My Best Event: Inspiring ideas

By Stuart Foxman | December 3, 2013 | Last updated on December 3, 2013
2 min read

Investors Group Financial Services Victoria, B.C.

Team members: 2-3

Asset minimum: Undisclosed

Number of households: 200+

When it comes to helping businesses prosper in Victoria, B.C., Philip Bisset-Covaneiro is a YES man. That stands for Young Entrepreneurs Society, a non-profit he established in Victoria in 2007 and still chairs.

“We’re a one-stop shop to help entrepreneurs get educated, grow their businesses and network,” says Bisset-Covaneiro, a financial consultant with Investors Group.

YES Victoria holds two mixers a month, but he stresses the society’s charity efforts including the annual Evening to Inspire, which benefits the B.C. Children’s Hospital Foundation. The event has special meaning for Bisset-Covaneiro—the hospital once treated his younger brother for cancer.

For the last two years, it’s been held in downtown Victoria and draws 180 to 200 people. Attendees enjoy a lineup of local singers and bands; past entertainers include Skylab, Diane Pancel and Megan McNeil. Guests also hear from inspirational speakers like Stuart Ellis-Myers, who overcame Tourette syndrome and speaks across North America about getting your sales leaders to listen to customers. Other past speakers include sales trainer Jeffrey Gitomer, three-time Olympic swimmer Rick Say and distance swimmer and triathlete Rob Dyke (who is now battling cancer).

This year’s gala, held October 18, featured singers Sarah Gregory and April Reide, and raised about $15,000.

As part of the organizing committee, Bisset-Covaneiro is involved in marketing and getting sponsors, which have included Investors Group, as well as HSBC, Coast Capital, RBC and CIBC.

Bisset-Covaneiro personally invests $1,500. Part of that goes towards sponsorship and the rest towards tickets for clients and prospects to attend. Even though he’s focused on the end product—community involvement and philanthropy—the hard work he puts in does reap some byproducts. He gets at least five clients each quarter through YES, including people he has volunteered with for the Evening to Inspire.

His approach is low-key. “I ask as many questions [as I can] to get the best understanding of a person’s situation, but I rarely make recommendations when I first meet someone.”

Instead, he listens, letting new contacts share as much information about their personal or business goals as they’re comfortable with. During follow-up calls, he’ll thank guests for supporting the event, and will ask if they’re interested in his advice or a second opinion on finances or investments.

Stuart Foxman is a Toronto-based financial writer.

Stuart Foxman