Check out this great profile of G.A.P founder and CEO Bruce Poon-Tip in Profit magazine. In it, he discusses not only the remarkable growth of his adventure tourism business (there’s no precedent for a company in his market growing to G.A.P’s size) and the evolution of his leadership style.

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Launch Wrap-Up

April 4, 2008

Launch Crowd - from above

So. The launch occurred on Wednesday, April 2, 2008 at Casa Loma. Though slated to begin at 7:00 pm, a few keeners snuck in early – one even came at 5:15. The authors, with help from the Casa people, Liberty Group and a few friends, set up the event, trying to turn the (somewhat murky) castle into a lively backdrop. With the help of interior designer Reg Dohms (a family friend of Alex’s), small flowerpots on tables bloomed balloon sextets, a coatrack was transformed into an alluring replica of the book’s cover and the book-selling table proclaimed itself in a remarkably colourful fashion. We couldn’t have asked for a better set-up.

When the trickle of people coming in turned to a flood, the staff quickened their pace and dealt properly with the unexpected hundreds. People began talking about the book – which, for authors, is always welcome – and about the location. When the speeches started, it became difficult to fit everyone into the spacious library.

Dundurn representative Beth Bruder got things off to a good start, giving worthy praise to the young stalwart who helped bring Kickstart into the publishing world, Zoe Pope. Then, Andrew Feindel welcomed everyone and the other two authors (Paul Matthews and Alexander Herman) spoke about the book, how it came about and where they see it going in the future. Most of which, ye worthy blog readers, is well known from this site. Paul outlined the plan to bring Kickstart to students, to help them figure out what to do with their lives. Alex (in a somewhat more mercenary move) told people to go to their favourite bookstores and ask for the book (just to see if it’s in stock).

Eddie Greenspan then spoke about his early start as a criminal defence lawyer. He spent a good deal of his speech, however, talking about how the authors had ripped him off with the cost of parking ($5) and drinks ($3). This was all in jest of course, but, for the record, the authors would like to say that those amounts were a) not their decision and b) not going into their pockets. Greenspan helped promote the Kickstart project by explaining how important it would be for young people to learn about these early “success” stories.

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Eddie Greenspan speaking at the Kickstart launch (photo: Sarah Guerin)

The founder of GAP Adventures Bruce Poon Tip echoed these comments. He explained that, as someone who once got fired from a Dennys restaurant (and never made the McDonalds training program), it was hard to become an entrepreneur. Sometimes, he said, you feel like an island. It’s important to know that others in Canada are going through the same thing. And so, Kickstart can help with that.

Then Joe Magnotta, a former high school classmate of the authors, spoke about the CanLyme foundation. His father had had Lyme disease and he knows about its devastating effects first hand. The problem in Canada, he explained, was that there’s no awareness – Health Canada barely recognizes it as a serious issue. As a result, it’s rarely diagnosed. This makes prevention extremely difficult.

The launch was a success. They came from many generations, from many fields and from many walks of life. Some flew from Ottawa, some drove from Montreal, some skipped meetings, work, anniversary parties. We couldn’t have asked for any more. The important thing is that we sold a lot of books – the proceeds of which are going to CanLyme. And that people started talking about that awkward time in life when you don’t quite know what to do. Ideas were exchanged, experiences communicated and stories heard. Thank you all!

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Pushing Copy: Krista Stout selling Kickstart (photo: Sarah Guerin)

The Casa Loma Library

The Casa Loma library (photo: Sarah Guerin)

Alexander Herman and Paul Matthews introducing Kickstart.

Alexander Herman and Paul Matthews introducing Kickstart (photo: Sarah Guerin)

Listening to speeches in the library.

The audience listening to the speeches (photo: Sarah Guerin)

Bruce Poon Tip

Bruce Poon Tip talking about getting fired from Dennys (photo: Sarah Guerin)

Signing

The authors signing books (photo: Sarah Guerin)

As you may know, participant Bruce Poon Tip will be speaking on Wednesday night, along with lawyer Eddie Greenspan. Have a look at this segment done on him for CEO TV.

The Launch Week

March 30, 2008

As some of you may know, we have our book launch coming up this week. It will take place at Casa Loma, 1 Austin Terrace, in Toronto. It will begin at 7:00 pm on Wednesday, April 2. We are thrilled so many people have RSVP’ed, but, to tell you the truth, we are all a little nervous.

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Casa Loma in all its over-the-top glory (photo: http://boldts.net/TorJ.shtml)

Nervous, perhaps, because this is the culmination of a three year project. One that’s consumed us, at times divided us and – thanks to the great participants we’ve had – often inspired us. Way back in February of ’05, we sat down for our first interview with none other than TV personality Valerie Pringle. Alex was pretty shaky during that encounter, being the first time he’d ever been on the question-asking side of an interview. But Valerie was generous with her time and gave some great answers. She has said she’ll attend the launch, which lends the event a nice piece of symmetry.

“…the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started…”

We are also lucky enough to have two (possibly three) of our most interesting features speaking at our event. Eddie Greenspan will regale us with the ups and downs of his start in the criminal justice field. Bruce Poon Tip will talk about founding his unique eco-tourism company, GAP Adventures. Come one, come all: it’s sure to be an interesting evening.

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A young Eddie Greenspan with his wife, Suzy.