Kids are sponges — even if it doesn’t seem like they’re paying attention, they see everything they do, and they’re taking their cues from you and absorbing them into their worldview. They’re watching the behaviour you’re modeling. So, if you’re not spending time with them, someone — or something — else is doing that modeling. And you could have no idea what they’re being exposed to. Whether its TikTok, YouTube or video games, I keep close tabs on what they’re doing online and am teaching them internet literacy — to use their judgment and critical thinking. I also surround them with positive role models — they play sports and other extracurricular activities so they’re learning teamwork and how to play well with others.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Tony Reda, Founder, President, CEO & Director of Tectonic Metals Inc.
As Founder, President, CEO and Director of Tectonic Metals Inc., Tony is committed to working solely to create value for the company’s shareholders and stakeholders. Prior to founding Tectonic in 2019, Tony was the longest-serving employee of Kaminak Gold Corporation from inception in 2005 to the sale of the company in 2016 to Goldcorp Inc. (now Newmont Goldcorp) for 520 million dollar. Tony personifies Tectonic’s belief that responsible mineral exploration and development can positively impact the communities in which the company lives and operates and its commitment to early and ongoing community engagement, best practices in environmental stewardship and the development of a strong safety culture. He’s also a single dad to three great kids.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us your “childhood backstory”?
I was born in Toronto, but my family moved to Vancouver when I was two years old. We came to BC because my dad, a top salesman at his company, was asked to open a western location. We spoke Italian at home, and I didn’t know any English until I started school and learned it “on the fly” in kindergarten.
I was an honour roll student in high school — my favourite subject was math — and I played lots of sports. Once I discovered the fun of a social life with my friends, my grades did slip a bit though. After graduation in enrolled in community college, and started realizing I needed to get my act together. I transferred to Simon Fraser University, into their Business Administration program. I was enjoying it, but after a couple of years when the time came to choose a major, nothing really resonated, so I decided I needed to pause, regroup and rethink what I wanted from life. I joined my dad in his business, and while working full time for him, I started to teach myself about investing.
Can you share the story about what brought you to this specific point in your career?
It was the Bre-X scandal. (Bre-X was a group of Canadian companies active in the 1990s. In 1995, one of its subsidiaries, Bre-X Minerals Ltd., reported it was sitting on an enormous gold deposit in Busang, Indonesia. Bre-X Minerals collapsed in 1997 after the gold samples were found to be fraudulent. The scandal rocked the Canadian mining industry.) The exposure to such a shocking event — being on such a high leading up to the collapse, making great money, and then dealing with the fallout from the collapse — it really impacted me. It made me want to do things better and more ethically. It also shifted my focus away from being an investment advisor to wanting to run my own company, the right way.
Can you tell us a bit more about what your day to day schedule looks like?
I try to start the day by meditating. It centres me. Then it’s the morning routine that all busy working parents are familiar with! Usually it’s drop the kids off at school (now, shared with homeschool), work, lunch break — I try to meditate one more time before I pick up the kids and make dinner. Then we unwind for the evening, maybe watch a movie, or go boating or swimming. Other days it’s uniform shopping, play dates, hockey practice… my kids keep busy. In between all of that I’m answering emails, returning calls, juggling work — being CEO means I’m ultimately accountable for everything we do, and I take that seriously. I also try to get in some physical activity every day — for the past couple of months, it’s been yoga and Pilates, as well as the gym.
Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the core of our discussion. This is probably intuitive to many, but it would be beneficial to spell it out. Based on your experience or research, can you flesh out why not spending time with your children can be detrimental to their development?
Kids are sponges — even if it doesn’t seem like they’re paying attention, they see everything they do, and they’re taking their cues from you and absorbing them into their worldview. They’re watching the behaviour you’re modeling. So, if you’re not spending time with them, someone — or something — else is doing that modeling. And you could have no idea what they’re being exposed to. Whether its TikTok, YouTube or video games, I keep close tabs on what they’re doing online and am teaching them internet literacy — to use their judgment and critical thinking. I also surround them with positive role models — they play sports and other extracurricular activities so they’re learning teamwork and how to play well with others. And of course, we have fun. I want them to know their dad can be cool and knows how to relax and have a good time! If the only side they see is the strict disciplinarian, they’re not going to be less likely to come to me with their concerns and questions
On the flip side, can you give a few reasons or examples about why it is so important to make time to spend with your children?
Bottom line: you are their primary role model, especially when they’re young. They look to you for everything: emotional support, advice, cues on how to behave and react — you’re basically molding them into the people they’re going to become. And when you’re with them more, you see opportunities to praise them when they’re doing something good, to imprint that behaviour. If they see you expressing empathy, they’ll be more empathetic. If they see you treating people poorly, they’ll internalize that, too. And often it’s those little things that seem insignificant, but mean a lot. I also want my kids to trust me, and feel they can come to me with their problems or questions and not worry that I’ll freak out.
According to this study cited in the Washington Post, the quality of time spent with children is more important than the quantity of time. Can you give a 3–5 stories or examples from your own life about what you do to spend quality time with your children?
Just like any important relationship in your life, you have to make time to be with your kids. For me, it’s all about connection, and that can come in many ways. I’m also a big believer in one-on-one time. I’ve set a goal of doing at least one activity a month with each individual child. My son and I both golf, so we’re taking lessons together right now. My daughter and I go horse riding — I don’t do well watching, I’m a doer, so we have a teacher and we’re learning how to do barrels together. Trotting and cantering and whatever else — she just loves it. My little one — she just wants to spend time with me. I asked her to pick an activity and she said she just wants to hang out — so we have father and daughter time together. This time alone with them is an important part of strengthening that connection, and I learn so much about them when we’re just chatting away.
When I was growing up, gathering around the dinner table for a good quality meal and that family time was a highlight of my day. So, I try to do the same, and we have a house rule of no phones at the dinner
table — me included. While we’re eating, we talk about our day — we share the best part of our day and the worst part of our day. This helps them build trust and confidence that they can share things with me, and their siblings, and also learn that everyone has tough days and that’s OK.
We also love going out together — for dinner, boating, swimming, biking, road trips, walking, hiking, ski — we love to be active. My girls aren’t into skiing like when they were younger, so they’ve chosen biking as a new family activity.
We all live in a world with many deadlines and incessant demands for our time and attention. That inevitably makes us feel rushed and we may feel that we can’t spare the time to be “fully present” with our children. Can you share with our readers 5 strategies about how we can create more space in our lives in order to give our children more quality attention? Please include examples or stories for each, if you can.
- Plan cool family activities: and they don’t all have to be expensive or elaborate. A trip to Disneyland is great, but your kids will also remember the night you drove to an empty field to look at the stars, or went for ice cream at the beach.
- One on one activities: spending time with each of my kids individually gives them room to open up and share what’s on their mind. The dynamic is different, and I know they love being the focus of my attention. And I love it, too.
- Establish some ground rules and stick to them: for us, dinner time is sacred. No phones, we talk about our day and focus on our connection
- Model what being present looks like. I will emulate what it’s like to be on the phone vs what being present looks like, being engaged, asking questions, body language, and is a sign of respect and being present is a gift
- “When I’m 80”: a good reminder. When we look back on our lives, I doubt any of us will say “I wish I’d worked more.” Kids grow up so quickly — I remind myself that I’m happier when we’re together, enjoying each other’s company, and while that work email can wait — time won’t.
How do you define a “good parent”? Can you give an example or story?
For me, a good parent is someone who is present. Kids know when you’re not paying attention. I encourage my kids to call me out on it if they see me not being present — that rule about no phones at the dinner table applies to me, too.
A good parent is someone who listens, without interrupting, when their kids are talking to them. They’re worthy of the same respect I’d give a colleague or client, and their thoughts and ideas deserve my full attention.
I also think a good parent isn’t afraid to say “no” unapologetically. It can take courage to be a disciplinarian, you have to be a strong person. I think kids thrive with clear, consistent boundaries — and while I might feel momentarily bad about not letting them have a third cookie, I know it’s the right decision.
How do you inspire your child to “dream big”? Can you give an example or story?
Great question. My son’s current ambition is to join the NHL, and he’s worried about not making it. So, I talk to him about how the mindset starts with you: if you think you can do it, that’s the energy you’re sending out. And it’s coming from a place of control, it’s genuine and you can do it
I remind them that if you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will. I say come to me with a commitment that you are going to give it all you’ve got, and then give it all you’ve got — and I’ll support you 100%.
We also talk about fear: it’s normal to be afraid. But if you believe in yourself, you have to embrace the fear. Lean into it, and be courageous. I want them to know that it’s OK to fall down — you learn as much, if not more, from your failures as your successes. As long as they try their hardest, I’m proud.
How do you, a person who masterfully straddles the worlds of career and family, define “success”?
In 2015, everything I thought I wanted had come to fruition — I was working from home, had bough a boat, and a second home on a lake — but somehow, I wasn’t happy. Then in 2016, I sold my company Kaminak for 520 million dollars. It seemed like I had it all but I was probably the most miserable guy in most rooms. I was going through a divorce, unemployed — life sucked.
So, I challenged myself to figure it out. What made me happy? What did I really want? It’s not just about having a million bucks in your bank account (though that’s pretty nice!). I started to really focus on my own mental and physical health. I started meditating and practising gratitude. My kids were happy and healthy — I wanted to be with them more, to see them growing into the funny, smart, kind people they’re becoming.
I also know now that I need a purpose: I’m not cut out for a life of leisure. My work is extremely important to me — taking a vision and making it a reality through hard work, tenacity, perseverance and sound strategy development is very fulfilling. I try to inspire and motivate the people around me with my passion and enthusiasm to excel.
I don’t define success by how much is in my bank account. My happiness stems from my happiness, my joy in being a father, being mentally and physically strong. Knowing my purpose, working hard to achieve it — and reveling in the freedom it affords me.
What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to be a better parent? Can you explain why you like them?
I don’t gravitate to specifically parenting-type podcasts, but rather to resources that will make me a better person, which helps make me be a better dad.
My favourite podcasts
- Sam Harris. His focus is how a growing understanding of ourselves and the world is changing our sense of how we should live. It’s powerful.
- Jordan Peterson. The role of the individual, and the responsibilities that accompany individuality and its role in society.
- Thrive — Ariana Huffington and co. Lots of good-quality material in there, I’m a subscriber.
As for authors, I’m really enjoying Michael Singer right now. His book The Untethered Soul, about the detachment of the ego from the mind, and also The Surrender Experiment. He talks a lot about freeing yourself from limitations.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
- “The test of success is not what you do when you are on top. Success is how high you bounce when you hit the bottom.” ― George S. Patton Jr.
- As for tough times? Yeah, I’ve had them over the past few years — take your pick: four biopsies in one year, getting divorced, Kaminak being acquired — all hit me hard. I also lost three close friends far too soon. As I said earlier, I was at a real low point in my life. How did I bounce back? By deliberately creating a life by design — being my own boss, working from home, having time to be with my kids and enjoy our lives together.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Kids against racism. My eight-year-old daughter recently asked me what racism is. How do you explain that to a kid? Treating everyone fairly and respectfully is an important value I’m teaching them. I think if my kids can grow up actively fighting racism and discrimination when they see it, calling it out — that would be pretty powerful.