|49.5 weeks ago I read a theory that going for 50 coffees with people you’ve never met is the entrepreneur’s equivalent to the theory that doing anything for 10,000 hours will make you an expert on it. While I get the idea, 50 coffees is far easier than practicing something for ten years, and while I’m far from lazy I decided to set out on a fairly simple mission: over 50 weeks I’m inviting 50 interesting Vancouverites, most of whom I have never met before, to go for coffee. I’m using this as an exercise in networking for myself and for V.I.A. while also using it as a platform to introduce you to some people who are doing really cool stuff in the city you live in.
Meet Clint Mahlman. Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of London Drugs, as well as a “Family Member Since 1984″ as it says on his name tag. The fact that the start date of every single employee is noted on their name tag – from the Senior VP all the way down to the folks stocking the shelves – shows how their internal brand of “infectious enthusiasm and big ideas” keeps people excited about working there. It’s worn as a badge of honour and I see no better model of what makes this local company so awesome than Clint. I made my way to this conclusion after he gave me a TOUR of the London Drugs in the Village and we sat in the public square to chat. It was weeks ago when the store was just about to open, so we talked about how this location differed from others, their green initiatives like their signature “Bring Back the Pack” program and more. He let me in on the factoid that their very first location opened only a few blocks away back in 1945, where one of the viaducts is currently standing. As a bit of a self taught hack, I’m always curious how people make their way into the positions they hold, so I asked Clint what company he was the VP of before he went to work for London Drugs. His answer was that he actually started his career at the company, as a stock boy back in 1984, and that he had worked his way up to the position he’s at! I’m not about to call this man whom I hugely respect a “hack” (though I am proud to self identify as one) but he is a true testament to the value of hard work and dedication, and also of how awesome this born-and-raised Vancouver company is.
One of the things Clint’s passionate about in his work on London Drugs’ sustainable initiatives which he oversees. Our “Greenest Neighbourhood in North America” was practically built for companies like his whose waste reduction and diversion initiatives are second to none. This location achieves 95% waste diversion from landfills and since 2007 the company has recycled more than 147,000 pounds of Styrofoam. Below are some more numbers. Whoa.
Click the image below of London Drugs’ first location (as mentioned, blocks from the Village!) to check out a history lesson on London Drugs’ site which explains how and why they got into photographic equipment and so much more. In it is much inspiration about this truly awesome born-and-raised in Vancouver company, and I was honoured to have coffee with their Senior VP who is doing great things for our city and our planet!
Stay tuned for perhaps just one more 50 Coffees!