Technology Entrepreneur, Jim Estill is the author of two books, Time Leadership: Lessons from a CEO and Zero to $2Billion: The Marketing and Branding Story Behind the Growth. He is also a successful investor, executive and philanthropist. He will be receiving the Order of Ontario, later this year, for his inspiring humanitarian efforts in the resettlement of 58 Syrian Refugee families to his hometown of Guelph, Ontario. Jim will tell you that he is a distribution guy, and that what he’s done isn’t much, just some systems analysis, plan development, process creation and a little time management application. The over 200 people whose lives Jim’s generosity and bravery have saved will tell you different.
Why do some people step up to act while others stand on the sidelines, and what can we do to hedge our bets for success? We can take a lesson from Jim Estill.
Jim had a vision and he had a clear definition of success: 58 families resettled, working, contributing, paying taxes, rent, speaking English, experiencing some degree of integration, buying groceries where we by groceries, not on welfare, empowered and optimistic. And Jim had studied and had a plan. Like the conductor of a fine tuned orchestra, he smoothly orchestrated the resettlement of 250 displaced people; with the hard won lessons of process, hard work, commitment and efficiency to guide him.
Jim will tell you, “Do the right thing. The more you know yourself, the more your competitive advantage. Work is good. Work hard and make sure what you do scales. Focus on implementation. Start one success habit a day. And pick the right sized opportunity for yourself that elevates your chances for success and the scale you enjoy.”
He will also tell you that not making a decision is making a decision to do nothing. And he didn’t want to be one of those people who did nothing. So, he built a complete program to get these refugee families Canadian job ready and set up to successfully integrate into the community. Set up like a business and run like a business, but with 800 registered volunteers – “friends” to help with ESL, tea circles, walk and talks. Arabic and English speaking Mentor families and providers to assist with trips to the library, transportation, bus rides, bank errands, shopping and health appointments.
He created a jobs program in his own factory. He tapped individuals, businesses, churches, and charitable organizations to get what the program needed. From new socks and underwear to storage space. Assigning five volunteer families to each refugee family for support, basic logistics, adaptation and working through the guilt and depression of having left their own families, work and homes behind.