86: Joseph Kibur on Running as a Business and Life Path

Joseph Kibur is a runner, founder of the Yaya Village and cofounder of the Yaya Girls Running Program.

Joseph was born in Ethiopia and moved to Canada at the age of 11. He had tremendous success in the Canadian running scene, where he at the age of 16 set the then North American 1500 meter high school record and in 1993 was the Canadian Cross Country National Champion. After his time running at Simon Fraser University, he launched NetNation Communications, Inc., a Vancouver-based web hosting company. He has since returned to Ethiopia with his family and continued to develop various businesses and charities in his home country, including the Yaya Village Hotel which is a premier high altitude training center and home to the Yaya Girls Program.

In the episode, Joseph tells the story of how he got into running, from his first race to how running kept him out of trouble in his youth. He recounts how his 1993 Canadian Cross Country National Championship win was unexpected. Joseph discusses the logistics of running competitively at Simon Fraser University with only three days a week of running training due to his injury-prone history. He reflects on how the lessons he learned from running helped him establish his successful NetNation Communications Company. Joseph describes his return to Ethiopia and his journey starting the Yaya Village. He explains why he choose to focus on helping female runners with the Yaya Girls Program instead of male runners. Joseph offers his unique insider-outsider perspective on why Ethiopian runners are among the best in the world. He provides insight on the power of letting go in finding one’s work-life balance. Joseph honors two of his mentors, including his Coach George Gluppe and fellow Ethiopian runner Haile Gebrselassie. Lastly, he reveals races on his bucket list and upcoming projects.

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