Game Changers – Speakers Series Launched

Business models are changing, and it’s for the better. Entrepreneurs are talking about dual bottom lines, ensuring their businesses drive benefits to their investors and also the broader community. The deCoste Performing Art Centre in Pictou, in partnership with the Pictou County Chamber of Commerce, has created a speaking series that will showcase thought and action leaders who are “Game Changers” in their regions. The first event in this series brings together BC entrepreneur Mark Brand, Peace by Chocolate founder Tareq Hadhad and Dragon’s Den winning social entrepreneur Barbara Stegemann. The event takes place at the deCoste Performing Arts Centre in Pictou on March 22, 2018.

“Our mandate is wider than entertaining our patrons, it is also to engage and inspire audiences to learn and improve their lives and their community. We see a niche in Nova Scotia to present world-class keynote speakers outside of metro. – Troy Greencorn, Creative Director

“This is a first for Pictou County and we hope it will inspire and encourage our local entrepreneurs.” – Jack Kyte, Executive Director, Pictou County Chamber of Commerce

Mark Brand is one of North America’s foremost social entrepreneurs. With eleven businesses under his belt, he is an example of a new form of leadership that encompasses good in every step. Five years ago, Brand realized his dream of becoming the owner of Save On Meats, a Vancouver butcher shop and diner that has provided food security and access since 1957. In 2013, he created The Token Program, an alternate currency to feed those in need without a cash exchange. Since then, almost 100,000 tokens have been redeemed, filling 100,000 empty stomachs, and creating interactions between those who have, and those in need. More than one million meals have left Save On’s doors to feed those in need.

Since he founded Peace by Chocolate, Tareq Hadhad has done over 100 interviews with different news teams, and organizations and has been featured as a TedX speaker. His family’s story is a compelling one to hear. In Syria Tareq’s father was an excellent chocolatier, and he operated a factory in Damascus for 20 years. They shipped their specialty treats all over the Middle East to countries like Yemen, Jordan and Lebanon. Like much of their homeland, the Hadhad chocolate factory was destroyed in a bombing that forced the family to leave everything behind and flee to Lebanon. After 3 years in a refugee camp their dream of moving to Canada came true. With the support of their new community in Antigonish and the people of Nova Scotia they have rebuilt their chocolate company and are once again doing the work they love.

Barbara Stegemann’s entrepreneurial vision was formed after her best friend—a soldier—was severely wounded in Afghanistan. Understanding that supporting Afghanistan’s economy was key to building stability for its people, Stegemann created The 7 Virtues of Beauty, a company that sources organic oils from countries experiencing turmoil, such as Afghanistan, Haiti the Middle East and Rwanda. Despite addressing complex global matters in her talks, Stegemann uses humour to explain how individuals can use business for good and effect change, both at home and worlds away. Stegemann became known to millions of Canadians when she became the first woman from Atlantic Canada to land a venture-capital deal on the CBC TV show DragonsDen for The 7 Virtues Beauty. She went on to become the “Top Game Changer” in the history of the show for creating her social enterprise. Many awards, prestigious keynote opportunities, a book and a documentary later Barb shows no signs of slowing her game changing work.

Tickets are $38 (HST included). Tables can be purchased by phoning Heather MacCulloch at the Pictou County Chamber of Commerce (902) 755-3463.


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