Elias Theodorou / The Spartan
SHOE: The Spartan
NAME: Elias Theodorou
UFC Fighter – First Canadian Ultimate Fighter Winner (Reality show) Currently Ranked Top 15 fighter in The World.
Hailed as one of the Great White North's young warriors, Elias “The Spartan” Theodorou is taking the UFC and MMA world by storm with back-to-back wins. The 29-year-old originally from Mississauga, Ontario is a mixed martial artist, actor, model, stuntman, and Harlequin Romance cover boy, who made a name for himself after winning his season of The Ultimate Fighter - Nations. The former ECC and NAAFTS Champion originally took up MMA classes as a workout regimen while studying Creative Advertising at Humber College, later deciding to pursue MMA as a career. Theodorou who lives and trains in Toronto and Montreal fought in Dallas, Vegas and all over Canada. He presently has a professional record of 14 – 2 and will be in the fighting for his 15th professional win this September during Top 15 UFC Fighter in the World. Look out for Canada’s top middleweight who was voted “best hair in the MMA”, competing soon in an Octagon near you.
1. Your entrepreneurial “aha” moment: When I began taking up mixed martial arts after my first year of University, I wanted to enlighten my mind and thought the body should follow. Soon after - I realized they were intertwined. So once I graduated from University, instead of joining the workforce, I chose to pursue a career in MMA.
2. Your best (business) advice: “Love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life.” If I didn’t love fighting and the process to get ready for combat, there is no way I would step in the cage. But I do, and it allows me to travel the world, grow and learn from the best in the business.
3. What makes a good entrepreneur? (OR FIGHTER?) I suppose the second-best piece of advice, is to stay humble and never stop growing. Again, I work in a very humbling sport. The day you think you know everything, is the day you get humbled on (inter)-national TV.
4. Who is your greatest influence and why? My parents are certainly the greatest influences in my life. They laid down the foundation of my being and the ability for me to dream big and risk bigger. Both come from modest beginnings and through their 30+ year partnership showed what love, patience and great planning can achieve.
5. Where do you get your inspiration / what drives you? Whether in the in the UFC cage or in life, I take inspiration in those that have come before. Every successful or not so successful attempt at “greatness” in one’s field is on the score board of history to learn from. And as we all know, those that do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
6. Your style: business casual, but I do enjoy a good suit. When you train in athletics for a living, feeling comfortable usually reigns supreme.
7. Your motto: Those that fear failure, tend to because of their concern of what others will think.
Twitter, Instagram: @eliastheodorou
Facebook: The Spartan - Elias Theodorou
Josh Rosen / The Maverick
SHOE: "The Maverick “
NAME: Josh Rosen
President, Wave Digital Media
Father, husband and wannabe NHL player; that’s how Josh Rosen describes himself. It is no thanks to luck that his company, Wave Digital Media, was recently awarded Canadian Business and Profit magazine’s 13th best start-up in the country. Nominated 2017 Entrepreneur of the year by Ernst & Young, Josh lives by his motto “Fortune favours the brave” but it is his dedication to excellence, to challenging the status quo and the pursuit of stellar results that drives him and his team to be the best they can be in a hyper competitive industry. His strong focus on generating revenue, building partnerships and cultivating lasting relationships through his 10 years of combined experience in the Canadian advertising and technology industries is what has made him to be the leader he is today.
1. Your entrepreneurial “aha” moment: When my wife and I were expecting our second child, one day I asked myself, “how do I want my children to remember me?”. I wanted to leave a legacy they could be proud of.
2. Your best business advice: Celebrate your victories, learn from your defeats, but never let either of those define who you are. There is always more to be done.
3. What makes a good entrepreneur? A person who is dedicated to honing their craft and wants to control every aspect of their success.
4. Who is your greatest influence and why? My uncle. He is an entrepreneur himself and I watched him put everything he had into his work but what I admire is that his family always comes first. Though he is highly respected in the Canadian tech industry, when he is at home, he is just dad.
5. Where do you get your inspiration / what drives you? 100% my family. They are the reason I became an entrepreneur to begin with and my motivation to succeed.
6. Your style: Boardroom casual. I think it’s important to look “put together”. Whether people believe it or not, a first impression of someone is very important. As a co-founder and President, I am always meeting with suppliers and people across all areas of our industry. I believe my style (jeans, shirt and blazer) portrays a put together, professional look without coming across as stiff and stodgy.
7. Your motto: “Fortune favours the brave.”- Jeffrey Archer’s Kane and Abel.
Roger Gingerich / The Rog
SHOE: "The Rog"
NAME: Roger Gingerich
Fashion Broker of The Gingerich Group Inc.
Nicknamed “The Network Whisperer” by Toronto’s media, Roger has been in the apparel industry for more than 30 years. Roger has done everything from sales and brand development to creative direction and celebrity management (all while being featured as an expert on the Business of Fashion), shown across several local and national TV & Radio shows.
1. Your entrepreneurial “aha” moment: During a staff meeting one day, my creative director said, “Rog, you’re a Fashion Broker” as I was challenging them to describe our agency and services. It really summed up who I am.
2. Your best business advice: Leave your ego at the door and be willing to share.
3. What makes a good entrepreneur? A calculated formula = Risk + Reality + Dreams + Experience.
4. Who is your greatest influence and why? My Mom and Dad… Mom was a stay-at-home caregiver and Dad was a humble truck driver. They took zero risks, were strong on personal integrity and were very patient raising five children that went on to become successful business executives.
5. Where do you get your inspiration / what drives you? My inspiration comes from the multitude of cultures and visuals I am surrounded with daily, and from my wife who is a perfectionist and drives me to see the uniqueness of every opportunity.
6. Your style: My style is whatever my wife approves of…she has better taste than me. I love colour.
7. Your motto: "I don't think of work as work and play as play. It’s all living.” Sir Richard Branson
Christian P Foisy / The Frenchman
SHOE: "The Frenchman"
NAME: Christian P Foisy
CEO (Chief Energizing Officer) at Consilium Insurance Group
Born and raised in the beautiful Eastern Townships, an hour outside Montreal, Christian graduated from both UQAM and McGill in Commerce and Risk Management. He quickly climbed the corporate ladder to hold senior executive positions in some of the country’s and the world’s biggest insurance companies, including Aon Risk Solutions. An entrepreneur at heart, Christian left the corporate world to create Consilium Insurance Group, an innovative, forward thinking, wealth insurance and risk management consultancy based out of Montreal. A year ago, Christian was part of the team that purchased Intergroup insurance—the largest network of brokerage firms in Quebec—with annual revenues totaling $800 million, or about 20% of province’s insurance market.
1. Your entrepreneurial "aha" moment: The decisive moment for me was a change in leadership at my past employer. Going from a true entrepreneur that focused on growth and who believed that the future of his company would be through the quality of his employees and their well being in the workplace, to a new president who had an auditor/accounting background who focused on compression, consolidation and optimization, was detrimental to the staff. It did not compute with my vision on how a business should be run. Right then and there, I knew I had to start my own shop, and jumped.
2. Your best business advice: Envision, strategize, focus. (Preparation is the key to success!).
3. What makes a good entrepreneur? First, I’d say it’s my gut – it’s never failed me. I’m a mover and shaker and when I get involved in a project, I’m willing to risk it all. Then, it’s equal parts work ethics, determination, and smarts— with a dash of luck!
4. Who is your greatest influence and why? My mom…she showed us that hard work pays off! Her drive and aspiration to be the best in her field was inspiring. She also taught me that competitiveness doesn’t hurt!
5. Where do you get your inspiration / what drives you? My business drives me, whether it’s being successful at landing a new client or making a difference for an existing one, doing what I love and what I’m passionate about is the absolute reward.
6. Your style: Once I came out of the corporate world I swapped the three piece suit for a pair of jeans. I usually wear a shirt and jacket – no tie – to work. I usually opt for designer clothing that features unique details such as patterned under-collars or linings. I wear scarves and gloves 3 seasons out of 4 but never leave the house without my Panerai watch.
7. Your motto: MAKE IT HAPPEN! The only thing between you and your success is YOU!
Joseph Ng / The Shaker
SHOE: "The Shaker"
NAME: Joseph Ng
CEO of Umoro Inc
Joseph Ng launched Umoro in 2013 on Kickstarter. After declining a funding offer from the Dragon’s Den, the brand became one of the fastest growing fitness companies in North America in only three years. Umoro is just about to take on their biggest challenge to date: the launch of a new apparel line. Joseph Ng was a nationally ranked fitness competitor.
1. Your entrepreneurial "aha" moment: I've always wanted to be an entrepreneur. I feel the only way to live a life of true freedom is to create it yourself. But, the moment that sparked my journey was when I came across a competitor's product that performed atrociously. At that moment I thought to myself, if they can sell that, I can definitely create something better.
2. Your best business advice: Do your research! It takes years to become "overnight success" and it’s all based on the work done beforehand. Prior to launching our shaker, I learned about cad, plastic injection molding, sales channels, etc. Do your homework so that you can minimize risk after investment.
3. What makes a good entrepreneur? A great entrepreneur is someone who can set aside their own ego to focus on the greater good: the needs of the project or company. When you work toward a goal that is greater than yourself, success follows.
4. Who is your greatest influence and why? Definitely Elon Musk & Richard Branson. It is one thing to achieve massive success in a field, however the ability to be successful in multiple fields and change the world at the same time is something I admire and strive for.
5. Where do you get your inspiration / what drives you? I truly believe that anything is possible if you work hard enough, so I want nothing less but to change the world in some way before I pass.
6. Your style: Too many people stick to one particular style! I’ll wear tanks & joggers and a bespoke double breasted suit in the same week. What you wear isn't as important as how you wear it!
7. Your motto: Pursue the impossible, because all of mankind's greatest achievements were once thought to be impossible until someone did it.
Chef Mike Ward / The Hunger
SHOE: "The Hunger"
NAME: Chef Mike Ward
Chef, Journalist, anti food-snob
Chef Mike has had a rare and successful mix of both culinary and media careers. Beginning his cooking career at the bright-eyed age of 17 in Sydney, Australia, Mike never believed he would one day prepare meals for such clientele as Julia Roberts, Tom Cruise, Bruce Willis, and Nicole Kidman. In early 2000, Mike expanded his creative pursuits beyond restaurants to include producing and directing award winning cooking/travel/lifestyle television series that have been viewed in over 40 countries. In the last few years, Mike has combined both his passions for creating content and food, to quickly become one of Canada’s most noted food journalists.
1. Your entrepreneurial “aha” moment: At 18 I dropped out of school to travel throughout Southeast Asia for one year. One thing that stood out to me everywhere I travelled was amongst political oppression and poverty, people's entrepreneurial drive shone through. That resonated with me. When people are fearless and they have drive, they can achieve anything. I knew then I would always work for myself.
2. Your best business advice: I only have one piece of advice that I offer: do more listening than talking. The smartest people in the room talk the least; if you're listening, you're learning.
3. What makes a good entrepreneur? Good entrepreneurs possess 3 qualities: they must have a good awareness of their strengths and weaknesses, they trust their gut, and most of all, they possess a controlled degree of fearlessness.
4. Who is your greatest influence and why? My father worked for himself for as long as I can remember. I loved the autonomy that he had. He would tell me the harder he worked the more money he made. To me that just seemed like an obvious career mantra. Most people who work for someone else believe at some moment they can do their bosses job better than them. It's fear that handcuffs them from taking that leap.
5. Where do you get your inspiration / what drives you? Inspiration is such an intangible thing for me— it can come from playing in the park with my kids, or from envying my peers (yes, I will admit it). For me, inspiration often happens in my sleep. Drive is something I've never had an issue with... I jokingly admit to people I have a child-like attention span in life; I think I've turned that into a positive thing. I'm a naturally inquisitive person, so being interested in new things and forward motion is in my DNA.
6. Your style: I'm a mixed bag when it comes to personal style. Those that know me know I am a tailored suit junky; I'm also just as comfortable wearing a 10-year-old T-shirt and jeans. In a sentence, I would say I prefer to appear as though I dress with ease. I'm also a fan of occasionally being the most over-dressed person in the room - that can be super fun.
7. Your motto: Live life through a fearless lens. Whether it be love or career or anything in-between, 95% of the time, we are the only thing stopping us from what we want.