Inspirational Connection - Andreas Berger

Because there are so many amazing and impressive people that I have the privilege of meeting every single day, I have decided to start telling the world about them and what makes them remarkable. 

Over time, I'll weave in the people that I’ve met along the way because they are an important part of my journey -- the network I’ve created; the knowledge I've learned and the perspective I share. 

But to begin ... 

Inspirational Connection #1 is Dr. Andreas Berger

I first met him as I was going into a friend's BBQ over the weekend. I spotted him as I was approaching the house - he wasn't entering from the front door but instead forcing open the side gate and mustering his way in. He looked like he knew where he was going so I followed! Ha ha ... not exactly. So when the two of us emerged from the side of the house --- behind where the BBQ was cooking away - we made quite the entrance for two strangers. 

Later in the evening we got to talking and learned that we both work in corporate innovation. Andreas' story was fascinating and inspiring. Not only because of the work he's been doing and his perspective on how corporates are (or are not) innovating effectively, but also because he spent an exchange year on a farm in South Dakota. From East Germany to South Dakota ... early 2000's ... it wasn't exactly the South he was expecting ... but according to Andreas, it taught him invaluable lessons that he still carries with him today. 

Why is this so inspiring for me? 

Because I grew up on a farm in a small community in Northern Alberta and I didn’t appreciate the unique perspective that I had been given until I was in my 30’s. Back then you would have called my Dad a Farmer and my Mom a Housewife. Today they would be viewed as Entrepreneurs and Co-Founders. They first learned how to survive, then how to scale, and finally how to sustain and give back.

I’m extremely grateful for the lessons they taught me which strive to live by today – that community, giving back to your neighbor, honesty and hard work is more important than money, fame, ego or success.  

So let this be a lesson … sometimes you don’t know who you are following or what a person has to offer, but trust that a side entrance that is overgrown with shrubs coupled with a glass of wine with a complete stranger discussing the # of miles (and number of left-hand turns) from the nearest city to the farmland where you lived, can offer inspiration beyond your expectations. 

And oh, btw … we both left via the front door like the rest of the guests.