Business Life

Father’s Day: CEOs, Chefs and Founders Remember Key Lessons From Their Fathers

Father's Day

For Father’s Day, we asked some of our friends for the best advice they’ve received from their father.

Written by Ross Dias 

They are now C-Suite executives, founders, business owners and the brightest in their respective fields, but at one point in time they needed help from their fathers. Some of those men are men of few words, while others are endless fountains of wisdom. Regardless, all of them have something important to say (even though they might not always be right).

For Father’s Day (coming up on June 17), we asked executives for the best advice they’ve received from their fathers.

Here’s what they had to say.

Dominic Kreutzner
Senior Brand Manger, Bacardi

My Father taught me to seize every opportunity that presents itself, big or small. I also learned from him the importance of taking initiative by helping others; you never know when the gesture is returned. Lastly, travelling opens up your horizons to new perspective and experiences. I’m lucky we got to live in different countries around the world through his line of work. My father was always prepared to try anything, even if it was outside his comfort zone and quitting was never a consideration. He has a general attitude to life: to enjoy every minute of every day.
Erika Mozes
CEO, Hyr

Dream big. My father moved to Canada, from Hungary, in the late 50's with a few dollars and knowing very little english. That risk that he took in moving here with no family or friends is something that I was always in awe of.  He taught me that without risk, there is no big reward. Plus life wouldn't be as interesting.
Chef David Neinstein
Owner, Barque Smokehouse

My father has great respect for people who roll up their sleeves and work hard to achieve success. He is a self-made man who spends as much time with the salt of the earth as he does with power brokers (he owns a Bay Street law firm). That attitude taught me to treat everyone equally. As a leader, in the true sense of the word 'chef', I make sure that we treat each other with respect and dignity, no matter the role.
Bob Kallonen,
President, Amica Mature Lifestyles

My dad was the smartest person I ever met with a grade-three education. He was a mechanic who immigrated to Sudbury, Ontario from Finland in his mid-20s.  He spoke no English when he first arrived, so he read books exhaustively, with a dictionary in hand, to improve his vocabulary. 
My dad was a genius about all things mechanical – he could fix a car after it had been brought to three other mechanics who couldn’t fix it.  He had a blue collar job but he’d get excited about his work. He told me: “You’ll find whatever it is you’re going to do in life. Just pick something you like doing.”  If you like doing it, you don’t see going to work as a hardship. He didn’t have the kind of job that people would aspire to, but he loved what he did and that was the greatest gift he gave me.
Julien Blanchard
Co-Owner, Groom 

I was lucky to have my father working with us in the company. He provided much wisdom along the way, from which I’ve learned that lending a genuine ear to people around you and caring for them will lead to the best relationships.
Maxime Leclerc
Co-Owner, Groom 

My father often gave me the following advice: "Always make sure you’re running on a tank of fuel that is at least half full." Being a man of few words, it was his way to say that a little prevention will keep you away from trouble.
François Thibault
Mâitre de Chai, Grey Goose

Recalling words spoken to him by his father: "I might have taught you little, but enough to decide your own future.”
Mike Holmes Jr.
Contractor, Holmes on Holmes

I have grown up with my father, celebrity contractor Mike Holmes, in the spotlight. He has been on television for 15 years now, has helped a lot of people, and gets recognized everywhere. Yet, I have never met a more humble man in my life, which I really admire. While my father has shown me the tools of the trade, getting me into the family building business, he has also given me sound advice on how to be a good man. He’s taught me from a young age that a man should always be respectful, help anyone you can, care for your family, and have a good heart. Everyday I’m learning lessons from my father, both on and off the job site, and I appreciate all he’s taught me and know I still have so much more to learn from him.