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"I think my parents were teachers both inside and outside the classroom," says Mr. Kielburger, just back from a month-long tour of some of the 40-plus countries where Free the Children has been active. "We'd walk by a homeless person and my mom would actually stop and talk to him or her, ask their name. My mom was nurturing the idea that that's a person. When you look into their eyes and know their name, you have to acknowledge them."

Mr. Kielburger also has an influential sibling. Older brother Marc, chief executive director of the charity and a past Top 40 Under 40 honouree, is a lawyer and Rhodes Scholar who eschewed lucrative private-sector offers to be Mr. Kielburger's co-pilot.

"Every CEO wishes she or he could clone themselves, and we have done that," says Mr. Kielburger, who co-wrote the bestselling paean to volunteerism Me to We with his brother. In 1999, the pair formed Leaders Today, a youth leadership training organization that now claims to reach 350,000 youth annually.

Mr. Kielburger was last month awarded the 2006 World Children's Prize for the Rights of the Child, also known as the Children's Nobel Prize.

Previous winners include former South African president Nelson Mandela and Iqbal Masih, the child slave whose death sparked Mr. Kielburger's campaign.

Not everyone was enamoured of Mr. Kielburger when he was a kid making headlines, and some may still criticize Free the Children for always claiming to have the answers to the world's most difficult problems.

Yet when he speaks of illiterate parents who witlessly sell their children into bondage, Mr. Kielburger is a hard man to deny.

Free the Children builds and supports all those schools, after all, "because when you're talking about child poverty, every issue fundamentally comes back to education."

Stephen Segal, 36 Vice-president of marketing and sales, Loewen, Steinbach, Man.

BY AUGUSTA DWYER

Stephen Segal admits he's hard to pin down.

"People ask me, 'What are you? Are you an architect? A computer guy? An IT guy? Are you a marketer, a salesperson?'

"And I guess," he pauses, "I'm all of that."

A Winnipegger by birth and inclination, Mr. Segal studied to be an architect, which "provides good didactic, problem-solving methodology I can apply to business and personal life."

But he went on to take positions that veered from the course, quite consciously, he admits -- and one of the reasons behind his success.

"I didn't at 18 or 19 say, 'At 40, this is what I want to be.' I sort of looked, kept my mind open at every stage of the process to new opportunities, to not be afraid to challenge and think outside of the areas I've been trained in."

Since graduating he has taught computer graphics and animation, started his own company, sold it and worked for the financial services software company that bought it.

He has also done marketing and sales, and he designed and built a 150,000-square-foot manufacturing plant for EH Price Ltd.

From there, he went to Loewen, a company with interesting roots of its own.

Originally begun by a Mennonite family that made church pews and bee boxes, Loewen now designs gorgeous, luxury-end wooden doors and windows for an increasingly discerning international market yet maintains its commitment to ethical business practice.

"That definitely attracted me," Mr. Segal says. "I was very excited about the way the Loewen family and everyone who works here treats our business -- its very high degree of ethics, the importance of culture and customer service, and hard work."

Obviously the design element of the business also attracts. Mr. Segal reads architectural periodicals and attends design shows in his spare time; he also designed the home he shares with his wife and two children.

Remaining spare time goes to charity work, such as the Manitoba Theatre Centre and a group of entrepreneurs younger than 40 called the Young Associates.

As for his goals, Mr. Segal says, "We obviously want to continue to grow and to dominate the luxury segment; we see lots of opportunity to continue to broaden our service and product offering, to attract new dealers and gain more market share in North America and abroad."

Personally, he wants to continue learning and sharpening his many skills.

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