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Community Advisor Feature: Laura Sullivan

Published: Monday, May 10th, 2021

Laura Sullivan Graphic

Mentorship is an important part of the Junction program. The founders in this spring’s Junction cohort are receiving invaluable mentorship from an expanded team of Community Advisors — a group of Calgary entrepreneurs and innovators who have the knowledge and experience to help them grow. The first feature for this cohort is Laura Sullivan!

Laura’s first taste of tech and innovation came when she got involved with an early-stage venture backed company while completing her MBA degree. That experience snowballed into many years of consulting for early-stage tech companies.

After spending some time as a program manager, with what was Calgary Technologies Inc. at the time, she realized how much she enjoyed working directly with startups. Since then, she’s worked in various capacities to help lay the foundations for early-stage companies.

These days, Laura is wrapping up an Interim COO position with TakeMeTuit Inc., where she wears many hats: managing all the finance activity, helping the product team, setting up sales processes — essentially laying the groundwork for the company to thrive. 

Becoming an advisor for Junction was a natural fit — she serves on Platform Calgary's board and was already mentoring founders both formally, through the Venture Mentoring Service of Alberta, and informally. 

Laura has also volunteered with corporate and non-profit boards, learning valuable lessons in governance that she shares with founders.

Having been personally involved with many early-stage companies, she sees the value in growing Calgary’s tech and innovation ecosystem — and fully supports Platform’s vision to triple the size of our city’s tech startup sector in the next ten years. 

“I think what we’ve realized is that we have to have a diversified economy, that technology jobs are really good high quality jobs that are well worth fighting for and building.”

She says the community needs people who are willing to take innovative risks that will lead to new jobs. 

The way to do this is by making entrepreneurship accessible to Calgarians, “supporting the people who have walked around all their lives thinking ‘I have a lot to offer, what can I do?’”

She says the people who exude entrepreneurial spirit are what makes Calgary a great place to be.

With so many entrepreneurial minds in Calgary already, she believes as more companies start seeing high levels of success, the exchange of support and guidance between those more established companies and the ones in earlier stages will ultimately create a rich ecosystem.

Laura’s recommendations:Read, learn and take advantage of the knowledge that’s out there  — your problem has been solved before, just look for it.” Some books that have staying power: Start With Why by Simon Sinek and The Gazelle Group’s work.