Up Close and Personal with Local Businesses

Up Close and Personal with Local Businesses

I would like for you to get to know each of the amazing local businesses that are currently involved with the Healthy Waterloo Region.

Dear Readers,

In the next few posts, I would like for you to get to know each of the amazing local businesses that are currently involved with the Healthy Waterloo Region. Whether they provide an important service or whether they aim to inspire, uplift and motivate, they have a common goal -your wellbeing. Wouldn’t you like to know why they chose their current career paths? These talented and compassionate people are more than just a business. They have a story. Below is another in a series of biographies on each of these businesses. I’m a huge advocate for supporting our local businesses. Will you join me in supporting them too?

Warmest Regards,



I was born in London, England. Moved to Rhodesia as a young boy and went to school there. I had the opportunity to go to university. To my mother's horror and father's delight, I decided to join my father on the dairy farm he had purchased instead of returning to England when his original assignment ended.

The farm was undercapitalised which added to the normal stresses of fathers and sons working together. I left and got my first job in sales. Rhodesia was fighting a terrorist war, I was required to do nine months military training and spend weeks at a time over the next ten years in the operational area as a part time soldier. During this time I got married and my two sons were born.

Moving to South Africa in 1978, I sold Life Assurance before getting a job with a large corporation. After 10 years, I was the marketing manager, had little prospect of further promotion and was frustrated with corporate politics. I left and started an export trading business and a small factory.

Life was good for 4 years until disaster struck. I lost my business, my marriage failed and because of the changes in South Africa had few prospects of employment and no capital to start a new business.

Zimbabwe, as Rhodesia had become, seemed stable and to offer better opportunities to start again. I moved back, became a consultant, started a new business, sold that and invested the proceeds into my new partner's late parents' farm.

We had 6 good years producing horticulture crops for export to Europe. Then three years intimidation during the brutal campaign to drive commercial farmers off our farms. Finally I was arrested, detained for three days and prevented from returning to my home.

We moved to Canada in 2004 with two suitcases and a horse saddle each, six cats and not much more. I helped farmers with irrigation and greenhouse production. Sue worked with horses. In 2010, I had a heart attack which forced me to give up my physically demanding farming work and start writing, speaking and using the Internet to develop my business.

Over the years, I have been active in many organisations, as a Provincial chairman of the Institute of Marketing Management in South Africa, member of other industry associations, a boys soccer coach, a helper with the Boy Scouts. As a marathon runner I was on the executive of an athletic club.

In 2011 I became a member of Toastmasters International and am currently the President of Woodstock Toastmasters and Area 75 Director. I am also active in a small rural Anglican congregation.

Although my career has taken many turns, the common thread has been working with people. As a corporate manager responsible for a large staff, as a business owner and farmer with up to 180 employees I have had to help people overcome adversity and get passed challenges.

I am grateful that I have the speaking and writing skills to spread a message that inspires people and helps them see life from a different perspective. I work with individuals and groups to discover a different approach and create better futures for themselves, their businesses or their organizations.

My life has been an extraordinary adventure. My father was a huge influence in my early years when he told me that I could be, do or have anything I wanted in life if I was prepared to work for it. That life is not easy, challenges and hurdles are placed in our path to teach us and make us stronger. They should be seen as lessons, not excuses. We are not “entitled” to anything. We should only expect what we are prepared to work for. I got where I am today by remembering his words. Remembering his bravery when at age 65 he saved his and my mother’s lives by firing back at 9 terrorists shooting at them with AK47s. The example of my mother's bravery after she was badly injured in that attack, told she would never walk again and spent 4 months in a hospital bed before my father was killed in a second ambush.

She did walk again, lived on her own for 35 years until her 90 birthday.

One of my favourite quotes is by Soren Kierkegaard: “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards”.

I don't fully understand my life, but I am grateful for all the experiences it has given me. It's why I am what and where I am today.