April 27, 2022

How big ideas and bold leaders are shaping today’s world

The highly anticipated in-person Jarislowsky Dinner and Discussion
How big ideas and bold leaders are shaping today’s world
From left to right: Patrick Lor, Mr. Richard Haskayne, Bryan De Lottinville, Allison Grafton, Heather Culbert and Dean Jim Dewald

The Jarislowsky Dinner and Discussion is an impactful event that appeals to business leaders and is of great value for Haskayne MBA and EMBA students. This intimate evening is held at the Petroleum Club every academic year and features an expert panel followed by dinner and table discussions. The event allows students to explore current topics and have meaningful conversations with other students and industry leaders.

After nearly two years of virtual events, the Jarislowsky co-fellows Heather Culbert and Patrick Lor were excited to connect in person at the Jarislowsky Dinner and Discussion event on April 4, 2022.  The topic for the dinner was how big ideas and bold leaders are shaping today’s world.  This event welcomed more than 30 high-caliber business professionals as table hosts, who engaged in keen discussions with the future leaders (MBA and EMBA students) about business challenges and opportunities facing today’s world, sharing knowledge and experience to learn together.  The Jarislowsky co-fellows were also pleased to welcome Mr. Richard Haskayne and Dean Jim Dewald to the event.

The co-fellows impeccably moderated the panel discussion with Allison Grafton (Founder and President at Rockwood Custom Homes) and Bryan De Lottinville (Founder and Executive Chairperson, Benevity) as panelists. Heather and Patrick engaged their guests in discussions about their success journey, challenges, failures, career pivots, mental health, diversity, and advice for the MBA and EMBA students in attendance.

The evening began with a riveting discussion with the co-fellows and panelist De Lottinville about his career journey, from taking a pay cut and moving across the country to creating a billion-dollar company (Benevity), which has helped change the economic stance of Calgary. De Lottinville also discussed how leaders and organizations should create value in their communities: by letting people gain a sense of grassroots engagement and personal efficacy around doing the right thing, and by companies  executing their vision, to act as a catalyst to  develop the culture of goodness into the world.

Grafton then talked about her struggles as a woman in business. She referred to doubt and fear as our greatest bogeyperson. Although she was afraid of quitting her investment banking job, she knew she had to pursue her passion and face it with courage by surrounding herself with supportive people. Grafton stated that you have to be the first person to remove your doubt and advised the MBA and EMBA students to start by figuring out what your fear is, for only then will doubt be contained.

Grafton had a no-holds barred attitude when it comes to networking: Don’t take No for an answer, because it doesn’t mean no: it just means not yet. De Lottinville advised students to manage expectations after graduation by having a growth mindset. Both Grafton and Culbert had experience with negative work environments, and both recommended the importance of recognizing it when it happens: one must either demand change or accept that it is not the right space for developing your career. Finally, De Lottinville and Grafton both recommended self-improvement through being vulnerable, authentic, accountable, and transparent.

During the question-and-answer session with the MBA and EMBA students, the entire panel discussed networking, expectations after graduation, negative work environments, and self-improvement.

Before the evening was over, Dean Jim Dewald gave a heartfelt thank you to the outgoing fellow Heather Culbert, for her dedicated work on the Jarislowsky portfolio for the previous two years. Culbert’s farewell speech was one of the highlights of the evening. She shared with the audience her advice on how to differentiate yourself: have a collaborative mindset, deliver more than is expected, be positive and resourceful, network, and take on new projects.

The MBA and EMBA students enjoyed hearing from two entrepreneur panelists who have built their businesses from the ground up and found their perspectives and advice refreshing.


“I was greatly inspired by Bryan's success story at Benevity. When I checked Benevity's website during the dinner, it intrigues me to see that what they do is very similar to an initiative I have been developing. I look forward to another opportunity to meet Bryan again, one on one.” - Odunayo Oladugba, EMBA Student

"Thank you, Allison! You inspire women of today to have immense confidence in self. Listening to you made me introspect the purpose I want to achieve through my education. Even after having achieved so much in life, your humility and kindness to help students is commendable. Thank you for coming to the Jarislowsky Dinner and Discussion!" - Nishtha Baranwal, MBA Student


The Canadian Centre for Advanced Leadership in Business would like to thank the Jarislowsky co-fellows, Heather Culbert, Patrick Lor, dean Jim Dewald and all the MBA students in attendance for being such engaged participants.

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