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Number of patients treated with Boston Scientific products annually.

HELIX guest entrepreneur speaker series

A masterclass on leadership and innovation


“After hearing John Abele, students said they wanted to be entrepreneurs to change the world for the better.”

JOHN ABELE is one of the world’s most successful business leaders and a pioneer developer of medical devices and approaches to non-evasive surgery. The co-founder of Boston Scientific and owner of the Kingbridge Institute and Conference Centre, was at Newnham Campus in April, where he addressed more than 120 students and community partners about the value of creative leadership.

His hour-long discussion covered various issues associated with developing and sustaining authentic leadership across all sectors, and the responsibilities of business leaders to be community builders and ambassadors for development and environmental stewardship.

John’s social-minded approach to business informed his career at Boston Scientific and was evident in his remarks, which resonated with the many young people who attended his presentation.

“Tonight when I asked my students, ‘What is the purpose of being an entrepreneur?’ they all said ‘to make money,’” says Deneena Davis, a teacher for the York Region School Board. “After hearing John Abele, they said the purpose of being an entrepreneur was to ‘change the world for the better.’”

Prior to his talk, John met with companies from HELIX, Seneca’s on-campus incubator, to hear their business pitches and offer advice on their ventures.

“For our students and HELIX business leaders to have an audience with John Abele was an invaluable experience that they will never forget,” says HELIX Director Chris Dudley. “It’s not every day that fledging entrepreneurs get to pick the brain of a globally renowned innovator and leader, who is so generous with his time and advice.”

One of the highlights of the presentation was John’s comprehensive list of recommended books on leadership. He also touched on topics ranging from Uber’s assent and business’s role in the public sphere, to the value of passionate leadership and why he liked hiring people who grew up on a farm. (Answer: They know how to innovate.)

John’s takeaway message? We only have one planet. Look after it.

“We’re here alone on this little blue ball,” he said during his lecture. “Particularly with things like climate concerns, if we make a mistake, we don’t necessarily get a do-over.”

Watch John Abele’s lecture and interviews from the event at To learn more about the leadership programs available at Kingbridge, visit

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