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An interview with Brian Callery

Posted 7 years ago on · Permalink

Brian CalleryBrian Callery, of long-time APBOT member The Callery Group, celebrated 40 years in business last week. This is no small accomplishment. In the hopes of learning some of the secrets to his success and longevity in business, we asked him a few questions.

Note: We’ve left Brian’s responses virtually unedited to provide  even more of a flavour of the man.

Most members know you as the owner of a successful insurance firm that’s celebrating 40 years in business but everyone has a back-story. Tell us a little bit about your early life. What was it like being one of 11 children and how has that experience shaped you professionally?

Being one of 11 kids was kind of ordinary back in the day as we were all farmers, rural dwellers who worked at local plants, mines or just small town folk. Families were very central to our lives. Schools, churches and community centers (hockey and baseball) were the ‘social media’ activities of the day.
It is kind of obvious that we were (are) Irish Catholics and were surrounded by the same. However, we had as many non-Catholic friends! We had to get along. We all depended on each other. No one had a lot of money but we had rich lives!

Of course, we fought like cats and dogs at times but the next day we were friends again — the same within the family.
The older kids looked after the younger kids – thus, we learned shared responsibility young. Everyone had to pinch in and we inspired one another. [We] handed down clothes, skates and baseball mitts! Our parents were always there – refereeing most of the time! They provided great leadership and role modelling. We loved hanging out on the farm with them. It was like a community within a community. When things got offside, Mom or Dad would just ‘chair’ getting it back onside…often times by allowing us to sort it out ourselves! We learned diplomacy and respect.
Of course, the first lad up in the morning got the best socks. [The ones] with no holes!

Mom always said that her love just expanded out equally among the whole flock so it was not a big deal. Maybe that is where ‘Economies of Scale’ really got started.

What are some of the secrets to your success?

Hard work, diligence, a vision for success on our own defined terms. Respect for others, fairness, transparency — we are who we are. Team building and respect for that team. A positive mental attitude. Energy — philanthropy is a great privilege — a great energizer! We are so fortunate to be able to help those less fortunate as long as they are doing their best to help themselves!

It all seems pretty simple, now! Not that we have not had many struggles but I firmly believe it is the ‘struggle’ that is the best teacher in life! Knowing that there is always a solution if we just keep our heads about us is a good habit. I subscribe to the idea that wealth is just a habit.
Now, underwriting all of the above is my good fortune of being married to a wonderful wife and being the father of two wonderful daughters.

What are three songs on your music play list these days?
“The Wind Beneath my Wings”, ” Taking Care of Business”…just kidding…”How Great Thou Art”

If you were going to recommend a book to your fellow APBOT members, what would it be?

Oh gosh, I read a lot! How about  The Family Business Doctor by Dr. John Fast, Willing Wisdom; and Every Family’s Business by Dr. Tom Deans  or The Art of Aging,  a great treatise on understanding ourselves as we move along in this life.

How has being involved in the Ajax-Pickering Board of Trade affected your business?

Continued involvement in the community, expanding relationships. making great friends. I believe it is our responsibility to contribute to the places we live and do business. Networking and helping others grow. It works both ways!

You’re in a very competitive space. How have you distinguished yourself from others in your field?

Just being The best at what we do — No BS! A great team of professionals who care about what they do. [By} playing fair, even with our competitors. It is a long road that doesn’t have any bends! What goes around comes around. There is lots for everybody! I believe in abundance.

What are you doing to celebrate 40 years in business?

We are going to host a blast and invite all of our friends and clients to share in the moment. They helped create it.

(Ed: The Callery Group hosted their 40th Anniversary celebration last week and APBOT representatives were on hand to help them celebrate)