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Dan Cooper and Kevin O'Leary.

antibiotic azithromycin Dan Cooper and Kevin O'Leary.

antibiotic amoxicillin I’ve always believed that if you hang around successful people, you will find success yourself. Whether by gaining insights and knowledge or simply being inspired, the lessons learned from those who excel will help you in life and business. I have been fortunate to have befriended many business and community leaders who have inspired me and provided me with invaluable business acumen. They have been instrumental in my personal and business growth.

Outstanding entrepreneurs and leaders such as Kevin O’Leary – best known as one of the dragons on CBC’s popular reality show Dragons’ Den – Peter Gilgan, president of Mattamy Homes – Canada’s largest home builder – and Jim Balsillie, co-CEO of Research in Motion – the maker of the BlackBerry.

Kevin is my kind of entrepreneur. He vowed at a young age to always be his own boss and launched his incredible career with $10,000 borrowed from his mother to start up a software publishing company – SoftKey – which became The Learning Company and was eventually sold to Mattel for $4.2 billion. Kevin was among the top shareholders.

He went on to invest in a variety of successful enterprises but is best known for the nightly Lang and O’Leary Exchange on CBC News Network and his tight-fisted role on Dragons’ Den. On the latter, he has a knack for one-liners that get straight to the point – “You can’t cry your way to success” and “I’m not trying to make friends, I’m just trying to make money.” When it comes to business, Kevin doesn’t fool around. He is a mercenary and the result of his approach speaks for itself.

Peter Gilgan is among those rare business leaders who did not go to university, but rather followed a passion for building homes and making money. What he accomplished was to build the country’s largest home building empire with communities all over Ontario, in Alberta and in the U.S. Does Peter regret not pursuing a higher education? “I’ve never stopped learning,” he said in a recent interview. “I found the rate at which I was educated in school was not quite fast enough – if the subject interested me. If it didn’t interest me, it was really too slow – you were bored to death. And I had a preference to get out and start making money.”
Interestingly, Peter was honoured this year by Wilfrid Laurier University’s business school as its outstanding business leader. What I admire most about Peter is not only his business success, but his generosity as well. His philanthropic philosophy is inspiring and one that I have tried to emulate. Peter has given back to his community of Oakville in a big way. I have written often about my own philanthropy and Peter is one of the people who have been a personal inspiration.

Jim Balsillie made headlines not only with the BlackBerry, but his unsuccessful bids to bring an NHL team to Hamilton. Over the past few years he has made offers on Pittsburgh Penguins, Nashville Predators and last year Phoenix Coyotes. Jim’s commitment to his community and his innovation in business leadership have been widely recognized. In the late 1990s he was honoured with the Canada Award for Business Excellence. He received honourary Doctorate of Laws from Wilfrid Laurier University and from Dalhousie University and he was elected a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario, the highest designation that the institute confers.

These are but a few of the many people I have had the pleasure to get to know – who have inspired me, helped me to fashion my guiding principles and reminded me the power of giving back to the community. If you want to be successful in business and life, surround yourself with people who will motivate and inspire you.

Two weeks ago I wrote about my intention to participate in the Joe’s Team Triathlon to raise money for the head and neck translational research program at The Princess Margaret. On July 10th, I joined about 550 other participants to swim, bike and run at Lake Joseph, Muskoka and together we raised more than $1 million to support critical cancer research funded by The Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation.

The background of this event is that in 2004, Joe Finley began a difficult fight with cancer, a battle that he is very much fighting today. Despite the physical and emotional toll of an extremely aggressive cancer treatment, Joe fulfilled a life-long objective in August 2006 – he completed his first triathlon. Crossing the finish line was just the beginning for Joe. Teamed up with The Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation, Joe created “Joe’s Team,” an innovative cancer fundraising initiative that has in four short years raised well over $3 million.

Today, this physically challenging triathlon stands as the community event that is far surpassing the expectations of everyone involved, a claim that can only be made because of the generous support of sponsors, participants and donors. I want to thank all of you who made generous donations to this worthy cause through my website DanCooper.com. My team was able to raise several thousands of dollars thanks to your generosity.

I am passionate about giving back to organizations that have a major impact to the quality of life of people we know and love. While most of my philanthropy is geared towards Oakville and Burlington organizations, cancer is an insidious disease that touches all of us. We all have a family member, or relative or friend who has been stricken with this horrible illness. And so, I was proud to be a participant in a triathlon to raise money for one of the most prevalent diseases of our lifetime.

The Dan Cooper Team is dedicated to giving back to the community and we support numerous causes, from youth sports teams to major fundraising events such as the Dan Cooper Celebrity Invitational Golf Tournament held last month at Glen Abbey for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Halton, Comic Vision, the most successful evening of stand-up comedy and fundraiser for the Foundation Fighting Blindness, the Oakville Hospital Foundation’s fundraising campaign for the New Oakville Hospital, and the Oakville Centre of the Performing Arts, just to name a few. Being able to do something that will change the lives of others for the better is the best gift of all. And so, I encourage everyone to get involved, give what you can to help make the Oakville and Burlington area a great place to live.

Featured in the photo from right to left are Bruce Smith, Joe Finley (Joe’s Team), and Dan Cooper.

Featured in the photo from right to left are Bruce Smith, Joe Finley (Joe’s Team), and Dan Cooper.

If you are a regular reader of my column, you know I’m a big supporter of some very worthwhile causes. I am passionate about giving back, not only to the local community, but also to organizations that have a major impact to the quality of life of people we know and love. Cancer is an insidious disease that touches all of us. We all have a family member, or relative or friend who has been stricken with this horrible illness. On July 10th, I’m proud to be a participant in a triathlon to raise money for one of the most prevalent diseases of our lifetime.

The triathlon is a key challenge in the Joe’s Team Fundraising Campaign, which raises money for The Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation. The background is that in 2004, Joe Finley began a difficult fight with cancer, a battle that he is very much fighting today. Despite the physical and emotional toll of an extremely aggressive cancer treatment (or perhaps, some say, because of it), Joe fulfilled a life-long objective in August 2006 – he completed his first triathlon.

Crossing the finish line was just the beginning for Joe. Teamed up with The Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation, Joe has created “Joe’s Team,” an innovative cancer fundraising initiative that has in three short years already raised $2.1 million. The need to conquer cancer in our lifetime is urgent and important. Right now, 2 in 5 people will hear these words in their lifetime: “You have cancer.” Those words will transform their life and the lives of their loved ones forever. The Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation at University Health Network raises funds for research, education and the enhancement of patient care at Canada’s leading cancer research hospital, the Princess Margaret and its research arm, the Ontario Cancer Institute. To learn more about The Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation visit our website at www.pmhf.ca.

Where does your money go? Funds raised by Joe’s Team benefit The Joe’s Team Fund supporting The Princess Margaret Hospital Head & Neck Translational Research Program, a leading international research team of 28 dedicated clinicians and scientists whose vital research leads to potential new drugs, radiation and individualized treatment options that are more effective, less toxic, and will increase a patients quality and length of life. Our support helps researchers and clinical staff to have tremendous impact on the lives of patients and provide the basis for scientific breakthroughs in other human malignancies including head and neck, lung, breast and colorectal cancers. With the support of Joe’s Team, The Princess Margaret’s translational research program will significantly advance its understanding of the development and progression of head and neck cancer.

Yes, cancer can be beaten, and with your help, I would like to make a significant contribution to the fight. Please go to my website and make a pledge. Log onto DanCooper.com and simply follow the links to the Joe’s Team form. Even a small donation goes a long way. Collectively we can make a difference in someone’s life. So be generous, give what you can and together we can accomplish something significant and fulfilling. I can’t describe the feeling I get when I know I’ve done something that will change the lives of others for the better.

That’s the best gift of all. Again, please visit my website and support a great cause.

Featured in the photo from left to right are Craig Walkins, Matt Dunigan, Dan Cooper, Frank Dunigan

Featured in the photo from left to right are Craig Walkins, Matt Dunigan, Dan Cooper, Frank Dunigan

I’m proud to be partnered with a great organization such as the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Halton. Their work has a tremendous impact on children at-risk in our community, providing critical mentorship programs for children and youth of all ages who need our help.

And I’m immensely pleased that the first Dan Cooper Celebrity Invitational Golf Tournament held on June 24th at Glen Abbey was a sold out affair and is fully expected to have reached BBBSH’s goal of raising $60,000. I want to thank all those who participated to make this inaugural invitational a huge success, and to the celebrities who made time for this great cause – CFL greats Matt Dunigan and Miles Gorrell, Canadian actor Art Hindle, sports broadcaster and former NHL executive Gord Stellick to name a few.

Jules Graham-Hood, BBBSH Executive Director, had these kind words, “We are very grateful to have Dan and his team looking at a long-term relationship with BBBSH and our ‘Give Where You Live Work and Play’ campaign. Next year has some new surprises in store for our more fair weather golfers who wish to play a little and enjoy a little pampering and delicacies in support of BBBSH.”

It can be a challenge when there are several golf tournaments each day for worthy charities, not to mention donor fatigue. However grassroots charities such as the BBBSH are preventative in focus, helping children in the early stages by providing mentorship that has a positive impact that lasts a lifetime with these kids of all ages. Our young people are our future leaders and it is critical that we provide all the support we can to ensure they develop into good citizens, business people and community leaders. Few of us may be aware that there are hundreds of youth at-risk here in our own community. Often, our comfortable and insular lives shield us from some very hard truths in our back yard. This reality, however, is only too clear to the great people and volunteers at BBBSH.

“Give where you live” is a slogan adopted by many charitable organizations across North America, but it really does sum up my own personal philanthropic objectives and the approach of the Dan Cooper Team when it comes to donations and giving back to the community. I have chosen a number of outstanding organizations in which to make significant contributions. The new Oakville Hospital will be built in the very near future and so I have pledged a percentage of my commissions to the Oakville Hospital Foundation because I believe a strong and vibrant community needs state-of-the-art health care for its citizens.

I was also proud to be the venue sponsor for Comic Vision at Le Dome on North Service Road East in April. This is Canada’s most successful night of stand-up comedy and fundraising in support of the Foundation Fighting Blindness. Other organizations I support include the Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts. Culture and arts are also critical for the well-being of a community and I’m proud that my Dan Cooper Concert Series brings internationally acclaimed performers to our small corner of the globe.

To find out who is performing in the coming months visit www.oc4pa.ca.

I encourage all of you to give back to the community in any way you can; whether it is with money or time or both. Your efforts and contributions help make our community stronger and a better place in which to live.

Featured in the photo from left to right are David Ferrari, Ann Morrison, Dan Cooper, and auctioneer Don Stewart.

Featured in the photo from left to right are David Ferrari, Ann Morrison, Dan Cooper, and auctioneer Don Stewart.

I can’t begin to describe the feeling one gets when you have an opportunity to play a key role in a successful fundraising event. On April 28th, Comic Vision Oakville raised more than $120,000 for the Foundation Fighting Blindness (FFB), an organization that is helping people with serious eye diseases. Many of us take our sight for granted, but the prospect of losing it can be terrifying for any of us. And so I was immensely proud, along with Royal LePage, to be the venue sponsor for this very worthwhile cause. We selected Le Dome on North Service Road East for this year’s show, and according to Comic Vision Oakville, the new venue contributed to this being the annual event’s most successful year yet.

The show was a sell-out, with 530 attendees coming out for a highly entertaining and enjoyable evening of laughter, and to show their support for FFB. This is Canada’s most successful night of stand-up comedy and fundraising for FFB. The cross-country tour of high profile, stand-up comedy always promises to provide a memorable night of entertainment and this year’s show did not disappoint.

Comic Vision is held each year in five cities across Canada, including London, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver. The national tour this year raised more than $680,000. All proceeds will go directly to the Foundation Fighting Blindness, which funds vision research at hospitals and universities across Canada. The FFB has played a pivotal role in bringing researchers closer than ever to potential treatments and cures that can one day reverse genetic forms of blindness. Of course, an event such as this takes an army of people behind the scenes to ensure it is a premier fundraiser for FFB. Comic Vision Oakville says a major thank you goes out to all the sponsors, donors, volunteers and the continued support from the Oakville and Burlington communities.

For our part, the Dan Cooper Team and Royal LePage are proud to provide ongoing support for local organizations, services and programs. It is our commitment to give back to the community in which we work and live. We are not simply in the business of selling properties and helping buyers find homes. We are an integral part of this terrific community. We are your neighbour, our children go to school here and we shop in the same grocery stores. This is our community and the Dan Cooper Team is proud to play a part in shaping its character and its success.

To see videos and photos of the Comic Vision Oakville event, please visit www.comicvision.ca. For more information about the Foundation Fighting Blindness, please visit www.ffb.ca.