Taking on challenges and coming out on top

Leadership Training

Ian Chisholm

Born in Saskatchewan, Ian Chisholm has brought together – and had the chance to be a part of – some incredible teams that have accomplished “impossible” tasks. One set of teams brought a very high calibre management development program to young people in “tough” socioeconomic realities across the United States . One team pulled together to create an International Leadership Centre on the Isle of Skye, Scotland . One team created a leadership development experience for school principals – that is now being rolled out in every corner of Scotland and began what is being called “a revolution in education”. He is interested in sustainable options for his life and the planet. He loves hockey and T’ai Chi and is also dreadfully interested in leadership, its timelessness, and the role it needs to play in our future.

Chamber of Commerce

Dianne Hawkins

Dianne Hawkins is the Executive Director of the Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce. In the position since November 2004, she has brought to the Chamber and its business members a high level of energy, enthusiasm and leadership to her position along with a background in adult education and 20 years of business experience. She moved to Victoria after graduation and worked in both public and private sector for a number of years prior to her return in 1989. Dianne has played increasingly significant leadership and management roles as her career developed. Dianne has also operated her own business as a trainer and administrative consultant and has worked with a number of business related organizations in the Comox Valley. She understands the keys to helping change happen in organizations and communities. An asset to any employer, she has kept her eye to the future and has much to say about preparing for one’s next steps. She combines years of working in personal training and development as well as an understanding of how to be successful in businesses and community organizations. Her favourite saying: “What lies before us and what lies behind us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us”. You will see why she is highly regarded with even brief acquaintances. What students learned

Bruce Carter

Bruce Carter is the Executive Director of the Victoria Chamber of Commerce. He led the Chamber to national recognition in 2006. Prior to joining the Chamber, he was the President and Chief Executive Officer of a Victoria based e-business Solutions Firm Aurora Works. He has been involved in a variety of community organizations including the Inner City Health Coalition, Property Tax Working group, Oak Bay Little League, Victoria spirit committee, Victoria Crime Stoppers, and the International Internet Marketing Association. He has taught e-business and management information systems at the University of Victoria and Camosun College respectively He has a diverse background including: project management, service as a Naval Officer, wholesale sales, property management and working as a commercial pilot. <Read what students say about Bruce Carter>

Christopher Mellett Marketing, travel and tourism

Christopher Mellet’s life has already had some remarkable turning points. One was through high performance Karate when he was in high school. Another a Rotary International exchange, and another, his four years living and working in Mexico. A graduate of UVic’s business school, His travels have given his important connections, and perspectives to move forward with his business ideas. Christopher has recently moved to Victoria and is full of stories, challenge and dreams. .


  • Turning Points
  • Lessons learned from mistakes and losses
  • Breaking in to a new territory
  • Les Lengyel is currently a business consultant with extensive experience in land development, retail, accounting and all the major resource industries. He was the President of the Campbell River Chamber of Commerce in 1999 and 2001. He was an executive director of the BC Chamber of Commerce from 1999 – 2002. He served as president of the Campbell River Daybreak Rotary Club in 2008. Currently les is a member of the Campbell River Community Partnership Commission and a stakeholder member of the Campbell River Sustainable Official Community Plan review.
    Les was in an electrical accident when he was 7 years old, causing the complete loss of his left arm and right thumb, leaving him with only the partial use of four fingers on his right hand. He challenges all of us to move beyond our handicaps and live an extraordinary life of personal adventure and leadership.
    Read what students say

  • Themes:
  • When everything changesLiving beyond handicaps
  • Getting a helping hand
  • Dealing with surprises
  • Creating success
  • Entrepreneur

    Economic Development

    Lara Grealey

    Lara Grealey’s colleagues in the business community describe her as wonderful, dynamic and a real spark. She’s worked with various non profit organizations in town including  the Downtown  Business Improvement Association, Comox Valley Tourism and now, the Comox Valley Economic Development  Society. She’s a marketing expert and is always looking for ways to tap into new markets, and  reach  goals  with the sometimes limited  resources she is given to work with. When the competition seems to have more money, she finds ways to partner with others to get where she needs to be.  Her attitude in working strategically  has many lessons for each of us, whether we are looking to improve personally or with a business idea.

    Teegan MeuserCurrlll

    Teegan Meuser is a people person and it shows in everything she says and  does. She prides herself on her ability to think differently, despite the pressure in business and university to conform, and not stray from the norm. Her horizons for next steps in her career are broad and include seeing how she can make a difference in the Third World.  Her observations about post secondary training and education can be helpful for those wondering where they may get the most for their time and money. Her spark is contagious. Looking over her list of accomplishments and awards gives one a sense  of what she has to offer, and what businesses are looking for.

    Brian Friesen

    Brian Friesen has burst through the bubble of a comfortable and privileged up-bringing to see the world in a different light.  ‘Life is not about finding yourself, it is about creating yourself.’  His readiness to be on a plane tomorrow has been one of his keys to success in work and in play.  While many peers complete university with debts to pay off, he has experienced a wealth of adventure, accomplishments in business, and an ability to take on challenges and come out on top. His travels to over forty countries around the world are largely responsible for his unique perspective on life.

    Sarah Colwill

    Sarah Colwill is one of the most postive people you will meet. Not that her life has been without challenges. Her sense of humour, artistic flair, attention to detail and communication skills have seen her thrive wherever she has  travelled throughout the world. She is currently part of the ownership group of the Fernwood Inn , partner in photography business  ( Two red balloons ) as well as on the Board of the Royal Road University Foundation. < read what students  said>

    Rob Reid

    Rob Reid – Marathon Man, Entrepreneur, Community Volunteer and Activist
    Rob runs marathons, businesses and he even ran for mayor of Victoria in the fall of 2008. A volunteer extraordinaire, Rob volunteers in a number of community and national organizations, including the United Way Cabinet, the Pacific Sports Board, the Victoria Community Council and the Terry Fox Foundation to name a few. Rob has been a volunteer board member of the Royal Victoria Marathon Society for 20 years and it’s Race Director for eleven years. Whether in business or the community Rob is always looking for creative ways to make a difference locally and globally. He founded the Runners of Compassion Society and is involved several ways in seeking creative solutions for creating homefulness.
    Rob is married, and has four children. His hobbies include running and canoeing.


  • A vision for the future
  • Being a go-to-person: getting it done
  • Designing a creative life
  • Making the most of the time we have
  • Justin Abraham

    Justin Abraham has been dreaming of becoming a successful businessman since grade 4. Now, at the prestigious Queen’s Business School taking an undergraduate degree in Commerce, that dream is finally coming true. When not studying for classes, or reading the business section of the newspaper, his interests include rugby, hockey and skiing, as well as investment banking, marketing and international travel. His love for the world has opened him up to new adventures such as founding a group that has built a school in Africa and an Orphanage in India, as well aslanded him a consulting role on a team that is going to Cambodia to build houses in April 2008. “Even though it can be tough work balancing school and attempting to change the world, gaining a global perspective is a key in any area of life.” Learn about changing the world, all while following your dream, whatever it may be.