CEO, MGHL Partners: Associate Professor, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Alberta
Hollis Lai cherishes all the “random experiences” for which he signed up as a teenager. Before entering interdisciplinary academic research, Lai spent time playing tuba in jazz bands, cadets and orchestras, and was regularly on football fields.
“I didn’t really have a master plan. I’m a person who doesn’t say no to invites,” says Lai. “I always find myself filling in random positions. And I’d say, OK, I’ll do it.”
For Lai, the secret ingredient to academic achievements and entrepreneurship is patience. It took time to translate his dissertation into AI education systems for students via his start-up company, but he believes “the university is the future of ideas.” Today, his AI-generated test questions appear on exams for students of all ages around the world.
He’s now the CEO of MGHL Partners and an associate professor at the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry at University of Alberta. In his spare time, he goes on scooter adventures with family members, or sees the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.
“I’m very optimistic. At the end of the day, being able to contribute the skills I have to the surroundings, and potentially see the difference I can make, is joyful enough for me.”
Why He’s Top 40
He brings balance between academic ideas and practice