No Bootstraps When You’re Barefoot
My Rise from a Jamaican Plantation Shack to the Boardrooms of Bay Street (Random House Canada)
NOTE: Limited additional books and additional tickets will be available for purchase at the event.
Join Wes Hall (uOttawa Hon. Doctorate '21) for the launch of his first book! The retail price of the book is normally $34 + tax and the first 30 people to purchase a ticket will get an autographed copy from the author himself.
- 5:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.: Registration
- 6:00 p.m. – 6:35 p.m.: Fireside chat with Wes Hall (uOttawa Hon. Doctorate '21), moderated by Hyah Alnemhi (BCom ’23), former Telfer Finance Society President
- 6:35 p.m. – 6:40 p.m.: Wes reads an excerpt from his book
- 6:40 p.m. – 6:55 p.m.: Q&A with audience
- 6:55 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.: Closing remarks by Stéphane Brutus, Telfer School of Management Dean
About the Speaker:
Wes Hall, executive chair and founder of Kingsdale Advisors, is one of North America’s most influential powerbrokers and Canada’s preeminent leader in shareholder advisory services, playing a pivotal role in multimillion and billion dollar transactions involving Air Canada, Xstrata, Citigroup, Tim Hortons, Petro-Canada and many others. Hall is also the owner of QM Environmental, a leading national environmental and industrial services provider with over 450 employees, among other businesses. He is the founder of the anti-Black racism initiative, BlackNorth, and in October 2021, became one of the investors on the hit CBC series Dragon’s Den. Wes also helped create nine equity and diversity scholarships at the Telfer School of Management meant to make a difference in the lives of students from racialized or Indigenous communities.
Hyah Alnehmi is a 4th-year Finance student at the Telfer School of Management. Since starting school in 2019, she has been heavily involved within the Telfer community serving as the President of the Telfer Finance Society last year. Currently, she is completing her co-op at RBC Global Asset Management in the heart of Toronto’s financial district.
From one of Canada’s most successful business leaders, the founder of the BlackNorth Initiative and the newest and first Black Dragon on Dragon’s Den, comes a rags-to-riches story that also carries a profound message of hope and change.
Wes Hall spent his early childhood in a zinc-roofed shack, one of several children supported by his grandmother. That was paradise compared to the two years he lived with his verbally abusive and violent mother; at thirteen, his mother threw him out, and he had to live by his wits for the next three years. At 16, Wes came to Canada, sponsored by a father he'd only seen a few times as a child, and by the time he was 18, he was out of his father's house, once more on his own. Yet Wes Hall went on to become a major entrepreneur, business leader, philanthropist and change-maker, working his way up from a humble position in a law firm mailroom by way of his intelligence, his curiosity and his ability to see opportunities that other people don’t.
When people expected his thick Jamaican accent, or his lack of money and education — not to mention the colour of his skin — to shut down his future, Wes was not to be stopped. He is still upsetting expectations to this day. Well aware of racism and injustice, his lack of privilege and the other roadblocks to his success, Wes has always believed that he can walk along any cliff edge without falling. His book teases out and shows how he fostered that resolve in himself, exploring his childhood and the milestone successes and failures of his career, to share not only how he stopped himself from falling but survived, thrived and dedicated himself to bringing his family and his community along with him.
Now, with the founding of the BlackNorth Initiative, Wes takes aim at ending systemic anti-Black racism. It’s a huge goal, but one he’s tackling with heart, soul, smarts and every connection he’s made in an extraordinary career that’s taken him to the centre of the Canadian establishment. Throughout his life, he’s resisted sinking into despair or getting lost in anger; now he wants to tell truth to power and pave a path forward.