Ryan Coelho, GameOn Leadership, Toronto, ON

It was the beginning of 2011 and my life came crumbling down. I had no idea where I was going anymore, and felt lost, confused and even angry. It had been 3 years since I graduated from engineering, at which point I decided I was going to find a new path to success that I was more passionate about. However, this wasn’t happening.

Frustrated I decided to dive into leadership and personal development to see if it held any secrets. Skeptical at first, the more I began to learn the knowledge, the more profound an effect it had on me. Intensely immersed in the subject for all of 2011, by the end I felt compelled to do something I was terrified of doing… drop everything and start building something!

The idea I had was triggered from my passion of leadership development and was to create a system that helps young leaders also battling the career uncertainties I went through. I felt there wasn’t enough support for Gen Y these days and I wanted to change that.

The idea itself was a support system that composed of leadership training and coaching that revolved around the analogy of a game. I’m not quite sure where the game analogy came from, but when it did it made complete sense. Games are designed to make learning and problem solving fun and engaging, so why not do that with leadership and career development as well?

So off I went into the new year, running around the city meeting people over coffee to see if I was onto something. Hundreds of people later, the reviews were mixed, but my own view was certainly getting stronger. By March of 2012 I knew I had something and decided to start holding workshops. I still remember be terrified to tears the day I launched the invite! Uncertain if this idea would work, or for that matter, if anyone would even be interested, I wiped away the tears and just pushed myself to stay focused.

The workshop was a huge success, and so was the second. Before I knew it I was holding workshops every 2 weeks, and while still difficult to maintain, managed to train over 100 people in the program by the end of August. I was amazed to say the least! My last attempts to build my ideas usually went nowhere, but for the first time in my life this one was going somewhere. I just had to keep going.

By mid-September I knew workshops weren’t a sustainable way to build a business. While great, it still takes up a lot of time and can be a logistical nightmare. That’s when I decided I had to start leveraging technology. I had to systematize the system as well as my time. Together with an incredible team of interns, we’re taking our idea, known as GameOn Leadership, online for 2013! It’s an exciting time but also overwhelming time as well. There’s a lot at stake now and the games certainly gotten bigger. However, there’s one thing I know for sure, the game’s only gotten bigger because I started to play it at some point, and continued to play it through till today.

My advice to all entrepreneurs there is to keep moving and keep learning. The more you move, the more experience you gain, and the more experience you have, the more you can learn from what works and what doesn’t work in making your idea come to life. The only failure is giving up (even engineering proves that to us!) so just stay focused and make it happen no matter what it takes!


In celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) Canada, President and Founder of GameOn Leadership, Ryan Coelho, will be conducting a mini-workshop for interested entrepreneurs in the CYBF community.

This mini-workshop will teach you how to turn your entrepreneurship experience into a game, allowing you to bring clarity in where you’re going and leadership tools and tricks to help you get there. Ryan has trained over 150 young leaders on the program and has used them himself to generate proven results. Most notably, Ryan had the honour of speaking on the stage of TEDxRichmondHill just 8 months after starting his initiative!

So if you’re ready to find out what it takes to win in the business you’re building, you don’t want to miss this! Spots are limited, so please register today to guarantee yourself a spot.

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