It's a Pleasure to Introduce My Business

Last month I went through an exercise to try to redefine exactly what I was trying to accomplish with Urban East. I’m approaching my one-year mark for full-time operations, and it was time to do a mission audit. I worked with Anna Smith with Free Form Events, and had a fantastic session diving into what specifically I hoped to accomplish with Urban East. It’s interesting, as most of my goals tied into my own philosophy on my industry.

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Understanding and Attaining Stakeholder Buy-In

Working out of Toronto this past week has been refreshing. As someone who loves exploring and understanding what makes cities tick, its very inspiring to shake up my atmosphere. Working out of coffee shops I’ve never before seen, and tasting lunch at take-out places I would otherwise never find makes for a very exciting work day.

I also love tapping into development news outside of my bubble, and in Toronto I’m asking everyone that will talk to me about Sidewalk Toronto – the recently-announced initiative spearheaded by Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs.

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Why I So Often Advocate for Downtown Investment

I have been harping on my “downtown thesis” for several years now – basically since I started working in real estate. I remember writing a report for the developer I worked for in 2012, less than 6-months on the job, saying that the west end of the downtown was going to begin taking on a new shape. Today, we have Jag Hotel, the new Fortis Building, the expanded convention centre, and a whole host of new activity. I think this sort of growth is only going to continue.

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Asking How and Why; Avoiding What or Where

Over the past several months I’ve spent a lot of time working on several projects with a partner who provides perspective very different from my own. While at times we’ve clashed, I can also say confidently that I have learned an amazing amount from his outlook and approach to building and place design. So much so, that in a recent conversation with a former colleague who was looking for some inspiration, I found myself repeating a philosophy that I learned from this new partner. I realized through this exchange how influential his thought-process has been on my own.

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Strengthening Cities One New Business at a Time

On Thursday I’ll be moderating a panel for the St. John’s Board of Trade at this year’s Business Development Summit. My panel is called “The Entrepreneurial Ecosystem: Making an Impact" and… SPOILERS… we are planning to chat about the value that entrepreneurs and startups bring to the organizations and individuals who work with them in their early days. I’m very excited, since I think it is an important topic in St. John’s – especially considering where we currently are as a province economically.

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