Photography by Imagery Photography
You could hear a pin drop. Russ Marcoux is telling a story about his early days as a young entrepreneur. Back in the mid-1980s, Marcoux had recently purchased N. Yanke Transfer and was working on one of his trucks in his farmyard. He was in the dirt with tools in his hands, trying to get the vehicle running so he could make deliveries he had committed to that day.
People in the audience are mesmerized by this high-profile entrepreneur’s story, which mirrored their own. Sometimes things don’t go as you plan. You have commitments, and at times you just have to roll up your sleeves and find a way to get the job done.
Marcoux’s grit and determination came through as he shared his experiences. He was humble, and freely discussed his mistakes and successes. People heard just how difficult it had been to build his operation to a fleet of several hundred trucks.
This is just one of the many colourful tales from the trenches of entrepreneurship that have been told at NSBA’s annual Lessons I’ve Learned event.
Some of the best lessons in life come from the people around us. Business is about connecting with people, but at times entrepreneurs can feel like they’re on an island, all alone, working through the complexities of their own businesses. The reality is that many people around us have gone through the same thing. And this includes some of the most successful people in the room.
A unique community
Saskatoon is a unique business community. If you ask someone for help, you almost always get it. People are genuinely interested in helping others and usually cite an experience earlier in their career when they benefitted from the support and advice of others.
There are formal mentors in our lives, but there are also casual relationships and people we meet in passing. Some of the most valuable advice is not presented in the form of a suggestion or a how-to list. It’s simply a story told with raw emotion coming straight from the heart.
Perhaps this is why Lessons I’ve Learned can be such an emotional experience. Those who have spoken at the event describe the experience as profound. Preparing a few carefully chosen thoughts from a lifetime of experience and a period of quiet reflection can change a person’s outlook. There can be laughter at the event but also tears. It’s a business event, but personal stories are fair game – entrepreneurs never really separate personal from business life.
Marcoux spoke back in 2006. Lessons I’ve Learned has since became an annual event, reflecting the NSBA’s entrepreneurial membership. Each year is unique. Four new speakers will have different stories, backgrounds, and points of view. The chemistry on stage adds colour to the conversation as speakers disagree, relate to each other, and build on previous comments. The questions from the audience always take the conversation in unexpected directions. But one thing is constant. To the business community, it’s become one of the most valuable events of the year.
October 2nd, 2018 event featuring:
Mentored by a fiercely independent and entrepreneurial mother, Laurie has a long history of successful ventures.
In addition to her career in the hotel industry, Judy has served on many local boards and has received numerous community and business recognition awards. Currently serving as Reeve of Corman Park, Judy continues to influence our local community.
Having served as a member of the Saskatchewan legislature, as president and CEO of Claude Resources Inc., and as chair of the board of Cameco Corporation, Neil is known for his extensive knowledge of the local political and business environment.
Wade spent his whole career at ASL Paving Ltd., working for three different presidents before he took on that role himself. He attributes a large part of his success to the wonderful people he worked with.
For more information please contact the NSBA office.
First published in the September 2018 edition of The Business Advisor.