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Forty under 40 Award winner profile: Chris May

General manager, BC Place

BIV is proud to recognize Chris May, general manager of BC Place, and 39 exceptional business leaders with 2022 Forty under 40 Awards.

Each recipient is featured in BIV's annual Forty under 40 Magazine, and will be celebrated at an awards gala Feb. 22. Profiles of each award recipient – originally published in the magazine – will be available at in the days ahead.

Who or what is responsible for your work ethic?

“The show must go on” is the tagline of our industry and it’s been my reality for as long as I can remember. I’ve been around this industry forever; my parents have pictures of me at age five putting on shows in the living room, and, yes, I sold tickets.

What drives you?

I want to provide a good place for good people to have a good time. That’s the North Star, and that is what drives me forward in work, in volunteerism and in life.

A favourite book you would recommend?

I’ve just started Bob Iger’s book Ride of A Lifetime. I’m only part way through and it’s fantastic.

Now that you are (or are close to) entering your 40s, what goals have you set for yourself?

My goal is ensuring BC Place reaches its full potential with the incredible team that works there. Broadly, I want to make a bigger difference in my community. Improving things for all residents of Vancouver, especially those living on the margins, who need support and opportunity.

What was your childhood career dream?

At a young age it was to be a pilot. Once I turned 14 or 15, putting bums in seats and managing large-scale entertainment was the dream. Lucky me!

What was your toughest business or professional decision?

Leaving Cirque du Soleil and joining a marketing agency. I needed a crash course in sales and marketing (which I got) but stepping away from the greatest entertainment company in Canadian history was not easy. It was, however, the right decision for me long term.

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

It’s a marathon not a sprint. When you’re 35 and down on yourself for not making this list, you need to chill out – it’ll happen.

What is your best habit?

I’m an early riser. I nail off key pieces of work before my husband or son are awake, and well before I get to the office. And I go to bed early: I might be the only person in major events and entertainment that believes nothing good happens after 10 p.m.

Tell us one improbable fact about yourself.

I can breathe fire.

Best piece of advice ever received?

Be careful who you tick off on the way up, because you’ll probably need to kiss their butt on the way back down (edited for appropriate language).

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned in business?

Be honest. It’s stunning how many difficult conversations and big problems can be solved by being honest and showing some vulnerability.

What career highlight are you most proud of?

Working with the incredible team at BC Place and getting us ready for the busiest year in our history in 2023.

What’s left to accomplish?

What isn’t? There is no finish line. For now, it’s ensuring BC Place is seen as the world’s best stadium experience, and continuing to work towards and support the improvement of Vancouver for all its residents.

Read the profiles of all 40 award recipients in BIV's annual Forty under 40 Magazine. Register to recognize this year's winner at the Forty under 40 Awards gala on Feb. 22.