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Career advice: Join the Ten Thousand Coffees Movement and change your life.
Dave Wilkin is one of those 20-somethings who inspire you to up your game! The 25-year-old founder and CEO of Redwood Strategic has already amassed a host of accolades, including a Lieutenant Governor’s Award. Oh, and he’s also one of those people who makes lists like
Profit Magazine’s top 30 entrepreneur’s under 30. His latest brainchild is
The Ten Thousand Coffees movement. “It’s the first of its kind in the world and it’s starting here in Canada,” Wilkin explains. “It’s based on the simple concept that great conversations begin with a cup of coffee.” In this case, the convo is between “Experts” and “Novices” who have signed up for the movement. They launched the program last week with 300 of Canada’s top leaders in 21 different industries. “It’s open to any young person—whether they’re a recent grad or a young professional who has a job, or a student who doesn’t know what they want to do,” notes Wilkin. “Just think about what will happen when 10,000 interesting people spend time having a coffee with a young person? What will that start?”
So who can you potentially meet, besides me?
If you’re interested in media, there’s no shortage of experts in this category, starting with CBC senior business correspondent,
Amanda Lang. There’s also
Kirstine Stewart, who heads up Twitter Canada and CBC personality,
George Stroumboulopoulos. In the “government category” there’s Liberal leader,
Justin Trudeau and Liberal MP
Scott Brison. The superstar in the “science” category is definitely former astronaut,
Chris Hadfield. There are 37 expert categories ranging from arts, fashion, health & medical to PR & communications to name a few.
1. How are experts chosen? “We approached some of the founding Experts, but it’s open to anyone who wants to give advice to the next generation and wants to learn from them. They first request to join the movement, and then they build a profile that tells young people who they are and what they want to talk about.”
2. How does it work for Novices? “They sign up, create a profile and then they can view the Expert profiles and request a coffee. The requests always come from the Novice and it’s up to the Expert to decide who they want to meet. There’s no expectation in terms of how many Novices they have to meet. It’s entirely up to the Expert and it can be over a coffee or Skype. Eventually we hope to do hangouts so that we can connect even more people through 21
3. Did a coffee chat change your life? “It was definitely a coffee conversation that got me to where I am today. I grew up in a small town in Northern Ontario and when I went off to university to study biochemistry I didn’t know anybody. I tried to break through to have a coffee conversation to share some of my business ideas about what I wanted to do. Finally one person connected with me—Mia Pearson—and we sat down and chatted. Suddenly, she stopped me and said, “I’m not going to talk to you again unless you start a company. You understand the youth space in a way that I’ve never heard before.” Three months later, I emailed her back and told her I did it! I started many different organizations since then, but the first one was Redwood. That’s the “brain power” behind the Ten Thousand Coffees movement.”
4. Who would you most like to have a cup of coffee with? “I would love to talk with
Richard Branson. I met him many years ago at an event in Toronto and he had such powerful words to share about seeing opportunities and then going after them.”
5. How do you take your coffee? “I like classic drip coffee, but I will also have a
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