Do what you love and have passion were among the responses students offered Dr. David Foster as he led a lecture at the University of Victoria last week.
“What do you think is the most important key… to success?” Foster had asked, dabbing at the keyboard in front of him at the word “key”.
The businessman, music producer and philanthropist was named Peter B. Gustavson School of Business 2015 Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year, an award given to visionary leaders who have achieved tremendous success through their business acumen and entrepreneurial spirit.
Prior to receiving his award at the sold-out DEYA gala May 28, Foster led a classroom discussion with UVic students from Gustavson and the Faculty of Fine Arts about the business side of the arts.
Though the students had many good answers none were right, Foster said, leading the hourlong session of insight and witty banter.
“Networking,” Foster says is the answer. “If you take nothing else away from this than that. Think about Bill Gates in college and his buddies getting together – networking. Two minds are better than one, three are even better, four is too crowded.”
Celebrating its 25th birthday in 2015, the Gustavson School of Business chose Foster because of his entrepreneurial approach to both his music and his charitable work. Foster is currently head of boutique music label 143 Records, which was created in partnership with Warner Brothers, as well as chairman of Universal’s Verve Music Group.
“It is particularly exciting to be honouring a hometown hero in 2015, as our business school celebrates a milestone birthday,” said Peter Gustavson, chair of the Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year committee. “Many people know of David due to his amazing success as a music and record producer, and our goal is to shine a light on his incredible talents as an entrepreneur, businessman and mentor to so many in the global music industry.”
Foster has won 16 Grammy Awards; an Emmy Award; a Golden Globe; and three Oscar nominations for best original song. Foster has created hit songs and award-winning gold and platinum albums for a diverse array of artists, with combined record sales in the millions.
While Foster is known for his success in music, his entrepreneurial spirit is most visible through the David Foster Foundation. Created in 1986, the national foundation aims to fill a gap within the medical system by supporting the non-medical expenses of families with children undergoing life-saving pediatric organ transplants. Since its inception, the foundation has assisted 1,000 families.