Glenn Williamson could be described with many titles: entrepreneur, CEO, investor, and philanthropist. But he is most proud to declare himself a family man. This dynamic but congenial businessman stepped down from vice chairman of a public company six years ago when his wife gave birth to their twins. As he says “…for the last 6 years of my life there has been nothing more important in my life than my children and my loving wife; it is this inner circle that allows me the strength to do whatever I undertake…”
His present undertakings involve investment banking all over the world, and assisting the two regions of Canada and Arizona understand each other better through the Canada Arizona Business Council, a private sector group sanctioned by the Canadian Government and the State of Arizona. As founder and CEO of the CABC, Glenn works on increasing bilateral trade between the two, enlarging trade to over 2.5 billion dollars this last year. Not one to think on a small scale, his next goal is to bring that amount to $5 billion!
But it was his dedication to children and family that led Glenn to be a founding member of Social Venture Partners, a non-profit organization benefiting children and education. This group used the venture capital model to support its goals, as Glenn explained “It’s not just about writing a check- it’s investing your own personal time and talents”.
His other non-profit contributions have included sitting on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors as well as chairing the nominating committee for American Rivers, a Washington , D.C.- based river advocacy group. He was also a trustee of the Todd Thomas Foundation, an organization that focuses on suicide prevention, and has been an active advisor to the Arizona Attorney General Janet Napolitano, as well as worked on her campaign to become the next Governor of Arizona. In addition, Glenn has served on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of the Phoenix Zoo.
This entrepreneur has a renowned record in a unique niche: taking companies public. He has a discerning eye for identifying small and medium cap firms with the ‘sizzle’ needed to be successful in the financial markets: NASDAQ, AMEX, NYSE. “For every 100 deals that cross my computer screen there will be one standout. One that sparks my imagination.” says Williamson. Then the fun and hard work begins. Like a symphonic conductor, Williamson directs every area of the ‘company ’ into a story that will translate into a strong IPO. “Everything, and I mean everything, comes under scrutiny: senior management, intellectual property, licensing, profits, accounting, public relations, revenue forecasts. Heads sometimes have to roll but by the time I am finished the stage has been set for a whiz bang road show to tell the story and sell stock. Then the day of the IPO arrives. Nothing, absolutely nothing, is more exciting to me than that first week of trading when a company is on the road to really financing its potential.” And “ Everyone wins: the founder’s vision is realized, the management team gets the resources it needs to build the vision, and the market is happy,” enthuses Williamson.
During the last four years, Glenn has been involved in over a dozen engagements ranging from designing a world-class fractional yacht ownership program in the Cayman Islands, to working with a world-class film animation production company based in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. From 2000 to present he has been CEO of Nest Ventures L.L.C. a private equity firm with offices in Montreal, Canada, and Phoenix, Arizona.
Glenn Williamson has been the recipient of some well-deserved awards. Recently he was made an Honorary Commander at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, home to the 56th Fighter Wing of the U.S. Air Force, which is comprised of some 220 F-16 fighter aircraft. He has also received six gold and silver National Telly awards for executive production of non-broadcast video and film productions.
On a personal level, Glenn is an avid skier, scuba diver and video gamer. Born in Montreal and fluent in French, Glenn is a graduate of Rothsey Collegiate Military Academy in New Brunswick, Canada. He currently resides in Phoenix with his wife and three children. During a recent conversation, Glenn proudly noted that his six-year-old twins are studying Mandarin Chinese, and were able to practice their language skills on a spring trip to Hong Kong. “They’ll be able to interpret for me when the Olympics are held over there!” Revealing something of his personal philosophy, Glenn remarked that he has “Made it and lost it four times; that’s what is fun about life- the only constant is change.” And Glenn Williamson clearly approaches life with enthusiasm, with the love and support of his family.
What was your motivation in starting up the Can - AZ Business Council? My motivation was increase the international nature of Arizona and promote additional bilateral trade between Canada and Arizona.
What are some of your favorite activities or hobbies? Horseback riding, scuba diving, military history.
What gives a man/woman style? I believe that if one has wealth and/or power, the true measure of style is humility and the ability to listen to others no matter what their position in life.
What is your favorite restaurant? Tarbell's
Can you tell us about a fond childhood memory? Spending Christmas at my grandfather’s house each year with my whole family in Montreal and having a large ornate traditional dinner.
Besides family, what's especially important in your life? It was about making money, now it is about giving back to the next generation, whether it is financially or with time and talent.
What do you consider your proudest or most significant achievement? Changing the lives of others who have worked for me whether it was financial or through experiences they might never have had.
What do you like most about living in Arizona? It is still young enough that if you focus on something you can really make an impact. Then comes location, location, location.
What is the best advice your Mom and Dad gave you? Treat everyone as equals.
What is your favorite motto or quote? "You are the sum total of all your experiences"
What is of greatest concern to you? An uneducated global population
What is your most treasured possession? My family and friends
What is something one might not know about you? Beneath the outer shell I am very sensitive and cry at movies
What do you hope to pass on to future generations? Respect, tolerance and understanding of all things different.
What role are you looking forward to playing in the future? Mentor and teacher to others interested in what ever I am involved in.
What motivates you to be a success? Fear of failure
R.Glenn Williamson CEO & Founder Canada Arizona Business Council Conseil Des Affaires Canadiennes En Arizona Suite 850 The Camelback Esplanade 2425 East Camelback Road Phoenix Arizona 85016 Tel 602-852-5575 Fax 602 852 5570 [email protected] www.canaz.net
Not only are you a true friend, but you also are a great inspiration!
Lots of love and kisses to the whole family,
Kat & Bernie
Bernie & Kat