The Fearless Dragon Lady

Abundance Contribution Personal leadership


Key Point: There is so much that can be accomplished when you combine a vivid dream with the ability to spit grit, and have the courage to commit. The flip side of that coin includes being able to take a risk, have the agility to pivot, the chops to face inevitable failure, and resiliency to move on. 

Imagine being a 19-year-old Indo-Canadian woman with a dream to build a beer empire. And to make sure you have enough start up capital, you have to sell your car. Really? That is exactly what Manjit Minhas did. I had the privilege of having a personal conversation with her in front of 100 or so eager listeners this past Saturday. She just celebrated her 36th birthday, and is the ultimate example of what it means to be an entrepreneur.

Manjit and her partner/brother Ravinder now own one of the biggest breweries in North America. The Minhas Micro Brewery in Calgary makes unique and specialty beers such as the Lazy Mutt Alberta Wheat Beer and Gluten Free beer. The Minhas Micro Distillery, which opened in 2012, distills and bottles premium spirits and liqueurs such as Platinum 10 times distilled VodkaBlumers MoonshineMaya Horchata and Chinook Rye Whisky. In 2015, Manjit’s liquor companies (and they have other successful businesses) had revenues in excess of $200 million. 

In early 2015, the CBC selected Manjit to star on the highly popular TV reality show, Dragons’ Den, and she is now one of the most followed and recognized business leaders in Canada. If I published all of the accomplishments of this married mother of two, it would fill this whole blog post. Please Google her for more, but you get the point.

When you listen deeply to Manjit, you understand her incredible tenacity. She was a field hockey star in school and her love of sports drives her fearless grit. She has overcome one obstacle after another. There were many times when the business looked like it might fail. She talks about being totally discounted and overlooked in a man’s world. It was tough enough to be a young woman barely above the legal drinking age in Canada let alone being a visible minority. She admits having a lot of nights that included tears of frustration, but they also fueled relentless determination. 

So what does Manjit’s story mean to you and me? Few of us will ever become beer royalty or TV stars. However, every one of us can have a dream with a plan to move towards it. Each of us can choose to take a risk, knowing some failure will be inevitable. And the grit to get up time after time to keep going in the direction of that dream, however big or small, is available to all of us. Here is what I do absolutely know. To move forward, we all have to “jump.” Nothing happens unless we do. Manjit’s version of “selling the car” awaits us all. How long do you want to wait before you do? 

Character Moves:

  1. For heaven’s sake… Jump! It doesn’t mean being reckless, but it does involve courage. We can all get up if the landing isn’t fatal, and it rarely is .
  1. Manjit’s other insight: “Stand out.” Dare yourself to become great. Know darn well that you’re going to have to pivot. Do not make up stories about why you can’t or shouldn’t. Ask yourself this question: “What would you be doing today if you knew for sure you couldn’t fail?” Answer. Then go do it. Be your own fearless Dragon. Thank you, Manjit. Thank you for standing out for all of us. Continue to show us the way!

Dragons in the Triangle,

– Lorne

One Millennial View: A “thank you” is definitely in order. Millennials like me need these stories on a regular basis… We talk a lot about “comfort,” and knowing that we should avoid getting stuck. But, all too often, it’s just “talk.” Stories like Manjit’s are like a Groupon for skydiving, we just have to stop talking about it, sign up, and jump.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

You and the Ice Cream ‘Man’

Abundance Happiness Purpose


Key Point: What if we all thought of our jobs as if we were selling ice cream? I remember growing up as a kid and hearing the chimes of the ice cream truck. As the music came closer, every child scrambled home to beg for enough coin to buy a cone or other frozen delight before the truck left the area. Happiness was getting to the ice cream truck, fully out of breath but in time to make that big decision. In your mind’s eye can you visualize the happy smiles in line, arms and legs flailing in gleeful anticipation of that first bite?

“I love it as a career – it’s great seeing the kids so happy.” That’s a quote from Britain’s longest serving ice cream man. And according to the May 25 issue of the Mirror, he plans to carry on dishing out cones until he reaches the age of 99. Sandro Foldi, 86, got his first van 54 years ago and has sold over 1,350,000 ice creams. He also likes to talk to people… “It’s a very social job, and I’ve served customers who come from all over the world.”

Imagine loving something so much that doing it until the age of 99 is a treat. Maybe Sandro isn’t using the “retirement” word, because he is in the happiness business? And why would one retire from dishing out continuous cones of joy, while chatting up people everyday? Everybody who comes to see you wants to buy a little bit of bliss. How cool is that? 

As the Chief People Officer, my job is to make our organization “The Place to Work,” and it is a little like being the ice cream man. Everything my team and I try and do is to make the “people journey” better, work environment more nourishing, and work-life richer in every way. I feel like the company’s ice cream man. So Sandro, I get your vibe, man. I really do. (Although I am likely making people at work nervous regarding the “99-years-old” commitment part of the story, haha).

Character Moves:

  1. Find the “ice cream ‘man’” in yourself. Every job is different, and for many, it would be silly or trite to compare their responsibilities to the life of someone who serves frozen desserts from a van. However, almost all positions have some redeeming purpose that makes things better for others. Even people who work in tough areas like debt collections can help make peoples’ lives less miserable or give them hope. Our mission is to find ourselves in those roles and deliver as much happiness and good will as we can. It most often begins by simply acknowledging another’s presence. Being seen and heard by someone who genuinely cares is often even better than eating ice cream. We ALL can do that. 

Being the “ice cream man” in The Triangle,


One Millennial View: Guys like Sandro have it figured out in a lot of ways that most of us probably don’t think about. If you click on the link, you’ll notice Sandro doesn’t look too shabby for 86. He’s wearing a slightly torn hat he’s probably put on with pride each day since the 60’s (but certainly doesn’t have to anymore), and in one of his quotes from the article; he says “everyone knows me around here.” You can imagine the relationships with all his distributors are as seamless as the ones he develops with his customers… His van probably hums along with a million stories earned from his decades of sales. He must notice something new every time he drives the same monotonous routes. As far as I’m concerned, if a man can tolerate listening to constant Ice Cream Truck music for 54 years, you know he doesn’t let a lot of nonsense get stuck in his head.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis