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