Tony Gareri Chats With The Globe And Mail
We are extremely honored to be featured in Canada’s largest national newspaper! Recently, Roma Moulding CEO, Tony Gareri sat down with Sean Stanleigh of The Globe and Mail at a MastermindTalks event to discuss Roma’s “restart.”
Check out the preview below or read the whole article here.
Question: When and how did you start to rise through the ranks of the family business?
Answer: My background is Italian. My father emphasized early on that during the summer holidays you have to go to work. We’d go through the summers, there were no breaks. I’d always go from school to making picture frames, that’s all I knew when I was a child.
From there I did my education, because I knew without it I wasn’t going anywhere. I did my degree at York University, I did the Atkinson (business) program there, which was awesome. I graduated in 1999, during the dot-com boom when everything was going bananas.
I entered the company and the first challenge I had was when they put me in front of this terminal, it was a UNIX TinyTERM, and I didn’t know that world whatsoever.
But as I was quickly learning the business, I knew that something had to change. We were doing relatively well but it wasn’t great. I tried not to knock into things too much and just kind of do what I was told. Slowly but surely I moved into marketing and sales, then into a VP position. Then ’05 and ’06 were really great years for us.
In 2008, all hell broke loose and I checked out of my family business. I hated what I was doing, who I was, my leadership. I hated everything.
From there I went to do some self-learning, and understand what I wanted in life, and what I wanted ultimately was to be happy. So how could I be happy at work? My father’s upbringing was that if you wanted to be successful, work had to hurt. That’s just what they believed and that’s what they were taught.
I just believed it differently and I would look primarily at U.S. companies – I would see the Googles of the world, the Zappos’ of the world – they seemed to be having extraordinary fun producing extraordinary results.
I didn’t really believe it until I went there (at Zappos) and that’s when the epiphany happened: Holy cow, these people are actually having fun. It’s chaotic, but they’re having a boatload of fun. I didn’t want to leave. I didn’t want to give my lanyard back.
From there I came back and pitched to my father that I could save the business, but things were going to change dramatically. He, primarily, was going to be very uncomfortable.
It was what I call a restart of our business.