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Not Alone: Entrepreneurship & Mental Illness - An Evening of Storytelling

  • 720 Bathurst Street Toronto, ON, M5S 2R4 Canada (map)

On November 23, come join 100 of your fellow Toronto entrepreneurs for an evening of storytelling and sharing.

A recent study has showed that entrepreneurs are twice as likely as the general population to suffer from depression, almost 3x as likely to have bipolar disease. Almost every entrepreneur can relate to feelings of intense anxiety.

Yet these stories remain untold and unshared. We suffer in silence, afraid to take off the mask and admit that we're struggling. We have to put on a shiny, happy face for our employees, our investors, our customers... the whole world. And that makes the struggle even harder.

It's time to open up the dialogue. It's time to remove the stigmas and taboos around mental illness in the world of entrepreneurship.

On this intimate evening, 4 prominent local entrepreneurs will share their stories: stories of struggle, stories of loss, stories of darkness, and stories of pain. Some will be sharing their story for the first time, some for the first time in public.

They'll also share stories of their healing journey, and how they coped or are coping with mental illness.

You'll also be invited to share your own stories of struggle - should you feel comfortable - in a safe, welcoming environment.

Let's normalize the conversation around mental illness. Let's get talking.

NOTE: although this evening is by and for entrepreneurs, all are welcome.


Jayson Gaignard

Just a few years ago, Jayson was stuck on the entrepreneurial ‘hamster wheel’ building a business he hated, to buy things he didn't need, to impress people he didn't even like.

Bankrupt on every level, rock bottom became the solid foundation on which he rebuilt his life. Fast forward to today, and his life - as the founder of Mastermind Talks and host of the Community Made podcast - is virtually unrecognizable from what it was only a few short years ago.

Sang Kim

Sang is a man who wears many hats: he's launched some of the best known modern Japanese and Korean restaurant brands in Toronto.

He's been LCBO’s Featured Chef; CNE's Celebrity Chef; USDA/Taste U.S. Chef Ambassador to the RC Show; South Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs Chef of Hangawi. He appears regularly on CTV's popular national daytime talk show, THE SOCIAL. His own cooking talk show, DISHING IT WITH CHEF SANG, where he assists non-professional cooks (influencers, disruptors, and industry leaders from all walks of life) create their favourite dish, will launch in 2018, on TAG TV.

He is also an accomplished writer and the creator of SUSHI MAKING FOR THE SOUL, Canada's most popular hands-on sushi workshops. With over 18,000+ participants since its inception in 2008, it is widely lauded for the work it does to raise awareness around food literacy and child poverty issues.

Debbie Horovitch

Debbie Horovitch has been an entrepreneur in Toronto for the last 10 years, after a 15-year career as a media buyer for Toronto advertising agencies, and a lifetime passion for media channels and advertising.

Her business helps storytellers find the confidence to produce authentic, compelling, and effective content and publish it in multiple formats, to create a groundswell of marketplace support for their cause and business. Since leaving her career she has consulted and created training programs in social media community management and advertising strategies for The Globe and Mail, Nissan Cars, and a variety of agency client brands and small businesses, including individual professionals.

As a Fairy Godmother Book Publisher & Author Promoter, in the last 3 years she has published and helped more than 30 people become bestselling book authors.

Megan Rafuse

Megan is a therapist and entrepreneur focusing on helping ambitious leaders believe they are enough.

Originally from Cape Breton, she’s the Founder of Shift Collab, an integrated healthcare company that offers both therapy and mental wellness education in a simple, relatable, and actionable way.

Since 2016, Megan has taken Shift from a small practice to a team of 40 therapists and educators, and has made the company a leading provider of therapy and wellness training to top companies, institutions, and insurance groups across North America.

Outside of the the firm, Megan is active in the entrepreneurial community as a mentor and advisor, and is the proud dog mom of Arthur, a joyous Boston Terrier.


Mike Brcic

Mike is a Toronto-based serial entrepreneur who is passionate about supporting the Toronto entrepreneur scene and building community. His 1st business, Sacred Rides, is now in its 22nd year and is ranked "#1 Mountain Bike Tour Company on Earth" by both National Geographic Adventure and Outside magazines.

His latest business, Mastermind Adventures, brings together inspiring entrepreneurs in spectacular places around the world, for learning, connection and incredible adventures.

Mike is also the former Dean of Social Enterprise at the world-renowned Centre for Social Innovation, former Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Toronto Public Library, a devoted husband, and father of three incredible kids.

Jordan Axani

Jordan is a serial entrepreneur that helps companies and institutions build cultures of mental wellness.

He leads Shift Collab with Megan, and is responsible for its educational programming and product development — including its post-secondary student benefits program, Real Campus, offering relevant, innovative mental wellness support to nearly 200,000 enrolled members. He also speaks internationally and is a 3-time TEDx alumni.

Jordan is active in various entrepreneurship communities, often supporting leaders in sharing their BS-free stories.

Megan Rafuse (see above)