Adam Tomaszewski (BCom’13) is the Vice President of Sales at Capital Meat and an engaged Telfer alumnus, who is as involved now as during his student days. While earning his BCom in Marketing, Tomaszewski volunteered as President of the Telfer Entrepreneur’s Club (TECDE) after earning his stripes as Business Dinner Chair. He was also the Director of Sponsorship at CASCO, receiving many awards and prizes for his active extracurricular involvement. Today, he serves on the Advisory Board of the Entrepreneur’s Club and gives back to current Telfer students through philanthropy. Setting an incredible example in helping the next generation of business leaders grow, we at the Telfer School are proud to award Adam Tomaszewski with the Young Donor of the Year Award for his contributions to his alma mater.
Student Experience: President of TECDE and Sponsorship Director at CASCO
Our students exhibit impressive motivation and determination when they get involved with the many student clubs at Telfer. Organizing events from scratch, securing sponsorships, selling tickets, and recruiting and hiring for next year is no easy feat with long hours spent in the clubs' lounge at the Desmarais building — on top of studying and exams. Yet, it’s a fantastic way to learn invaluable life skills and enrich your student experience at Telfer.
This is exactly what motivated Adam Tomaszewski to stay involved when he was completing his undergrad at Telfer. “I wanted to give back to the community of students, to have networking opportunities, and to practice my leadership skills in a less risky environment,” he says in an interview. The journey began when a fellow club member hand-picked Adam for TECDE’s prestigious Business Dinner Chair role. The Chair is responsible for organizing the entire event, securing the venue, such as previously used Fairmont Chateau Laurier, the National Arts Centre, and the Canadian History Museum, finding a high-profile keynote business speaker, and selling 100-200+ tickets every year. Past speakers include Wes Hall, the founder of Kingsdale Advisors, and Amber Stratton and Jen Dalgleish, the co-founders of Pure Yoga and Pure Kitchen in Ottawa.
Adam hosted his TECDE Business Dinner at the Westin Hotel with keynote speaker Joseph Nour, a fellow uOttawa and Telfer alumnus. Nour holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Science (Electrical Engineering) from uOttawa and an Executive MBA diploma from Telfer. Nour is a Corporate Advisor and Board director who was the CEO of Protus IP Solutions for 13 years and is now the Principal at an upscale condo development, The Conroy. It was Adam’s role to invite Nour to speak at the TECDE Business Dinner and make it a seamless experience.
Adam put together a beautiful event that went off without a hitch. Executing an event of this scale inspired Tomaszewski to take on the Club President role the year after and he still feels grateful for the opportunity, years down the line. Getting involved in CASCO was an easy decision since the student-run club organizes events to benefit the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO). The club has raised more than $930,000 in the last 23 years.
Alumni Giving Back: the Culture of Philanthropy
Tomaszewski has been giving back to the school every single year since 2017, only a couple of years after graduating. When he was in TECDE, Adam received the Kevin Volett Award for his top performance as Business Dinner Chair. “I saw the impact awards like that have on students, not just financially but also in motivation,” says Adam. “It inspired me to start giving back to Telfer when I could, to build up an endowment fund for the award to keep it going. I wanted to give back money to the student experience.” Since then, Tomaszewski’s gifts have helped many Telfer students complete their studies while participating in extracurricular activities. For this generous philanthropy, Tomaszewski is receiving the Young Donor of the Year Award this year.
How Telfer Started Tomaszewski’s Career
While Tomaszewski’s degree was focused on marketing, he chose the sales path, noting the many overlaps between the two. In fact, it was right during his studies that Adam began his career in the food space, first working at Kraft Foods Group for 3 years, then moving to The Kraft Heinz Company for another 3-year stint and finally landing at Capital Meat where he’s now been for 5 years.
“Telfer helped me get into Kraft,” adds Tomaszewski, “The company was at the Telfer Career Fair and I got to network with them.” The Telfer Career Centre helped Adam improve his interview skills and prepare for the big interview which was successful. Tomaszewski got the coveted four-month sales internship working as a campus ambassador between Kraft and Telfer. “My internship was facilitated through the Career Centre at Telfer,” adds Tomaszewski, “It helped kickstart my career.”
After an impressive summer of performance, Adam was offered a full-time role after graduating. He managed the sales and distribution of Kraft’s entire product portfolio in 32 large-format grocery retail locations. Combining his Telfer marketing knowledge with his sales experience, Tomaszewski earned multiple awards during his time with Kraft, including Sales Representative of the Year, CFIG Master Merchandiser Award, two First Place Awards in Major Scale Promotion Merchandising Contests, and more. Today, in his role as VP of Sales at Capital Meat, where Tomaszewski is also a Partner, he works directly on the marketing strategy in addition to his sales duties.
Why Wholesale Food? How Tomaszewski Picked His Industry
It’s typical for business students to go into accounting and finance roles at the Big Four (KPMG, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, PwC) and at consulting firms, such as McKinsey. While marketing students do enjoy the B2C food industry, It’s less typical to explore the wholesale food space, despite us shopping at grocery stores and consuming products from companies like Kraft Heinz every day. “What I like about the food space I am in is that something is different every day,” explains Tomaszewski. “Prices change constantly, opportunities come in and out, it’s very competitive, and there is a lot of stability in terms of demand.” Going from industry magnate Kraft which carries big brands with a lot of clout, Adam enjoys the competitiveness of the wholesale meat business he is now, where the job is less about branding but differentiating on service instead.
The Business of the B2B Food Space
Capital Meat is an Ottawa meat wholesaler, serving Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec for over 40 years, supplying beef, poultry, pork, lamb, and veal from Canadian farms. Tomaszewski’s father joined the business in the late 1980s, working his way up from Sales to Partner. Today, Adam works alongside his father, a team of employees, and a third Partner to continue growing this established local business, which became a family affair but didn’t start out that way. “Since I graduated, my career has been focused on Consumer Packaged Goods since I started with Kraft,” says Adam. “Now it’s shifted to a Commodity, meat, but at the end of the day it’s a food space and I am working with retailers, always staying on the B2B side of the food business.”
Looking towards the future, Tomaszewski is committed to staying at Capital Meat for a long time. When he left Kraft, he jumped in with both feet. Since Adam is a Partner, he is building long-term goals to build the business and make sure it’s successful, by staying on top of trends and customer changes to get ahead of the curve, increase buying power, and provide the best customer service he can.
Bringing Entrepreneurship Skills to an Established Local Business
Tomaszewski always had an entrepreneurial spark so it’s no surprise he eventually became the President of the Entrepreneurs’ Club. He co-founded multiple ventures from scratch while still in school, yet found a unique way to apply his drive and determination after graduating — at an already established business.
“A lot of people coming into university think about the big companies who started from scratch and blew up,” says Tomaszewski, “But there are tons of local businesses with owners that built very solid companies over the last 30-50 years with a lot of resources and infrastructure, that are now aging and looking to retire and slow down.”
Adam encourages Telfer students passionate about entrepreneurship to explore the limitless opportunity of bringing an established small business to the next level through new marketing and distribution channels. That’s exactly how Tomaszewski found his happy place, joining Capital Meat after learning all about the industry and the opportunities at Kraft.
That’s another piece of advice he has for business students: get a position in an industry that interests you, learn as much as you can and then use that to springboard your own entrepreneurial activities instead of trying to reinvent the wheel and start from scratch in university. “You will reduce your own failure rate if you really know what the industry is and what it needs before starting your own thing,” adds Tomaszewski.
Supporting the Next Generation of Business Leaders by Giving Back to Alma Mater
When completing their undergrads, students are always faced with the dilemma of focusing solely on studying or diving deeper into extracurriculars. Tomaszewski’s stance? Do both. “Your network is one of the most important things in life,” says Adam. “By going to club activities or being on the exec you get the perfect opportunity to build a great network as a student in a risk-free environment that’s not a workplace.”
The experienced sales and marketing professional encourages students to get creative, push themselves, do things they might not have thought of on a traditional career path, try different jobs and maybe they will find something they did not know they were passionate about. When working at TECDE and CASCO, after Tomaszewski already accepted the Kraft offer, he was securing sponsorship deals for the clubs’ events and receiving job offers in the process. “Getting involved is not about using the experience to try and seek out jobs, but when you show your strengths, people will be impressed by that, drawn to it, and offer you opportunities where you can thrive,” says Adam.