Andrew Farrow was raised in Kitchener, Ontario, where he attended high school and played on the school football team. He then attended the University of Guelph and was a member of their wrestling team. In 1996, he transferred to the University of Winnipeg to study Criminology with a second major in Conflict Studies.
After working jobs in Security and Law Enforcement, he worked on his graduate degree in Conflict Management at Royal Roads University. Afterwards he earned an MA in War Studies from Royal Military College, an MBA from Vancouver Island University, and a MSc in International Business from University of Hertfordshire.
Andrew Farrow is presently retired, but he continues to be interested in education and business. He has also earned the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for “Excellence in Community Leadership” through his volunteering efforts. In the upcoming year, he plans to begin working on a PhD to study the relationships between peace and conflict and how they are impacted by economic forces.
What keeps you motivated?
I am motivated by knowing that I have tried my best. I always try to learn from my mistakes and failures and figure out how to apply them for success in the future. Mistakes and failures happen, and you just have to learn how to deal with them.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
My son inspires me to do better every day. I love helping him and being a part of his life.
How do you maintain a solid work life balance?
For work, I like to set tasks based on project outcomes. This creates identifiable and realistic goals so that I do not overwhelm myself. I like to know when to take a break so that I do not lose what I call creative focus. I find that exercise helps reduce stress levels and maintains or improves cognitive acuity. Spending time with family and friends is what I enjoy the most and I find that helps to deflect from other stresses.
What traits do you possess that makes a successful leader?
Being an active listener and practicing emotional intelligence are the keys to relationships with those who work for you and with you. I like to think I lead by example. That doesn’t mean perfection, but it does mean owning your mistakes.
What has been the hardest obstacle you’ve overcome?
I’ve had some significant physical injuries and traumas. They have created some barriers for me in life. I have had to learn to stay positive, set goals and achieve them while remembering that family and friends are the most important things in my life.
What is one piece of advice that you have never forgotten?
Don’t sweat the small stuff. Mistakes happen. Learn from them and move forward. Best thing to do is to double check your work and understand that mistakes are inevitable.
What is your biggest accomplishment?
I am proud of the fact that I have three Master’s degrees. However, helping raise my son through effective co-parenting is my biggest accomplishment. He has turned out amazing and we are blessed to have him in our lives.
What’s one piece of advice you would give to others?
Identify what it is that you want to do in any aspect of your life. Set the goals needed to achieve it, and then accomplish it. It is also important to not limit yourself with respect to what you can do as a career and what you can accomplish. Look at every experience as a building block for the next step or phase.
Outside of work, what defines you as a person?
The most important thing to me is being the best father I can be to my son, in addition to being a good family member and friend.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The reemergence of craft producers for food and beverages is a very interesting trend. I think that it demonstrates a lot of entrepreneurial spirit and taps into a growing market segment- younger people- that have a lot of power as consumers, while still attracting the rest of the consumer market.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I recommend The Real World of Technology by Ursula Franklin published back in 1990. It explains what technology really means and the impact is has had on our lives. This was written before the era of social media and the internet as we experience it today. However, the author’s perspective still applies. We are experiencing an ongoing evolution of technology and so I find that while it was published 30 years ago, it is still very relevant. It changed my understanding of what technology is and its impact on the world.
What is one failure you’ve had in your life, and how did you overcome it?
I partnered as an investor in a small print media start-up. I quickly found that I was also expected to do all the work, whereas my intention and expectation in writing was to be an investor only. Thankfully I had not yet provided any funds when I realized that they did not plan to adhere to the agreement, and I was able to make an exit from the company. Sometimes, you have to just stop and exit, so that you can move forward elsewhere. Be prepared to cut your losses, as hard as that is to accept.
What do you do to stay productive? How do you breathe life into your ideas?
I start the day off with exercise followed by healthy eating. I scan the news for items of interest before setting out for the tasks. I do have a flexible schedule, and I am free to choose what projects I want to work on each day. Having a healthy lifestyle that fuels my cognitive abilities and body is really important to make sure I’m on top of my game. I’m also always looking for opportunities that are not being fulfilled in whatever area they may be. It might be strictly a financial matter, or it might be areas of research. When a project is research oriented, I look for validated, peer-reviewed studies and credible research that has real data associated with it.