Laurissa Manning


Laurissa Manning is a creator, innovator and change-maker with a passion for building strategy and connections. She is a values-driven leader who can motivate and exceed business directives.

She has experience in both the for profit and non-profit world. Her previous position as Director of Stakeholder & Community Relations at the Black Business Initiative gave her the opportunity to influence the strategic direction of the organization by connecting them to their purpose and creating innovative programming for the youth initiative, Business is Jammin’ that enabled them to raise over $300,000 in funds for one year of programming.

Laurissa believes in continuous learning, she is a multi-lingual, independent and confident entrepreneur with over 20+ years of event management and strategy planning. She has founded and operated businesses in the health and wellness and event management sectors. Laurissa was the recipient of the Progress Women of Excellence Award in 2012.

In her current position as Activator with Imaginal Ventures, her role is to drive global growth of the company; connecting and engaging with conscious and courageous leaders who also believe that business can be a force for good.

She is passionate about building communities and creative organizations through collaboration and personal interactions. She is a detail oriented, results-driven, brand development executive adept in managing and implementing high-profile corporate marketing, events and strategies. A passionate brand champion that believes in true consumer engagement to build a positive brand experience.

Laurissa is a gifted facilitator and trainer and believes in connecting with the audience to ensure that everyone involved gets what they need out of their experience. She believes in illuminating and empowering authentic voice.

A highly effective, problem solving, multi-tasking individual with a knack for creating and delivering consistently great client experiences through the planning and execution of internal and external events and presentations.


I used to think that when you looked at my CV it was disjointed and I wasn't sure how to describe myself or what I do. I was always very self-conscious of my CV and how all the pieces weaved together. I figured out the thread that weaves all the pieces together - in every role or company I have started or been a part of, it has always been about creating community (helping people to the best they could be), collaborating to make something stronger than was there before.

This year has been a year of personal and professional transformation for me. I was in a role at work getting ready for a more senior leadership position with the organization, but I felt scattered and disconnected.

I had the opportunity to attend The Purpose Led Business School in the fall, which allowed me to reconnect with my purpose and define my values both personally and professionally. I realized that I had stopped listening to my voice and was pursuing professional roles that others wanted me to, not that I wanted.

I was fortunate after the intensive School to go out on leave to recover from surgery which then allowed me further time to get to know myself and figure out exactly what was important to me. Those 6 weeks off allowed both my body and mind to heal. I could confidently speak my voice and step into my path again.


What are you most proud of professionally? And who or why?

I am very proud of the companies I have founded. I love bringing new and innovative ideas and energy to the market. I am proud of the community and culture that was built.

In my current role at BBI, I am very proud of the growth I was able to infuse into the Youth Initiative- Business is Jammin'.

What’s your vision for Atlantic Canada in 10 years? What’s our biggest opportunity now?

My vision for Atlantic Canada in 10 years is to have an ecosystem of courageous conscious business leaders who are building business as a force for good. I believe that there is no better time than now to lead with purpose and I believe that one of our biggest opportunities is teaching youth to be courageous and giving them the tools to change the world.

What was your greatest stage of growth? What made it a shift for you?

I would say my greatest stage of growth would have been this Fall. I am still growing but as I said earlier allowing myself the time to stop and listen to my voice and face my fears allowed me to make that shift.

What’s your favourite or most read book or podcast?

My favourite book is What My Soul Told Me, my favourite podcasts right now are The Good Life Project and World-Changing Women.

What’s your deepest learning from this past year?

My deepest learning from this year is the importance of taking time to be with yourself, reconnect or connect for the first time and really learn to listen to your voice. The answer to most questions are already there, you just need to take the time to listen.

Who’s inspired you, directly or indirectly? How have they inspired you?

I have been inspired by the strong women in my family, they are business leaders and entrepreneurs. They have inspired me to believe in myself and know that everything I endeavour to do is for a purpose.

I have also been inspired by Dorothy Spence the founder of Imaginal Ventures and The Purpose Led Business School. She has a way of speaking without saying a word, allowing you to discover the answers to your question. Her connection and energy with people is magical. The courageous tribe of leaders she has brought together inspire me every day that we can truly make business a force for good.

What would you have done differently?

I wouldn't have done anything differently, every step on this journey was meant to be there and I regret nothing that I have done in my life. I love the people I have met and experiences I have learned along the way.

What are the principles you live by?

My personal values that I live by are create, community and collaborate. My professional values are dream, learn and manifest. I believe that if we can think it, dream it we can bring it in being and always always  be curious and never stop learning.

How have you recovered from fractured professional relationships? What uncomfortable truths have you learned about yourself in those experiences?

I think honesty is the most important thing for me in all relationships and not being afraid to step up and own your mistakes. Always own them.


Entrepreneur, creator, strategist, dog lover, lover of movement (fitness instructor), Holistic Nutritional Consultant