Weekly Impact is written for leaders by our former Executive Director, Garth Jestley, who has decades of experience in senior leadership roles in the financial services sector. Each week he will share insights on life, leadership and faith.

LeaderImpact hosted a Strategic Summit in Toronto involving all our staff as well as City Team members (key volunteer leaders) from across Canada.

During the Summit, one of our Calgary-based staff mentioned that George Gosbee, a very successful marketplace leader in that city, had just taken his own life. Except for some other attendees from Calgary, the news was shocking. I was particularly taken aback by the identity of the victim. While I cannot recall having met George, my former colleagues and I had dealt extensively over the years with several of his business partners.

The first article I read from the Calgary Herald made no mention of suicide but focused on George’s accomplishments and character. Here are some quotes (my underlines added):

“A gifted, visionary leader:”

“The well-known city financier and philanthropist launched AltaCorp in 2010 after selling his Tristone Capital to Australia’s Macquarie Group for a reported $130 million.”

“‘Calgary has lost a great business leader, pillar of the community & philanthropist,’ [Prime Minister] Trudeau said in a post on Twitter.”

The second article I read from the Calgary Herald focused on the suicide aspect. Here are some quotes (my underlines added):

“The notion that someone who, on the face of it, had everything — or almost everything — would despair to the point they would take their own life is devastating.”

Asking for help is difficult for anyone, especially those who have achieved success. Sometimes that success turns into a trap; a brand or image to be maintained at all costs. Insecurities are buried. Those who are close and can see the signs of stress are not asked to help because that would be a sign of weakness.

The more I pondered George’s situation, the more saddened I became for him and his family. While I am not for a minute suggesting that many marketplace leaders have contemplated taking their own lives, I do believe the quotes underlined accurately represent reality for many marketplace leaders.

Which brings me to our LeaderImpact groups. In them, relationships that matter happen. In fact, this is one of our key brand values. I should stress that we are not mental health counsellors and, in some cases, people need the intervention of professional healthcare workers. That said, I have observed that, as marketplace leaders integrate into our groups, they open up more and more because of the strong bonds that form within the group.

Here are two challenges:

  1. For those already in a group, I urge you to reach out to your peers and invite them to join your group. In light of the benefits, you are doing them a tremendous favour!
  2. For those not in a group, I urge you to try one out. What’s your downside?

Please join me in praying for the Gosbee family as they navigate the aftermath of this terrible tragedy.

Garth Jestley is a husband, father, grandfather, leader and business executive. Most importantly, he is a follower of Jesus Christ.