Chapter Fifty

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The group consisted of friends and family from all parts of my life - college, university, work, and even some people from my restaurant. We all packed in to a small conference room at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Vancouver. In the centre of the room was a large oval table that had enough seats for everyone there. Off to the side was another small rectangular table with an assortment of food and beverages on it. I gave people a moment to come in and get some snacks before I proceeded.  

I did one final look at my checklist to make sure everyone was there. As I scanned the faces of the crowd, I felt a great sense of pride. This was my team - or at least, my would-be team. I hand-selected each person based on two principles - trust and merit. I was not sure how many of them would even join me, or how many of them would remain after joining me. I was asking a lot from them. I was asking them to leave behind stable and secure jobs to take a chance on me - a man with relatively no experience. However, if this company was ever to survive, I would need a strong, well-rounded team, and I had to have faith in them as well.  

I assessed each player for months before making my final selection. Since I was operating with a tight budget, it made things even more difficult. In this case, it was as if I was a new sports franchise. We were all rookies in this industry and I was certainly not qualified to be the head coach, but that was just on paper. Sometimes in life, there is an indescribable x-factor - a hidden element, which allows a person to garner success where everyone expects failure. 

"Ladies and gentlemen, thank you all for being here tonight," I said to my audience. "I have met with many of you over the past couple of weeks and briefly explained to you what my vision for this company is. Others will be hearing this for the first time. Regardless of which category you fall into, I will be giving a more detailed presentation tonight and will be prepared to answer any questions you may have for me." 

"First, why don't we go around the room and have everybody introduce themselves to the group. McKay, why don't we start with you? Please tell everybody a little about yourself - education and background, and perhaps how we know each other." 

"Okay. Hello, my name is McKay; I'm a University of Calgary graduate. I have a degree in marketing and a masters in finance. I met Trevor almost ten years ago when we lived in Banff together and have kept in touch ever since." 

McKay was one of my oldest friends in the room. I had a lot of respect for him as a person, but held an equal respect for his abilities in business. The fact I was able to 'sign' him spoke to the respect he must have had for me and my abilities as well. Coming from him, that meant a lot to me. He was my marketing expert - a person who had a way with people and was a whiz at understanding market needs. I needed McKay to assist me in market acquisition and public relations. He would be someone who I could bounce ideas off and receive honest feedback. Although most of my business team were young and inexperienced, we also had a unique perspective on how modern business should be done. We were not held slave to outdated ideologies and corporate procedures. As such, I believed McKay would complement our team well. 

The introductions continued. 

"Hi, I'm Steve. I met Trevor a few years ago. We lived in the same building when he was in law school. We graduated the same year, but my degree is in commerce." 

Steve was a bit reckless in business and in life, so he would definitely need to be managed. But what Steve lacked in self-control, he made up for it in finding creative ways to make money. He was a visionary and a natural-born leader. Nevertheless, I was not ready to have him be in charge of anything just yet. I determined he would work best under McKay's leadership. 

"Hi I'm Dan. Trevor was my neighbor while we were in law school. We were in the same grad class. And I'm a Pisces." 

Dan was a lot like me - young, ambitious, and determined. We had similar upbringings and similar educational backgrounds. He would definitely be an asset to me because I could count on him to give me straight answers and objectively challenge any decisions I make. In business, this is often referred to as your second sober thinker. 

"Hi, I'm Eduardo, I'm originally from the Philippines. I moved here with my wife six years ago. I met Trevor while working at the National Group Bank. I have a bachelor's degree in economics." 

Eduardo was a positive person who would be able to boost morale. My plan for him was to have him be in charge of customer service. 

"Hello everyone, my name is Tami. I met Trevor at the Bank. Eduardo and I were on the same team as Trevor. I have a bachelor's degree in English." 

With a degree in English, it may not be obvious why I chose to bring Tami onboard. She would be my executive assistant. She was 20 years my senior and was whip-smart. Not only did she have life experience, she had held a variety of jobs in many different kinds of companies over the years. I could really benefit from her wisdom and expertise in how to run the internal business of a company.  

"Hello, my name is George Foster. Up until very recently, I was the Senior Director for the Credit Card Division of the National Group Bank of Canada. I held that position for the past eight years. Before that, I was an account manager with the bank for five years. I have a bachelor's degree from University of Toronto in business administration and I have a master's degree in accounting from the University of Saskatchewan." 

George would be my CFO. He was the only person in the room with any real experience running a large division of a company. He was my numbers expert and I was truly blessed to have him onboard.  

"Hi my name is Will. I have known Trevor since high school. We lived together briefly in Banff, where we had a brief altercation once over a glass of orange juice, but otherwise our relationship has run smoothly. I don't have any degrees, but I have been educated in the streets." 

Although Will was not academically accomplished, I brought him on board for one simple reason - he understood people. It would be a mistake to overlook this component when trying to launch a competitive team. People are what drive businesses. He was a kid who went from obscurity to being one of the most popular kids in the entire city. You cannot do that unless you are a master networker and understand the subtle nuances of human psychology. He knew what people wanted and how to deliver it. Will was really a person who could do anything he put his mind to, but to utilize him correctly, I planned to put him on my marketing team, and perhaps later, he could be in charge of human resources.  

"My name is Brian, I'm Trevor's brother. I have a degree in mathematics and a degree in computer programming." 

My brother was my oldest friend in the room - someone whom I trusted and admired a great deal. We were born only two years apart, but he was vastly wiser than I was. Like me, he was a very systematic and logical thinker. I could always trust in his sound and thorough judgment. I determined the best place for him would be to put him in charge of the company's web development. 

We continued to go around the room until all the introductions were complete. Once that was out of the way, it was onto the next order of business - introducing the vision for my company.

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