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garrett klassen


Fearless Leader

The hardest thing any writer can do is to write about themselves. A writer’s job is to set a tone, establish a direction, and take the reader there. Somehow a resume doesn’t quite make the cut, but here goes anyway.

I was born…  (ok, just kidding.)  But, I was once asked in a job interview about my first political action: it was refusing to write the Grade 10 Religion exam while attending a Catholic boy’s school. I mention this incident only because in a way, it set the tone for many of the things that followed. I was never quite accepting of what others considered self-evident… always colouring outside the lines. And always having this edgiest of doubts about whether my ideals and ideas were in the least bit right. I was a quiet and self-doubting child.

None of that matters today. Frankly, I know now that I was right. And what that experience has done is given me the confidence to question and challenge what others think when I believe a challenge is called for. This, and a lot of years of experience, is what makes me good at what I do.

The best boss I ever had, many years ago, once confided in me that he had no one he could really talk to. It was my great privilege to be his go-to guy. I was not always right and neither was he. But it was the openness of our relationship that taught me the value of frank dialogue. It taught me where dialogue can take a company, and how one person’s vision can inspire an entire corporate culture. His name was B. Chris Schwartz. He was a great mentor. He also taught me you have to sell the vision if you expect people to follow.

Everyone owes a lot to their past, and that’s certainly true in my case. There’s a long list of great people I have had the pleasure of knowing and working with. It’s not so important what we put on a resume. What really matters is what we can demonstrate with the knowledge we have acquired today.

And as Forrest Gump once said, that’s all I have to say about that…


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