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Tony Gareri, CEO of Roma Moulding, based in Vaughan, Ont. (Handout)
Tony Gareri, CEO of Roma Moulding, based in Vaughan, Ont. (Handout)

Q&A

Family business CEO ‘restarts’ the company to improve culture Add to ...

Primarily in the roles of family businesses. There’s no book you can pick up that says “I’m a $3-million company.” It’s easy to read about Google or Facebook but not a $3-million business. Someone might say “I don’t have the funds,” and I’ll go in and show you how to do that.

Me and my team we could kind of go in like doctors, do an assessment and say “here’s what you’ve got to do, now we’re going to give you the shovels.” We’re not going to do the work, we’re going to share how to do it. Then we’ll have periodic touch-backs and kind of have them incubate and then we would come back to assess.

Kind of like consulting. It would be fun. Fun as heck. I could see a TV show around going into the nastiest places.

Q: What do you like to do when you’re not working?

A: I love reading. My wife and I are building a library in our home. We actually enjoy it. I don’t watch much TV, other than Big Bang Theory, I think it’s hilarious. I enjoy spending time with my wife and family.

I enjoy things like summits, leadership retreats, constant learning and development. I also enjoy playing sports. I don’t like watching them, I’d rather be on the court. I like winning.

Q: Tony Hsieh has been a big influence. How did that happen? Where did you find out about him and how did you come to embrace his philosophies?

A: I was at a trade show in the middle of a ridiculous amount of travel. I was in every city, and I was home very little. I was unhappy. Things were happening but I had no time to myself.

I remember vividly that we were at a trade show in Las Vegas and after they’re done you need to drink. Your feet are killing you, you’ve been up since 8 a.m., and it’s 8 o’clock at night. We went to the space of a friend of ours and we had a glass of wine. He said, “Tony you need to meet this girl I know.”

I started talking to her about leadership. She pulled a book out of her purse and said, “Tony I’m not sure why, but I’m going to hand this to you. I think you’ll enjoy it.”

I read it. I killed the book within two or three days and it was Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh.

This was pre ‘re-start’ and I was cynical. I went on the (Zappos) website, did some research and saw there were tours and classes, but they were all sold out. I went on the waiting list and they called me the next day. I don’t know if that was marketing or not, but it worked.

I got on a plane, I sat in on their two-day culture immersion and the funniest thing happened. They said, “Hey guys, once a year Tony opens up his home to one lucky group to do a boot camp, and it’s you guys.”

And I’m thinking “this cannot be.” So, you’re having dinner with Tony Hsieh. I had my iPod and I’m going up to Tony’s apartment and I sat down with him and told him how much he changed my life. To this day we’re friends, and I’ve been back several times.

So when I go back to Zappos it’s like they’re family. And the thank-you frame we created hangs in the lobby and I’m honoured they put it there because they impacted my life so much and by extension the lives of 150 other families at Roma.

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