Some back story.
I grew up in Toronto the eldest of four kids. As a first born, I have always been comfortable leading, taking responsibility and paving the way.
We grew up as a tight knit family. My dad was present and a successful real estate developer.
My mom – a trained early childhood educator. I am very grateful for their love, support and opportunities they provided us.
I think I picked up my business acumen from my dad and my energy for coaching and helping others from my mom.
I have always had a passion for singing and performing.
When I was 12, I auditioned for You’re a good man Charlie Brown at a summer camp called Kilcoo up in the Haliburton area, north of Toronto.
An amazing leader and the Director for that show named Susan cast me as Charlie Brown. I was reluctant to play the role, but she saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself, and during that show I caught a bug I have never been able to shake. Susan also taught me an important life lesson that I have carried with my for my entire life – identify strengths in people they don’t necessarily see in themselves.
When I was 17, after I saw the mega-musical Les Misérables in Toronto I dreamed of performing in that show.
In 1992, after 5 years of hard work of training my voice, acting chops and learning to dance, I was cast in Les Misérables, which kick-started a professional acting career of 3 years. But then I realized I didn’t want to be an actor for my whole life. I highly respect artists and I identify with them, but that career track was not for me. In this chapter of my life, I learned the power of vision/dreaming and also balancing the head with the heart.
I then jumped into marketing in tech in the heyday of Corel in Ottawa.
Then migrated into sales in corporate communications, then into sales management.
In my 20’s, I also started and failed at two start-up businesses – one was a theatre production business, the other a web development business. These two failures were hard, but critical to my learning, and to intimately understand the key ingredients for creating a successful business.
My next key moment came when I was 28 and working for a great company called ICE in 1999. This was where I first felt a great culture – it was creative, collaborative and lots of fun. As sales people at ICE, we were getting some sales training to help us be better sales people. This really appealed to me and I loved it. My heart got curious about the corporate education space.
I wondered, “hey, maybe I can make a difference by being a facilitator and trainer?” So, I joined the facilitator who trained us, Art Horn.
When I was 30, my entrepreneurial mind began to bubble about creating my own business. I thought, “Tim, you can do this yourself – why don’t you start your own sales training company?”
So I did.
So, in 2000, I founded a firm called Fusion Learning. That was the same year that my wife Nancy brought our first of three kids, Ryan, into this world.
My initial vision was to create the de facto sales learning leader in Canada within 10 years – a collegial and creative services business that could make a difference.
With a clear vision, great people, amazing clients and a lot of hard work, we did just that! I sold Fusion in 2012 to internal partners as I was burned out and craving change. Fusion is still going strong and has re-branded to DoubleDigit Sales (www.doubledigitsales.com). In my Fusion/DDS experience, I had the privilege of working with thousands of leaders & sales people. I became a bit of a leadership junkie. and realized that culture & leadership was THE differentiator in business. That was the seed that helped germinate my next chapter.
One day in the Winter of 2013 while walking up at my dad’s farm with our kids, my dad was regaling stories to our kids. It was then that I realized, “holy shit, I come from a lineage of storytellers.” I had just started to really study and work on storytelling, but it was then that I realized that it was really in my blood. Since then I have learned the profound impact that storytellers and stories play in shaping cultures and binding us together. So to fuel my passion for storytelling, I joined The Mark of a Leader (re-branded to Stories Rule! in 2019) with Doug Keeley in 2013. I loved the idea of inspiring people and leaders through storytelling. Today, I am still active in Stories Rule! as a Partner and Storytelling Coach collaborating with CEO’s, executives, meeting planners on harnessing the power of storytelling.
Storytelling also plays an important part in culture development.
When I was 45, I met Nick Foster, Lorella DePieri & Suchitra Davies-Webb. We co-created a culture agency called 1-degree.
In early 2014, a pivotal moment was meeting Nick Foster, Lorella DePieri and Suchitra Davies-Webb. Three smart and compassionate leaders who would shape my future story.
They were brainstorming how to start a collective and a movement, to address the engagement problem in workplaces. They were also discussing how to shift consciousness in workplace cultures.
The focus and energy of the vision really resonated with me. But, I promised myself after I sold Fusion that I was done with starting businesses.
Well…through many conversations I was intrigued, jazzed and, well, hooked!
So, the four of us co-created 1-degree in 2014 to guide culture transformations to help move the dial on the engagement problem at work.
Now in my early 50’s…
What I am most passionate about and proud of now is being a dad. My wife Nancy and I have 3 amazing kids – Ryan, Sophie and Zac. They are our pride and joy! Any work for me stops if there is a sporting event, creative endeavor or school project that needs support.
I love the variety and challenges I have in helping lead 1-degree, inspiring through storytelling with Stories Rule! and Chairing a Mackay CEO group.
My personal purpose is “inspiring sustainable shifts to fuel well-being through compassion, clarity & creativity” My energy is now to serve and to make an impact by leveraging my strengths and passions.
Compassion for me is the fuel, the heart. We all need stronger connections with what’s most important.
Clarity is the lens. We all need more clarity in our complex world.
Creativity helps us all navigate – our trusty partner to move through problems with people and teams.
Look forward to connecting and learning about your story!