Beer, Bears and Mentorship: How Manjit Minhas Became Fearless

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“Despite what the world might think, no one is successful on their own. It’s done with a support group.” Says beer baroness Manjit Minhas.

Minhas was the keynote speaker that MRU Continuing Eductaion presented at this year’s PMI-SAC (Project Management International – Southern Alberta Chapter) conference at WinSport this past week. In a capacity session, her words were welcomed by local project managers, many of whom are trying to find their next step in a difficult economy.

Minhas admits to having many mentors, but it’s not a formal contract, “I don’t think you need a title for those people in your life. Mentors in life in general are important to help guide you.” She emphasizes, “How better to learn than to get support from people who could affect the trajectory of where you could go?”

She and her brother Ravinder started the Minhas Brewery with $10,000 she raised by their combined savings and selling the car she was driving to her university classes. Now with an estimated net worth of $200 Million, her entrepreneurial ventures are keynote worthy.

In her address, she shared an influential insight to the origin of her success.The catalyst to their fearlessness dates back to a trail in the Rocky Mountatins where the siblings encountered a black bear. Minhas recalls, “It was so awe-inspiring to us that we weren’t able to move.”

Frozen on the path, they realized that, “There are lots of things in life that you have no control over.” She explained, “We were so small. What was going to happen around us was going to happen whether we wanted it to or not.”

The siblings returned unscathed, but not unchanged.

She recounts the moment, which felt to her like hours, “To stay, observe and reflect… and enjoy is not something we do enough in life.” From that point on, she employed this newfound confidence, as well as her engineering training, into a business that they were both passionate about being the best in… beer.

“Engineering and beer have so much in common.” she acknowledges, “Behind the scenes, it’s a business and manufacturing process. We are what we are because we manufacture and we get that right.” At the end of the day, what the whole room found it had in common is that, despite challenges and set-backs (of which she recounted many) to success and gambling (which her company has experienced much of) from Minhas’ perspective, “It’s project management.”

She still takes courses. She advises, “I’m learning every single day and with those tools, I’m making decisions.” She and her brother haven’t risen to the heights they have without adapting. “The world around you is constantly changing,” she says, “What you do with it (learning), you may not do with it the next day, month or year, but I promise you it all comes into play.”

Passion is a huge part of the equation for her. Entrepreneur, venture capitalist and celebrity, being one of the stars of this season’s Dragon’s Den on CBC Television, Minhas knows a good pitch. “First and foremost, it’s the person standing there. I feel passion in what they’re talking about, whether they’re knowledgeable about it and whether they’re willing to stand by whatever is going to happen.”

As a Dragon, she has to be decisive. When she is considering a product or service, she has a gut-instinct that responds to personal passion, “I want to know that whomever is behind it, they’ll adjust or pivot to whatever comes their way, because nobody’s path is a straight line, but they will stay true to the mission and the vision.”

That same message is the inspiration she hopes the room of PMI project managers walked away with.

We have a copies of Manjit’s book “Brewing Up a Damn Good Story” to give away. To enter the draw, please sign up here.

  • by JLove

Do More With Less: A Project Management Challenge





Project Management Institute – Southern Alberta Chapter (PMI-SAC) is offering two days of professional development opportunities to ensure you can do more with less.

“The theme for the conference is Peak Performance,” says Luisa Cruz-Millette, Program Coordinator for Business and Professional Education at Mount Royal University’s Faculty of Continuing Education and Extension.

“They’ve done a great job with how the program is laid out,” she explains, noting the high level of networking, sessions and range of engaging speakers. “As participants take the different sessions, they’re getting PDUs (professional development units) from PMI.”

In two days attending this conference, they can earn up to 12 PDUs.

That’s getting more for less.

Among the speakers are a few of MRU’s own including:

Diana Nada“Executives and Project Managers: Bridging the Disconnect – Why Do We Do What We Do?”

Laurel SimRaising Personal and Professional Performance through Social Media”

Jenelle Peterson – “BYOB: Build Your Own Brand”

…and more.

Mount Royal University Faculty of Continuing Education is pleased to present the keynote address of beer baroness Manjit Minhas. Her presentation entitled The Minhas School of Beer Business Success closes the event on Wednesday (Nov. 23). Her Minhas Creek Brewing Company success has skyrocketed her to entrepreneurial stardom as one of the ‘dragons’ on popular business show “Dragon’s Den” on CBC Television.

Minhas is a good fit, according to Cruz-Millette, “She represents the women entrepreneurs out there so I think that’s cool.” But speaking to the whole demographic, Cruz-Millette states that her entrepreneurial spirit might be just what those attending this conference need, “I think a lot of the project managers that are consultants are entrepreneurs themselves.”

In a time where managers are being asked to do just that, the job market landscape according to Cruz-Millette is, “very competitive.”

“My (industry) instructors,” she starts, “some of them have been laid off. They’re having a hard time getting back into the workforce.” Ironically, due to the quality of education in MRU’s Project Management, Cruz-Millette notes that, “They’re almost competing with some of the students they’ve been teaching.”

But there is hope for those looking to transition to a new place in their career and it starts with education. “Other booths might have something sporty to coincide with the Winsport venue, but we have an interactive game. The three areas we thought were important for peak performance are:

Wellness, which talks about our massage and yoga therapy program areas, Passion, which ties in to Manjit’s story and Education, where anyone can come in to MRU to get the PDUs and courses you need to move forward. We tied it all together to showcase that we have something to fill in the gaps for everyone.

Among the program offerings are 18 Leadership sessions, 14 Strategic & Business Management sessions, and 14 Technical Project Management sessions, so there are ample learning opportunities.

In an effort to help offer more for less, there’s a special incentive for our MRU community. If you register using the code MRUAFFILIATE, you save $100!

The PMI Southern Alberta Chapter 2016 Professional Development Conference is happening on November 22-23 at WinSport, Canada Olympic Park.

  • by JLove
Luisa Cruz-Millette

Growing Changemakers with Social Innovation






Meeting urgent and complex challenges such as climate change, food security, and urbanization requires new knowledge, skills, and approaches. Social innovation is about finding ways to introduce lasting changes at all levels to increase the resilience of vulnerable people and the planet. Social innovators – people we like to refer to as changemakers – come from every sector and discipline, and they may or may not identify with the language of social innovation. What they do share is a commitment to taking on complex social, environmental, and/or cultural challenges to create meaningful change.

At Mount Royal University, we’ve been working in association with MacEwan University to develop a Social Innovation Certificate Program. We started by connecting with people from across sectors who are involved in the social innovation space as entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, funders, and scholars to ask their advice about what is needed in social innovation education in Alberta. Then we approached people who know a little something about social innovation to design the courses. Fabulous folks like Kate Letizia (Calgary Can, The City of Calgary’s Climate Program), Mark Cabaj (Here to There, Tamarack Institute) and Ben Weinlick (Think Jar Collective, Skills Society Action Lab) are sharing their expertise and wisdom as course designers.

One of the goals of the Social Innovation Certificate Program is to strengthen the growing network of changemakers in Alberta and beyond. Therefore, we’ve chosen a blended delivery model, which means that each course will have in-person and online components. The courses will be offered synchronously in Calgary and in Edmonton, so that we can connect people from the northern and southern parts of the province and offer opportunities for pan-provincial collaboration. Additional instructors will be joining the designers to deliver each of the four courses that make up the core of the program, and we have been inviting other inspiring changemakers to contribute their insight through video and in-person appearances during the courses.

The courses themselves are designed to provide a shared foundation for social innovation and then to dive more deeply into systems change, social impact, and the social lab space. Together, as learners, we will explore social innovation frameworks, resources, and tools to further change initiatives that learners are already involved in or are considering. We will study examples of successful social innovation and highlight current issues with this approach. We will take time for inward reflection and to form outward connections.

Have we got the formula right? We don’t know for certain – this is a learning journey for us, too. What we do know is that learners will develop a deeper understanding of themselves as changemakers, of the social innovation landscape – locally and further afield, and of tools and resources required to further their own work. Moreover, learners will connect with others who are also making meaningful change – those still exploring what their contribution may be and those whose contributions may have already created significant impact. We invite you to join us in January 2017 as part of the first Alberta-wide cohort of changemakers participating in the Mount Royal University & MacEwan University Social Innovation Certificate Program.

  • Guest blogger Jill Andres, Changemaker in Residence, Institute for Community Prosperity, Mount Royal University
  • A closer look at Mount Royal University and MacEwan University’s Social Innovation Certificate Program helps learners understand the program’s goals and approach, and assess its potential to further their own personal and professional social innovation objectives.
  • Register for our upcoming social innovations webinar


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