What a way to start the New Year. Neal Dempsey (General Partner of Bay Partners) called to say I was one of  four to be invited to San Francisco to take part in his one month mentorship program – The Running Start. I think he wondered if I had heard him because for a moment I was so overwhelmed, I was actually speechless. How do you say thank you to reflect the gratitude and also the shock one feels in that moment?

To give you a bit of a backstory, the Coconut Calendar team attended the Web Summit in Dublin, Ireland and amongst 47,000 people Jane Gideon happened to strike up a conversation with my colleague Romeo Iula, and I. It felt to me that Jane and I had clicked. She later asked me to join her and Harry Marshall, both of whom are working with Neal Dempsey to organize his ‘Neal’s Running Start’ mentorship program in Silicon Valley, in the Investor Lounge. To make a long story short, after Harry and Jane interviewed me, they felt that I might be a good candidate.”

This led to three more interviews, multiple emails, calls, and some homework assignments. From that, I advanced to an interview with Mr. Dempsey.

Here is what I learned from our first call.

1) Neal wants to cut through the “mist”, make you comfortable, and find out who you really are. He does this quickly and accurately. It’s quite impressive.

2) He uncovered one of my personal obstacles and provided me advice that changed my perspective on business. Even if I wasn’t awarded the mentorship program, this was priceless.

3) Whether he knew it or not, he reminded me to think bigger and this recharged me. Sometimes we get wrapped up in our daily lives we forget the grand vision.

The Running Start program will start April 23rd and runs till May 24th. The winning candidates include myself, Katherine Regnier – Coconut Calendar (Canada), Antti Rikkien – Zero Keyboard (Finland), Neal Oddens – IncreaseOnline (Amsterdam) and Mario Aguilera – Tespack (Finland)

Thank you to the Running Start Team. I’m excited to be apart of this elite mentorship opportunity. See you in the valley.

See what Neal had to say about Katherine.

 

A few weeks ago, our Young BPW Committee Saskatoon hosted a movie night, featuring Girl Rising. “Girl Rising unites girls, women, boys and men who believe every girl has the right to go to school and the right to reach her full potential.”

As I took furious notes about staggering stats, shocking abuse, and barbaric terms such as “splitting (a girl) down the middle”. The ladies sat tentatively trying to absorb that this wasn’t a history class, but a story about really women and their obstacles.

62 million girls around the world are denied the right to an education

We stared in shock when one mother delivered a baby girl and tossed her into the dirt because a baby girl was worthless. We wanted to celebrate and applaud the men and women who looked lovingly into the eyes of their children. They told them without saying a word, that they believed in them. One family worked during the day, lived on the street at night with absolutely nothing (and I mean nothing), so they could send their children to school. What a sacrifice most of us can’t comprehend.

Pregnancy and childbirth complications are the second cause of death among 15 to 19 year olds globally.(World Health Organization, 2014)

My heart bled for these young women and children, but in all honest what good was that. We were a bunch ladies drinking wine and eating our appetizers. I led the group discussion afterwards and my sadness showed through. And, Shenuka W., one women who I admire said, “Katherine, I am sad that you are sad, but we shouldn’t feel bad. What we have shouldn’t viewed as a privilege but as a Human Right.” BOOM! That hit me right in the stomach, and will stick with me forever.

$33 billion is India’s potential economic growth if girls received the same secondary school opportunities. (UNFPA, 2012)
There are millions of women, men, boys and girls, that are denied their human right of food, shelter, education, and peace. This isn’t because there isn’t enough in the world, it’s because of other humans.
13.5 million children – most of them girls – will be married before they turn 18. About 4.4 million of them will be married before they turn 15. That’s 37,000 girls today. (UNFPA, 2015)
I love that at BPW Saskatoon we think globally but act locally. We had this movie night, so we could raise money for our Educational Bursaries to help struggling women right here in our Saskatoon community. And if you were not able to make the event, I ask that you consider attending our Accessory to Change Event or Donate Online.
“Our prime purpose in this life is to help others.
And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.”
– Dalai Lama

“Yes, let’s build a house! You, and me honey!” Three months after my husband, and I exchanged vows, we broke ground on June 21st, 2008 and started our adventure of building our dream home with our own bare hands.

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My husband, Nathan leading the way in the digging the walkout basement.

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Our family who came together to help us plant over 2050 trees.

We were just getting started.

We had the coldest winter on record. Most days it was -40 C. The wind howled, and we had to shovel snow regularly.

 

It took ALOT of work, and countless hours.  As for me, most days I had wondered what we had gotten ourselves into. I laughed, and cried. I accidentally shot myself with the  air nailer. Nathan and I had full-time jobs. It was physically grueling, and emotionally exhausting. It was taking way longer than we thought, and created stress. However, I have good news: We didn’t give up.

 

And, eventually we moved in. How lucky are we to have the opportunity to build something so wonderful. (However, side note –  I would never do it again)… And, I now have a huge appreciation for individuals in construction and trades. You work extremely hard, and if I had to do this for a living, I would most likely starve to death…lol.

I wanted to share this because it was a huge accomplishment.

 

 

 

WEB SUMMIT

Five team members from our company Coconut Calendar headed overseas to Dublin, Ireland to take part as an exhibitor at Web Summit 2015.  I did a lot of research prior to the show, and I wanted to write a post that might help future web summit guests, and mostly small businesses to maximize their experience.

1)          Prep meetings

Once we got the email, that we were accepted to exhibit as an Alpha, we immediately went into planning mode, objectives, budgeting, goals, materials, our story, our pitch etc. It was key to ensure our team was on the same page. We booked 1-hour sessions every week for 6 weeks leading up to the event.  I highly recommend this. It allowed everyone to feel confident and prepared.

 

2)          Marketing and Promotional Material

We brought a lot of marketing and promotional materials and here is what I thought:

  • Stunning full colour brochures:  It was lovely to look at and rich in content, but honestly double side postcard would have been effective and more affordable.
  • Branded Pens: They were okay.
  • Business cards: This is obvious.
  • Custom made lens cloths for cleaning your glasses or mobile screens: This was a huge hit. Everyone loved these, and people accepted them willingly because they are functional.
  • Hardcopies and PDF documents: This is very important, as the Internet connection did not work most of the time. Having a hardcopy and digital backups of your presentation will save you from looking like a bozo.

3)          What is a must:

  • Great shoes: Your feet will thank you.
  • Water and a few snacks: People were hunting for food and beverages like they were on a scavenger hunt. The lines were long and the free coffee and water stations were emptied out by noon.
  • A way to record notes: You will get inspired and then forget. Take notes vigorously.
  • A camera: Capture your story visually.
  • Download the Web Summit App. It was an excellent tool. I could connect immediately and message those I met.

4)  Speaking Sessions

When you get the agenda, you will be so pumped and you will want to go to everything. The talks are in 20 minute increments, and take place on approximately 15 different stages. What I didn’t realize is that the sessions weren’t close enough in walking distance for me to get from one to the other when they were back to back. Plan strategically by location, unless you will miss more session by just trying to get to them.

 

5) Pub Crawl

 

Web Summit 2015 Pub Crawl number 35

  • I am an early to bed, early to rise kind of gal, so the thought of going pub crawling was an exhausting one. However, I’m so glad I did. I recommend you register because you will get put in an assigned group and that created a way to have a meaningful conversation. Cheers to Group #35.

 

 

 

6)  Mentoring Session

I was lucky to get a mentoring session by the lovely lady Ann Johnson from Interana. The sad part was I felt like we just said hello and the 15 minutes was over.  Dear Web Summit, I think 20 – 30 minutes would be a huge satisfaction increase.

 

7)  Invitation to the Investor Lounge

Our team was very proactive in smiling and shaking hands in order to share the Coconut Calendar story. If we didn’t do that, we might not have been invited up to the investor lounge to meet with a few high profile investors/mentors in the industry.  I am very excited, and hope I will have another story share with you shortly.

Overall, if you have the money to go, it’s an amazing event. It is the real deal. Was it worth our investment? My thoughts are meeting people and being inspired isn’t enough, it’s what you do with it after. We will spend the next while organizing our thoughts, following up with connections, and executing our plan, but my thoughts are it was an amazing experience and totally worth it.

Also,  a big thanks to STEP for helping us along the way, and ICT West for sharing booth space and helping create connections.

 

All the best,
Katherine Regnier