Burnaby Young Professionals Network Launch Event Recap

On November 24th the Burnaby Board of Trade launched its newest program, the Burnaby Young Professionals Network.

The Burnaby Young Professional Network (BYPN) is an initiative launched by the Burnaby Board of Trade that seeks to engage Burnaby’s emerging young professionals. Building on the Access program, the BYPN will hosts events and learning opportunities for emerging leaders. The goals of the network are to help young professionals build strong networks in the community as well as promote the development of useful skills that can help them in their careers and future opportunities.

The event was held at the Holiday Inn Express Vancouver Metrotown and featured a panel of excellent speakers, engaging facilitated discussion groups and some open networking.

Speakers Jill Earthy, Chief Growth Officer of FrontFundr, Andrew Harries, co-founder of Sierra Wireless and Zeugma Systems Inc and Amelia Warren, CEO of Epicure and one of Vancouver’s “Forty Under 40” shared inspiring stories of how they built their careers and provided valuable advice for the young professionals in attendance on how to forge their own opportunities.

See pictures from this great launch event here.

This event will also act as a launch for a series of future events and workshops tailored based on the feedback and thoughts of the attendees. Keep an eye out in the New Year for the program’s next event!

If you are interested in keeping up to date with this program and receiving information regarding the network and its events please email us at tessa@bbot.ca to get your name on our mailing list!

In case you missed the event or if you were there and wanting to reflect on what you heard, there are some notes and highlights from the panel listed below.


What does success mean to you and what motivates you to succeed?

  • Success is personal – The what and the how
    • How you can create the most value on the planet
    • Meet people who are ahead and learn from them
  • Purpose & Legacy
    • Responsibilities
    • Giving back
    • Decide why are you doing it
  • Setting ambitious goals and achieving them
    • What is worthwhile for me and valuable to others (e.g. Andrew wanted to help with the science world project to help young minds learn about science)
  • Open-mindedness – New opportunities
    • 2-3 key values that are core to you
    • What fuels your passion

What are some common mistakes you see young professionals typically make that prevent them from getting or benefiting from opportunities?

  • Pressure
    • Need to know where you want to go
    • Path will be winding
    • Ask for help
    • Ask questions and reach out
  • Investing in your purpose, passion, drive and vision
    • Having a sense of who we are becoming
    • Investing time in yourself
    • Need to create goals
    • Don’t be in a hurry to get there fast because “life is long” not short
    • Climbing the ladder and earning your way up
    • Having no purpose or end goal is like “sitting on a train for 24 hours” if you don’t know where you are going, you will not be happy
  • Responsibilities
    • Young people need a sense of responsibility
    • They are always thinking about what their rights are
    • Life is mostly filled with crap and what pulls you through is that just know that we are on the right track
  • Thinking in 5-10-15-20 year increments
    • Don’t emphasize too much on salary or title
    • Try to work where you can learn the most
    • Stick with it and keep going – it can just be a moment and “keep going”
    • You are lucky if 80% is awesome
    • Don’t get caught up on being “High on the highs and lows on the lows”

What are 2 or 3 skills that you feel are most important for people who are looking to advance their careers?

  • 5 closest people around you
    • Surround yourself with great people
    • Call you out on your “crap”
    • Difference between a sponsor and a mentor
  • Get into the community and reach out
  • Be a learner
    • Getting up and trying again “trial and error”
    • Don’t be afraid of making mistakes and asking questions
  • Presentation skills
    • First impressions are extremely important
    • Most people don’t have a lot of time and they meet a lot of people. You have 30 seconds to make a lasting impression. It includes dressing well, being friendly, approachable, hand shaking”
    • “Meet people who are ahead of you. That’s how you learn.”
    • Thank you note is important
  • Critical thinking
    • If you don’t understand something then take a class – gather all the facts
    • When you are in high stressful times – you may think you should do things that are not right
  • Self-awareness
    • Blind Spots – things that people know about you that you don’t know yourself
    • How to get rid of the blind spots

What if you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?

  • Not understanding the LEAN startup
  • Blew money on an idea that had no market value
  • Neglecting the numbers in a sales driven business – focusing on the wrong numbers by only focusing on the top-line
  • It’s okay to fail and it makes you stronger, don’t be afraid to make mistakes, It’s the only way you will learn and admit you can’t do everything yourself so ask for help
  • Buying a business out too early when you can still learn from the owners
  • Not being open to asking for help
  • Spectator to your own thoughts

What are you doing to ensure you continue to grow and develop and where do you see yourself in the next few years?

  • Spending more time with young people
  • Teaching and mentoring young entrepreneurs
  • Having a networking group that is further and better than you


“Stand outside your thoughts. View your decisions as an observer. Then you can see what others might be seeing.”- Amelia Warren