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Mission Critical is a podcast hosted by Bay Street Bull Editor-in-Chief Lance Chung about the purpose and values that drive today’s most inspiring leaders. From innovative entrepreneurs to cultural game-changers, each episode will introduce you to someone new who is defining their community and redefining the status quo.

Stuart Lombard (CEO, ecobee): Do Smart Thermostats Really Make an Environmental Difference?

In this episode of Mission Critical, we dive into the world of sustainability, innovation, and entrepreneurship with a true industry pioneer, Stuart Lombard, the visionary CEO and founder of ecobee.

Stuart and Lance discuss his remarkable story of how he transformed his passion for environmental sustainability into the groundbreaking smart thermostat company, ecobee; the pivotal moments that shaped his remarkable career; and how Google’s entry into the market impacted the trajectory of his industry-defining startup.

Jay Baruchel (Actor): Does Canada Have an Identity Problem?

In an age when Canadian talent feels more prominently featured in mainstream Hollywood than ever before, actor Jay Baruchel stands as a distinct directorial and acting voice. From an early age, it was clear that he was destined for the spotlight. His breakthrough role came in the late 1990s with the critically acclaimed Canadian TV series, Popular Mechanics for Kids, where he first had the chance to showcase his quick wit to a broad national audience. Since then, Jay’s built up an impressive CV of work, including major Hollywood films like Tropic Thunder, Knocked Up, and the How to Train Your Dragon franchise.

In this episode, Jay joins Lance to talk about Canada’s role in cinema, technology’s impact on filmmaking, and his latest movie, the critically-acclaimed BlackBerry.

Ashley Alexis McFarlane (Omi Woods): What Will the Heirlooms of the Future Look Like?

Ashley Alexis McFarlane is the creative visionary and founder behind Omi Woods, a luxury jewelry brand that focuses on creating contemporary and sustainable heirlooms that celebrate African culture.

In front of a live audience, Lance and Ashley sat down to discuss her entrepreneurial journey, the significance of precious metals in African culture, and what the heirlooms of the future will look like.

Held in a live format at the Pinterest Canada headquarters in Toronto, our interview with Ashley is the latest in our Mission Critical: The Bold Conversations series in partnership with Veuve Clicquot, celebrating women entrepreneurs and leaders.

Visit the Veuve Clicquot Open Database, the first free, global open database which lists and gives visibility to women entrepreneurs globally:

For a full recap of the evening, plus photos from the evening, visit:

Paddy Cosgrave (CEO, Collision): What’s the Most Important Discussion We’re Having in Tech Right Now?

Known as the ‘Olympics of Tech,’ Collision is the brainchild of founder Paddy Cosgrave, who has built the annual tech conference into one of the biggest global gatherings of tech founders, entrepreneurs, startups, and world leaders. Since 2019, Collision has welcomed over 70,000 people to Toronto and is forecasted to have a total economic impact of $188 million over the course of its residency in Canada, to date. 

While in town for Collision 2023, Paddy sat down with Lance to talk about his humble beginnings, how to build an engaged community, and the most important discussion we’re having in tech right now. Plus, find out why he thinks Transformers 4 is one of the most significant movies ever made. 

Reetu Gupta (Ambassadress, The Gupta Group): The Hospitality Industry Needs More Diversity

This episode is presented by Bold by Veuve Clicquot as part of the Mission Critical: The Bold Conversations series, which celebrates pioneering and visionary women leaders. Check out the Bold Open Database:

Reetu Gupta is an activist, philanthropist, co-founder of Rogue Insight Capital Ltd., President of the Gupta Family Foundation, and Ambassadress of The Gupta Group. Under her leadership and that of her family, Reetu has built The Gupta Group into the largest private hotel development corporation in Canada, with over 23 properties within their ever-expanding portfolio. Filmed and recorded from their newest location, Canopy by Hilton Toronto Yorkville, Lance and Reetu discussed her experience working her way up through the business, the dynamics of running a family enterprise, and how she’s ushering in a new generation of women- and BIPOC-led hospitality professionals.

Allana Harkin (Comedian): How Can We Wield Comedy as a Tool of Activism?

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What is it that draws us to comedy? Some of our favourite experiences and memories center around moments of laughter. But beyond the obvious, perhaps another reason that explains the magnetic effect of comedy is its ability to speak to the human experience—to illuminate ways in which we are all alike, and also ways in which we are different. Today’s top comedians are masters of observation and have conquered the ability to use comedy as a trojan horse to distill the human experience and, sometimes, complex issues in a relatable and funny way. 

Today’s guest embodies the very best of what comedy is and can be. Allana Harkin is an award-winning director, producer, actor, and comedian who grew up in Hamilton, Ontario, cutting her teeth in the community as a member of an all-women comedy troupe called the Atomic Fireballs. That’s where she first met Samantha Bee, her friend and eventual partner-in-comedy when she became the producer and correspondent of the talk show, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee. In her role, she was tasked with tackling complex and politically-charged issues like global warming and abortion bans through the filter of comedy, offering a mirror to the joys and maladies of society. It’s her uncanny ability to reflect the human experience that eventually earned her an Emmy award in the Outstanding Short Form Nonfiction or Reality Series category. 

Nestled in Yorkville’s cozy and luxurious Kasa Moto restaurant, Allana joined Lance in front of an audience for another recording of Mission Critical live, presented by Veuve Clicquot, to talk about the power of comedy, her career trajectory, and how humour can be used as a force for progress and activism. Enjoy!

Domee Shi (Director, Pixar): How Can We Embrace a Transformational Mindset?

When Turning Red debuted in early 2022, Canadians rejoiced. Directed by Canadian filmmaker, animator, and Academy Award winner Domee Shi (who became the first woman to solo direct a Pixar feature film), the animated film told the story of a young Chinese-Canadian tween girl torn between meeting the expectations of her immigrant parents and her experience navigating the changes that we must confront as we come of age. It was not only a love letter to Toronto (where Domee grew up) but also one to Asian-North American communities and diaspora who continue to grapple with the realities of intergenerational and cultural trauma. It was also an ode to the often awkward, clunky, and imperfect experience of growing up, manifested through the eyes of the film’s protagonist, Meilin, who just so happens to turn into a giant red panda throughout the film. 

Presented by BOLD by Veuve Clicquot, in this episode, I spoke with Domee about self-discovery, her early influences (Spirited Away!), representation, and why transformation remains such a strong theme in her work, career, and life. 

Fatima Zaidi (CEO, Quill Inc.): How Can Podcasts Boost Business for Brands?

According to a 2021 survey conducted by The Podcast Exchange, the potential for podcasts continues to grow. Nearly 12 million Canadian adults (or 38% of the 18+ population) have listened to podcasts in the past year. Podcast listeners also over-index for being young and diverse, have higher educations, and live in households of over $100K.

In the US, these numbers are even larger with over 82 million people listening to podcasts in 2021, as reported by Statista. That number is expected to reach over 100 million listeners in 2024, which means an increasingly significant audience to market your brand to and establish your voice.

Fatima Zaidi is the founder and CEO of Quill Inc., an award-winning production agency that specializes in corporate audio, and CoHost, a podcast growth and analytics tool. She actually helped us get on our feet with Mission Critical and, suffice to say, is a leading voice on the matter. 

Hosted on-site at Toronto’s Valerie located in Hotel X, Fatima joined Lance at the first live taping of Mission Critical: The Bold Conversations in partnership with Veuve Clicquot. Together, they discussed the growth of the audio format, what businesses should know before starting a podcast, and how they can amplify your marketing strategy.

Leah MacNab (Managing Director, NBA Canada): How to Lead a Sports Organization With Empathy and Impact

If you’re a basketball fan and a Canadian, few experiences will ever be able to match what happened in the summer of 2019. In the best-of-seven playoff series, the Toronto Raptors (Canada’s only basketball team) went on to defeat two-time defending and six-time NBA championship winners the Golden State Warriors. It was a season of many firsts, including the first championship win for the Toronto Raptors, as well as the first win by any NBA team based outside of the States. It was also a barometer of basketball’s growing influence within Canada’s sports culture ecosystem, historically dominated by hockey. 

Much of that influence can be attributed to the efforts made on the ground and from the offices of NBA Canada, led by Managing Director (and this episode’s guest), Leah MacNab. 

The first woman in the Managing Director position in Canada, Leah’s responsibilities are no small undertaking. Since joining in 2019, she has overseen the development and growth of the league’s business in Canada, including television and digital media, marketing and retail partnerships, licensing, special events, and basketball development. Under her leadership and tenure, the league’s revenue and marketable database in Canada have grown significantly.

In the third installment of the Mission Critical Live podcast series, Lance was joined by Leah in front of an intimate audience of entrepreneurs and leaders at Toronto’s Clio social club to talk about advocating for yourself, what responsibilities an organization like NBA Canada has to its community, and the ways in which the league is leveraging technology to drive a more streamlined fan experience.

Ian Rosen (President, Harry Rosen): How to Lead a Family Empire Into the Future

There are a handful of consumer brands here in Canada that have established themselves as captains of their respective industries. Iconic institutions that have not only withstood the test of time but have also known how to adapt and evolve with the changing tides of culture and commerce. Harry Rosen is one of them. 

Take a stroll in any high-end mall, financial district, or along a luxurious retail promenade here in Canada and chances are, you’ll see one of their instantly recognizable shopping bags, stuffed with garments from today’s most revered menswear brands like Tom Ford, Brunello Cucinelli, Loro Piana, Zegna, and more. And despite their ascent to the top of the industry, Harry Rosen has managed to operate as a family business since they were established by their namesake founder in 1954. Fast-forward to 2022 and they’re still at the top of their game. From outfitting Prime Ministers and NBA legends to dressing today’s most stylish men, their influence is sizeable. 

On this episode, Lance is joined by Ian Rosen, President, COO, and third-generation leader at the iconic institution. In the second installment of our Mission Critical live podcast series, Ian joined Lance in front of an intimate crowd of entrepreneurs and leaders at Toronto’s Clio social club to talk about his style essentials, leading a heritage brand into the future, and the key to successfully working with your family.