Obed Maurice believes in environmental determinism: That is, he surrounds himself with people focused on the future and trying to build something, whether it’s in the not-for-profit world or in business. In particular, Maurice, an accountant with his own practice in Lethbridge, points to Derek Stimson, co-founder of one of the world’s largest vendors of tractors and combines, Rocky Mountain Dealerships. “Working for him fast-tracked my understanding of what entrepreneurs really need,” Maurice says. “The accountant’s perspective in a CA firm is a lot different from what actually happens with high-net-worth guys running their operations – you need to understand their business and develop a plan.”

Maurice is no ideologue when it comes to the leaders he admires. He liked Ralph Klein’s budget-conscious approach and no-nonsense way of dealing with things, but also admires U.S. President Barack Obama and former NDP leader Jack Layton. “Leadership is about bringing people together around big ideas,” he says. “It’s about the size and creativity of their ideas as opposed to their political stripe.”

A leader I admire Elon Musk and Muhammad Yunus, the Bangladeshi social entrepreneur who won the Nobel Peace Prize for founding the micro-lending Grameen Bank