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Rock Star Mentors

As an entrepreneur, I continuously attempt to grow my personal mentor network. How do I make that happen? Sometimes, you just have to ask.

In June 2014, I had the opportunity to attend 48 Hours in the Valley, the two-day mentoring event hosted by C100, the Canadian support network in Silicon Valley. While in San Francisco, I attended many fireside chats and several private events, such as Happy Hour with Don Mattrick, CEO of Zynga, and dinner at the home of Don Listwin, former executive VP of Cisco.

What an amazing opportunity to meet such influential and driven individuals while surrounded by the positive energy of other motivated entrepreneurs and mentors from Canada. I’d name some, but there are simply too many to mention.

When C100 wrapped up, I decided to relax on Venice Beach in Los Angeles for a few days. Considering that I had traveled all this way, I thought I may as well look up a few friends from Newfoundland and Labrador, so I made a phone call or two. Sure enough, as is the case from every other Newfoundlander, the answer was, “Sure b’y, come on over.” (Not exactly those words, but you get the point.)

A few hours later, I was having coffee with Shannon Tweed at her beautiful Beverly Hills home.

We were chatting about all things Newfoundland, such as the success of Republic Of Doyle and her appearances on the show. The Newfoundland- born model, actor and former Playmate also shared her successes and aspirations for her latest project, Shannon & Sophie, a show for W Network she has undertaken with her daughter. I shared our goals for the StartupNL entrepreneurial community.

Shannon then asked if I’d like to see the famous Gene Simmons office and of course I jumped at the opportunity to visit the sanctum of the KISS bass player. She said, “One sec.” She hit speed-dial on her phone and said, “Hubby, I have a friend here that would like to see your office.”

Two minutes later, we were in the famous office taking selfies and exploring everything KISS. You’d think this would be enough excitement, but not when you’re at the Tweed/Simmons home. Minutes later, who should appear but Mr. Gene Simmons himself. For the next 30 minutes or so, I had the chance to talk to the Marketing and Finance Wizard himself about all sorts of things such as his new book, upcoming TV shows, and everything else that I could think of. Platform boots and makeup aside, he is a shrewd businessman.

What’s important about all of this? Of course it was an experience that I’ll never forget. But more importantly, if you desire to learn from a mentor, just ask. Don, Don, Gene, and Shannon are indeed influential but they are all reachable if you try hard enough.

Sometimes we just have to ask!

Jason Janes
Founder, Juniper BBQ Scraper Ltd.