Damian Frith loves to run, and while he is certainly not alone in this regard, there is a uniqueness to his approach that places him in rarified and elite company.
Consider first there is the matter of having run what the marathoning community commonly refers to as “The Six Majors.”Frith has competed and completed the 26.2-mile race in Boston, New York, Chicago, Berlin, London, and Tokyo.
Remarkable in itself, yes, but not his greatest running achievement.
His greatest running achievement is having completed a marathon on all seven continents. He accomplished this feat just last month when continent number seven was run and done.
“I ran Antarctica in March of this year,” he says. “That left one continent to go – Australia.”
Odd that, given Australia is where he grew up, where he was educated, where he launched a 20-year career with IBM. But on October 14, the continental sweep was complete when Damian lived his childhood dream of running in the storied Melbourne Cricket Ground at the end of this race.
Damian grew up just outside Melbourne in the city of Ballarat. In 2008, he came to Canada for a vacation.
“I saw Tofino in a brochure and thought, ‘yeah, that looks like a fun spot.’ The plan was Tofino, then Vancouver for a week, then Whistler for a week, followed by Banff and Jasper for 10 days, then back to Vancouver, fly home and never come back.”
That’s not how it worked out.
“I left Australia in January and it was 44 Celsius; landed here and it was 4. I’m wearing board shorts and a tank top and the customs officer looks at me and says: ‘good luck son, you are going to need it.’ I walk outside and it’s raining sideways.”
Not the most auspicious of introductions to the city.
“But after some time in Tofino, and Whistler, I see these guys walking out of Bentall 1 at 2 p.m. on a Tuesday afternoon wearing suits and they have ski gear under their arms. That was it for me. I need to be a part of this somehow.”
Damian returned to Australia with the intention of quitting his job, packing up his four-bedroom home and jumping on a return flight to Canada. IBM had other plans. In a remarkable moment of serendipity, a position he was ideally suited to fill became open in the Vancouver office.
Life – big, beautiful life – sometimes just works out.
Damian left IBM in 2016 and opened his own consulting firm. Today, his firm is connected with WMC (Western Management Consultants), a widely respected company specializing in corporate strategy, leadership and transformation.
“I like coaching and mentoring people on long-term goals,” he says. “I do a lot of transformation management – helping executives work through succession planning, for example. Or I might advise and assist with corporate growth. At its core, it’s helping people transform into something they want to be. That’s what Ienjoy. That’s what I am good at.
“I see so many business owners who get so buried in the weeds of the day-to-day operation, they can never do what they have to do, and that is to take a step back to look at the bigger picture.
“I like to say, they are working on the bus instead of driving the bus and often they’ll get hit by the bus.”
Damian, like every Australian, greatly cherishes a good old-fashioned walkabout.
“My passion is travel,” he says. “The travel group at TCC has been going for about six months now. Each month someone talks about where they have been and what they have done. It’s invaluable information for a person like me.”
Damian points to two significant ways in which he takes most advantage of the TCC’s many offerings to members. He uses the business centre a lot. It’s a refuge for sitting and plowing through hours of work uninterrupted. But it’s the social benefits of the TCC that he most appreciates.
“I came to Vancouver and, of course, a lot of people living here already have a well established network of friends. I had to start from scratch. The social side of the club has allowed me to greatly enrich my own network. It was this opportunity to meet like-minded people that drew me to the club and it’s what continues to sustain my great appreciation for membership.”
“I quite honestly have not met a member I didn’t really get on with. The facilities here are amazing, first-class, but it’s the people who make the place great.”