March | Barry F. Lorenzetti
Meet Barry F. Lorenzetti, Knight of the Order of Montreal, entrepreneur, visionary, corporate leader, and philanthropist. He is the founder of BFL Canada, the largest independent insurance brokerage firm in the country with a very unique business model, operating in 25 cities across Canada.
Barry is an advocate for inclusive business environments. He spearheaded the Barry F. Lorenzetti Centre for Women Entrepreneurship and Leadership at Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business. and finds it extremely rewarding. He also contributes actively to women’s hockey, ensuring that women are well represented and given equal opportunity, and he is a Founding member of the High Performance Center here in Montreal for women in hockey.
JETELOVE had the pleasure of sitting with Barry for a candid interview.
The Barry F. Lorenzetti Foundation supports numerous initiatives surrounding mental health.
We asked what the inspiration was behind the Barry F. Lorenzetti Foundation. Barry replied: " From a young age, I recall spending time with my Uncle Arthur who was a decorated war veteran and who suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder PTSD). As a young boy, I remember seeing my uncle distressed and wondering what was wrong with him. Sadly, Uncle Arthur ended up taking his own life. I was extremely affected by this and vowed that if ever I had the means, I would make a difference for those veterans who have fought for our country"
The Barry F. Lorenzetti Foundation has given substantial funds to help support veterans and those suffering from mental health issues.
The Foundation is involved with the Quebec Veterans Foundation, and as an extension the PEPPER POD Retreat Centre for women veterans in the heart of Old Chelsea, Quebec (15 minutes from Ottawa), offering a helping hand to hundreds of women in need, not to mention the Head & Hands Foundation which provides medical, legal and social services to Montreal youth.
JETELOVE asked Barry what steps he would suggest for someone currently struggling with mental health issues.
He says; “ It is rather unhealthy to be alone too often. COVID has definitely taken its toll. We no longer go out and socialize as much. Working from home also doesn’t help one’s mental state if feeling isolated. It is crucial to find a greater balance, ask for help, talk to someone and don’t conquer this alone.”
JTL asked: "How do you define success?”
Barry says: "It’s all in finding balance." For him, it is focusing on his foundation, his entertainment company, his real estate company, and spending time with his family and friends. Being active is crucial. As of 1 January 2023, Barry stepped down as President at BFL Canada, and will remain CEO and Chairman, which will enable him to spend more time enjoying life.
It is clear that Barry considers his team as his family and takes pride in knowing that he’s so well surrounded with a diverse group of talented and driven individuals. After speaking with several members of his team, we can attest that the feeling is reciprocated.
JETELOVE asked: ”What are your success habits?” Barry says that it is consistency, maintaining social interactions, staying informed, and having a strong sense of communication with those around you.
“Looking back, what is the greatest lesson you have learned so far in both business and your personal life?” we asked.
Barry says: "Learning from lessons, and conveying the truth to folks, not to be a politician in business but to tell the truth, there’s only one answer, it is either black or white. It is also crucial to admit when you are wrong. I have made a number of mistakes but have learned from them every time. Remember what Henry Ford said " Failure is the opportunity to start again more intelligently'“
JTL asked this native Montrealer and father of three what made him stay in his hometown of Montreal as opposed to moving to another city or country? Barry replied: “I love this city, I have lived in London and New York, but Montreal is just us. There’s an attachment here, I have family here that I need to take care of. It’s a great place to live - if you focus on the real issues that matter"
“What is a typical day for Barry Lorenzetti?”
He says he gets up early, enjoys some alone time, spends time with his dogs, reads the paper, says goodbye to his lovely wife Carine and slowly makes his way into one of his offices.
JTL asked: "Who inspires you and why?”
Barry says his children inspire him, all that they’ve accomplished is remarkable. His wife inspires him, being an entrepreneur, very independent and driven. His employees, shareholders and clients inspire him. When referring to music, his inspiration is definitely Sir Paul McCartney.
“What advice would you give to someone starting out in business?” we asked . “It’s easy to access capital today but one crucial ingredient to success is passion. Without passion, you simply go through the motions and don’t fully embrace the potential of what one is capable of. Surround yourself with people that complement your weaknesses, that you can learn from and feed off of, this makes me complete. It’s also important to accept that you cannot be the best at everything.”
Thank you Barry for your drive, generosity, hard work and contribution to so many important causes.
#jetelove #montrealerofmonth #barrylorenzetti