Mario, thinking back to your adolescence was there a particular job you dreamed of doing when you grew up?
I had several different aspirations as a child of what I wanted to be when I grew up. The first was a professional hockey player. I would spend hours upon hours on a nearby outdoor community rink as a kid. I would go to the rink on a sunny Saturday morning and not leave until my mother or father came to get me before dark. The rink would be full of other kids and teenagers, all claiming to be hockey superstars, as they imitated and showed off their new moves that they had seen on the last edition of Hockey Night in Canada. My dream was to one day play next to Wayne Gretzky. Alas, the closest I ever came to realizing this dream was meeting Wayne at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto before a game between the New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs back in 1995. It was quite surreal.
Since my hockey skills were not quite good enough to get me to the NHL, I had to have a backup plan. I also had a passion for the outdoors. I loved to fish, hike, and explore nature. Growing up in Labrador, these activities were at my fingertips as a child and as a teenager. I would enjoy these activities with my father and with my friends. These were great bonding experiences that I will never forget and still get to experience on occasion. My love for outdoors led me to study Environmental Sciences and eventually to a Bachelor of Engineering Technology (Environmental) and to work in the Environment Health and Safety field.
There are many reasons to decide to pursue a master’s degree. What is your goal of the Program?
I have several goals that I wish to achieve from the Telfer Executive MBA Program. I want to be a better leader for the people that work for me, the people that I work with, and for the people that I work for at my organization. I would like to have a better understanding of what is required to create and sustain a successful business and learn the necessary tools that I could utilize to make that happen. I also want to have the experience of working with a team to achieve a common goal in high stress situations and prove my ability to be an instrumental part of that team and demonstrate my leadership skills. I want to do this all while enjoying the company of the people that I am with and having some fun along the way and create some lasting memories and friendships. Most importantly, I want to open up new opportunities and experiences for my family and to be an inspiration to them and to teach my kids the value of continuing to work hard to achieve your goals.
Mario, what is the meaning of a good leader to you? Is there someone in your life that you consider a good leader that has inspired you?
My definition of a leader is someone who inspires others to want to do the things that are necessary for the success of the greater group. Such things as truly caring about the common goal; caring about their groups or communities; and becoming actively involved in creating success for the group. A good leader also identifies the strengths and weaknesses of others. He cultivates those people by helping them expand their skills and abilities. He listens to them with empathy and truly cares about their personal success as well as the group success. My father fits these definitions, and he is a leader that I truly admire. In fact, he has many attributes that I have learned from, and I do my best try to utilize those attributes in my own personal leadership style. He is an individual who cares about others and also about the success of his group. He works extremely hard and is completely dedicated. During his career, he has managed a company in a way that it is successful and maintains commitment back to its employees and to the surrounding communities in which he operates. He taught me many things from a young age that I carry with me today, including the value of every single person and how important it is to care about others. He truly is a remarkable leader and a remarkable man whom I admire.