unique and luxurious gifts across Canada and the US. With over 50,000 customers from around the world, Baskits makes the art of gifting quick and easy through its online stores, catalog/call center, warehouse, and retail locations. In 2020, and again in 2021, Baskits was recognized as one of the Top Growing Companies in Canada by the Globe and Mail’s Report on Business Magazine.

Prior to acquiring Baskits in 2014, Robin worked in private equity on the buyouts of mid-sized companies and as a Summer Consultant at the Boston Consulting Group where she led a part of a large-scale cost reduction project at a Canadian bank. She also played an active role in the sale of her family’s western Canadian food manufacturing and distribution businesses. She began her career in Mergers and Acquisitions investment banking at CIBC World Markets and was recognized with the Chairman’s Award in 2005.

As a sought-after speaker and commentator on “Entrepreneurship through Acquisition”, digital retail and the topic of “Mompreneurship” Robin frequently serves as a guest lecturer at both the Yale School of Management and the Harvard Business School. She and/or Baskits have been featured in a number of leading publications, including: Forbes, House & Home, Elle Canada, Canadian Business, Huffington Post, Style at Home and on Global News, Your Morning Show.

Robin currently serves as a consultant to the Admissions Marketing team at the Harvard Business School and as a member of Young Presidents’ Organization. She holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a Bachelor of Commerce from Queen’s University where she was a Rutherford Scholar. In 2017, and again in 2021, she was recognized as a Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 award winner. In 2021, Robin received the Women of Inspiration Award from the Universal Womens Network. She lives in Toronto with her husband and two children.


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A woman of many hats as a lawyer, realtor and fashion retailer

Emma May is the Founder of the digitally native fashion brand SophieGrace and the boutique real estate brokerage Charles Real Estate. A former corporate lawyer, Emma has worked in film and television and was a senior staffer to former Alberta Premier Jim Prentice.

Emma has consistently demonstrated commitment to her community. Following the floods of 2013 she Co-Founded the Calgary River Communities Action Group and advocated on behalf of her fellow Calgarians for policy and mitigation that would protect the City of Calgary in years to come.

In 2014, because of her activism, Premier Jim Prentice appointed Emma Executive Director, Office of the Premier, Southern Alberta. Her responsibilities included stakeholder relations, strategic policy development, issues management, and public affairs. She was responsible for the management and public programming of McDougall Centre and directed and collaborated with Provincial Administration on Flood Recovery Policy and Process. Emma also assisted in the consultation and re-write of Bill 10 (Gay Straight Alliances In Schools) in order for it to achieve unanimous all-party support.

Emma was called to the British Columbia Bar in 2000 and to the Alberta Bar in 2002.

As a lawyer, Emma explored best practices regarding corporate structure, intellectual property matters, strategic planning, and contractual concerns. She was also responsible for the negotiation and drafting contracts relating to financing, insurance, cast, union and guild related matters.


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Lessons learned on the farm in building a battery empire

Born in Picture Butte, Alberta – Canadian Energy CEO, Shawn Sauer opened up a battery shop in Lethbridge with his brother in 1987. With a fiery entrepreneurial spirit and passion for providing unmatched customer service, he has grown Canadian Energy to 20 branches across Canada with a network of over 10,000 distributors nationwide, supplying and supporting batteries, mobile power, and backup power along with renewable and stored energy products and services.


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Wes Hall of Dragons’ Den invites you to submit your pitch and gives some helpful tips

Dragons’ Den and Canada’s Podcast have partnered to give away 3 golden tickets to pitch to the dragons! Get your golden ticket to Dragons’ Den today by uploading your 60-second video pitch to our entry page at https://canadaspodcast.com/dragonsden. The best 3 elevator pitches will get a golden ticket to audition to the Dragons’ Den producers.

Wes Hall is Executive Chairman and Founder of Kingsdale Advisors. He is the newest Dragon to the Den – Canada’s first Black Dragon. He has been married for 30 years and is father of five kids. Wes was originally from St. Thomas, Jamaica and he immigrated to Canada at 16 years old. Raised by his grandmother in a tin shack with 13 siblings and no running water, Wes is truly a self-made Canadian dream success story. His favourite sports team: the Toronto Raptors. Wes is very into fitness (yoga, pilates, peloton, treadmill, weights, all sports). Wes is known for his generosity, leveraging his business success to benefit others with a number of impactful charitable initiatives, and serves as a Board Member of the SickKids Foundation, Pathways to Education, Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and The Black Academy. He is also a Member of the Board of Governors at Huron University College. Wes is Founder and Chairman of The Canadian Council of Business Leaders Against Anti-Black Systemic Racism and the BlackNorth Initiative, committed to the removal of anti-Black systemic barriers negatively affecting the lives of Black Canadians. He has also changed the lives of thousands of children in the Caribbean and Canada, donating both his money and time. In 2015, Wes was the recipient of the Vice Chancellor’s Award and in 2017 received an Honorary Doctorate, both from the University of the West Indies.

Maybe you can join him and begin your success journey. Take a listen to the podcast. Give us your 60-second video pitch and who knows, you might get to meet the Dragons. The best 3 elevator pitches will get a golden ticket to audition to the Dragons’ Den producers. Go to https://canadaspodcast.com/dragonsden and make your pitch.

Decarbonizing Your Business with Dr. Jamie Stephen

This episode with Dr. Jamie Stephen will provide information on the decarbonization solutions that entrepreneurs can consider as they build and grow their businesses. Now more than ever, there are expectations for companies to integrate carbon-conscious decisions into operations. Dr. Stephen will specifically discuss how the forest sector can support the most effective decarbonization efforts that business can adopt.

The efforts that will be focused on include:

  • Building with wood – carbon capture through wood infrastructure
  • Thermal energy – heating buildings sustainably which is the largest climate liability for businesses
  • Bioenergy carbon capture and storage – options for permanent CO2 removal from the atmosphere

Dr. Jamie Stephen is Managing Director of TorchLight Bioresources, an energy and resources consulting and project development firm based in Nova Scotia, Canada.

He has managed bioenergy and cleantech projects for a broad variety of clients including national and provincial governments, utilities, airlines, manufacturers, investment funds, First Nations, and technology developers. Projects have focused on industrial growth strategies, facility feasibility, technology deployment hurdles, policy options, and investment prioritization.

Originally from Saskatchewan and the UK, he holds a PhD in Forestry (bioenergy techno-economics/strategy) and a Masters in chemical engineering from the University of British Columbia and a BSc(H) in Life Science from Queen’s University.

Learn how you can become net-zero at https://www.forestryforthefuture.ca/


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Entrepreneur, Community Builder, and Humanitarian

Desirée Amanda Bombenon has over 30 years of business operational experience, and strategic leadership. Awarded Ernst & Young 2019 Entrepreneur of the year for the Prairies in Communication Technology, she is a bold innovator, futurist, and purpose driven leader. Her portfolio includes business strategy, social enterprise, and culture building. Desirée is an active member of a number of organizations including YPO (formally Young President’s Organization) and International Women’s Forum, and has chaired several industry boards and focus groups. She is a past director of the National Music Centre, is a past Chair of YPO Alberta Chapter, and a past Chair of YPO Canada Region. Desirée currently serves as Chair of the Governance & HR committee for the Calgary Chamber of Commerce, Chair of Governance, HR & Nominating committee for Children First Canada, and Vice Chair with CAMX, the Canadian Call Management Association. She also currently Chairs the YPO International Wine Network and is an Executive Committee member of the YPO Sustainable Business Network. She is a cohort for Singularity University and a Harvard Alumni for the Advanced Leadership Initiative 2017 Cohort. She is involved in mentorship programs in her community and through Women’s Executive Network. Desirée has earned her B Admin, CIAC Certification as a Strategic Leader, and is a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, and is currently enrolled in Queen’s University EMBA program through Smith School of Business.

Under Desirée’s leadership SureCall has been recognized for numerous industry awards for service excellence, ethics, and integrity. The Centre for Economic and Leadership Development, in consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, recognized Desirée as a transformational leader naming her “Champion of Sustainable Development” and honouring her with the ‘Enabler of Vision’ award at the 2017 UN Summit in New York.

Desirée has pivoted her company into a social enterprise and through the “GoodCall” program has established SureCall as a “purpose driven” organization. SureCall became a Certified Benefits corporation (B Corp) in April of 2019 and was named a ‘Best For the World’ Honouree in 2019, rounding out Desirée’s vision of utilizing business as a Force for Good.


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Speaker and Mindfulness Teacher specializing in employee wellness & engagement

After years working in cultures where stress and burnout were seemingly the only way to success, Trish Tutton suffered a shocking loss and things became clear: stress is unavoidable, but it doesn’t have to dictate our lives. As a speaker and mindfulness teacher, Trish has taught the skills to live and work happier to thousands of professionals and has created positive change for her clients to become happier, more productive, effective and successful without the busy badge of honour.

You can find her as a teacher on the #1 free meditation app in the world, Insight Timer, and she is the author of the Mindful Mornings Journal.


Entrepreneurs are the backbone of Canada’s economy. To support Canada’s businesses, subscribe to our YouTube channel and follow us on FacebookInstagramLinkedIn and Twitter.

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