Archive for December, 2023

Navigating Life’s Purpose: A Journey of Entrepreneurship, Reflection, and Philanthropy with Som Seif

Friday, December 15th, 2023

In the ever-evolving landscape of finance and entrepreneurship, Som Seif’s narrative unfolds as a compelling journey marked by resilience, purpose, and a commitment to positive change.

Som’s story begins with his family’s immigration from Iran to Canada during the Iranian Revolution when he was just three years old. This move not only altered the geographical coordinates of his life but set the stage for a transformative journey that would shape his future endeavors.

Choosing Canada, guided by advice received while Som’s father was studying in England, proved to be a pivotal moment. This early chapter in his life underlines the transformative power of immigration and the doors it can open for personal and professional growth.

As Som’s journey progresses, we gain insight into the early ambitions of a young mind driven by creativity. Initially aspiring to become an architect, practical advice from seasoned professionals steered him toward engineering at the University of Toronto. His entry into the world of RBC Investment Banking in 1999 coincided with the challenges and excitement of the early 2000s tech bubble.

However, a critical moment of introspection at the age of 25 became a turning point. Som questioned the singular pursuit of wealth and redirected his focus towards a deeper sense of fulfillment. This pivotal moment laid the groundwork for a trajectory aligned with his passion for progress and innovation.

Som’s entrepreneurial journey takes center stage with the founding of Claymore in 2005. Motivated by a vision to revolutionize asset management, Claymore emerged as a key player in the Canadian financial landscape, challenging industry norms related to fees and transparency. The subsequent acquisition of Claymore by BlackRock in 2012 marked a transition, propelling Som into a new venture—Purpose.

At the heart of Purpose was a broader vision for the financial services industry. As a co-founder of Wealthsimple, Som demonstrated a commitment to driving innovation across various facets of financial services. The journey through entrepreneurship unfolded with strategic decisions, challenges, and moments of reflection that collectively shaped Som’s trajectory.

Beyond the entrepreneurial milestones, Som shares personal reflections on happiness and the evolution of his priorities. A poignant moment at 25, working late hours in investment banking, prompted him to question the pursuit of wealth at the expense of genuine happiness. This introspection led to a commitment to building a life that aligned with his values.

Som candidly discusses his early ambition for wealth, the decision to leave the security of a corporate role at 28, and the subsequent founding of his first company. The narrative weaves through the sale of Claymore, the inception of Purpose, and the ongoing pursuit of impactful ventures. The delicate balance between professional ambition and personal fulfillment becomes evident.

Family life takes a significant place in Som’s narrative, including the decision to have a large family. Drawing from his upbringing in a loving and dynamic household, Som expresses gratitude for the joy and support he experienced. The discussion touches upon the profound impact of the pandemic, emphasizing the importance of being present and redefining priorities.

Insights into Som’s evolving perspective on work-life balance emerge, recounting the transformative effect of becoming a parent. The pandemic serves as a catalyst for a deeper understanding of the value of presence, leading Som to redefine his approach to both professional and personal aspects of life.

Som delves into the role of immigration in Canada’s economic growth and innovation. Drawing parallels with the U.S.’s emphasis on intellectual property, Som underscores the pivotal role of immigration in sustaining Canada’s economic development. The dialogue highlights the significance of fostering an environment that attracts talent and drives economic growth.

The narrative takes a philanthropic turn as Som shares his longstanding commitment to giving back to society. Reflecting on his experiences as a Big Brother during university, he emphasizes the joy and impact that come with giving. He shares his belief in the duty to give back, rooted in gratitude for the opportunities Canada provided him.

Som’s aspirations for the future include a commitment to philanthropy with a focus on creating sustained impact. He expresses excitement about integrating an entrepreneurial spirit into his philanthropic endeavors, aligning with his vision to drive meaningful change in society.

The tapestry of Som Seif’s journey—from immigration to entrepreneurship and philanthropy—resonates as a testament to the transformative power of purpose-driven pursuits. In a world often dominated by narratives of ambition and financial success, Som’s story stands out as a reminder of the profound impact that aligning one’s actions with values can have on personal and professional fulfillment.

Som’s journey is more than a series of career milestones; it’s a testament to the enduring values of resilience, curiosity, and the pursuit of meaningful impact. As the narrative draws to a close, the conversation touches on leadership and the responsibility to inspire the next generation. Som articulates the importance of mentorship and creating an environment where aspiring entrepreneurs and professionals can thrive.

The evolving landscape of the financial services industry becomes a focal point as Som explores the impact of fintech and innovation. The conversation provides valuable insights into the intersection of traditional finance and technology, highlighting the transformative potential of purpose-driven businesses.

The podcast delves into the challenges Som faced throughout his entrepreneurial journey, from the early days of Claymore to the current landscape of financial services. Som candidly shares the lessons learned from setbacks, emphasizing the importance of resilience and adaptability. The conversation unfolds as a rich tapestry of triumphs and challenges, providing a nuanced perspective on the entrepreneurial landscape.

Looking to the future, Som shares his thoughts on the future of finance, innovation, and the global economy. The conversation touches on the role of purpose in shaping the future of businesses, emphasizing the need for a holistic approach that considers societal impact alongside financial success.

The richness of Som’s narrative, coupled with thoughtful questions, creates an episode that transcends the conventional boundaries of business discussions. His life experiences—a journey marked by resilience, purpose, and an unwavering commitment to making a positive impact. It serves as a compass, guiding individuals to reflect on their own journeys and consider the profound intersection of passion, purpose, and success.

Looking to the future, Som shares his thoughts on the future of finance, innovation, and the global economy. The conversation touches on the role of purpose in shaping the future of businesses, emphasizing the need for a holistic approach that considers societal impact alongside financial success.

The richness of Som’s narrative, coupled with thoughtful reflections, creates an exploration that transcends conventional boundaries. Som’s journey encourages us to view success not merely as a destination but as a journey—one enriched by purpose, resilience, and the perpetual pursuit of positive impact. As we reflect on the themes of entrepreneurship and the intricate balance between personal and professional fulfillment, Som Seif’s journey stands as a guiding example of the transformative potential embedded in personal narratives.

To listen to the full podcast, click here.