PETER EVANS: ExpertFile
Rookie Year: 1981
Turfs: Sarnia, ON | Rhode Island | Northern Alberta
Current Home: Toronto, ON
Education: University of Toronto, Psychology | Queen’s University, MBA
Current Role: CEO and co-founder, ExpertFile
“When people ask me about entrepreneurship, there’s a lot of directions I can take the discussion.
The one thing I like to stress is that while business schools are scrambling to get entrepreneurship studies in the programs, nothing beats the real world. College Pro gave me the hands on experience I needed at an early stage. When you’re thrown into the job with tons of responsibilities, you learn fast. Often it’s the mistakes you make that are the most valuable in the long run.
You have to be careful with the way the word entrepreneurship is used today. It’s a major buzzword now, but people don’t realize the responsibility that comes with it. If there’s any doubt in your mind that you don’t have the hustle to be an entrepreneur, go work for a startup. There are too many people these days who want to become a startup CEO right out of school, but I counsel people to get some experience first.”
As Peter says, his College Pro debut is a classic story.
He saw a poster at his school and realized that College Pro afforded him the opportunity to go back to his hometown and make the money he needed to pay for school. Peter found running the business challenging, but he became hugely successful in his first three years as a franchisee. He took on a management role in Toronto and progressing to larger franchises. Unfortunately Peter’s father passed away suddenly before the end of his third summer, which left him wanting to get away to try something different.
With College Pro expanding in the US, Peter was offered the opportunity to work out of the Marblehead office near Boston as a field advisor, travelling up and down the coast. Peter’s role supported franchisees in both their businesses, and personal lives, “about half way through the summer, I got a call saying that one of the local franchisee’s father had just passed away suddenly. My brother and I immediately went to help the franchisee with his business and offer our support.”
In his fifth and final year with College Pro, Peter moved to Edmonton to set up an office and work with 14 new franchises from Red Deer to Fort McMurray.
Peter’s favourite part about College Pro is the training.
“When I did College Pro, and to this day, I believe that it is one of the best entrepreneurial training grounds out there. Running the business was important, but the back end coaching was crucial.”
IT, Startups and Marketing
Since his College Pro days, Peter has worked for over 20 years in the tech sector. He was Director of Marketing for Sympatico in the early days of the internet. He then went on to be CMO of FloNetwork, a venture-backed software startup which he helped grow from $900k to a $20 million run rate in just a few years. Other notable steps included starting the IT venture services practice at MaRS, “I liked to call it a walk-in clinic for entrepreneurs, and we were one of the first programs of that kind for software entrepreneurs.” Peter’s entrepreneurial roots took him back to the startup world as he became the CEO and co-founder of a company called ExpertFile – a content marketing platform for organizations to showcase their talented experts to key audiences including media, donors and conferences.
More about Peter
Peter and his wife adopted 2 kids from Russia, and they keep them busy with competitive swimming and the National Ballet School
He is a struggling guitarist who collects (and plays) Gibson guitars
Peter is a travel enthusiast