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8th Mercier Seminar Series – BE BOLD, DREAM, BEGIN.

On October 27, 2020, BEST hosted the 8th Mercier Seminar featuring keynote speaker, James Temerty, Founder of Northland Power, philanthropist and business executive.

James Temerty on video call

“Be Bold, Dream, Begin” are the keywords that James Temerty lives by as an entrepreneur. At his early young age, he always sought to do things differently and was very active in extra-curricular activities in his school and initiated and led different clubs. While attending Concordia university alongside with his friends decided to hold an event that would employ over 40 students as employees. This was the fire that kickstarted the passion James had for entrepreneurship. Spending about 15 years at IBM, he also provided unique solutions as a salesman, product planner, and as a department manager. After IBM, James started to work on a computer storefront from Computerland with a salesman he used to manage and scaled that business from 1 to 30 storefronts. The ambition and drive were what drove him to scale his business and without the hardships and obstacles he wouldn’t be able to execute the business in a way that it would immensely be successful.

After 6 years in Computerland, James received a phone call that would soon determine the creation of one of Canada’s first environmentally conscious power plant. Northland Power was innovative in the sense of using wood wastes and residue to create steam and make electricity. As an entrepreneur, James explains that not having prior knowledge in a field is not much of a problem due to the nature of entrepreneurs to naturally learn and adapt in different fields. James was able to transition into different aspects of the market because of his ability to craft solutions that are completely unique to a problem. He repeatedly spoke about the many obstacles and devises specific paths to a solution which can impact a problem to the point that different aspects of the business can be affected by. 

When Dr. Andrew Maxwell asked James to provide some advice to our students on how to develop entrepreneurial mindset, how to learn from failure based on his lessons learned, James stated that “It is important to realize that there is more to life than just your career, your job and the money that you make, you need to be able to put your head on a pillow and feel good about yourself, that takes executing across a lot of things. You also need to feel good about how to participate in society starting with your family, your community and your country. You should find room in your life to volunteer, to do things, to help other people. You should build other skills such as soft skills and emotional quotient, develop natural curiosity about things and about people. You need to be active, open and take leadership role in extracurricular activities at school and make connections with organizations with the culture of excellence and be creative in that culture, then things will open up. Don’t jump into just launching your business, get all the equipment, get the skills that you need first”

James Temerty on video call

The 8th Mercier Seminar 2020 was SOLD OUT, with over 250+ attendees including President Lenton, students, professors, staff members, and Startup founders. 

A sincere thank you to James for accepting our invitation to the seminar and thanks everyone who joined us and also thanks for so many great questions/feedbacks! 


This story also appeared in YFile