“And the 9th edition of the American Marketing Association – Toronto‘s Mentor Exchange comes to an end with a BANG!”

Literally it ended with a bang as our CEO, James Chalmers organized with the Quarter Master at the Royal Canadian Yacht Club to have one of the participants in this year’s program fire off the cannon as part of the traditional flag lowering that occurs there everyday at sundown.


Earlier this week James posted on Linkedin about this year’s Mentor Exchange graduation and a few thoughts from the evening. One thing he wrote really stuck with the team at the office

This year my biggest takeaway is that being open and vulnerable is just as important in the boardroom as it is out of it.

While we get the chance to interact with James daily and enjoy his different approach to things, he is often in the background supporting our teams in the development of strategy or mentoring and coaching each of us. As he is not the loud, flamboyant leader that always takes the spotlight, today we wanted to put the spot light on him and ask him about what he described as his biggest takeaway from this years program.

We will start with a quick congratulations to James for being named a finalist for the Mentor of The Year Award and receiving Honourable Mentions from the organizing committee. When asked about this he was quick to downplay the significant achievement.

“I have been a mentor in the program for 5 years now. I can tell you with certainty that no great mentors would ever be in the program for the accolades. Recognition for the commitment is nice, but I take the greatest pride in seeing my mentees engage in the process, be vulnerable, develop, grow as people and strive to reach their potential both personally and professionally.”

“I often re-connect with my previous mentees and it is truly amazing to see how far they have come. That is my reward and why I keep coming back to the program.”


We asked James to expand a little on what he meant by the comment about the importance of vulnerability.

“If I were to say that being vulnerable in a personal relationship was important and in turn developed deeper connections and created stronger relationships… almost everyone would agree. You should not want to go through life being guarded in your personal relationships. Business is personal to me as are the relationships we form in business. While the decisions I make daily have to be in the best business interest of our clients, our team and our firm, those decisions impact people. If you read the TACK10 Manifesto is closes out by saying that the ethos of what we do manifests through a commitment to People, Purpose and lastly Profit.

People are at the very heart of everything we do as an organization and we strive to build relationships with stakeholders that are open, honest and genuine. To do this, it is imperative that we come to the table with vulnerability and that we create a trusted space where our clients and team members feel comfortable being vulnerable themselves. When this is true for all parties, the best results can be delivered in business and the most rewarding relationships are created.”


So, did this year’s experience highlight a need for vulnerability for you?

“It was a recurring theme in the conversations I was having with my mentee. He faced some challenges through the year with individuals at his organization who displayed an absolute lack of vulnerability and his biggest wins both personally and professionally came from interactions where vulnerability was front and centre.”

“As he was going through those challenges he would ask me to talk about examples of where we were having success in similar situations with clients or team members. In so many ways, the mentoring process is about looking in a mirror. It forces you to take a look at where successes and failures are coming from in your own day to day. So as much as my experience and point of view may help my mentee, their view point and experience challenge us as mentors to take inventory.”


We are very fortunate at TACK10 to have a leader who is so passionate about mentoring and developing our own team and others and who models vulnerability in his interactions with the team as well as with our clients. This leads to a very rewarding environment in which to grow and to strong client relationships that are the foundation for our work.