Thought Partner For Enterprise Leadership – Coach – Mentor – Advisor – Connector – Innovator Provocateur
I’m a seasoned marketing driven entrepreneur, inventor, change-agent, certified executive coach, mentor and advisor with 30+ years experience in the information, communications and entertainment sectors.
An ardent evangelist for what I believe in, I’ve convinced institutions and investors to invest in or commit over 55 million dollars to businesses I’ve founded and led. I am a pragmatic founder/visionary who understands first hand the seduction of chasing an entrepreneurial OR intrapreneurial ‘home run’, and the challenges and frustrations that can result. I’ve built and managed powerful technology, sales, marketing and operations teams in both Canada and Europe, and managed two successive boards as Chairman.
I believe we are in an age of profound disruption, where the inherent challenges – and more importantly the opportunities – afforded by the adoption of advanced technologies over the next 20-30 years will prove much more than ‘merely’ disruptive. That in fact the nature of our businesses, our institutions, our societies – and consequently ourselves – will be, must be, fundamentally reshaped.
It follows then that the qualities of leadership are likewise being redefined. That leaders focused on the future will need to be sensemakers – reflective and authoritative authors who seize their responsibility to enable and secure a new landscape of possibilities for their many stakeholders.
My mission is to work with enterprise leadership to prepare them for this new age. To help build a community of accomplished individuals who are captivated by the promise of the future, and who consequently see themselves at the vanguard of a new prototype of leader – one who looks within for answers, and without for inspiration. Leaders who are ‘makers’ of new landscapes of the possible.
Principal at Westrope Leadership Inc.
January 2013 – Present
Seductive opportunities. Perplexing challenges. Life is complex AND complicated. And in all of this, how often have you wished for a thought partner that you could talk to RIGHT NOW to both provide an outside perspective AND out-of-the box challenge to your thinking? Personally and professionally? Be it a marketing plan, a sales strategy, a problem with a board member or an issue with your self confidence?
WESTROPELEADS is a leadership and strategic advisory practice focused on distilling and applying the art and evolving science of sensemaking (literally making sense of the environment around you) as a vital development toolset for enterprise leadership – providing them a 360° ROI (self, family, community, business, customer) perspective.
The sectors I am most familiar with are in the communications, agency, media and internet space – from start-up to Fortune 500 level – in Canada, the US, the UK and Europe. Having built and led international corporate teams, my focus is to now work with enterprise management who are, or intend to be imminently, drivers of disruptive innovation – with all of the opportunities and challenges that follow. I provide a coach-approach, second-set-of-eyes perspective to accomplished individuals contemplating key decisions or events, and if appropriate, introductions to others in my network who can bias your efforts for success. It can indeed be lonely at the top, and I have the proven business experience and acumen to be your trusted confidant, mentor or advisor.
I have a Graduate Certificate in Executive Coaching (CEC) from Royal Roads University’s Centre for Applied Leadership and Management – an ICF (International Coach Federation) accreditation.
I can be reached at +1 416 481-5299 or firstname.lastname@example.org to book a 30 minute free telephone consultation. Monthly plans start at just one hour per month.
Executive Director, The Leaders Expedition (Volunteer)
January 2015 – Present
I’ve had the privilege of wearing many hats in many places and I’ve witnessed how advances in technology are driving profound disruption in our societies, providing, for the first time, utopian possibilities. I’m witnessing something else too – the potential for a starker, crueler world – one where too little is shared by so many, and too much by so few. Where futures are sought in the false comfort of closed societies versus the dynamism of an open world that celebrates diversity and flourishes because of it.
It is leadership that is failing us. Not an absence of competence or good intent, but the inadequacy of existing leadership cultures and structures to adapt to, and seize, the incredible possibilities that await us, while addressing the truly daunting challenges that likewise threaten our very existence.
But we all know that good leaders do abound.
That’s why we’ve created The Leaders Expedition – the nucleus of a global network that exists today in spirit but not yet in practice – connecting for the first time thousands, potentially even millions of accomplished builders, thinkers, operators or creators. These men and women are from all walks of life, all ages, all cultures and all sectors who believe in their accountability to thems
elves, to each other and their responsibility to the world around them. Imagine the power of this cohort if it were given form and voice through a true digital community and then giving them the tools to mobilize and reshape global leadership cultures by their example. To transform the world.
Today, we have 225 members in 18 countries.
Principal at NEXEUS Associates
October 1992 – December 2012
NEXEUS Associates (and its predecessor RJW Associates) was a contract management and business advisory company. It’s primary focus in recent years was the conception, development, testing, refinement and operationalization of the CentrSource business working with successive investors (see ‘CentrSource’ below) in Canada and Europe. However, other sample engagements include:
- Authored corporate development and business strategy for integrated internet communications, pre-press and commercial printing group targeting Fortune 500 companies with a managed service solution for marketing operations. As direct result, company named ‘one of the top 50 best managed companies in Canada’.
- For one of Canada’s leading financial services company, scoped market opportunity and developed pro-forma business case for new travel insurance business
- For one of Canada’s best known mid-market commercial printing companies, developed and executed new marketing/sales strategy. In addition to securing a substantive incremental gain in revenue, efforts were instrumental in earning client a winning position as one of the ’50 Best Managed Companies In Canada’ in 2003.
- Working with President, COO and CFO of $100 million on-line market leader, led management team in first ‘bottom-up’ strategic planning process.
- Retained by one of Canada’s premier financial services institutions to conceive and assess viability of a convergent billing service proposition.
- As contract SVP Content Development for a Manhattan-based Internet Screen phone company, realigned closed-architecture, proprietary content strategy to open-market/strategic partner oriented e-commerce strategy. Working with one of America’s largest telco’s, developed highly tactical transactional content position vs. high bandwidth infotainment position sought by competition.
Founder, President & CEO at CentrSource SA
September 2007 – March 2012
Conceived of, and led the operationalization of this Swiss-based start-up that sought to establish the first ‘win-win-win’ online marketplace to serve the needs of consumers, merchants and media. Following product development and subsequent proof-of-concept trials in CEE (central and Eastern Europe), CentrSource was beta-launched in Canada in the spring of 2011.
Built a coalition that included the strategic leadership/participation of one of Canada’s most trusted brands, the participation of over 60 of the nations’ leading media franchises, the recruitment of over 8,000 retailers/merchants and the establishment of a web portal that within months boasted over 100,000 registered users.
Built an organization that supported operations in Canada, Hungary and Slovenia, in turn working with technology and marketing partners in all three markets.
Principal achievements include:
- Conceived a uniquely powerful business model – a standout in the domestic marketplace
- Fund raising – angel and strategic (over the life of the project personally secured over $25 million in investments, and commitments of an additional $30 million)
- Personally executed coalition/alliance building activities in both Europe and Canada, attracting attention of key global players
- Direct reports included Canadian CEO, European GM, technology, product development, marketing, sales and finance heads (FTE’s peaked at 65+)
- Developed outsourced vendor relationships with respective market leaders that included global web-hosting, application development, business operations, web design and SEO/SEM.
- Established a global network of industry leaders who directly supported the business
Founding Principal, eStrategies & Integration Practice at KPMG LLC. (Toronto)
September 1998 – February 2000
As one of three founding principals of the practice:
- Conceived and executed practice positioning strategy – ‘The Connected Consumer – The shortest distance between the creators of value and the consumers of value is a straight line’
- Authored practice White Paper – ‘The Digital Nexus: It’s About Brands, It’s About Power, It’s About Time’ (see download below)
- Led, or was team member in over 20 e-commerce strategy development initiatives. Clients included a European consortium seeking to leverage an established franchise to offer a business-to-business exchange, a national bank, one of the nation’s largest media groups, one of the nation’s largest real estate developers and several greenfield start-up companies.
Consultant at Levi Strauss & Co. (Canada)
April 1992 – September 1992
Reporting to the President, was responsible for devising and recommending a market segmentation strategy for the company’s brands and consequent retail distribution channels. Required visiting, assessing and categorizing 150+ retailers across Canada.
Director, Strategy at Southam Graphics Inc.
October 1990 – March 1992
Reporting to the CFO, led a strategy development process that required securing the input (and ultimate buy-in) from the C-suite management of 35 independent operating entities across North America that were collectively challenged by technological change and the competitive pressures that result. Group sales totalled over $700 million per annum. Managed a team of McKinsey & Co. consultants through a six month business process re-engineering/transformation exercise. Result was a board-approved plan to consolidate sales, marketing and operations.
General Manager at LaserResponse Group (Division of Yorkville Press, a subsidiary of Maclean Hunter)
September 1987 – September 1990
Founded and led a direct marketing services business unit that leveraged the traditional commercial printing resources of Yorkville Press and it’s sister companies within the Maclean Hunter Group, and added database management, laser imaged personalization, and intelligent insertion/lettershop capabilities to provide turnkey high quality direct mail design, production and fulfillment. Responsible for leading sales, marketing and operations of a team that grew to 45 and over $7 million in revenue. Client sectors included financial services, retail, automotive and not-for-profit.
Also authored and secured approval of business process transformation strategy to take parent company from $25 to $100 million in five years. Thereafter seconded to Maclean Hunter working group focused on BPO/transformation issues. Frequent contributor to trade press.
Director of International Business Development/General Manager Direct Marketing Group, at K.G. Campbell Corporation
June 1984 – September 1987
K.G. Campbell was the largest independent commercial printer in eastern Canada at the time. Was originally hired to lead the company’s international expansion – principally the US market. Undertook exhaustive analysis of the US marketplace mapped against capabilities audit of the company. Consequently recommended the creation of a dedicated direct marketing services group, which in turn I led.
Growing to include over 40 staff, the division produced turn-key direct mail programs for financial services, automative, retail and not-for-profit clients. Personally responsible for all US sales which grew to 30% of division totals. The business unit was considered the industry leader and innovator – for example being the first to produce personalized (ie. laser imaged) letters using the digitized hand written font of the letter’s author.
Correctional Officer at Ontario Ministry of Corrections
August 1978 – September 1980
Employed on a casual (i.e.. part-time) basis, with a minimum of 24 hours per week, at three consecutive institutions – Toronto West Detention Centre, Brampton Adult Training Centre and Guelph Jail. The work paid for my university studies,
The duties ranged from supervising high risk inmates in a maximum security environment to working with juvenile and young adult offenders as a social services case worker.
The Digital Nexus: It’s About Brands, It’s About Power, It’s About Disintermediation
– KPMG White Paper April 30, 1999
Method and Apparatus for an Interactive On Line Catalog System for Facilitating International, Cross-border Transactions
– United States Patent Application 5,968,110
– “The present invention relates to an improved on-line interactive computerized catalog system and process for efficiently processing international, cross-border transactions in a manner substantially transparent to the user-customer”.
Method and Apparatus for an Interactive Computerized Catalog System
– United States Patent 5,721,832, Issued February 24, 1998
– “The present invention relates to an improved method and apparatus for an interactive, computerized catalog system in which a customer can selectively access video and audio catalog data from a computerized catalog memory that permits a customer to peruse an entire catalog of products or services or select specific portions from specific catalogs or services and if desired place an order which is processed electronically and from which customer profile marketing data is selectively generated.”
System for Implementing an Interactive Advertising Campaign
– United States Patent Application WIPO Patent Application WO/2001/029716
– “A system for generating and managing an interactive advertising campaign linking advertisements in conventional media outlets (e.g., radio, television, billboards, etc.) with an online transaction site. The system includes a user interface that allows a user to design an advertising campaign and that generates docket templates and dockets that include details about the advertising campaign content, the media outlets selected to carry advertisements in the campaign, and the timing and frequency of the advertisements. In one embodiment, the system also includes an interface for generating consumer response options to allow consumers to respond directly to a selected advertisement in the campaign.”
Navigational Utility for Interactive Advertising Fulfillment
– United States Patent Application WIPO Patent Application WO/2001/029689
– “A method and system for hosting consumer interaction with advertisements includes a collection of interactive advertisements and corresponding information regarding each advertisement, such as the advertiser name, product type and the date, time and description of the media outlet in which the advertisement was distributed, a unique locator code and if applicable, a unique locator sound, number or bar code. Consumers can access the interactive advertisement collection and perform a number of tasks, including search for an advertisement, product or advertiser name, view advertisements, request information about an advertised product, respond to a rebate offer for an advertised product, obtain a coupon redeemable toward an advertised product, and initiate a purchase. To perform these tasks, the consumer enters information into search fields to locate the interactive advertisement.”
Royal Roads University – Centre for Applied Leadership and Management, Graduate Certificate in Executive Coaching – an ICF (International Coach Federation) accreditation, 2013
Cambridge University – Introduction to Executive Coaching, 2012
The University of Western Ontario – Graduate Studies, Political Science, 1981 – 1982
University of Guelph – BA Honours Equivalent, Political Science/History, 1979 – 1981
Queen’s University – BA, Political Science, 1975 – 1979