They believe, like us, that creativity is everywhere and lives within everyone. Through a series of 5 stories, they share how they have paved their way in the Creative Capital of Canada.
About Brenda Halloran
Brenda Halloran started her career as a nurse, and worked three jobs to make ends meet as a single mother as she lost her house after ending an abusive marriage.
She demonstrated her resilience as she served as the Mayor of the City of Waterloo, Canada from 2006 – 2014, and led the City of Waterloo through one of the most innovative periods in its history, which earned the area the most “Intelligent Community Award” in 2007 and IBM’s Smarter City Challenge in 2012.
As an advocate for Canada and as a motivational speaker, she’s had the opportunity to take international stages, talking about innovation, technology, intelligent communities, the importance of startups and creating an intelligent nation.
About Nick Benninger
Nick found his calling to become a Chef at the age of 16 working at a summer camp in northern Ontario. He fell in love with the kitchen and cooking and since then has “rooted” his career in many of the philosophies he learned in that first encounter with food service. After attending George Brown College Nick completed his apprenticeship working at kitchens throughout Ontario and finally settling back down in his hometown of Kitchener-Waterloo.
In 2008, Nick opened Uptown 21 with his wife Natalie and in 2013 the couple went on to open Taco Farm. Uptown 21 has been included in Where to Eat Canada every year since it opened, and recently Taco Farm was featured on the television show You Gotta Eat Here!
In 2016, Nick added two landmark restaurants: Marbles Restaurant and Harmony Lunch to the portfolio of kitchens that he is managing in uptown Waterloo. Having grown his brand to 4 establishments it only made sense to create an umbrella company soon 2017 Fat Sparrow Group was born.
Nick has twice appeared on the Food Network, and in 2013 his contribution to the culinary community was recognized in Waterloo Region Record’s annual 40 under 40.
In 2017, Nick joined forces with a local filmmaker creating an independently made food show showcasing the highly under celebrated 519 food scene called Nick and Taylor Make A Food Show!
Once again, in late 2018, Nick and the company he helped found, Fat Sparrow grew once more. Acquiring the Stone Crock Group in St. Jacobs would increase the portfolio to 6 restaurants, a catering company, bakery, butcher shop, 3 market stalls and a wholesale food producer totalling 220 employees.
In his spare time Nick writes a monthly column called 519 Schmecks about the local food scene in The Community Edition covering topics from equity in the kitchen to cooking over and open flame.
An early adopter and leader in the local food movement, Nick is proud to showcase the cornucopia of great ingredients and produce found right here in Waterloo Region.
About Ajoa Mintah
Ajoa Mintah is the Founder and Chief Ice Cream Maker who created Four All Ice Cream. With her dream of making handcrafted ice cream and her experience in SR&ED, Manufacturing, Engineering, and Product Development, Four All Ice Cream was born.
Her obsession with hand-crafted ice cream began during a heatwave in August 2003 when, instead of an air-conditioner she bought an ice cream machine. While using all-natural, locally- sourced ingredients, she sets out to provide a better choice for all ice cream lovers who want to indulge in a sweet treat without compromise to their well-being.
The name Four All is inspired by Ajoa's family of four's ice cream preferences. Her husband is into classic time-tested flavours, like a creamy vanilla. Her oldest daughter's milk sensitivities has her reaching for vegan or dairy-free options; raspberry sorbet is a favourite. Her youngest daughter always chooses flavours that are reminiscent of childhood; mint chip for example. While Ajoa's tastes veer towards foodie flavours inspired by interesting culinary combinations, like whiskey, caramel with spiced pecans. In dreaming up new flavours to satisfy all four of them the name Four All Ice Cream was born.
About Eric Bolton
Eric Bolton is a Cambridge based musician, performer, activist, and business owner. Celebrating 10 years of career musical pursuit, Eric has now seen artistic and business efforts lead to running a studio with a team of 14 instructors, a recording studio, a booking agency, and a performance schedule averaging 200 shows a year.
In performing, you’ll find Eric solo at many corporate events, fundraisers, and the odd restaurant, as well as with his band, Shy Harry, who just celebrated the release of a new song, ‘Wild One’. Music has proven to be an avenue to lead to more than business, but also to creating positive change across a wide demographic of folks across the Cambridge and KW community.
Through this passion for community, Eric founded and still leads Galt Love, a movement for positivity to inspire community involvement, small business growth, and cultural evolution.
About Kendra Ross
Kendra’s family spends a lot of time sitting around the kitchen table discussing and debating. Growing up this way, she learned two important things. First, clarify your point before someone defines it for you. And second, nothing’s more persuasive than a story.
Now as the VP of Marketing at Oak & Rumble, Kendra works on video marketing strategy for everyone from local tech startups, to Canada’s best loved national brands. She crunches numbers and writes lots of scripts. But the most important part of her job is helping businesses find the stories that will resonate with their audience and compel action.
Technology is changing how we go to market. What’s only gotten more important is the experience we create through the stories we tell.