Let your spirits soar with Tony Chapman’s interview with Mohamad Fakih. Mohamad sees humanity as a race to be cherished — not separate tribes defined and separated by ethnicities, religious beliefs, languages, income levels or sexual preferences.
Mohamad Fakih has faced all kinds of discrimination, racism and hate. In this edition of Chatter That Matters, the CEO of Paramount Fine Foods shares his approach to the haters of the world — some of whom he’s met face-to-face — and how he uses these experiences to stand up for others, teach his children important lessons, and bring people closer together.
A trained gemologist who worked for free when he first immigrated to Canada, Fakih is grateful for the acts of generosity from Canadians who took note of his grit, compassion and work ethic. Driven by strong principles and values taught to him by his parents, Fakih seized the opportunities presented with positivity and courage. When he stepped into a mom-and-pop restaurant in 2006 after his wife sent him to buy baklava for their Lebanese guests, the owner approached him about investing in the near-bankrupt restaurant. He had 15 chefs who would be sent back to Lebanon if they closed down.
Fakih describes the moment as a defining one in his life. “I knew I had to make a decision about the kind of person I was going to be,” he tells Chapman, “I could be someone who put his head down and was self-interested in money in the bank, or someone who stands up for people.” He took over the restaurant, not knowing anything about the business. “I didn’t even know how to fry an egg,” he says.
Today, Paramount Fine Foods has more than 40 locations in Canada with over 1,500 staff, and Fakih is expanding the business to countries in Europe and the Middle East. He continues to be fueled by purpose with an ongoing opportunity to help more people. He chats with Tony about putting customers, staff and community first, and his devotion to hiring refugees and immigrants to help them get a solid start in Canada.
On this eve of a Christian holiday, Mohamad Fakih offers special messages of love, kindness and gratitude that reflect the values of Canadians of all backgrounds and religions.
“Give until it hurts,” he urges this holiday season. “And let’s do it together.”
Tony Chapman created the Chatter That Matters podcast to counter the storm of negativity and impossibility with true stories of ordinary people who do extraordinary things. He chats with Olympians, Advocates, Celebrities, Leaders, and people who battled what seemed like insurmountable odds.
In doing, listeners hear life lessons that inspire all of us to do more and be more, to help us get to where we need, want and deserve to go. RBC is the presenting sponsor.
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