New speaker series launches

  • Feb. 27, 2013 3:38 p.m.

A new speaker series at the Donald School of Business is set to launch next week and officials are excited about the first keynote speaker.

Jim Harris, author of Blindsided, and a leading Canadian futurist, is set to talk to students and the City’s business community March 5th.

Harris, who hails from Toronto, will speak to students during the day, and the public is encouraged to listen to his presentation in the evening at City Centre Stage (4922 49 St.). Networking and refreshments will take place at 4:30 p.m. followed by Harris’ presentation of ‘Leadership & Change, Innovation & Creativity’ at 5:30 p.m.

Harris teaches business people how to identify early warning signs and to put in place systems to prevent their organization from being blindsided by their competition. He works with leading businesses and Fortune 500 companies, and writes regularly for a number of publications, including the Globe and Mail and Profit magazine.

“The talk is really going to be based on the book. How companies can avoid being blindsided because we are seeing it happen all the time.”

He added an example of that would be when Netflix came out Blockbuster eventually closed its doors because it couldn’t compete.

In addition, he will also give advice to business students who are set to enter the workforce in the near future. He added they are facing a number of obstacles as they graduate.

“The students face a big challenge in the sense that in general across Canada graduating students are finding it challenging to not just find a job in their area but to find a job. And so the advice I give is to focus on what I call the funnel theory,” he said. “When I came back to Canada after traveling for four years after finishing university I wanted to have a job. I got a job but it was in telemarketing. I had this terrible job for six weeks. During those six weeks it gave me cash to tread water. During those six weeks I applied to 300 different jobs. From those 300 applications I got 12 interviews. That is a 96 per cent failure rate. I only got four interviews per 100 applications.

“Firstly I think for job seekers they can’t take things personally. And secondly is to put a lot into the funnel to get stuff out that is going to be of value to you.”

Meanwhile, the event marks what will be a bi-annual series that will bring leading business thinkers into downtown Red Deer to the City Centre Stage that RDC recently acquired.

“This is a great opportunity for businesses in our community to network and it fits perfectly into our vision to connect learners and businesses in our region through marquee events,” says Darcy Mykytyshyn, dean of the Donald School of Business.

“We want to be a resource and a leader for business education in Alberta, and we know Jim Harris will present ideas that can help Central Albertan business owners grow their businesses.”

Tickets to the event are $50, which includes the presentation and refreshments. They are available at Black Knight Ticket Centre at or by calling 403-755-6626.