Top pharmaceutical company executive Jesse Ledger ’97 urges Trent students to get out of their comfort zones, make new personal connections   

Headshot of Jesse Ledger

For all that Jesse Ledger ’97 has accomplished, for all the incredible places his professional career has taken him, Trent continues to “feel like home.” 

“I hadn’t been on campus for the better part of a decade; it was incredible to see how much has changed in a positive way,” notes Mr. Ledger, the president and CEO of Miravo where he has led the health care company’s evolution from a manufacturing-focused business to a diversified global pharmaceutical company.

Back at Trent on September 23 to speak to students of Trent’s School of Business and members of the Trent community, Mr. Ledger shared his journey and, more notably, the lessons he has learned, and applied, along the way. 

While revisiting campus locations that still hold special meaning was fun for Mr. Ledger, including the Champlain College I/J staircase where he first met his wife Melanie, “the big highlight was being able to share my story with Trent students.” 

“If I provided insight, clarity, context, motivation or, dare I say, inspiration to even just one student as a result of my visit, then I accomplished my objective,” says Mr. Ledger, who graduated from Trent with a Bachelor of Business Administration.

While his talk centred on the benefits of getting out of one’s comfort zone, Mr. Ledger says his Trent experience exposed him to people whose perspectives greatly differed from his own. Further, his third-year, Trent Study Abroad experience at the University of Iceland was transformational. A self-described introvert, the Fergus native has pushed himself to network and connect with others.

“That caused me to question and learn a lot more about the world around me,” he says.

“My days at Trent certainly influenced the way I think about building teams and organizations. The benefits of small class sizes and the close interactions I was able to have with fellow students and faculty have stuck with me through my professional life. If I hadn’t got out of my comfort zone early in my career and made those new personal connections, I don’t think I would be where I am today.” 

Where Mr. Ledger is today is at the top of his game, bringing more than 16 years of experience building product portfolios and pharmaceutical businesses to the table much to the benefit of Miravo since April 2016 when he joined the company as vice-president. 

“While I certainly didn’t realize it when I was at Trent, I believe the interdisciplinary focus at Trent has had an impact on me professionally,” says Ledger.“Putting my business hat on, I would refer to this as ‘cross-functional’, which refers to tapping resources from various departments in order to tackle a problem or job assignment. This is how any organization works best – leveraging the knowledge and perspectives of a diverse team.  The interdisciplinary study options available to Trent students are fantastic and set students up very well for what is becoming an expectation in the business world.”  

Mr. Ledger has established a School of Business Study Abroad Prize at Trent University and offered to match contributions up to $45,000. “I am very interested in helping more students gain the life changing experience of studying abroad.”     

Trent’s School of Business offers the next generation of business leaders the opportunity to engage with some of Canada’s most influential people.  Other special guests have included global business executive Katie Taylor (inaugural CEO-in-Residence), world-renowned economic expert Yuwa Hedrick-Wong ’71 (alumni-in -residence), and head of Maple Leaf Foods, Michael McCain.