4 Panels, 7 Tech Founders, ∞ Insight

The Co.Learn Founder Speaker Series featured Sask-based tech founders speaking candidly about their experiences, failures, and demystifying what it takes to be a tech CEO.

Did you miss it? 😰 Don't worry, we got you! 😉

Keep scrolling to find recordings for each panel and some snippets of wisdom from some of our speakers!

Panel 1: Student to CEO

Panelists: Dawson Norrish (Founder, Arctic Shelf), Rachel Drew (Founder, Cadence), Steven Rau (Co-Founder, FoodRenew) Moderator: Alicia Soulier (Founder, SalonScale)

The Co.Learn Speaker Series kicked off in style. Dawson, Rachel, and Steven dove headfirst into the startup world as university students or recent graduates. During the panel, they each share how they came across their ideas, why they pursued it, fears around being a founder, what they're most excited about in the future, and how someone with founder aspirations (you) can get started!

Don't be afraid to take a leap of faith with your idea. It's scary but essential and incredibly rewarding once you make that leap and start getting feedback. And, even negative feedback isn't necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes it is the best thing for you and can allow you to change your idea into something that will actually succeed.

The more people you know, the more you can grow. Focus on building that network. Don't be afraid of getting out there and having honest conversations about what you want to do. The more you can talk about it, the more you will track and manifest what you want to happen.

Panel 2: The Tech Trampoline

Panelists: Rick Casson (Product Design Lead, FarmTRX), Jacqueline Cook (Chief Strategy Officer, Vendasta) Moderator: Davie Lee (Co-Founder, Townfolio)

Our second panel brought together two founders who leveraged their startup experience and moved into roles at scale-ups! In this panel, Rick and Jacqueline shared the road they took to get to where they are today and why it is essential to embrace risk-taking and challenge the status quo in the startup world.

Always be curious and challenge different ideas and the status quo. There is almost always a better way for things to be done, so any time you come across something you are frustrated with, chances are others might be too. That turns into an opportunity for you to start your own business, trying to make that better.

Panel 3: Love is Blind

Panelists: Tyler Rampton (Co-Founder, Skylite Labs) Moderator: Alex Shimla (Program Director, Co.Labs)

What happens when you love tech startups and solving problems? Sometimes you do research, tell a friend, or even come up with a name for your company. If you're Tyler Rampton, you pack up your life and travel 3,000km to make your idea a reality.

In this panel, Tyler not only shared the story of building his startup but also imparted insights and knowledge collected over the years in the tech space. He pulled back the curtain on what it's like to work for major tech companies in Saskatchewan, grind alongside startups in Silicon Valley, and how to build and pivot on products and ideas.

The most important soft skill is dealing with people. You have to be able to talk to people even if you're an introvert. People are going to join your company, and you need to convince them that you're going to build this thing and that they should join you for the ride. Talk to people, because in the end, they are in there investing in you.

Panel 4: Stop Asking Me How I Got Here

Panelists: Jordan Dutchak (Executive Director, Co.Labs)

Moderator: Aditi Chadha (Youth Program Lead, Co.Labs)

For our Series Finale, we welcomed Founder and Executive Director of Co.Labs, Jordan Dutchak. In addition to having founded over 15 companies in 12 years, Jordan has mentored over 111 startups and worked alongside various government and industry levels.

During the panel, Jordan highlighted how he got others to take him seriously as a young professional and why he aimed to deliver value in every situation. He also shared what makes a great founder and how network effects drove him towards brilliant people who helped propel him forward.

The best founders that I've met are ruthlessly optimistic. They have an exceptional rate of learning insofar as you can give them a challenge, and they will learn whatever it takes. And, not just learn one thing, learn one thing exposes them to other things, and then learn those things which have a multiplier effect.

What's Next?

Next up for Co.Learn is our Tech Summit coming Fall 2020. If you're ready to launch your tech career in a technical or non-technical area, this is for you.

Keep an eye out on our socials (@colabsyxe) for details! 🤩


Suite 229-116 Research Dr

Innovation Place

Saskatoon, SK

S7N 3R3

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