When I started out in this business, over 30 years ago, I knew nothing about the magazine industry. Less than nothing, to tell you the truth. I had experience as a failed retail store owner (theft destroyed my meagre profit margin, putting me out of business), and I’d lost my job as a sporting goods sales representative (the company changed their distribution model, a message they ‘gifted’ me with on Christmas Eve).
When a friend asked if I’d like to get into the publishing business, I thought: I knew sales and I had a huge network of contacts, and I was motivated because I had a family to support. What could possibly go wrong?
How about… everything? We were a brand new publication, so we had to build readership from scratch. No one in Newfoundland had ever published a glossy magazine before, which meant I had to sell advertisers on the idea of a high end magazine before I could sell them on my magazine. And our production schedule was less than timely given that I had to sell enough ads to pay for printing and distribution before we could go to press. I almost went bankrupt (until my wife stepped in to take care of finances—thank you, dear Jesus). My co-founder is long gone, but Edwina and I kept plugging away, one issue at a time, to the point where we now have the longest-publishing and most award-winning regional business magazine in Atlantic Canada.
My point is that success doesn’t hap pen in spite of the times you fall down, but because of them. Each of my failures was a necessary part of my career curve and I could never have gotten to where I am today without them. The lesson is to keep going.
This year’s Top 50 CEO awards celebrate the power of the mind. On the following pages, you’ll read 50 stories of exemplary leadership that have one thing in common: the ability to focus on the end goal and not be deterred by the obstacles along the way. In fact, I think you’ll find that the more they are challenged, the more the Top 50 are motivated to work harder and be even more creative.
One last thing about success: you never get there on your own. I’d like to thank my entire crew at Atlantic Business Magazine for making this (and every issue) so memorable. Thanks as well to the judges (page 140) for volunteering their time to adjudicate this year’s awards. Finally, I’d like to extend my sincerest appreciation to the advertisers (past and present) who trust us to be valued ambassadors for their brands.
Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company, once said: “Whether you think you can, or you can’t—you’re right.” Success or failure: the choice is yours.