Dickinson on Canada's Walk of Fame
8 October 1956 |
Germiston, South Africa
|Occupation||CEO of Venture Communications|
|Net worth||CAD $88 million (2012)|
Arlene Dickinson (born October 8, 1956) is a Canadian businesswoman, investor, author, and television personality. She is the CEO of Venture Communications and is represented by CBC Television as a self-made multi-millionaire. Dickinson joined the cast of the CBC business reality show Dragons' Den during its second season in 2007 and departed in the ninth season in 2015. She was selected to perform on the series after she won numerous awards including Calgary Business Owner of the Year, PROFIT magazine's Top 100 Women Business Owners, the Pinnacle Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence and Canada's Most Powerful Women Top 100.
Born in Germiston, South Africa and raised in Canada, she graduated from high school in Calgary, Alberta. She married at age 19 and had four children. She divorced at 31. Today, she is single and a grandmother of five.
Dickinson joined Venture Communications in 1988, taking sole ownership in 1998. During her tenure, she has taken the company from a local firm into one of Canada's largest independent marketing and communications firms, with offices in Calgary and Toronto. She is considered to be one of Canada’s most powerful business leaders.
In October 2012, she launched Arlene Dickinson Enterprises to fund and target Canada's entrepreneurs. Businesses she has invested in include Urban Cultivator, The Carbon Farmers and Balzac's Coffee Roasters.
Under the ADE umbrella, she also launched YouInc.com, a social website designed to celebrate the "entrepreneurial lifestyle." Future plans for the multiplatform entity include an upcoming magazine, radio shows, apps and television formats.
Over the years, she has served on boards including Ad Rodeo, Kids Help Phone, and the Calgary Municipal Lands Corporation. She sits on the advisory committee of the Stratford Institute at the University of Waterloo, the Leadership Council of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics as well as the editorial advisory board of Marketing Magazine.
She published her first book, Persuasion, in 2011 in hardcover. On the bestseller list for many weeks, the book is now available also in paperback and electronic formats. Her second book, All In, subtitled "You, Your Business, Your Life", is available in paperback and electronic formats.
Dickinson is also an accomplished public speaker represented by several speakers bureaus.
She guest starred as a past version of herself on the Canadian TV series Murdoch Mysteries, in 2012, in the episode called "Invention Convention", as a possible investor.
Arlene has also appeared as a judge on "Recipe to Riches" in the 2014 season.
Arlene has announced that she is leaving Dragon's Den after eight seasons.
Dickinson has been recognized with several honours and awards including: Global Television Woman of Vision, the Calgary Business Owner of the Year Award, PROFIT and Chatelaine's TOP 100 Women Business Owners, the Pinnacle Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence and has been inducted into Canada's Most Powerful Women Top 100 Hall of Fame. In 2011 she received the WIFTS (Women in Film and Television Showcase) Lifetime Achievement Award. She is an honorary degree recipient from Mount Saint Vincent University and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. She is also an honorary captain of the Royal Canadian Navy. Her company Venture Communications was noted as one of the 2001 winners on the list of Canada's Best Managed Companies sponsored by Deloitte, CIBC, National Post, Queen's School of Business and MacKay CEO Forums. In June 2016, Dickinson received an honorary degree from Concordia University 
Dickinson is the national spokesperson for Breakfast Clubs of Canada to help raise awareness of the importance of children having a nutritious start to the day. In 2013, she joined on as a champion of the Give a Day campaign, in support of Dignitas International and the Stephen Lewis Foundation.
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- Mario Toneguzzzi, Calgary Herald, May 31, 2007
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- "Advisory Board profiles". University of Waterloo. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
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- "Arlene Dickinson joins the rank as the newest Honorary Naval Captain".
- "2001 Winners".