Talking in front of people…LIVE!

I’m one of those weird introverts who actually enjoys public speaking, especially when it’s on a topic I’m interested or passionate in! I give no shits and go all in, I’m happy to share the good, the bad, my energy and excitement. I’m honest and not afraid to talk about failure or how I really feel. People have told me that’s what makes me a great speaker.

I minored in Speech Communication at the University of Waterloo because I knew the skill set would be very valuable in my life as an entrepreneur and would also set me apart from all my peers. The courses included were things like public speaking, interpersonal communication, interviewing, persuasion, conflict management, small group communication and more.

I’ve gone to more pitch events than I can remember, usually placing or winning. I was able to raise seed capital for my startup with a super rough alpha based solely on my pitch and enthusiasm, which was (and still is) unheard of in this area (the Waterloo region).

While I was in the first cohort of the Communitech Hyperdrive Accelerator for my startup Will Pwn 4 Food the mentors and pitch coaches would use me as the example of the perfect pitch, and I always strived to make it better.

I won best startup pitch at the International Startup Festival, won the pitch competition at the Startup Smackdown (guest judged by Brad Feld), won 2nd place at the Launchpad50k competition (and took people’s choice award), was a finalist at the Start Me Up 100k BackBone Magazine Pitch competition, I placed in the Canada 3.0 pitch competition, and most recently won the “Crowie” at DemoCampGuelph. I even won best pitch/failure at FailCamp! I’ve been asked to speak at Velocity several times and I always enjoy the chance to get up and pitch whatever cool idea I’m working on at the time.


In relation to public speaking I recently spent 16 months teaching international students in a post-grad program at a local college with class sizes ranging from 15-35 students. I taught the MEAN stack, Google Analytics & SEO, Customer Needs & Requirements (how to be a BA), and oversaw the program’s capstone project course.

Here is what one student had to say about me:

“Ivan is a one-of-a-kind professor with a ton of valuable software development experience. He teaches in a very practical way which makes learning fun. He made me enjoy programming more for sure, now I don’t just try to write code, but I strive to write clean and efficient code the best way I can.

I remember my Capstone project vividly, He was always there to answer my questions (I had lots), kindly helping me review my code and pointing out ways I could improve it and make it more efficient, I learnt a lot from him.

If you put in the effort and you get stuck he’s always very patient and willing to help out and won’t stop until you understand.

” - Damilola Bello, student

Other Speaking Experiences

I started my first bit of public speaking as far back as grade 6 when there were inter-school speech competitions. A few years ago my friend asked me to be the officiant of his wedding and do the ceremony, which I take as a great honour and vote of confidence on my speech writing and speaking skills! I’ve been on the radio a number of times discussing various startups and had a lot of fun doing it!

I’ve also manned a lot of tradeshow booths for my various startups. I even manned the Microsoft Innovation booth at the Communitech hub for several months answering people’s questions about Microsoft technologies and Azure.