Job Title: Owner, IN.FORM
Why He’s Top 40: He’s bootstrapping a career as a leadership coach and helping young people find their own paths.
If you could change one thing about Edmonton, what would it be? “Walkability. I think there’s nothing better for cities or people or for me. I just love cities you can walk in.”
When Tyler Waye left his post as an account manager with the Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club, 1,700 other people applied for the gig. For fans of the franchise – especially those with leadership ambitions, like himself – it was a dream job.
“On paper, this job with the Oilers was perfect; it’s a great organization. But it just didn’t feel right to me,” says Waye. To understand why it wasn’t a fit, he embarked on a “personal project” to understand career development and fulfillment. Waye read books, but also wrote to the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies to ask how they’d found success.
Many wrote back, and their responses encouraged Waye to pursue his interests in both entrepreneurship and leadership, which had been evident since he began playing and coaching competitive football in high school. He has also coached at Bishop’s University in Quebec, the University of Alberta, Strathcona High School and Holy Trinity Catholic High School.
Now, Waye had a vision: To start a company to help others develop leadership skills and career momentum. He also had a plan – hone his skills with several other management jobs, complete a master’s degree in leadership and self-publish a book (I Went to School That Long for This?!: The Real Career Story … and How to Change It, which was released on Amazon.com in September 2013).
In 2014, Waye took the entrepreneurial plunge. Through his professional development agency, IN.FORM, he delivers training seminars for diverse organizations. He also branched into youth leadership, co-creating a non-profit called WE Stand, which strives to help young people find their paths. At its first event, a one-day leadership summit in Edmonton, 1,600 students in Grades 9 to 12 attended. Next year, it will host a similar event in Shanghai.
Momentum is building and, recently, Waye hired his first employee. But he has no plans right now to become a Fortune 500 corporation.
“At the end of the day, leading thought in this area is more important than growing a big machine.”