Self-development & The Father of Motivation

I believe in self-development.

I believe that when I put effort, focus and love into myself, I will benefit as will those around me. Motivation is a pillar in the self-development journey.


Dr. Wayne Dyer was the “father of motivation” and gracefully passed away 2 days ago.  If you have ever had the pleasure of reading his books or watching his videos, you will know what type of loss this is.

Some of my favourite Dr. Wayne Dyer quotes:

If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.
How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.
When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.
Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice.
Conflict cannot survive without your participation.
You cannot be lonely if you like the person you’re alone with.
The highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you don’t know anything about.
When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor. It’s to enjoy each step along the way.
Doing what you love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life.
Abundance is not something we acquire. It is something we tune into.

If you do nothing else over the next 6 days, you need to watch this video.  It is available free to watch in honour of Dr. Dyer’s passing.


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Life and Grief.

I’ve had a hard time writing after my last post about our angel daughter, Olive.  What an earth could I say or write that will ever mean as much or have as much impact.  After a lot of thought I came to the realization that the act of writing itself heals me.  So outside of everything else; the expectations I put on myself, the hope I have for helping others, and the desire to do great things, I should just tell my mind to stop being so worried, and write.

Today’s topic of choice  – life and grief.


I survived the loss of my father through what I can only call a true emotional battle.  I fought hard and I didn’t win but I learnt to co-exist with grief.   Losing my daughter put me into what could only be called an emotional and mental battle the likes of a World War.  For those of you that are sadly part of one of these loss clubs (a term only those who have experienced loss will understand) you get it.

Life has a completely new meaning to me now.

My daughter, Molly, is my everything and has been the reason I push forward, get up with a smile, and put my grief armour on.  You know, the armour that covers your mind and your heart and allows you to get through your day to day activities without melting into a puddle at ever trigger.

Triggers.  You may not ever understand this but triggers are everywhere.  The obvious ones are the Father’s Day aisle at Shoppers, or the newborn cry you hear while you are grocery shopping, but the non-obvious ones are those that nobody really understands.  Smelling my Dad’s cologne, driving by the park that was going to be your headquarters during your summer mat leave, its everywhere.  That’s why we have to live with our armour on.

I won’t lie, my armour is tarnished, dented and rubbing me sore in a few places, mainly my heart.  I’m able to take it off only in certain company – my grief group, my therapist sessions and my home.  During a week with 7 days and 17 awake hours, thats not a lot of reprieve time.

For people existing around those of us who are wearing armour, be gentle.  Be compassionate.  Be understanding.  We pray you never walk in our footsteps as life with unimaginable grief is tiring, heartbreaking and lonely.

BJ-Karrer-Grieiving-the-loss-of-a-child  grief-walk 69c970844633aec9aeadef75d1add405

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Today was supposed to be a very different day.

**I have something to share, and I’m sharing because my hope is it will help those suffering in silence to know they are not alone. **


Today was supposed to be the second most important day of my life.

Today we were supposed to meet our darling daughter in person, healthy.

Today Molly was supposed to become an official big sister.

Sadly, what should have happened and the reality of what did happen are very different. On December 20, 2015 our worlds shattered at the core as we were told that the daughter I was carrying had what they suspected was a fatal heart defect.  It was our 21 week ultrasound appointment, Molly was with us and, moments earlier in my OB office, we had selected May 7th as her c-section delivery date.  Taking great care to make sure it was far enough apart from Molly’s May 1 birthday so we could mitigate any sibling rivalry.  Nothing could have ever prepared us for the moments, hours, days that would come.

Due to the fact that the holidays were in full swing, we had a hard time getting an appointment with the Pediatric cardiac specialists.  I called my OB everyday, 3 times a day, asking for updates. Imagine what it’s like to be told that a 2 ton truck is coming to run you over, you see it, but there is nothing you can seem to do get it to change its course.  That’s what the days between Dec. 20 – Jan. 5 were like.  Finally, we were told about that a specialist was available to see us – January 5, 11am.

I prayed that morning.  To be honest, I had been praying since December 20th.   Praying to my Dad, to God, to anyone who would listen. But on the morning of January 5, I prayed in a different way.  I prayed for guidance, I prayed for strength and I prayed for me to be able to survive.

After the echocardiogram was done, the specialist walked us into a separate consultation room, similar to the room they took us into on Dec. 20.  (Side note: If anyone every asks me to ‘please step into the consultation room’ again, you will simply see the dust of me running as fast as possible in the opposite direction. Nothing good happens in those rooms.)  In that room we were told that there was no hope.  That our little girl had a serious, heart defect – the words, “non-compatible with life” came up several times.  We knew as we left that appointment that we would soon be delivering our angel. The days that followed were filled with numbness, anger, utter and complete heart break.

January 8, I was admitted into the hospital.  I was assigned nurses that I can only describe as angels on earth and I was surrounded by compassion, love, and understanding.  My OB, who I adore in so many ways, was on call that evening, providing some sense of familiarity in what was the most unfamiliar environment.  My husband, who I love more than I could ever imagine possible, held my hand at every step and together we walked down the path of grief as we prepared to meet, and say goodbye to, our daughter.

There were many horrific moments but none that shocked me more than the delivery.  I delivered my daughter, naturally, on Friday, January 9, 2015 and it was peaceful, spiritual.  A fellow Mom who suffered a loss said in one of my group sessions, “I gave birth to death”.   It’s true, I did, and it will be something I hold dear and treasure for the rest of my life.  We were able to hold her, to kiss her, to dress her and read her stories.  We were able to tell her how much she meant to us.

Because today would have been the day that I share pictures of our daughter on FB and Instagram, announcing her arrival and sharing our joy, I would like to introduce our daughter Olive Harper Allinson, stillborn January 9, 2015.  We have tremendous joy that she is a part of our lives and our family and she mattered to us.


I have two daughters. One here on earth and one in heaven.  I’m a Mom of an angel, the greatest tragedy and the greatest honour.  Molly is a big sister, except she is gifted with a little sister who is her guardian angel.

I’ve chosen to share our story because Olive mattered.  Through Olive’s story, I truly hope that those suffering in silence with infant/late pregnancy loss can find some sort of comfort.  You are not alone.

It may make you feel uncomfortable to hear stories of loss but I assure you, most of us like to speak about our children with the pride we feel inside. They mattered to us.

Olive, I will hold your heart on my sleeve and your spirit on my shoulder until the time we meet again.


Mom of an angel


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Who is Prue Richardson?


Well, she is my Mom.  Not just any Mom, but MY Mom.  One of the strongest human beings I know and someone who has more might in her tiny 5′ ft frame than most defensive linebackers.  She was the perfect match for my father.  Since I’ve written a few posts about him, I felt it was only right to give you a bit of background about his other half.


The link below will lead you to an article written about my Mom, in a magazine called the The Chronicle of the Horse.  It’s a great background starter 😉


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My Dad: Rich Richardson – Entrepreneur Extraordinaire: Part 3

I’m trying to do a bit of organizing and purging (you know, in the 20 minutes a day you have when naps are happening, after you have showered, done laundry, and eaten), and came across a wonderful bio of my Dad, Rich (Wilbert) Richardson.  Words can’t describe what my Dad meant to me and to my family, and for those who never met him, this is a fantastic ‘overview’ of the man he was.  The biography was written by Maria Goldblatt, and to this day I thank her for using my Dad as the topic for her Global Entrepreneurial Management assignment, as it allowed his journey to be documented.

It is a long read, but one hell of a good story. I’ve broken it up into manageable parts. Enjoy.


Rich Richardson – Entrepreneur Extraordinaire by Maria Goldblatt

Part 3

Time was nearing to pull the trigger on the Shotgun Clause.  The Shotgun Clause was in the contract.  It stipulated that if Bill was unhappy with the union, he could offer to buy RIch out, or vice versa.  The partner receiving the offer was able, if he so desired, to accept the offer OR to buy the other fellow out at the same offer price.  The offer was a lot of money.  And Bill was his usual arrogant self, scheming with his NJ backers, oblivious to Rich’s work behind the scenes.

The day finally arrived some weeks later.  It was a Wednesday – the day that Bill chose to serve Rich with the offer.  Rich knew it was the day.  He was prepared.  He came in early before bill arrived and fired all the salespeople who had sided with Bill.  The keys to their BMWs heaped on his desk.  He called his Banker to finalize funding, grabbed a cup of coffee and turned his chair toward the window, opening the shade.  He waited.  It would not be long now.  He watched as Bill parked, grabbed a thick manila folder from the passenger seat of his car and strode toward the office door.  Rich swung his chair around to face the door and took another swig from his mug.  He waited.

“Where is everyone this morning?” Bill called out making his way down the hall.  “Was last night at the clubs so rough no one could get in on time?”  He chuckled at his wit expecting others to join in but only silence.  No one answered his comment.  Only two offices were occupied and the men sitting there did not even look out.  Bill shrugged and headed in to see Rich, still carrying his folder.  “Rich – good day.  Glad you are here because I wanted to chat.”

“Come in.  Come in.” “What’s up partner?” Rich crooned motioning Bill toward the little conference table in the corner of the office, then joining him there.  Bill spared any obligatory niceties throwing open his folder, “Rich, I am buying you out of the business today.”

“What is the offer?” Rich asked coolly, although he already knew.  Bill handed Rich the document with the flourish stating the figure with pomp.  As Rich bent his head to read the document, Bill glanced around.  His peripheral vision caught sight of the pile of BMW keys on Rich’s desk.  His eyebrows raised and eyes opened wide.  He glanced slowly over his shoulder out the door.  Still no sales staff in the halls.  No usual sound of activity.  “Aaaah, what is going on here?”  Bill stammered, turning quite white.

“Well” Rich said, “Actually, I am buying you out of the business today.”  “I match your offer as per the Shotgun Clause.  Here is the paperwork for you to sign so please do so then if you wouldn’t mind, please leave my office.” My lawyer will call yours.

Bill slinked out the door.  Rich shook his head then reached for his rolodex.  “Need to find a new sales force:, he mumbled as he reached for a number.  He decided to outsource.  It was a business philosophy of his, he told the company on the phone, “I am a great believer in minimizing overhead.  If we can outsource the service we need, that’s what we’ll do.” And that’s what he did.

The company remained Dodd and Richardson until 1983 when Rich invited Southam Printing to buy part of the business.  Earnings had leveled off and even decreased in some sectors.  From a high of $15 or even $18 earned for cost per thousand at the onset, the early 80’s brought earnings of closer to $3.  Rich decided that it was time to gain an advantage by providing customers with a more complete solution.

The new company formed was named SMR, short for Southam, Morris, Richardson.  It produced the co-op advertising envelope and did all the targeted insertions.  When new executives came on board at Southam Printing in 1988, they decided to sell off SMR believing it to be outside core competency.  Rich bout the shares then immediately sold to Telemedia Procom uniting the front-end of the business with the contract for inserting material into the actual envelope.

By 1996, technology had changed the face of the industry.  Not one to miss new trends, Rich merged SMR with a struggling bindery operation owned by Bob Tier.  The company became SMR/Tytrek.  Rich became Chairman.  It was the first company in all of Canada to have all the disciplines for direct marketing programs under one roof.

In 2000, the partners bought Rich out.  It was time.  How different was the company left that day from the foundation that he had laid so many years ago with Wayne Distributors and Advertising – one truck and a better way of doing things.  As the partners and his colleagues warmly toasted him, they recalled his many successes.  The Champagne poured freely.  The waiters circulated with silver trays displaying tiny delicacies.  The speakers told of Rich’s contributions, awards and honours.  The crowd applauded.  An article in Direct Marketing News called him ‘a trailblazer in the direct marketing industry’.  He was.  And he is.


Rich was ready to move on from the SMR Group.  But retire?  Never.  He simply needed time to work on new endeavors.  He wanted to put more focus on giving something back through the education foundation he had started to help at risk youth.  And he wanted to spend more time on the black minority-ownership business he recently formed in the US, the LGR Group.  The LGR Group’s genesis was in mixing old and new contacts from his proven network.  HE worked it the same way he had done so many deals, by putting the right people together, relying on others input and finding unique solutions to problems.  Kirk Lewis – his old football buddy from Pennsylvania – had a son working in Michigan on minority marketing.  Rich joined up with him and another partner and LGR was born.  Sharing shares in the business as was his way.

LGR was doing work with Mercedes-Benz, USA.  The President of Mercedes-Benz had once lived in the same neighbourhood in Canada as the Richardson family.  Rich used this contact to meet with the executive team and fill their need for highly targeted customer relationship marketing campaigns.

There is no end in sight for Rich with another business plan underway targeting the swelling number of aging baby boomers.  And the legacy of entrepreneurship continues.  Daughter Amber is 25.  She has her Dad’s unquenchable vitality, ambition and knack for networking.  And she has her Dad.



I met Rich because of his work with Mercedes-Benz.  LGR was the agency for a highly successful program that we launched November 2002.  And so that is how I came to know him and how I ultimately came to interview him.  IT is a privilege to have had the chance to record this snapshot of his remarkable life.  when I asked him if I could interview him, he suggested that we meet at the Devon Horse Show because it is closer for me coming from New York and all.

Prue’s pony won Champion that day at the Devon Horse Show.  Northwind Farm, they announced.  Rich told me Prue was doing very well with her business.  She is a successful entrepreneur in her own right.  During high season, she is on the go with a ferocious schedule.  Rich stays out of her business and out of her way when she is working.  He did introduce me to Prue when I arrived at the Show.  She shook my hand and said hello then wisped a little nothing from Rich’s cheek before we moved on.  It was easy to see how they treasured one another with a radiant connection.  As an aside, Rich told me during a later conversation that he and Prue had dinner one of the nights of the show with a woman interested in one of Prue’s horses.  The woman remarked to Prue, referring to Rich, “You are very nice to your truck driver!” (obviously not knowing they were married). Prue quipped, “He has been with me for a long time and he works hard.”

From Rich, I learned the power of networking, the need to share risk, the importance to always, always look for the unique idea and to act fast.  I saw the success in staying of of sight and striking when it was least expected and the value of peace of mind.  He chalked much of his success to luck which is an interesting way to look at things.  For me, it points to humility which ties into the continuous search for a better way.

For my own plans, Rich gave me some advice which I have been turning over in my mind. “Do you have any extra time? Get started today. Start pulling together and mapping out a plan.  No one has to know what you do.”  He is right.  Why not start planning sooner? Why not.  And he told me to be patient.  I wrote it – the word patient – on an 81/2 x 11 piece of paper in green marker and posted it in my office to remind myself.  I tend not to be.  I tend to be preemptive.  The word reminds me to pace myself and to more vigilantly search for “luck”.

Impressive man.  Impressive story.  Wonderful family.  A privilege for me.


It goes without saying that I can’t thank Maria enough for documenting this snippet of my father’s life story.  Due to all the positive feedback on this series of posts, I am thrilled to be able to continue to share stories about my Dad’s life.  Stories that you quite honestly will find hard to believe.   You see, my father was like the main character in the movie, Big Fish.  He taught Royalty to dance, he was part of an undercover mission, and he had friends in crazy places.  Thank you for supporting my blog and I look forward to sharing many more stories with each and every one of you.


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My Dad: Rich Richardson – Entrepreneur Extraordinaire: Part 2

I’m trying to do a bit of organizing and purging (you know, in the 20 minutes a day you have when naps are happening, after you have showered, done laundry, and eaten), and came across a wonderful bio of my Dad, Rich (Wilbert) Richardson.  Words can’t describe what my Dad meant to me and to my family, and for those who never met him, this is a fantastic ‘overview’ of the man he was.  The biography was written by Maria Goldblatt, and to this day I thank her for using my Dad as the topic for her Global Entrepreneurial Management assignment, as it allowed his journey to be documented.

It is a long read, but one hell of a good story. I’ve broken it up into manageable parts. Enjoy.


Rich Richardson – Entrepreneur Extraordinaire by Maria Goldblatt

Part 2


Don spoke of a deal that he was working on in Mexico.  “Gold, zinc, onyx mines.  I have an in with a Senator and he is the next to be President.  When he gets the Presidency, we’ll get the deal.  I think you should come in on it with me.  With the Senator at the helm, and his right hand guy, we can get these mines.  They are loaded and labor is cheap.  Mexican inflation is lower than ever, gross national product is running at a good clip, like 6%, and they are cleaning up the cities.”  Rich paused for a moment then extended his hand to shake Don’s.  “I’m in.” he told his friend.  The two continued their stroll laying out different scenarios for financing and marketing.

The Senator became President in 1964 and opened wide the doors of Mexico for them and their investment.  They first met the President of Mexico at the Presidential Palace in Cozumel.  Casa de Onyx was conceived.   Rich was given VIP passes to fly Aeronovas de Mexico and Mexicana Airlines and shuttled between Toronto and Mexico.  Backing the deal with his earnings from Wayne Distributors, Rich and Don set up the business.  Revenue came fast.  Profits were great.  They ploughed virtually everything back in expanding the operation.  As they invested more of the profits, the business continued to grow.  It was unstoppable until that day in 1968.

Rich was at the desk in his hotel room shuffling through some papers when the phone rang.  He immediately heard the alarm in Don’s voice, “Did you read the paper?  Did you see about Echeverria and the mines?”  Rich pushed papers out of the way and grabbed the EI Universal, “You know I have to read the thing with my Spanish dictionary.  I didn’t get to it yet today.”  Rich heard the paper rustle as Don read from the article, “Luis Echeverria Alvarez, Ordaz’s interior minister and designated successor has made the decree to take back $3.6 million owed to Mexican mine workers.  These funds were misappropriated by foreign investors.”  “Did you get that? Misappropriated?? Echeverria – what crap!”. “Onyx mining will be centralized under government control immediately with foreign accounts to be frozen and monies controlled.” “Are you getting the point here?” added Don.  “Getting the point”, Rich snorted, “I am getting the first plane out of here.” And he did.  He left the mine and the offices and $400,000 cash in the bank account.

In the car to the airport, he waved the driver, Juan, past the gates for Aeronovas de MExico and Mexicana Airlines.  This driver had taken him tot he airport many times and looked at him quizzically.  “?Senor, dodge quire ir?” “Where do I want to go?”, asked Rich, “I am flying Canadian Airlines today.”  Juan’s face gave nothing away, but Rich noticed that he sped up and changed lanes to reach the gate as quickly as he could.  Juan pulled the suitcases from the trunk and placed them on the curb with a nod.  “Suerte, amigo.” Rich responded, “Y a ti – luck to you too, amigo” handing Juan a wad of Mexican bills. It was a tip ten times the usual but somehow fitting for this last good-bye.

Flying back to Toronto for the last time, Rich tallied his losses.  “Damn if I didn’t lose $1 million on Casa”.  He pondered scenarios to get it back but knew it simply wasn’t worth it.  “Peach of mind, peace of mind.  It has no price.  I don’t care to take on Mexico.:  He knew enough of what can happen there from the years in business and decided to just walk away.  Reflecting on the operation, the investment and the loss, he could hear the voice of his father: “Nothing is guaranteed.  Never put your money in a risk position.” And he knew that he would never again gamble so much for so little.  From then on, he would use other people’s money to split the risk.  Distributing shares for a venture and staying small enough to handle it oneself were added to his existing business principles.

These were the principles that guided him in a series of ventures outside of his main business.  He followed it in buying a farm with 4 friends that they held for 20 years before selling for significant return.  HE cashed in on the potential of Canadian City TV with a group of 10 investors.  His $100,00 investment soared to $680,00 in just 4 years.  And there was the chain of appliance stores that he leveraged for more than money, but here were getting ahead of our story by a few years.  We really must focus on Wayne Distributors & Advertising first.  Trouble is coming on like a tornado.


The end of Casa de Onyx gave Rich substantially more time to focus on Wayne Distributors & Advertising.  His schedule of travelling 80% would be cut dramatically.  This focus was certainly needed.   Newspapers, you see, had come up with an innovation of their own – freestanding inserts.  Advertisers could now have their flyers inserted into the daily newspaper at a fraction of the cost of door-to-door delivery.  Their messages were in home on the very day that they needed.  Rich watched his competitive advantage vanish and revenues atrophy.  In 1969, Wayne Distributors & Advertisers earned $18 million.  This plummeted to $3 million in just 14 months.  By 1971, it was obvious that the company was not going to survive as it was.  Rich worked tirelessly to plan and execute drastic steps to change disaster into something that could work.

There were 14 offices at this time.  Rich created a pseudo-franchising agreement with formerly centralized operations.  For all 13 offices outside  of Toronto, he knighted each Manager as President, signed over the trucks, the business contacts and contracts.  He basically walked away from all but the headquarter office.  The divestiture allowed him to concentrate on a metamorphosis to create a new business angle, make money again and get back peace of mind.

Rich plotted his new twist on business.  With little fanfare, he turned it over in his mind and consulted with his network of friends and associates.  This was true to his philosophy.  “Look weak and people will underestimate you then you really have the upper hand.” He knew what he needed and he needed a hard-core salesman.  His friend, Roger Godbeer – International Advertising Manage for Colgate, turned Rich on to the fateful connection that he needed to launch his new business gem.

Roger told him to call Bill Dodd.  Bill worked at Herbert A. Watts, Inc.  and he could sell. Herbert A. Watts was a co-operative mailing company in which advertisers piggybacked their advertising messages in a single envelope delivered right to the consumers’ homes.  There were 8 such businesses in Canada at the time but Rich figured he could do it better by pinpointing consumers to target audiences and by leveraging the experience, connections and distribution channels established by Wayne D & A.  Rich called Bill to offer him a piece of the new business.  It was 1973.

“Dodd and Richardson”, “What do you think?” Rich paused.  “I have the infrastructure and business contacts all over Canada from the Wayne D&A days but we need to pull it together and to sell aggressively – that is where I need you. I know it will work.  I know this market.”  “Join me and I will double your salary.” Rich finished his pitch.

Bill snorted at the apparent audacity and paused before announcing his annual salary, as if anticipating the shock he was sure would register.

Without hesitation, Rich responded, “You know what.  Forget doubling.  I will triple it.  Join me and your salary will be triple it is now and I commit to 3 years.”  All rich heard on the other line was breathing; he waited.  Finally Bill spoke, “I can agree to that offer.  Dod and Richardson.  I would like to speak more on the details tomorrow.  I have a meeting to attend right now.  I will have my lawyer give your fellow a call as well straightaway.”

“Good enough. Good enough.  Glad to have you on board.  Tomorrow is to talk, let’s say 10:00.  Good you mentioned the lawyers; we’ll include a shot-gun clause.”  Rich answered then hung up the phone muttering, “Arrogant Brit, this Dodd, but sometimes you need to put up with things.”

Business at Dodd and Richardson rocketed.  After just 18 months in business, they had captured so much of the market that only one of the eight competitors was still in business, and that company was scrambling to survive.  Selectively of households and targeting ad messages was the unique differentiator that fueled this climb.  The business was extremely lucrative with a fleet of BMW’s for the salesforce to prove it.  After 4 years in business, they were so successful that word had crossed the border into the USA and investors from Newark, New Jersey came courting.

The courting of Dodd and Richardson by suitors from New Jersey was not the only romance in Rich’s life at this time.  Much was evolving.

His marriage with Amy was over.  The relationship had been done for years but finally Rich had physically left; picked up the suitcase he kept packed at the ready for business, placed a photo of the kids on top of his neatly folded clothes and left.  The constant travel and the business changing yet again simply finalized it all.  The kids, hopefully, would understand.  No one was surprised when he and Amy separated – just not meant to be.

And now, he was on his way to Niagara Falls with Prudence.  Prue. They stopped off at one of his appliance stores to pick up a TV for her roommate and he had convinced her to see the Falls.  It was not fair away, after all.  He couldn’t believe his luck when she had agreed to go.  This was the first time that she had spoken to him. The first time that she had even acknowledged him.  Maybe it was because he was black and it was just too different?  He had always tried to chat with her at the farm, but she was leery.

As he drove, he listened to her lilting Australian accent.  Musical.  She was talking a bit more now, not quiet as the first let of the ride.  She told of the walk-about that landed her in Canada in the first place.  It is an Australian thing, the walk-about, hailing back to the Maoris.  She had left the family sheep station – thousands of acres and as many sheep – and set out to see more of the world.  She told how she had met her now roommate and how she had landed the job at the Farm.  The Farm that Rich and his friends owned.  The warm wind from her open window tossed wisps of red hair around her face.  She was pressed solidly against the passenger door but was easing her grip on the door handle a bit, her wiry 4’11 self so small on the car’s bench seat but so filled with vitality and energy.  A pretty special person, this Prue.  Rich thought that perhaps he was falling in love?

Rich was 45 years old and Prue 21.  Rich was black and Prue white.  Rich was from America, then Canada and Prue on a walk-about from Australia.  Rich was separated and had 4 children; Prue was not and did not.  Rich was strong, kind and generous and so was Prue.  Rich had a real zest for life and so did Prue.  Rich loved to travel and entertain and Prue did too.  They fell in love, married, and cherished one another.  The other bits just didn’t matter.  And after a few years, babies Amber and Derek came along and they were a family.


The romance with Prue had worked out famously.  The courting of Dodd and Richardson by the outfit from New Jersey was, however, quite sour.  It turns out that Bill Dodd was a double-crossing snake.  He was working a side deal with the suitors in New Jersey and covering it up back at the office.  The plan was to use the NJ financing to force Rich out.  What Dodd didn’t know is that Rich had never forgotten the lessons gained in the Navy so long ago.  Clues started adding up and Rich dug up the details on all that was going on.  He had a date.  He knew which salespeople were in cahoots.  And he had the exact price that Bill was going to offer.  Rich set about gathering financing and planning a counter offer – all undercover.


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My Dad: Rich Richardson – Entrepreneur Extraordinaire: Part 1

I’m trying to do a bit of organizing and purging (you know, in the 20 minutes a day you have when naps are happening, after you have showered, done laundry, and eaten), and came across a wonderful bio of my Dad, Rich (Wilbert) Richardson.  Words can’t describe what my Dad meant to me and to my family, and for those who never met him, this is a fantastic ‘overview’ of the man he was.  The biography was written by Maria Goldblatt, and to this day I thank her for using my Dad as the topic for her Global Entrepreneurial Management assignment, as it allowed his journey to be documented.

It is a long read, but one hell of a good story. I’ve broken it up into manageable parts. Enjoy.


Rich Richardson – Entrepreneur Extraordinaire by Maria Goldblatt


Rich Richardson

We agreed to meet at the Devon Horse Show.  Pennsylvania is much closer to New York than Toronto.  And this event, as he informed me, was the ‘Olympics’ of the breeding equestrian world, after all.  You could smell it.  The air wafted a scent of barn, horse and wealth.  Rich was there because his wife, Prue, was a breeder with champion ponies to show.  Rich, well, he says that he is just the truck driver.  This cavalier comment offers a glimpse into the essence of this quintessential entrepreneur and self-made man.

“Just luck, he says, just luck” as I asked about his numerous and highly successful ventures and followed him through a back gate to the car.  Over lunch, the real story unfolds.

Scene opens in Asbury Park, New Jersey at a Navy hospital.  The year is 1943.

The Early Years

Rich awoke to the crash of a metal tray hitting the tile, springing up then hitting again before it came to a stop.  Mumbled voices; he couldn’t make out what was being said, and then the sound of those rubber-soled shoes with a barely audible squeak on the scrubbed floors.  These sounds were familiar to him having spent 6 months in Hawaii before coming here.  Hospitals are noisy places; hard to get rest.  Everything was so white.  He preferred  this place though.  No roommate right now and somehow, it always seemed like the hospital in Hawaii had too many fresh ghosts from Pearl Harbour, the Philippines and beyond.  WWII was done for him.  Driving a jeep over a mine will do that.

He winced as he reached for a drink of water.  God, when is the nurse coming with the morphine.  The Medical Officer says he’ll be another year here.  This confinement was hard.  His mind was working, planning and energy was building, intensifying but he was trapped in this bed and this room.  But the confinement, well that was not so different from the cramped living on the Navy ship.  It smelled a little better here; antiseptic instead of all the sea sickness and close living.  Wonder how the guys are doing there; too bad their laundry blew up and worse yet, their bootleg booze.  That was a good money-maker for Rich.  Thanks to Bob for selling him that “business” connecting sailors and the locals.  Good money and a good run until the mine.  He grinned at the irony then grimaced as the pain shot down his back and into his legs.

The starched white hat bobbed by the door then back past and finally entered, checked his chart and gave him the morphine jab.  As the pain ebbed and his mind freed, Rich was transported back to 1940 in Donora, Pennsylvania riding his bike down the country road to his Dad’s Roadside Stand.  He had helped out for the afternoon because the folks were off to Virginia to see his Grandfather, a sharecropper, and Great Grandfather.  Great Grandfather always sat under that big tree shaded from the sun.  He didn’t talk much about being a slave but everyone knew that the severe whippings had taken an enormous toll and his eyesight was gone now, had been for years.

Rich pumped the bike pedals faster; getting to the Stand.  he liked to work at the Stand because there were always people to talk to and stories to hear.  It was good to connect and good for business.  He heard the crunch of gravel under the bike tires as he pulled to a stop feeling the swell of pride of having bought this bike all himself with earnings from selling Zanol products door-to-door.  His Father was proud of him too.  Rich knew it.  “Got a flair for hard work and business”, Dad had said.  And if Dad said that, it had to be true because there was no one harder working then him.  Dad didn’t sleep much.  HE had that good job at the steel mill and started the Roadside Stands and used that money and his network of friends and business connections to start up the long haul trucking company.  “Don’t use your own money unless it is a sure thing”, he heard his Dad say.

Rich sunk deeper into the cloud of morphine.  He felt the broad, thin steering wheel of the truck rumble in his hands.  Ten and Two.  Making the deadline needed.  Good.  It is good to be early.  Working the pedals with his feet, he turned, widely swinging into the lot and jumped out.

There was his brother holding out his football gear.  Let’s go.  Kirk is waiting, you know.  Rich pulled on his gear and then his helmet and began to run.  His strong, powerful legs carried him across the field.  He heard cheers and shouts from the crowd. He was flying; the drug carrying him higher into the euphoria.

He ran and ran.  The rain started to come down – heavy.  He ran out of the stadium and suddenly the terrain changed.  He ran past thick green vines and palm trees.  THe air was heavy and tropical hot.  He heard shouts and bombs whizzing.  He was breathing long deep breaths now; evenly paced.  He glanced to his right at the wooden frame barracks and the pile of guys smoking in front of it. “Hey Rich!” Their navy uniforms darkened with sweat in the Philippines heat.

As the morphine began to release its hold, Rich felt his legs continue to pump yet he was not moving.  His limbs were weighted and didn’t respond but his mind continued to dart; racing with fury for the evils of prejudice and the brutality of the war that had wounded him; and rushing with energy to excel mixed with pent-up passions of youth.  With a start, he left his trance and felt the hospital bed beneath him.  The pain still dulled but starting to come on stronger.

A year later, after rehabilitation and treatment, Rich Richardson was released from the Navy Hospital in Asbury Park, New Jersey.

Getting to Toronto

New York City always got Rich going.  The hustle and bustle somehow matched his personal, unquenchable drive.  Sam White was one of his favorite cronies to go there with because he always had new things to do; like going to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra but not for the music necessarily. Rich met his first wife, Amy, she was a violinist.  Amy had a different way about her and Rich liked what she had said about Toronto and Canada.  The chance to get away from the US and from the way it was for African-Americans in that time was enough, he moved to Toronto.

Rich immersed himself in his work.   The earliest motivation was pursuit of achievement with a key measure of success the money he earned.  His ability to identify and apply innovative twists and the entrepreneurial drive that had earned him a new bike at 14 and a freelance business in the Navy were the outlet for his energy, passion, and ambition.  This coupled with the principles he had learned and experienced he had gained shadowing his father’s business propelled him forward.  He began to create the network of friends and business philosophies that would give him an edge.

Ventures: First Round

The game had ended and the team piled into the locker room; another victory for the Toronto Argonauts.  Football helmets rolled under the benches as the team changed out of uniforms to hit the showers.  The coach dodged the guys and equipment making his way down the row.  He was handing out the cheques for the team members who played by the game.  $200 was the going rate.  Rich collected his and hurriedly left.  He was headed to the offices of Wayne Distributors & Advertising.  It was Sunday late and he was drained from the game but really needed to get through some paperwork.  Monday – the calls and dispatching of temp workers, rushed orders and selling would all start again.  There was no rest when you have your own company, he knew.

It was 1951.  Rich had left his job as Foreman of the print shop to set out on his own.  He knew he had a unique way to do advertising distribution better.  It was the genesis of a philosophy that would continue through his career, “There is always a way to do things better; finding that way can make you money.”

Always inquisitive, the big idea sparked when he chatted with Pat Roach – one of the print shop customers.  Pat headed up to Accurate Distributors, a company that circulated advertising materials door-to-door in Toronto.  The Post Office couldn’t guarantee a date for delivery of time-sensitive advertising offers.  Accurate Distributors filled this gap by getting coupons and flyers to consumers’ homes when the advertisers wanted.  They had been doing it for a while and had a full-time staff and a fleet of 60 trucks.  High labour costs drove prices up and held Accurate Distributors from expansion.  Rich found a way around this by using temp employees.  By undercutting prices and expanding the reach of delivery across Canada, Rich usurped the market.

By 1954, Wayne Distributors & Advertising had 14 offices across Canada with 200 trucks and cars delivering always faster and better.  Business was buzzing.  The dollars were pouring in.  A couple of years after that, with everything established and the offices all running smoothly, Rich decided it was time for vacation.  The exclusive Pavilion in Jamaica was a perfect place to get the family away from the punishing Canadian winter.  Kids’ squeals of laughter punctuated the sounds of pool water splashing.  The clink of melting ice cubes adjusting themselves in their glasses completed the reverie.  Rich sipped his drink from his recline on the deck chair.  Luck just seems to find me, he thought, and I am dumb enough not to say no.  Rarer for a black guy to be on vacation in this ritzy place, he noticed, smiled and leaned further back in his chair.  Soaking it all in.

A shadow cast over his left shoulder.  He looked up.  The shadow belonged to Don Schieneau.  Rich leapt to his feet and Don clapped him on the shoulder.  “Rich Richardson, you son-of-a-gun,” Don exclaimed with a broad smile.  “Now I know why you and the family haven’t visited us in Michigan yet.  You’re all here sunning in the islands.”  Rich grinned back.  Their laughter wound down to amused smiled.  “Hey Rich”, Don’s tone was hushed, “walk with me.”


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Confidence gained + Confidence shattered = Motherhood

A Mom friend once told me that the moment you think you ‘have it together’, the baby will throw you a curveball and you start back at ground zero.  I used to think that she was exaggerating and that it couldn’t really be that difficult.  Emphasis on the USED TO THINK.  Now, I 100% get it.

Out of my first solo experience, I gained a ton of confidence.  I started going to grocery stores, walks, more appointments, even taking in a movie at Stars and Strollers – I really felt like I had this whole thing down pat, seeing as though I was out and about on my own since she was about a week and a half old. Friends and family were saying how surprised they were that I was venturing out so early, and I would non-chalantly respond, “oh, I feel great and am having soo much fun.” Well, Molly would show me a thing or two about being cocky.

stressed out

Molly clearly owned me was when she was about 8 weeks old. A few friends and I decide to go on a stroll through the city with our little munchkins.  I pack all essential items into the stroller and off we go.  Approximately 30 minutes into our walk, the meltdown of the century takes place.  Molly isn’t just crying, she is screaming at the top of her lungs.  I try to stay calm (while apologizing profusely to my walking buddies stating, “she never does this!”)  The panic in my voice was palpable.  She really had NEVER screamed like this before.  I take a breath.  Perhaps she is hungry? Nope.  Perhaps she has a dirty diaper? Nope.  Maybe a touch of colic, I try gripe water. Nope.  By this point I’m sweating so badly I may as well have run 5k.  My heart is pounding and I’m nervous, slightly embarrassed and don’t have a clue what I should do.  (Thank God my friends were patient, supportive and very understanding.)  I’m asked if we want to turn back and I work up the courage to say, “no, I think she will be ok, let’s keep going”, because of course I don’t want to be the party pooper.


Molly simmers slightly and we keep walking, grab some ice cream and head back.  About 5 minutes after we start our journey back, it happens again.  My heart and gut sink while I look at Molly in complete bewilderment.  What is happening? What the hell do I do?  I take Molly out of the stroller and carry her, thinking maybe that would help.  (Note: Although I packed my stroller with enough supplies to camp for a week, I forgot to include my Ergo carrier. STUPID.)  If you were driving down Avenue Rd. and saw a Mom, sweating, with tears in her eyes, carrying a small infant screaming while pushing a stroller, you now know the identity of said ‘Mom’.

After several pit stops along the way, we finally make it back to my car. Phew.  I pack Molly in the car and in the back of my mind think, ‘she will for sure fall asleep on the way home.’ Wrong. She will not fall asleep on the way home.  She will continue to scream on the way home.  On top of that, I have somehow found myself in rush hour traffic and what is normally about a 10-15 minute drive home is about 40 minutes. My Mom calla during the drive, I answer in tears.  She tried to tell me it was going to be ok, but by this point I’m beyond ‘frazzazzled’.  Without a word of a lie, the second I pull on to our street, Molly falls asleep.  That just makes me irritated.  Seriously kid, now you fall asleep.  I unload the car which of course causes Molly to wake up.  I feed her, bath her and put her to bed.  I sit down on the couch and have a good cry and call my Mom.  She makes me feel better and tells me that I need to be very aware of rush hour times moving forward, not to worry, my friends will invite me on a walk again and I haven’t scarred Molly for life.  She also gives me perhaps the best advice possible, she tells me to ‘jump back on the horse’ and go out for a walk first thing in the morning.

Going for a walk, in fact leaving my house again, was something that I had decided I never needed to do again – I was traumatized.  My parents taught me to take on any challenge and that if I at least tried, I had done well.  So, I pack up the stroller (not forgetting the Ergo) and ventur out for our ‘redemption walk’, to build my confidence back up.  There were no meltdowns.  What was going to be a 20 minute walk turned into an hour and a half.  Mom was right, jumping back on the horse is always the right thing to do.


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50 Rules for Dads of Daughters – by Michael Mitchell

I come across this page every few months and each time I sit back in my chair, smile, get teary and think of my Dad. My Dad must have written these rules because he over delivered on each one. Seriously, he really and truly did. Man, my Dad was the greatest guy around and I am so extremely lucky to have been his daughter. Dad, I love you and miss you always. xox


1. Love her mom. Treat her mother with respect, honor, and a big heaping spoonful of public displays of affection. When she grows up, the odds are good she’ll fall in love with and marry someone who treats her much like you treated her mother. Good or bad, that’s just the way it is. I’d prefer good.

2. Always be there. Quality time doesn’t happen without quantity time. Hang out together for no other reason than just to be in each other’s presence. Be genuinely interested in the things that interest her. She needs her dad to be involved in her life at every stage. Don’t just sit idly by while she add years to her… add life to her years.

3. Save the day. She’ll grow up looking for a hero. It might as well be you. She’ll need you to come through for her over and over again throughout her life. Rise to the occasion. Red cape and blue tights optional.

4. Savor every moment you have together. Today she’s crawling around the house in diapers, tomorrow you’re handing her the keys to the car, and before you know it, you’re walking her down the aisle. Some day soon, hanging out with her old man won’t be the bees knees anymore. Life happens pretty fast. You better cherish it while you can.

5. Pray for her. Regularly. Passionately. Continually.

6. Buy her a glove and teach her to throw a baseball. Make her proud to throw like a girl… a girl with a wicked slider.

7. She will fight with her mother. Choose sides wisely.

8. Go ahead. Buy her those pearls.

9. Of course you look silly playing peek-a-boo. You should play anyway.

10. Enjoy the wonder of bath time.

11. There will come a day when she asks for a puppy. Don’t over think it. At least one time in her life, just say, “Yes.”

12. It’s never too early to start teaching her about money. She will still probably suck you dry as a teenager… and on her wedding day.

13. Make pancakes in the shape of her age for breakfast on her birthday. In a pinch, donuts with pink sprinkles and a candle will suffice.

14. Buy her a pair of Chucks as soon as she starts walking. She won’t always want to wear matching shoes with her old man.

Photo Credit :: Danielle Rocke Toews

15. Dance with her. Start when she’s a little girl or even when she’s a baby. Don’t wait ‘til her wedding day.

16. Take her fishing. She will probably squirm more than the worm on your hook. That’s OK.

17. Learn to say no. She may pitch a fit today, but someday you’ll both be glad you stuck to your guns.

18. Tell her she’s beautiful. Say it over and over again. Someday an animated movie or “beauty” magazine will try to convince her otherwise.

19. Teach her to change a flat. A tire without air need not be a major panic inducing event in her life. She’ll still call you crying the first time it happens.

20. Take her camping. Immerse her in the great outdoors. Watch her eyes fill with wonder the first time she sees the beauty of wide open spaces. Leave the iPod at home.

21. Let her hold the wheel. She will always remember when daddy let her drive.

22. She’s as smart as any boy. Make sure she knows that.

23. When she learns to give kisses, she will want to plant them all over your face. Encourage this practice.

24. Knowing how to eat sunflower seeds correctly will not help her get into a good college. Teach her anyway.

25. Letting her ride on your shoulders is pure magic. Do it now while you have a strong back and she’s still tiny.

26. It is in her nature to make music. It’s up to you to introduce her to the joy of socks on a wooden floor.

27. If there’s a splash park near your home, take her there often. She will be drawn to the water like a duck to a puddle.

28. She will eagerly await your return home from work in the evenings. Don’t be late.

29. If her mom enrolls her in swim lessons, make sure you get in the pool too. Don’t be intimidated if there are no other dads there. It’s their loss.

30. Never miss her birthday. In ten years she won’t remember the present you gave her. She will remember if you weren’t there.

31. Teach her to roller skate. Watch her confidence soar.

32. Let her roll around in the grass. It’s good for her soul. It’s not bad for yours either.

33. Take her swimsuit shopping. Don’t be afraid to veto some of her choices, but resist the urge to buy her full-body beach pajamas.

34. Somewhere between the time she turns three and her sixth birthday, the odds are good that she will ask you to marry her. Let her down gently.

35. She’ll probably want to crawl in bed with you after a nightmare. This is a good thing.

36. Few things in life are more comforting to a crying little girl than her father’s hand. Never forget this.

37. Introduce her to the swings at your local park. She’ll squeal for you to push her higher and faster. Her definition of “higher and faster” is probably not the same as yours. Keep that in mind.

38. When she’s a bit older, your definition of higher and faster will be a lot closer to hers. When that day comes, go ahead… give it all you’ve got.

39. Holding her upside down by the legs while she giggles and screams uncontrollably is great for your biceps. WARNING: She has no concept of muscle fatigue.

40. She might ask you to buy her a pony on her birthday. Unless you live on a farm, do not buy her a pony on her birthday. It’s OK to rent one though.

41. Take it easy on the presents for her birthday and Christmas. Instead, give her the gift of experiences you can share together.

42. Let her know she can always come home. No matter what.

43. Remember, just like a butterfly, she too will spread her wings and fly some day. Enjoy her caterpillar years.

44. Write her a handwritten letter every year on her birthday. Give them to her when she goes off to college, becomes a mother herself, or when you think she needs them most.

45. Learn to trust her. Gradually give her more freedom as she gets older. She will rise to the expectations you set for her.

46. When in doubt, trust your heart. She already does.

47. When your teenage daughter is upset, learning when to engage and when to back off will add years to YOUR life. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

48. Ice cream covers over a multitude of sins. Know her favorite flavor.

49. This day is coming soon. There’s nothing you can do to be ready for it. The sooner you accept this fact, the easier it will be.

50. Today she’s walking down the driveway to get on the school bus. Tomorrow she’s going off to college. Don’t blink.

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Horses and Life’s Lessons

I was extremely lucky as a child.  I had incredible parents, a brother I loved and was surrounded by animals.  My parents sacrificed and put my brother and I first, allowing us to experience so much.   They always said that having me involved with horses was worth it because it meant that I wasn’t hanging out at the local mall, or hiding behind Mac’s Milk, getting into trouble.  I came across the story below on Facebook and felt it was worth a share.  Mom and Dad, thanks.


Very often we hear parents at the riding school complain about the cost of horses. While we know they eat a hole in the pocket, a father recently shared why he forks out for the animals. We’ve copied this from Facebook and definitely think you’ll enjoy the read:
My daughter turned sixteen years old today; which is a milestone for most people. Besides looking at baby photos and childhood trinkets with her, I took …time to reflect on the young woman my daughter had become and the choices she would face in the future.
As I looked at her I could see the athlete she was, and determined woman she would soon be. I started thinking about some of the girls we knew in our town who were already pregnant, pierced in several places, hair every color under the sun, drop outs, drug addicts and on the fast track to no-where, seeking surface identities because they had no inner self esteem. The parents of these same girls have asked me why I “waste” the money on horses so my daughter can ride. I’m told she will grow out of it, lose interest, discover boys and all kinds of things that try to pin the current generation’ s “slacker” label on my child. I don’t think it will happen, I think she will love and have horses all her life.
Because my daughter grew up with horses she has compassion. She knows that we must take special care of the very young and the very old. We must make sure those without voices to speak of their pain are still cared for.
Because my daughter grew up with horses she learned responsibility for others than herself. She learned that regardless of the weather you must still care for those you have the stewardship of. There are no “days off” just because you don’t feel like being a horse owner that day. She learned that for every hour of fun you have there are days of hard slogging work you must do first.
Because my daughter grew up with horses she learned not to be afraid of getting dirty and that appearances don’t matter to most of the breathing things in the world we live in. Horses do not care about designer clothes, jewelry, pretty hairdos or anything else we put on our bodies to try to impress others. What a horse cares about are your abilities to work within his natural world, he doesn’t care if you’re wearing $80.00 jeans while you do it. –
Because my daughter grew up with horses she understands the value of money. Every dollar can be translated into bales of hay, bags of feed or farrier visits. Purchasing non-necessities during lean times can mean the difference between feed and good care, or neglect and starvation. She has learned to judge the level of her care against the care she sees provided by others and to make sure her standards never lower, and only increase as her knowledge grows.
Because my daughter grew up with horses she has learned to learn on her own. She has had teachers that cannot speak, nor write, nor communicate beyond body language and reactions. She has had to learn to “read” her surroundings for both safe and unsafe objects, to look for hazards where others might only see a pretty meadow. She has learned to judge people as she judges horses. She looks beyond appearances and trappings to see what is within.
Because my daughter grew up with horses she has learned sportsmanship to a high degree. Everyone that competes fairly is a winner. Trophies and ribbons may prove someone a winner, but they do not prove someone is a horseman. She has also learned that some people will do anything to win, regard-less of who it hurts. She knows that those who will cheat in the show ring will also cheat in every other aspect of their life and are not to be trusted.
Because my daughter grew up with horses she has self-esteem and an engaging personality. She can talk to anyone she meets with confidence, because she has to express herself to her horse with more than words. She knows the satisfaction of controlling and teaching a 1000 pound animal that will yield willingly to her gentle touch and ignore the more forceful and inept handling of those stronger than she is. She holds herself with poise and professionalism in the company of those far older than herself.
Because my daughter grew up with horses she has learned to plan ahead. She knows that choices made today can effect what happens five years down the road. She knows that you cannot care for and protect your investments without savings to fall back on. She knows the value of land and buildings. And that caring for your vehicle can mean the difference between easy travel or being stranded on the side of the road with a four horse trailer on a hot day.
When I look at what she has learned and what it will help her become, I can honestly say that I haven’t “wasted” a penny on providing her with horses. I only wish that all children had the same opportunities to learn these lessons from horses before setting out on the road to adulthood.

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