Meet the business leaders happy to admit to their mistakes

Here's a list of recent speakers at a Toronto F--kup Nights event and what they thought of the process.

The provocatively named speaker series focuses on business and entrepreneurship and involves people sharing stories of making mistakes at work in front of a crowd of strangers.   

The series was started in Mexico City and has become something of a global phenomenon as events under its name have been held in over 250 cities and 80 countries. Now it's taking root in Canada, with chapters established in eight cities so far.

Would you volunteer to share a story of failure?  Below meet the people who shared their stories for F--kup Nights with CBC, and meet some highly engaging speakers from past events. 

Kim Kirton

Co-Founder and CEO, UnCo

Clothing entrepreneur Kim Kirton feels making mistakes is part of being an entrepreneur. (John Lesavage/CBC)

Kirton runs UnCo, a fashion company for environmentally conscious women, helping them build capsule wardrobes of between six and 12 pieces that can be worn in multiple combinations.

While her business is based online, she told a story about taking a lease on a temporary show room, and getting kicked out after the landlord discovered she didn't have rental insurance.  Kirton explains trying to recover from the mistake while dealing with customers — and how it later impacted her self-esteem.

Why she signed up

Kirton feels making mistakes is part of being an entrepreneur. "It's definitely a process" she says " I feel like every day there's a mistake or a f--k up happening, but the point of it is to learn from it and move fast and like to not do it again".

In addition to wanting to share that lesson to help others Kirton wants stop people from being hard on themselves after things go wrong. "I really want people to walk away feeling like yes I made a mistake but it does mean you as a human are a horrible person."

How she felt after

"It was good, it was definitely therapeutic" says Kirton, "I feel better after speaking my truth and just being honest."

Kim Kirton's speech

5 years ago
Duration 8:38
Featured VideoThe founder of fashion line Unco talks about her biggest mistake in launching her business, and what she learned along the way.

Chris Carder

 Entrepreneur In Residence at Schulich School of Business and York University

When Chris Carder landed a huge deal to organize a website for Blue Jays star pitcher Roger Clemons in the 1990's, things quickly went afoul, and the experience taught him valuable business lessons. (James Dunne/CBC)

Chris Carder is a serial entrepreneur with more than two decades of experience in the tech sector. In one of his earliest ventures, he was building websites for star athletes to help them sell autographed merchandise. 

When Carder landed a huge deal to do that for Blue Jays star pitcher Roger Clemens in the 1990s, things quickly went afoul. He explains what happened, what it the cost  him and his partner, and reveals the silver lining in this cloud over his early career.   

Why he signed up

When it comes to making mistakes, Carder says "at this point it's probably 5,000-plus times that I f--ked up with my businesses while building them over the years."

To him, sharing stories of mistakes helps the entire local start up community because it's knowledge that might "accelerate the next person who's listening to it you know three years faster."

"I was being mentored at an early age," he adds. "Now I want to pay that back and help other people with the same thing."

How he felt after

"The most fun part was that you know I don't think anyone really thought there would be such a dramatic twist" says Carder. "There was almost a little tiny bit of a gasp but came from the audience when they heard the good things that came out of that glorious f--kup".

Chris Carder on failure

5 years ago
Duration 13:24
Featured VideoEntrepreneur Chris Carder explains how one of his startup companies failed when a star athlete stopped working with them. But in retrospect, he now says that was one of the best things that happened to his career.

Cherry Rose Tan

Performance and leadership coach for entrepreneurs

Cherry Rose Tan works to promote mental health in the business sector and help other entrepreneurs achieve success and work life balance. (John Lesavage/CBC)

Cherry Rose Tan shared her experience of being a workaholic, which drove her to near exhaustion and created serious health issues.  She also revealed the toll building a start up took on some of her employees, and the personal sacrifices they made for the company.

Tan now works to promote mental health in the business sector and help other entrepreneurs achieve success and work life balance.

Why she signed up

Tan has been in business on her own for 14 years and entrepreneurship is in her blood.  "I'm a fifth-generation entrepreneur, so it runs in my family," says Tan. One family member who was also an entrepreneur inspired her to speak at F--kup Nights; her brother. "I'm here actually in memory of him," Tan confides, "because he passed away very recently."

Tan also sees a connection between her own challenges and the recent suicides of celebrities Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade.

"Every single person goes through a time when they are stressed out, they go through a time of doubt." That's why she says her goal is "to mobilize these stories and take the stigma out of it."

How she felt after

"Honestly it feels amazing …. I feel so grateful if was received so well."

Cherry Rose Tan

5 years ago
Duration 13:05
Featured VideoLeadership coach shares her experiences of being a workaholic, which drove her to near exhaustion and created serious health issues down the line.

Mo​ Dezyanian

President,  Empathy Inc.  

Vivian Kaye

CEO, KinkyCurlyYaki

Joseph Ng

CEO and Co-founder, Umoro 

K​im Parnell

CEO of Blank

James Svetec

Owner and Founder, BNB Mastery Program

Sharon Vinderine

CEO, Parent Tested Parent Approved

Raymond Wali

CEO, The World is Global