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Ottawa Office: 613.566.7036 or 866.760.2537
1. Youth Entrepreneurship and LeadershipBen shares his adventures of building the Ben Barry Agency Inc. from the basement of his family home to international offices. He tells his journey of entering the modeling business, discovering the singular beauty standard, and confronting the crisis of conscience that led him to challenge the criteria for models. He touches on themes such as starting a venture with limited capital, developing mentors, finding your niche, generating media attention, growing a project, and creating social change through business. Ben shatters the myth that young people have to wait until they obtain advanced academic degrees and decades of experience before they can begin their own companies. Instead, he explains how youth have all of the knowledge and skills to begin their entrepreneurial journeys today. This address is suited for high school, college and university students at youth entrepreneurship and leadership conferences.
2. Creating Organizational and Institutional ChangeWhether you want to change a program, organization, or society, Ben discusses how each person can help change a status quo system. Ben shares his lessons of transforming how beauty is represented in the fashion industry through his groundbreaking work with the Ben Barry Agency Inc. From his experiences, he extracts tools that audience members can apply to any situation in which they seek change, such as how to develop like-minded allies, use a staggered approach, and frame your case by using existing language and goals. This address is suited for young professional who want to feel empowered, or senior managers who want tools to create paradigm shifts.
3. Empowering Young ProfessionalsBeing a young professional in the work force carries a multitude of questions: How can I make the most out of my job? How can I advance my ideas and bring forward new initiatives? How can develop my career goals? Ben answers all of these questions in his address, speaking on themes such as intrapreneurship, mentorship, and career planning. Ben draws from his own experience as a young professional in the fashion industry to extract general lessons that can be applied to any career and organizational setting. This address is suitable for career development conferences.
4. Inside BeautyWhat does beauty mean? The answer depends on who you ask. To the ad agent or fashion editor, beauty is a one-size-fits-all formula of smooth, thin and young. But to women around the world, beauty does not have a narrow definition; it is fluid and complex, based on character and spirit. In this address, Ben takes the audience into the heartland of beauty: the workplaces, homes, and closets of women and men, to uncover their personal meaning of this powerful word. By revealing the results of his groundbreaking Cambridge University research, Ben demonstrates that the once omnipresent grip of beauty-makers over women no longer holds the same power; women are now their own agents of beauty. He argues that advertisers' current efforts are disconnected from the mindsets of consumers, and suggests how the industry can close the gap. This address is ideal for marketing, current affairs, and women’s conferences.
5. Small Business Marketing: Strategies and SolutionsBased on his small business-marketing column in the Globe and Mail, Ben shares his marketing strategies and solutions for small businesses in any industry. He begins by sharing the role and importance of marketing for small business. He then explores ten problems that small businesses face when attracting new consumers and retaining existing ones and offers strategies for entrepreneur’s to solve each one. His innovative solutions include defining their brand, turning competitors into allies, using the power of personalization, and unleashing the power of social networking. Each technique is brought to life with examples from Ben’s experience and from interviews he has conducted with entrepreneurs across the country. This address is suited for conferences on entrepreneurship and small business. It can be designed as a workshop, seminar or keynote.
Entrepreneurship & Diversity
“Aren’t you something!” (as told to Ben Barry)
- Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey discovered him years ago, and now it’s your turn. Ben Barry, named “one of twenty-five leaders of tomorrow” by Maclean's, has challenged status quo beauty since he was a teenager.
At age fourteen, Ben helped a friend who was told she was “too big” to be a model by sending her pictures to a magazine editor. The editor called him back, hired his friend, and with that one phone call, Ben launched his modeling agency. Today, Ben serves as CEO of the Ben Barry Agency Inc., an international model consultancy headquartered in Toronto, Canada. His company scouts and sources models of all ages, sizes, colours and abilities for fashion and beauty brands, including Sears, Nike, Armani, L’Oreal, Macy’s, and the groundbreaking Dove Campaign for Real Beauty. His models have appeared in Vogue, Elle, and Seventeen.
He has been the subject of feature interviews on Oprah, CNN, MTV, CBC Sunday, Fashion Television and Canada AM, among others. He was the recipient of the CIBC National Student Entrepreneur of the Year Award and the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Award for making an outstanding contribution to Canada. Ben was one of the six recipients of the Governor General's Award in the Commemoration of the Persons Case. The Award honours outstanding contributions that have promoted the equality of girls and women in Canada, demonstrated by leadership and excellence, and he is the first male winner of the award in it's 30-year history.
Ben is a business columnist for the Globe and Mail, and author of the Canadian bestseller Fashioning Reality: A New Generation of Entrepreneurship. His book was hailed by Profit Magazine as “a manifesto for young entrepreneurs and a call to arms to everyone,” and is currently in development as a CTV special presentation.
He holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Women’s Studies from Trinity College at the University of Toronto where he studied on a four-year National Millennium Scholarship, and a Master’s in Innovation and Strategy from Judge Business School at Cambridge University. He is currently conducting doctoral research on perceptions of beauty around the world on an Ogilvy Foundation Research Grant at Cambridge University, and is a Visiting Scholar at the Harvard Business School. In addition, Ben is writing his second book, Beyond Beauty: Discovering, Challenging, and Refining Beauty.
Ben also serves on the Board of Directors for the Canadian Foundation of Women’s Health and he is the Chair of the Toronto Fashion Incubator, a small business incubator for Canadian fashion entrepreneurs.
COMMENTS FROM AUDIENCES
"At Saatchi & Saatchi we believe that good ideas come from anywhere . . . and more and more they come from people without experience, without years of knowledge, and without fear. People who are ready to fail fast, learn fast and fix fast. People driven by the “I” words—Intuition, Imagination, Inspiration and Ideas. People like Ben Barry. We live in the Age of the Idea . . . and this book will inspire entrepreneurs throughout the world to have faith in their ideas, and give them great insight on how to bring them to life and make them come true.”"
Worldwide Saatchi & Saatchi, Ideas Company
"Ben’s socially oriented, profit-driven approach to changing the fashion industry illustrates how young passionate entrepreneurs are changing the world. This is a compelling story and he is certainly a most deserving recipient of the CIBC Student Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
Advancing Canadian Entrepreneurship Inc.
"Part adventure, part activism, part business, part instruction manual. Above all, an inspiring story of Ben Barry’s attempts to transform girls’ and women’s experience of their bodies so that anguish can be replaced by pleasure and self acceptance. Where will he go next!?
Susie Orbach, psychoanalyst, consultant to DOVE and author of Fat Is a Feminist Issue
"Like Moneyball did for baseball, Fashioning Reality takes on the time-honoured ‘truths’ of an industry—fashion modeling, in this case—and exposes them as nothing but stultifying myths. … Ben Barry combines a keen mind, an irreverent personality, and his own successful experience to show that for a committed and entrepreneurial change agent there is always a better way, despite the nattering naysayers! Readers old and young will gain the inspiration to forge a ‘Balanced Contract’ to change for the better a current reality they find unacceptable."
Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto
"Inspiration is an understated way of expressing the impact of Ben Barry on our audience. His passionate message about challenging the social norms and empowering each individual taking responsibility for contributing to social change in our society, is heartfelt and impactful. Not only does he have a story to tell, but he tells it in such a way that left our audience wanting more...All I can say is Bravo!
Glen Padassery, Manager, Youth and New Professionals Secretariat, Ontario Public Service
"Ben is an inspirational speaker who reminds every audience that social justice is not just a dream, it is a real possibility. Whether speaking to high school students or a university academic gathering, Ben draws rave reviews for his story of passion, wit and perseverance in challenging the status quo in business and the fashion industry."
Dr. Peter Jaffe, Professor, Faculty of Education
Academic Director, Centre for Research on Violence Against Women & Children, University of Western Ontario
"Ben Barry has the unique ability to get all types of audiences up and out of their seats when he speaks. He not only has an amazing success story as a young entrepreneur, but also exudes so much passion and enthusiasm for the causes he believes in that it is contagious."
Amy Harder, President, Advancing Canadian Entrepreneurship
"It’s no wonder why Ben has been named “one of twenty-five leaders of tomorrow” by Maclean’s Magazine; he is a truly remarkable young man, speaker and entrepreneur. His message was powerful and passionate and encouraged everyone in the audience to take responsibility for social change. He made us aware that we, as consumers, have the power to influence such change. It was encouraging to see a young entrepreneur stand up for his beliefs, make every effort to challenge the status quo and develop a successful business in the process."
Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre