If you can’t tell who is up on stage, it’s because I was an hour late(Coquihalla was very snowy) and had to sit at the back of the room tonight. I did however get there in time for the keynote speaker. There was some very powerful words from this man, thought provoking and inspiring.
This speaker was W. Brett Wilson. If you haven’t heard of him, he became famous from CBCs Dragons Den, but he was a success far before then. Brett talked about his time on the show, but also of his impressive career as an investment banker in Calgary, and of his many investments including oil, gas, coal, power, a recent purchase of EIT Income Fund, and many Real Estate projects. He spoke at length about land development and income producing buildings in Vancouver, Saskatchewan, Whitehorse, Kelowna and Calgary areas. Brett said he is stuck with offloading his development properties, and is focused on acquiring 8 income producing properties(must be impressive sized properties for a guy worth $1.5B) and finding good managing partners to take care of them.
I wasn’t able to get a close up photo because Brett was swarmed right after his talk, then quickly ushered out before I could corner him, but here is a great shot of his book.
One of Brett Wilson’s most profound statements tonight was:
Words Have Meaning
Brett went on to explain that he is not a cancer “survivor” but a cancer graduate. He said that he has his Bachelors degree in cancer and he does not want his Masters, and words to the effect of “but if that bastard comes, I will graduate again.”
Very inspiring since my own father is now working on his Bachelors degree as we speak(keep it up dad)!
Brett offered three takeaway Core Life Courses that should be part of every high school student’s curriculum:
I won’t spoil the content of Brett’s book by elaborating, but suffice to say there is plenty of wisdom here.
However, on philanthropy, there was a couple important take away messages.
Again stressing that Words Have Meaning, Brett said that the common idea of corporate social responsibility is mislabeled. Corporate Social Opportunity is the correct term, and he has found that the relationships cultivated through generous giving gave him a bigger ROI than any other investment in his lifetime.
One last message was a great marketing tip:
Donate money wherever your biggest competition donates. The value of blending brands by having your name beside theirs is immeasurable.
One thing I know for sure. When a billionaire speaks, you listen. Thanks Brett for giving your time at this REIN meeting, and I will be digesting your talk for a long time!
Until next time,