Balaban and Laporte

Marcie Balaban and Jean Laporte.

There was a whole lot of business matchmaking last Thursday at 40 Westt Steakhouse & Rawbar in Pointe Claire as motivational sales analyst Marcie Balaban waved her magic wand before more than 100 movers and shakers at her Power of 4 event.

Business Matchmaking is the co-ordinated pairing of entrepreneurs and corporations by arranging small boardroom meetings with various owners or upper management of companies that Balaban, via her company Let’s Get Going, believes are good matches. Instead of blindly talking to unknown attendees at a cocktail party, her approach is to create a directed meeting between business owners and executives with a common purpose of finding trading partners and referral sources. So last week the business leaders filed into the room as tenor Perry Canistrari provided beautiful background music, mingled, exchanged business cards and proceeded to sit at tables with total strangers. As I surveyed the room, it was remarkable to see the connections taking place.

Balaban began her career in 1995 as a business motivational speaker and coach. In 2004, she then became the author of Marketing Your Greatest Asset. As I watched her work the room, I wondered why she has never hosted her own reality TV show. Before the filet mignon and roasted Atlantic salmon was served, Balaban randomly chose several people to stand up and introduce themselves. There was an interior designer an architect, someone in electronics, one in large format digital printing and another in real estate. And just like that, those individuals immediately discovered the opportunities that existed to setup some one-on-one meetings. “It is not what you know,” she said. “It is who you know.”

The exact same procedure played itself out throughout the afternoon and frankly it was fascinating to watch. Even 40 Westt owners Stefano Hinoropos and John Leonis took a peak inside their private blue room to see the action taking place. Balaban holds these gatherings at 40 Westt about twice a year. In between she is consistently working to bring business folks together.

Last week’s guest speaker was Jean Laporte from Groupe Laporte, an experienced manager specializing in growth companies. He has worked for Apple Canada, Fido, as well as serving as president of Rogers Communications for Eastern Canada from 2002 to 2009. Several Quebec, Canadian, US and European companies asked for his consulting and coaching services. Laporte calls himself a master corporate executive coach and he wasted little time getting his audience to interact. At every table of four or six people, the person on the right was asked to interview the other on their left to discover what they do and what their passion is all about. They then reversed orders and finally went around the tables for summaries of what was learned. It was an enjoyable exercise. I was twinned with the very dynamic Patricia Dolla from the Make A Wish Foundation, which collected some of the proceeds from the luncheon to carry on its mandate of granting wishes to children with life threatening medical conditions.

BEACONSFIELD REUNION: My old friend William Stockwell has been named co-chair of the Planning Committee for the 60th anniversary reunion of Beaconsfield High School, which will take place on Fri. Oct. 19 and Sat. Oct 20 with a myriad of activities, presentations by renowned grads like NASA astronaut Dr. Dave Williams and a closing dance featuring the Black Cadillacs led by grad Kim Weinmeister. School commissioner Judy Harper-Kelley will open the reunion that evening. She and hers husband Geoff, now retired as the Jacques Cartier riding MNA and Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, were both BHS grads in 1972, as were all of their children. Son Greg just succeeded Geoff in office. This reception will bring together the graduate alumni and the current staff to honour all the former staff members in attendance. Info: wstockwell@sympatico.ca,

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