What does it mean to be resilient?
It’s a word that is often said at many events these days, from conferences on governance to meetups around the environment. Startup Grind Montreal’s latest edition was no exception, but instead of just having words, there were biographies and actions that resonated with it.
The speakers embodied resilience. Melanie Joly came from, in her words, almost nothing on the political front, to being the runner-up to Montreal’s mayoral contest. She considered what she did as being akin to being at the top of a political startup, a lean organization with little resources that still managed to achieve great results.
Meanwhile, Christine Renaud had built E-180, an online platform that connects people looking for mutual learning over coffee, before she had ever known what really being a tech entrepreneur meant.
Christine brought up how she got into entrepreneurship: something somebody at the event termed “aggressive learning." She’s a big fan of jumping into things and learning by doing, instead of hesitating around the edges—so far that’s worked for her, as she’s jumped from a Master’s degree to being a technology entrepreneur.
Christine talked about how she’s gone from starting from the ground up to a brand that acts in of itself to attract top talent. She was adamant that this was a virtuous cycle of great talent bringing in great talent, something to build towards by creating something great that attracts people, something Melanie concurred with. E-180 has been built on that vision-driven process. Christine has been on a voyage, and while the journey’s been filled with struggle, but she’s emerged from it stronger than ever.
Melanie can sympathize with this point. She knew nothing about politics before she got into her political startup. The mainstream media ignored her political launch and she seemed doomed to watch from the sidelines—but instead of sulking away, she assembled a militia of digital advocates who constantly tweeted at journalists about what she was doing, turning the tide around for her.
She’s very much a part of the new digital generation, and her particular use of technology served as an insightful use case of how technology can interplay with different traditional elements of society. She dove into how crucial it was to have a digital presence, highlighting that Twitter was where all of the thought leaders and influencers resided.
Both of them set high standards for themselves, refused to let bumps on the road tear them down, and looked forward to growing. Melanie is recruiting volunteers for her political campaign. Christine is hiring people for E-180 as it grows stronger with every passing week. In the end, what resilience meant was having the courage to leap into new ventures, and come out of it with a story to share.