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Atlantic Canada's aging demographic means young people need to increasingly take on positions of leadership in business and government. The need to collaborate has never been greater to build that critical mass required to attract foreign investment, build economies of scale and repatriate our talent.

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The rapid pace of economic and social change, including the rise of developing countries, is forcing us to more effectively stimulate, communicate and apply new ideas. Importantly, there is no consensus around which ideas should be used.

"Do we need more jerks in Atlantic Canada?" : A conversation around the entrepreneurial culture in our region

Panel supported by Stuart Mckelvey

Russell Wangersky, Editor, The Telegram Journal (NL)
David Campbell, Principal at Jupia Consultants
Pascale Paulin, CEO, Forté Communications
Ken Desroches, sessional lecturer, UPEI
Facilitator: Janic Godin, anchorman, Radio Canada

Key ideas:

Q: Why would we need more jerks in Atlantic Canada?

- Very successful people, who are creative, innovative and driven, aren't particularly nice people!
- Don't be nasty just to be nasty, but to be a jerk to make a difference and be successful
- This can be uncomfortable for Atlantic Canadians

Q: Will more jerks bring economic growth to Atlantic Canada?

- You can't collaborate with ''Jerkism''
- You need to encourage the people to become better
- Hard working people who are able to take the risk, know what's going on around them, etc. aren't necessary jerks
- There is an amount of jerks needed
- If you have radical ideas, you sometimes need to be radicle to get it done!

Q: You were an employee before, now you're a boss. What kind of boss are you?

- The idea of this can shake your values, but when you look at the successes of some jerks, you have to see that there is something there... there is a place for it!

Q: Where does the urgency to have more jerks come from?

- If you're not creating discomfort in organizations and institutions and making them feel like they need to push further, you can't achieve greatness
- Fear and silence is the enemy.
- We need the truth. We need credibility. We need accountability. But we can't call it being a jerk.
- Why can't we take the truth? When things are on the line, why do we tip toe around telling each other the real things?
- We might need more jerks. But can we afford to spend time worrying about who's being a jerk and who isn't?

Q: Can we afford to be jerks in Atlantic Canada?

- We don't necessarily need to change our whole culture, but could we use a few more drivers (jerks)
- The fact that only a few people here have been fired, that's a problem! Fired for pushing the envelop and speaking out isn't a bad thing.
- It's ok to tell employees (people) that they're doing something wrong!
- If you don't know that you're doing something wrong, then you can be better.
- Being a jerk doesn't mean being a horrible manager
- We need to have jerks directing their jerkiness on the process and not the people.
- "My way or the highway"
- Jerk leadership? Can jerks collaborate?
- You can run a collaborative office where everyone brings innovation to the table and have a head person that isn't Mr. Nice!
- People who are driven to succeed, may rub you the wrong way.
- Do you give a hug and say let's do change or do you take out the whip and say let's make a change?
- Listen then be a jerk!
- Jerk or ''Great Leader''?
- There's a need to be honest, that's for sure! But do we want to go back to the old systems but being jerks?
- When you need radical change, can you really do that while focusing on being nice?
- Jerks = Visionaries ???
- The research has been done and it may make you uncomfortable but it's still there!
- We need to adapt and we may need a few extra jerks around to make that happen.


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"It was such a dynamic and innovative conference. A pleasure to be a part of and very inspiring to meet all the great young leader."

- Anjali Kapoor, Managing editor, digital, The Globe and Mail

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