Derek Juno

Derek Juno
Derek Juno

Category: Presidents' Alumni Awards

Name: Derek Juno
UVic degree and year: Bachelor of Commerce, 2011                      

Current hometown: Tofino, BC                     

Birthplace: Winnipeg, Manitoba

Derek Juno is an accomplished social entrepreneur and speaker who has given talks all across North America. Juno is the vice-president of business development for the social enterprise Dollar Donation Club. He was previously executive vice-president of Mealshare, which he helped grow to a national organization that has provided over 5-million meals to youth in need. He also founded Elysium Retreat, a two-day personal development retreat package to help people think holistically and deliberately about their life design. 

Juno is an elite triathlete, Ironman and represented Canada at the 2017 Ironman 70.3 World Championships. He enjoys inspiring others to make their lives, community and the world a better place.

Q: What was the moment you realized your career calling?

DJ: I was on an eight-hour bus ride traveling across rural Cambodia, and I realized I wanted to connect the way in which I make money to impact. So, the more impact I have, the more money I make and vice versa. I wanted to use my speaking abilities to inspire people and help make our world a better place.


Q: What is your advice to younger people entering your line of work or who feel lost or confused about their future?

DJ: Don’t stress too much about your career path. You’re exactly where you need to be. Use your twenties to try as many different things and jobs as you can (travelling helps quite a bit here), because you don’t know what you don’t know. Acquire as many experiences as possible, then start becoming aware of the different aspects of work that make a job fulfilling for you or the aspects of work that make jobs hell for you.  

Just keep learning and making forward progress in life. Try to regularly protect time to come up for air and review where you’re at and where you want to go. Don’t settle!


Q: What’s a part of your daily routine that you can’t do without? Do you have a mantra?

DJ: Moving my body with physical activity is essential for me each day!

I have a few mantras that I use every day. I recite my best self’s personal values and look over my one-year personal strategic plan to remind myself what I’m working towards. Also, all my life I’ve used the mantra: “Everyone dies, not everyone lives.”


Q: How did UVic, or your faculty specifically, shape you as a person?

DJ: One of the many things I really appreciated about my UVic commerce education is that it gave me the understanding that you don’t have to put business students into a few narrowly defined boxes. I realized through my studies that I could be a businessman who also fights to make the world a better place. The business status quo should be changed and innovated on.

It also pushed me into practical deployment of the lessons and skills I was learning in the theoretical classroom. I didn’t feel like starting my own venture or participating in a start-up would be a huge leap, because I was basically already doing similar things through the assignments at school. It opened up my realm of possibility.


Q: What do you hope you and your work will ultimately contribute toward a better future for people and the planet?

DJ: I hope the work that I do over my lifetime inspires people to live a more impactful, grateful and fulfilling life. I also hope to help change the status quo of business so we can protect and preserve our planet for as long as possible.


For the full list of 2022 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients, click here.