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Drew Munro

Q&A, Forty Under 40 Winner 2021, Co-founder and CEO, UpMeals, Age 36

Q&A with Drew Munro, Forty Under 40 Winner 2021; Co-founder and CEO, UpMeals, Age 36

Who or what is responsible for your work ethic?

Spending my early career as a professional chef in busy kitchens. The intensity of the environment instilled in me a sense of urgency and hustle that has always stuck with me.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Ballpark hotdogs. The fake nacho cheese you get at sporting events. Taylor Swift.

What is the best book you would recommend?

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. This book changed the entire trajectory of my life.

Now that you are (or are close to) entering your forties, what goals have you set for yourself?

For UpMeals to join the growing class of Vancouver tech unicorns! Dedicate more time to helping young entrepreneurs and chefs in their business pursuits. Road trip to every major Major League Baseball stadium.

What was your childhood career dream?

As a child, I wanted to be a professional baseball player. But there was a moment at age 12 where I distinctly remember deciding that food would be my life and I never changed my focus.

Name your happiest place.

Cooking local ingredients over a campfire, deep in the B.C. wilderness, surrounded by people I love with a great bottle of wine.

What was your toughest business or professional decision?

Being forced to lay off 40-plus amazing employees from my events business during COVID, and deciding to risk everything I had left by going all-in on UpMeals, then a small upstart platform.

What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?

Don’t worry about having all the answers. It’s okay to be terrible at certain things. Be laser-focused on surrounding yourself with the best possible people to fill your blind spots. Stop wearing so much hair gel.

What is your best habit?

Waking up early. I love the calmness of the early morning hours and find this is when I do my best work.

Tell us one improbable fact about yourself.

In my formative years I was part of a breakdancing crew, and my younger brother and I once won a local contest for Best Duo Breakdancing Performance. Yes, we still practice ‘the routine.’

Best piece of advice ever received?

“Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else.” If you wanted to achieve everything you want to accomplish in the next 10 years, but in six months, how would you approach it?

Biggest learning (about life or business) during the pandemic?

You are always capable of way more than you think you are.

What career highlight are you most proud of?

Establishing our partnership with Vancouver Food Runners to automate repurposing surplus food to local charities.