Not many countries in the world offer all their citizens the chance to experiment with learning and personal pursuits without judgment, or punishment for expressing themselves. In the same way Canada has unlocked possibilities for me, I feel it is our responsibility to swing open the “doors to the banquet” and allow others to rise to their potential through economic empowerment.
I’ve worn a few hats in my career. I have been a journalist and a consultant. I have even run for public office. In 2008, I wrote a philosophy book and had begun making my living mostly as an author and public speaker.
However, a couple of years ago I felt compelled to start up a perfume business. The inspiration came from my long-time best friend and mentor, Captain Trevor Greene, who very nearly died on a peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan in 2006.
Trevor was in a small community called Shinkay, sitting with his fellow peacekeepers and the village elders, discussing how to bring clean drinking water, education and health care to the women and children. Suddenly he was attacked from behind, struck by the axe of a 16-year-old Taliban man who didn’t want the people in his community to have free will – or even free thought. The man partially split Trevor’s brain with that one awful swing before Trevor’s fellow soldier shot and killed him. It is a miracle my friend survived. As you can imagine, the road he has travelled since then has been tremendously challenging.
I realize that starting a company may not be a typical response to a friend’s horrible tragedy. After it happened, though, I was looking for ways to support his mission, part of which includes liberating Afghan families from terrorism.
I wanted to prove to the people of Afghanistan that they weren’t alone and we were going to shine light on what was beautiful. I also wanted to show my best friend Trevor that his mission wasn’t in vain; there are many of us who care deeply about freedom, literacy and economic empowerment....