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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

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