Influence Magazine boldly celebrates brilliant local businesses and entrepreneurs. Inside this issue we feature Canadian Award-Winning Jewellery designer Laura Tedesco. In addition, columns by Adam Oldfield, Shelley McQuade, David Hughes, Jamie Shanks and Sharon Ricci appear. For the first time a Mohawk College (Hamilton) writer/art director duo appears with a column titled The Food Virgin.






Business. Balance. Bottom Line and Brilliance.










the influence factor | editors note

The motto of Influence Magazine is Business. Balance. Bottom

Line and Brilliance. And have we got a lot of sparkly brilliance

to share with you in this special Issue!

Issue | hamilton, ontario

Laura Tedesco, a celebrated young

Canadian jewellery designer embodies

the word brilliance. Her imaginative

jewellery designs turn heads with their

bold originality, steal hearts as intimate

storytellers and will stand as timeless

pieces of art. A Laura Tedesco design is

crafted from precious metals, exquisite

stones and from the delicate history

of the women lucky enough to have

commissioned it.

This Issue’s Brilliance goes beyond

jewels and gems. Our always engaging

Contributing Columnists are at their

very best bringing you great business

and lifestyle reading whether you’re at

the office, the beach or somewhere in


Sharon Ricci


So you’re feeling like a real

smarty pants today?

Not so fast there brainy.


Where parents rank in terms

of a prodigy’s development


The age Amadeus Mozart

began playing piano


The age Amadeus Mozart

began playing the violin


The age Amadeus Mozart

wrote his first symphony


The age Amadeus Mozart

wrote his first opera


The year Bobby Fischer won the

US Jr Chess Championship


The age of Bobby Fischer when

he became the US Champion


The age of a Harvard frosh

named William James Sidis


The age William James Sidis was when

he was reading adult-level books




Jamie is one of North America’s leading Social Selling experts. He has personally built

Social Selling solutions in nearly every industry, ranging from start-ups to Fortune 500

corporations. Sales for Life is now the world’s definitive Social Selling training and coaching

company. Jamie is also the Toronto chapter President of the American Association of

Inside Sales Professionals and holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of

Ottawa, and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of South Australia.




Issue | hamilton, ontario

Before I met Laura Tedesco in person, I fell

in love with her ring. Now, before you jump

to the conclusion that I must be a jewellery

junkie, let me correct you – I’m the exact

opposite. For me jewellery has always

been take it or leave it. Mostly leave it.

That all changed when I walked by the Laura Tedesco store on one

of my favourite neighbourhood streets. In her window I saw a ring so

unique, so unapologetically fresh and so beautifully designed, I fell in

love instantly. I kept missing her at the store each time I walked by,

but life graciously put us together at a business lunch. I was a guest

panelist and the woman in the front row introduced herself as Laura

Tedesco. The rest, as they say, is history.

When I got to know Laura I knew why I was so powerfully drawn

to her designs. It’s because each of them is a love story filled with

meaning. Whether she’s starting from scratch or reimagining a piece

that’s been in a family for generations, the end creation will turn

heads and warm hearts.

In our signature Influence Spotlight style, I sat down with Laura to

ask her about her business, her roots, what motivates her, what she

draws on for creativity. I know you’ll find her story as inspiring as I

did. Enjoy…

Sharon Ricci


the influence factor | spotlight

hamilton, ontario



We commission one-of-a-kind jewellery. I

sketch and hand-draft each design based

on my clients’ lives and stories. The end

result is a well crafted, unique piece of

jewellery created with precious metals and

the forces of my imagination.


I’ve heard you say fine

jewellery is like a fingerprint.

Our company mantra is Jewellery

with Meaning. No two designs are alike

because I believe jewellery is an extension of the

person wearing it and should be as unique

as their fingerprint.

Where does your love of the jewellery

business come from?

Those are deep roots.

I’ve always loved jewellery. My

parents owned Venetian Jewellers in

Hamilton and I have fond memories of

being a little girl watching my Dad behind the

bench grading diamonds or adjusting watches. I

loved watching my Mom buy and order exquisite

pieces and how she made them all glitter through

the showcase. Alot of my style comes from her.

I’m a third generation jeweller. My Nonno,

Alessandro Tedesco, founded Venetian Jewellers

first in Italy and then in Hamilton in 1954..

the influence factor | spotlight

Your strong family ties are a constant the bond between Mother and Daughter,

theme in your story.

but also my infinite love for my mother,

I loved my childhood. I was surrounded Linda, a source of inspiration and beauty.

by love. My family dynamic was the best

imaginable. I could honestly say that it

Transforming from a

was perfect. I had a

friend in my sister (when

we didn’t fight like cats

and dogs). My Mom

was the definition of an

amazing Mom. My Dad,

a hard worker, bevy of

knowledge and cheesy

Dad jokes. My Mother

died of brain cancer when

I was 14 and we were all

crushed. I cherish our

family memories so much.

Creativity and

quality work takes

time, you simply

can’t rush it.

young girl into an


jewellery designer must

have had some ups

and downs.

There was a time in my

mid 20’s where I really

wanted to give up. I felt

that I wasn’t fully satisfied

working at my Dad’s

jewellery store – there was

something missing.

I understand this

ring you wear is linked

to your Mom. I don’t

think I’ve seen a more

memorable ring.

This ring was one of my first jewellery

designs and I designed it for myself. It’s

built around a beautiful marquise diamond

that belonged to my mother. The key

I didn’t know what to do.

A few books I was reading

gave me the spark to

leave Hamilton and go

on a bit of a spiritual journey. I pursued

jewellery design in Florence, Italy. My trip

to Florence was life altering. It was where I

fully realized my love of design and started

envisioning myself as a jewellery designer.

design element is two looped, stylized “L’s”

locked together in infinity. They represent

Issue | hamilton, ontario


and to be grateful for all business that comes your way (big or small).

the influence factor | spotlight

Do exactly what you are

doing because all of your

experiences, all of your

mistakes led you to where

you are today, so relax and

stop worrying.

What is your role within the

company? What kinds of things do

you do?

I wear many hats. I’m CEO, certified GIA

diamond grader and my favourite part

of my job, designer. And when my son

Alexander comes in for visits I also wear

the Mommy hat. That’s actually the best

part of my company, having the flexibility

to see Alexander whenever I want.

A favourite business quote:

Making money is art and working is art and

good business is the best art.

— Andy Warhol

Your most proud professional


Winning first place for Best Diamond

design in Canada for the 2010 Excellence

in Jewellery Design Competition with the

piece featuring my Mother’s diamond.

If you’ve learned one thing in the

world of business it would be....

Building relationships and trust with

your customer is key and to be grateful

for all business that comes your way

(big or small).

Any advice you received that really

made sense to you?

My dad reminds me all the time that Rome

wasn’t built in a day. Creativity and quality

work takes time, you simply can’t rush it.

Issue | hamilton, ontario

If you could talk to your 20 year old

self, what advice would you give?

Do exactly what you are doing because all

of your experiences, all of your mistakes

led you to where you are today, so relax

and stop worrying.

I give you a million dollars to spend

on business and you...

Design the collection I’ve been dreaming of.

Night Owl or Early Bird?

Night owl all the way.

What do you wish you were better at?

Finding lost car keys.

Your one superpower?

Making my son laugh hysterically.

What motivates you to get out of bed

every day?

My Family... to prove to my son that

Accolades for Laura Tedesco Designs:

2010 Excellence in Design

1st place Best Diamond Design

2013 Excellence in Design

3rd place Platinum Design

dreams do come true and to continue to

make my Dad proud by continuing a

family tradition.






As founder of Cypress Strategies, an organizational growth

coaching and consulting firm, Shelley is the Peak Prosperity


coach that gets cities, associations and companies clear,

confident and ready to prosper.


Well not really but figuratively. In a knowledge-based economy

industrial age hierarchies are less than optimal to develop a creative

and innovative workforce. Many companies are jumping on the flat

organization band wagon to grow their people and their company.

Creativity and innovation means multiple people from diverse

backgrounds and disciplines need to learn to play nice in the shared

sand box so to speak. This requires engaging in ways many of us

traditionally haven’t done or thought of. To help with this challenge, try

working the New Economy model. These 4 pillars provide the right

structure for a flat world:

CONTEXT – Thanks to the internet the amount of codified knowledge

is doubling every 5 minutes. In an era of information overload we need

context – models or frameworks – to make sense of content. With

shorter product and business lifecycles change is the norm and context

will help you build your success formula to stay relevant and profitable.

ALIGNMENT – With complex value chains and multiple stakeholders


alignment is critical. Right fit matters. For your team this means having

the right people with both the skill – ability and will – attitude required

for peak performance.

COLLABORATION – Gone are the days of “knowing it all”.

Organizational success requires a highly engaged team that can park

their ego at the door and work together for the greater good.

Sometimes you’ll lead, sometimes I’ll lead and we both need to know

when to back off and step up.

ACCOUNTABILITY – With less rigid rules and more grey than black

and white; freedom is required to get the job done. That being said we

need to get results. Providing your team with clear goals or outcomes

and holding them accountable, creates a deep level of personal

satisfaction and drives performance.

Less jobs today fall into the “just tell me what to do and I’ll do it”

category. Critical thinking is the new world order and individuals with

high social and analytical skills are the cream that rises to the top. So

loosen up your button down approach and at the same time create a

structure with accountability to solve your customer’s biggest problems

and to win big in the new economy.

straight speak | spotlight



actually it’s

Leonard & Goliath

When it comes to influence, size

matters ... and it comes in all

shapes and sizes.

There’s a reason David kicked

Goliath’s butt.

Issue | hamilton, ontario

Leonard H. Goodman knows a thing or

two about life insurance and influence.

After all, he’s been a stalwart in the

industry for more than half a century.

Today, Leonard is persona non grata with

the life insurance companies because he’s

fighting for change. Big change that they

don’t want. He’s up against a Goliath who’s

fighting for the status quo.

The Canadian life insurance industry wields

considerable power and influence and, like

Goliath, it is seldom challenged, unless your

name is David ... or Leonard.

Goodman, on behalf of Canadian seniors,

is fighting for their right to access the fair

market value in their life insurance policy,

an asset they own. He says, “Canadian

insurers are ignoring the needs of seniors

and the advancements experienced in the

United States and around the world.” He

adds. “In the US alone, seniors are receiving

more than $7 million a day by accessing

the fair market value in their life insurance

policies through life settlements. But in

Canada, nothing. Because of the power

of insurance companies – big money,

big influence.”

straight speak | spotlight

A well-regulated life settlement industry

provides seniors with a secondary market

where, on average, they receive four

times the cash surrender value of their

policy, and in the case of term insurance,

much more.

Votes influence

Goodman is advocating on behalf of 5.6

million Canadian seniors. “That’s a lot of

votes and a lot of influence,” he says. “And

that’s why I wrote my book, Why Are

Canadian Seniors Worth More Dead Than

Alive? and why seniors need to know what

their insurers won’t tell them.”

Leonard H. Goodman (photo

courtesy: Northumberland Today)

In Ontario, more than 15 years ago, the

government supported establishing a life

settlement industry and recommended to

change Section 115 in the Ontario Insurance

Fifty-two years in life

insurance and he’s

reloading his slingshot.

Act, an egregious law that prevents seniors

from accessing the maximum value in

their life insurance. But nothing happened.

Seniors are still waiting because the

influence of the insurance lobby and the

inertia of bureaucracy trumped political

will – so far. Now Goodman has reloaded

his slingshot.

Issue | hamilton, ontario

Doing what’s right

Malcolm Gladwell in his book David and

Goliath, said, “Davids defeat Goliaths

all the time.” And when the Davids are

advocating for fundamental rights, the

Goliaths eventually fall. Goodman, who

has burnished his influence over the years,

knows he is on the side of right, for seniors,

the economy and the future of Canada.

Leonard H. Goodman’s book,

Why Are Canadian Seniors Worth

More Dead Than Alive.

A life settlement

pertains to the sale of

an unneeded in force

life insurance policy for

an amount that’s more

than the policy’s cash

surrender value but less

than its death benefit.



This is Ali. He walks past Zoe Spawton’s office in Berlin, Germany every morning wearing

great clothes. She snaps pictures of him and shares them with the world.

We in turn are sharing them with you. Why? To kick your ass so you’ll give up that beige

suit and those worn shoes … it’s time to up your fashion game gentleman and Ali is just the

man to be your guide!




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