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Business Travel: Interview with D2L's John Baker

Advice for the modern business traveller from the CEO of an educational technology firm.

John Baker from D2L

In 1999, John Baker, then a student at the University of Waterloo, decided it was high time classrooms upgraded from acetate overheads to more engaging technology. Since then, D2L has helped over 15 million students and educators connect using Brightspace, a pioneering integrated learning platform, the latest generation of which launched earlier this year.

1. I always listen to great educators worldwide. I try to understand what makes them good teachers and put those ideas into our products.

2. The biggest risk I ever took was as a teenage fishing guide on Lake St. Joseph in Ontario. I ran a search party with just the moon and the stars to navigate across the wilderness.

3. In my carry-on you’ll find running shoes and a bunch of postcards that I haven’t mailed to my parents yet.

4. My business mantra is the strongest metal forms from the hottest of fires. It’s not the easy times that make a great company; it’s the big challenges and how you deal with them.

5. My eureka moment Recognizing that education was the best way to multiply my impact on the world.

6. Best place for a business lunch Raymonds in St. John’s right down on the waterfront: It’s a great meal every time.

7. My go-to gadget My GoPro for capturing things like swimming with sharks in Bora-Bora, and I probably use the Air Canada app every other day.

8. What I had to learn on the fly Everything from coding to how to build great relationships with customers.

9. In business, now is a good time To invest in learning. Associating a learning activity with a business problem can often help improve the outcome.

10. Window or aisle? In the early days, it was window because I loved to see outside when I was arriving anywhere new. Now it’s aisle because I have very long legs.



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