Sam is an overachiever. But he's really down to earth! He's the cofounder and CEO of Wellnext, a tech startup showing companies the importance of investing in employee wellness and helping them foster it. He's an original cofounder of Startup Edmonton and is very active in the entrepreneurial community in Edmonton. While his background is more business related, he's also heavily involved in the arts and culture scene, as board chair for 3 years for the Fringe Festival, and serving on other boards like Premier's Council on Culture. Of course, he's been named Top 40 Under 40 and also received the Alumni Horizon Award from University of Alberta.
Everyone else featured on The Noteworthy is already an acquaintance of mine, so Sam was one of the first "strangers" that agreed to meet. With such a long list of accolades, I was prepared to feel like an underachiever after our lunch. I was really surprised when the first thing he said was that he was nervous that he'll end up having nothing interesting to add to The Noteworthy (what?). I'm interested to see how other "strangers" will be when I meet them - a social experiment aspect to this blog is pretty exciting.
Sam's Favourite Places
He couldn't think of any favourite things, but he made up for it with the seemingly endless places he loves in Edmonton.
eat// Canteen - 10522-124 Street
Sam loves the complexity of the food at Canteen. You can always trust that the variety of textures and flavours will end up being delicious. Must share: corn fritters!
drink// Credo - 10134-104 Street
Sam's words: "Who doesn't love a coffee at Credo?"
eat// Dadeo - 10548 Whyte Avenue
Besides their tasty food, Sam assures me that the Alley Kat Chili Lime beer (made just for Dadeo) is the best thing on a hot summer day, or for a warm up in the winter.
drink// Red Star - 10534 Jasper Avenue
Tuesday is Sam's favourite day to go to Red Star because his friend Thomas Scott is DJing and they'll serve him and his friends a special drink: ginger ale, Jameson whisky, and bitters.
drink// Duggan's Boundary - 9013-88 Avenue
If he's going to go to a neighbourhood pub, this one is his favourite. Conveniently located in... you guessed it... his neighbourhood!
eat// New York Bagel Cafe - 8430 Gateway Blvd
This cozy spot is tough to get a table at, so you have to time it right. It's the best place to go after a stroll around Old Strathcona Farmer's Market.
eat// The Next Act - 8224 104 Street
He claims he's eaten there far too many times in the past 10 years. It's such a staple in the arts community, everyone ends up there after shows.
go// The Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival
It would be wrong if he didn't mention this. To Sam, it's a bittersweet time of year. It's the Fringe, which is 11 days of so much fun, but it's also the end of summer (and back to school as a kid).
Sam's Recommended Reads
Sam loves reading. When he was a kid he'd stay up late in his room reading books when he should be sleeping. It would be hard to get mad at your child if they did that.
read// The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
He first read this when he was 10 years old and lot of the jokes were lost on him. But he's read it many times since then and highly recommends it.
read// Travels With Charley by John Steinbeck
It makes you fall in love with America. Reading this book got Sam interested in meeting new people and learning their stories (like The Noteworthy!)
read// Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
Sam loves dinosaurs and visiting Tyrell Museum. He claims he's still a 12 year old boy inside.
Sam's Words of Wisdom
He gets asked for advice about being an entrepreneur all the time. There's a few things that he tries to keep in mind for himself: If it was easy, someone would have done it already. Everything is within reach, but it might take a lot of work to get it. And as an entrepreneur, you can't be afraid to fail, but thinking about failure takes away energy that could be put towards success. Sam's mantra: You've got this.