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Phoenix Rising: Maverick CEO Bruce Linton on Leadership, Grit, and Reinvention
How did Bruce Linton go from chicken farmer to world-class CEO? What drove him to innovate in an unproven, risk-heavy industry? And when the dollars were in the bank and the company had grown to $9 billion, how did it feel to get unceremoniously fired?
In this explosive talk, Bruce Linton reveals the story behind how he founded and grew cannabis industry leader Canopy Growth Corporation. He talks about his previous business successes, and how they influenced his unconventional leadership style. He speaks about the importance of grit, the value of riding the wave of opportunity, and his unusual and admirable insistence on embracing community values. He dives deep into the emotional journey of building a massively successful corporation, only to be dumped as CEO and left in a position to start all over again. What will Bruce do next? How will his entrepreneurial values guide him? What can we expect from a man who makes something out of nothing, who takes incredible risks only to see phenomenal rewards, who has fundamentally changed the way we look at disruptive industries?
This is a new kind of leadership talk—one that will redefine the way you think about business, opportunity, your capacity for success and failure, and your ability to rise up, again and again, and make change happen.
Not Exactly a Pickle Factory: A Playbook for Total Industry Disruption
As the founder of Canopy Growth Corporation, Bruce Linton built a massive company into the leader of the biggest, most disruptive industry we’ve seen in decades. In this captivating talk, Bruce goes deep into the machinations behind the $9 billion cannabis enterprise.
“I don’t think we’re going to build any of our businesses if we listen to the common wisdom that says you should run your business the way they run the pickle factory,” says Bruce. Instead, he focused on flexibility, collaboration, growth, customer service, and innovation. He treated his employees as allies—everyone from the cleaners to the PhDs received equity in the company—and boosted the local economies of small towns around the world by bringing industry to areas that suffered from high unemployment. It’s a disruptive way to look at a disruptive industry, and it’s absolutely fascinating.
What’s it like to build and grow a $9 billion business? Just ask Bruce Linton, founder of Canopy Growth Corporation. Bruce took on a seemingly impossible task—bringing cannabis to the highly regulated, unprepared, and untested North American market—and created an absolute juggernaut of a company, becoming the envy of business leaders everywhere ... until, out of nowhere, he was fired as CEO. But there’s nothing Bruce likes more than a challenge. “I would recommend getting fired as soon as possible,” he said recently, “because you might find so many more opportunities.” Watch out, world—we can’t wait to see which industry Bruce disrupts next.
Bruce Linton is the founder of Canopy Growth Corporation (CGC) and co-founder of Tweed Marijuana Incorporated. Canopy Growth was the first cannabis producing company in North America to be listed on a major stock exchange (TSX, July 2016) and included on a major stock index (S&P/TSX Composite Index, March 2017). Bruce’s experience as a founder, CEO, and Board member across a wide variety of enterprises influenced the positive start of Canopy Growth, which to date has enjoyed market support for capital raises of over $5.6 billion including a $5 billion CAD investment by Fortune 500 beverage company, Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ).
Bruce drove Canopy’s overall strategy, including its Canadian and international expansion efforts as well as laying the groundwork for the company’s future move into cannabis-based consumer products including cannabis-based medicines, with the founding of subsidiary Canopy Health Innovations, and into cannabis-based beverages, through a strategic partnership with Constellation Brands. Bruce has led six M&A transactions valued over $500 million total since founding CGC. After beginning his career at Newbridge Networks Corporation, he has since held positions that include General Manager and Re-Founder of Computerland.ca, President and Co-Founder of webHancer Corp, and part of the establishing team at CrossKeys Systems Corporation. He was also part of the leadership team for the NASDAQ/TSX initial public offering at CrossKeys. He is the past Chairman of the Ottawa Community Loan Foundation and a past Board of Governor for Carleton University.
Founder of Canopy Growth Corporation (CGC)