Janice Lederman [BA/74, LLB/77] has had a distinguished career as a business lawyer and influential advisor to emerging entrepreneurs in Winnipeg. She is co-founder and president of Valhalla Private Capital Inc., one of Western Canada’s most active venture capital firms. In recent years, as co-founder and president of Innovate Manitoba, she helped more than 400 researchers and companies—many originating from the University of Manitoba—turn their ideas into profitable businesses, creating prosperity for our province and nation. A natural leader, Ms. Lederman has presided over the Manitoba New Democratic Party, Assiniboine Credit Union, and the United Way of Winnipeg, among other organizations. At her alma mater, Ms. Lederman helped establish a start-up legal clinic, introduced a program on philanthropy, and chaired the Board of Governors. Her honours include a Distinguished Alumni Award and the Andre Mailhot Award, the United Way of Canada’s most prestigious honour.
Jan offered some thought-provoking questions and comments. As you progress through your career you many ask, “Who am I really?” and “How did I get here?”
She offered some words of wisdom and suggestions for the next phase of your journey:
- Embrace the process of continuous learning while you live your own life and not someone else’s, education does not end at convocation
- There is no simple recipe for success as there are many paths
- Find simple habitual opportunities for self reflections such as reading and mediation to determine what is important
- Values and habits play a critical role in defining who you are
- Volunteer to support fellow citizens
Jan’s passion to help entrepreneurs commented that since she could not pay off college debt like Robert Smith of Morehouse College, she offered to the first 10 to tweet her @janlederman that she would spend an hour talking about starting a company.
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