1. Lets begin with your relation to PMI-NB. How and when did it all begin? I reached out to the Chapter in 2013 to inquire whether there were any volunteer opportunities and was subsequently recruited as the Saint John Study Group Director. This placement afforded me the opportunity to top up my PDU’s and become familiar with the organization while sharing my experiences with like-minded professionals.
2. What is your current role with PMI-NB? I am a former President of PMI-NB.
3. What do like about volunteering with PMI-NB? Diversity that PMI brings to our region. PMI is a large organization with amalgamation of global members and certifications. Many new recruits and immigrants land here and find PMI-NB a conduit to both professional and cultural connectivity. I’m proud to know and network with the wonderful professionals that actively participate in our Chapter.
4. What are the benefits of being a PMI-NB volunteer? Well, I would say access to project management professionals and business leaders within our region. I find this beneficial both in a professional development capacity and as a sales generator. Being actively engaged in the organization facilitates introductions to many decision makers who often become friends before they‘re clients.
5. As UNB SJ has started MBA program in uptown now, many newcomers are coming to Saint John. What would be your one life advice to them? Engage in Uptown business events and networking opportunities to better integrate and understand our community. Many of the successful MBA graduates who have accepted employment in our city have excelled due to their keen ability to understand the local business environment.
6. You were the co-founder of Connexion Works for 3 years and then began with Toss Solution and other ventures. How was your journey so far? Connexion Works was a project to establish a sustainable co-working space that would support entrepreneurs and spur economic growth in our city. Once the project was established and running successfully, it was time for me to move onto another challenge. My next project is Cohesive Affects, which is studying unique ways to save and repurpose many of our idle community landmark buildings.
7. What is the one question that you often ask yourself? Did I make the best of my day? I reflect on whether I showed courage when the choices were hard and treated everyone kindly.
8. What do you like most about your work? The assortment of activities that populate my days. Any given day consists of engaging directly with respected business and community leaders and create opportunities for their organizations that will transform their work environments and productivity, as well as strategic planning initiatives that will reduce regret and improve costs, then advising clients and contractors on best practices. I end my day on emails and sometimes if I get the time, immerse myself into a design to solve a problem that I hope could enhance someone’s life.
9. Did you face any challenges? How did you overcome them? My wife shared an analogy with me that we all have file folders for each situation, it’s in our challenges that we populate these folders with experiences so that we know “better” next time. I relate very much to that outlook and have had my share of challenges that have enabled the confidence I show now to lead complex projects and challenging scenarios as a composed and decisive leader.
10. How did you feel when you were Chair of the Urban Design and Development Committee last year? Being part of the Uptown Saint John Board provides me with an opportunity to contribute towards a new urban setting that is developing very organically. I’m seeing for the first time as a resident and as a business owner since arriving here 20 years ago that we’re experiencing a sustainable natural growth, driven by organic need and not by external megaproject influences.
11. Can you tell us more about #Tossified (Toss Solutions) moving to new location in April 2020? We chose Canterbury Street in 2014 to provide us with street front exposure. We’re not a walk-in business, but many of our corporate clients are very confidential about their projects and much of the public had never heard of TOSS. It was a wonderful location and certainly provided us with a public introduction and viewport into what we do. Unfortunately, our six-year lease is over and we have now run out of physical space in our current location. We’re moving to the Fairweather Building on Germain Street in April where we’ll be occupying the second floor with room to grow and have a new palette of ideas.
12. What would have been your second career choice? I am currently in my fifth career choice. First choice was a fighter pilot, but unfortunately my mathematics did not meet the South African Air Force entry requirements. Second career choice was a civil engineering and I fortunately shifted halfway through into architecture. When I couldn’t find work in architecture, I did a post graduate C++ programming course (which has been more helpful than I expected); and these days I find myself managing and overseeing projects. I’d be delighted to discover a sixth career and lifestyle as a writer. I have a collection of poetry and list of topics to write about, but really need to learn more and practice.
13. What does Brendan do in his spare time when he is not working? Morning swimming gets the blood flowing and I’m often alone with my thoughts for at least an hour. During the week I try to manage my spare time between socializing and decompressing at home. Saturday mornings, I enjoy sitting in the sun, researching new assemblies and products while listening to the radio.
14. Can you tell us something about your family? My mother passed away late last year, she was the last of the Charles Blackbeard lineage that arrived in South Africa in 1812. We always joked that we’re descended from pirates.
15. What would be your advice to new people who want to join or volunteer for PMI-NB? I think a perception of PMI volunteers is that we’re a group of type A personalities who need to manage everything and have an exclusive prerequisite for volunteers. I can assure that it’s completely the opposite; we’re happy to give a hand and are inclusive of anyone that wants to lend a hand.