PROFile: Gary Brownstone

Instructor, business and administration, University of Winnipeg

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For Gary Brownstone, his interest in teaching comes from wanting to bring “the real world into the classroom.”

Brownstone previously ran the entrepreneurship program at Red River College and has just finished up his third year at the University of Winnipeg as an instructor.

He teaches both first-year and upper-level classes and has many years of experience “managing businesses, creating businesses, growing businesses (and) financing business.

“By the time you get to the more advanced classes, you’re really working with students who have already gained a lot of knowledge and have the commitment that this is the field of education they want,” he says.

Brownstone was a double major in economics and political studies at the University of Manitoba and continued on to do a master’s of business administration from Western University.

Upon completing his undergraduate studies, he says that “my plan at that time was to go to law school and become a lawyer.

“I applied to law school, and a friend of mine convinced me to (also) apply to some business schools,” he says. When he had to make the choice, he asked himself “‘in each of those careers, what do you do each day when you go to work?’

“As I looked into it, I realized that my personality was way more suited to business school than law school.”

Brownstone says “while I was in school, I got the practical experience of seeing how difficult growing companies can be.

“That became my career, helping businesses that were trying to grow or had tried to grow and maybe got themselves into (difficult situations) and needed to be fixed,” he says.

“For most people, to be able to pair together the theory with the practical, it can only benefit them. And I know a lot of people who have been in management for a number of years and have gone back to do a master’s.”

What is your favourite thing about your job?

“I also still run a small business (as well as teaching), and in both cases, my favourite thing is helping other people. If I can help students (and) stimulate enthusiasm or excitement around the (subject) of business in student’s minds, then that’s great.”

What was your favourite business that you’ve started or helped?

“That’s like asking a parent who their most favourite child is. I’ll just say my current business (business brokerage)
is my favourite, because it’s what I’m doing now.”

What qualities do you need as an entrepreneur?

“I think you need resilience, you need stubbornness, you need to not fear failure, (and) you need to be sort of a self-starter and someone who can make things happen on your own.”

What was the most difficult business to start or help?

“Businesses that are the hardest to help are the ones that wait too late until they call for help. Ironically, I think it's the same for students.”

Published in Volume 74, Number 23 of The Uniter (March 26, 2020)

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