To CEOs of startups — Not only are you the CEO, but you are also the cook, the janitor, the electrician, and everything else in-between. You wear a lot of hats and that’s a good thing.
I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Corey Giasson, CEO of MustGrow. He is an entrepreneur that has been focused on the resource, agriculture and real estate industry for the past 20 years. His business experience is spread across a diverse array of industries including oil and gas, fertilizer, primary/secondary agriculture, and real estate investing. Corey’s experience includes co-founding and operating a private oil and gas company, executive management in a public junior resource company, and management in a large multinational company.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us the story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I grew up on a farm in Canada, so it’s safe to say farming and entrepreneurship is in my blood and has made me what I am today. After college, I ventured into the corporate world, but being an entrepreneur was still very much a big part of my roots. After a couple of years, I realized I didn’t love my job in the corporate world and decided to follow my entrepreneurial spirit.
I left a secure job to follow my passion for entrepreneurship, which allowed me to build startups and my very own junior companies. Now I have a job that makes me excited every morning, I’m proud of the products we’re putting into the market. My passion is what led me to MustGrow, we are taking natural compounds from mustard seeds and turning them into biopesticides that treat the soil pre-plant, transforming both agriculture and food. To me, there’s nothing more important than food production because we all need to eat and helping farmers do so in an environmentally sustainable way makes me very excited.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
I think the most interesting thing that happened to me was also the scariest when I left my standard corporate job to follow my passion and join the junior microcap world, where you are really taking a risk that may not have a great job security. The decision wasn’t easy since I had a stable job where I was comfortable, but the idea of moving towards something more independent that could make a big difference excited me — and still does! After convincing my wife, I left the corporate world.
Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Are there takeaways or lessons that others can learn from that?
It really does come down to education. Getting the proper education I needed was a key for success, and there’s not a day in my life where I’m not learning something new. My MBA allowed me to get a steady job and the tools to find something that I love. One of the key things I learned was that if you’re not having fun getting up every day, find something that excites you and do it. Since I took the leap of faith to do something I am passionate about, I haven’t worked a day in my life.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
A lot of people believe that because you are a CEO you aren’t capable of making mistakes. The truth couldn’t be more different — there is room for mistakes and the growth that comes with them, at any point of your career. The most embarrassing mistake I made early in my career — and that I continue to make — is as simple as typos in important emails. The lesson I learned is that anyone can make mistakes but they make you more prepared. Now, I find myself double-checking my spelling and even my tone when addressing my peers.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
MustGrow is my exciting project! We’re transforming not just agriculture but food in general. Our company taking natural compounds from mustard seeds and turning them into a biopesticide that treats the soil pre-plant for high-value crops such as in fruit and vegetables.
It excites me to know that we are creating a natural organic biopesticide that is just as effective as synthetic chemicals but without the harmful toxins. We are helping society in general and bringing safer food to the table, and selfishly I’m happy as my kids have healthier options than what I had as a child.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became CEO”? Please share a story or example for each.
- It’s a lot of work! You won’t reach success overnight and you’ll have to put a lot of effort into it — even when you are not “on the clock”.
- To CEOs of startups — Not only are you the CEO, but you are also the cook, the janitor, the electrician, and everything else in-between. You wear a lot of hats and that’s a good thing.
- Be prepared to never take a holiday again where you shut everything off — you’re never fully off as a CEO, you’ll have to work here and there. Some people might not like to hear this, but if you do what you love it doesn’t feel like work!
- Surround yourself with people that are smarter than you and that will disagree with you. You don’t know everything and you need to leverage other people’s expertise and opinion to move forward.
- Ask a lot of questions, there are no dumb questions. You’re always learning.
What advice would you give to your colleagues to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Be passionate about what you are doing and you’ll never work a day in your life. When I became an entrepreneur I didn’t work anymore. This isn’t work, this is life.
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
When I left a large corporate job I was the VP of business development. The CEO at my last job was my mentor, and I still think about what I learned from him daily. He gave me great pointers and served as a counselor. As a young guy, I didn’t think about risks, and he taught me how to look for details. I live by his words every day.
If you could start a movement that would enhance people’s lives in some way, what would it be? You never know what your idea can trigger!
I’d like to think I’ve already started my movement! I’d hope I see the day when everyone has access to clean and healthy food that has not been grown by harmful chemicals that have been banded. That’s when I’ll know I really made a difference.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
You can find me and MustGrow here:
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/corey-giasson-a30218ab/?originalSubdomain=ca
- Company Website: https://mustgrow.ca/