Founder, Second Cup
Author, ‘When All You Have Is Hope’
Frank O’Dea’s life went off the rails in his early teens. Within a few years, he was living in 50-cent-a-night flop houses in Toronto’s bowery district where simply surviving was a challenge.
Against all odds, at the age of 23 and with the courage to hope for a better life, Frank began the long road back. Fighting the formidable obstacles that hold back the homeless, the impoverished and the destitute, he overcame and rejoined society.
Then, as if that were not enough, he turned that same determination to the many obstacles in life that we all face. Within a few short years, he co-founded The Second Cup, which soon became the largest chain of gourmet coffees and teas in the country. Building on that success, he went on to co-found Proshred Security, a company that pioneered the entire industry of on-site document destruction. This company soon became an international organization with franchised operations in Canada, Europe and the United States.
Early on, Frank took steps to give back to the community. He began by serving on the boards of directors for charities and not-for-profit organizations. In 1985 he co-founded Street Kids International, an organization developed to help homeless children in third world countries, through education and self-reliance programs.
A few years later, he became the founding Chair of War Child (Canada), an organization that provides assistance against the suffering and abuse of children in war-affected countries. In the same year, Frank co-founded the Canadian Landmine Foundation, an organization that raises funds for the dismantling of minefields around the world. He went on to initiate that organization’s most successful fund raising program, “Night of a Thousand Dinners”, with participation of people in 29 countries, raising millions of dollars.
Frank is currently the Chair of the Royal Roads University Foundation and serves on the board of directors of a number of private corporations and not-for-profits.
His inspiring story is retold in his book, “When All You Have is Hope” published by Penguin and available through this website or in bookstores across the country.
Frank demonstrates the power of hope through his own story and experiences of hope, courage, change and persistence. Humble yet powerful, Frank relates how he went from the bowery, panhandling for nickels and dimes not so many years ago, to the successes he has achieved today.
This is truly a motivational story. Audiences from all walks of life identify with this very real story of achievement, and Frank’s warm style convinces his audiences that he is speaking directly to them.
Frank shares with his audience how he started his various businesses. First, the engaging story of the early years of the Second Cup gives his listeners the inside story on the growth of a Canadian retail landmark.
He discusses some of the challenges he overcame in starting Proshred Security, a document shredding service, today a national business stretching across Canada and into the USA and Europe, but one that his potential clients in the early days didn’t even think they needed.
Bringing his entrepreneurial spirit to the not-for-profit sector, Frank’s listeners will hear about the serendipitous meeting that became Street Kids International, and how the War Child (Canada) came into existence, and how a late-night phone call from the Minister of External Affairs became the Canadian Landmine Foundation.
Tying all this together with his view on the three fundamentals that made all this work for him, Frank leaves his audience with fine examples of where one person can go, and provides a roadmap on how to get there.
Frank O’Dea introduces his audience to the powerful theory and practical applications of Blue Ocean Strategy – creating uncontested market space. These concepts are based on fifteen years of research across thirty industries by Professors W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne of the European business school, INSEAD.
In today’s overcrowded markets, competing head-to-head and searching for competitive advantage results in nothing but a bloody “red ocean” of rivals fighting for a shrinking pool of profit.
Frank talks about a radically different way of thinking about business strategy, and he outlines how companies have created “blue oceans” by challenging conventional assumptions about their industries and making the competition irrelevant. With actual examples of these companies that have created uncontested market space by rewriting the rules of established industries, Frank’s presentation shows his audience that the methodology exists, along with the tools, for companies to create their own “blue oceans.”