Attending to Know Antonio Lennert –
Antonio Lennert, a member of EO Canada Bridge, is an entrepreneur, designer and group builder. He’s the co-founder and CEO of Surf the Greats, Canada’s largest model and group for surf schooling, journey and way of life on the Nice Lakes and past. Marina Byezhanova interviewed Antonio about his entrepreneurial Slot Bonus New Member journey and contribute this submit.
When Antonio Lennert left Brazil at 20 years outdated, he was in quest of a group. Upon arrival in California, he met his companion in each enterprise and in life, Lucas Murnaghan, and the 2 constructed a brand new house in Canada.
The transfer to Toronto meant that alternatives for browsing, his favorite pastime, appeared few and much between.
“Canada will not be recognized to be a browsing hotspot,” stated Lennert. “In my thoughts, I had principally stated goodbye to browsing solely.”
After pursuing a level in graphic design from Ontario School of Artwork & Design, Lennert launched and scaled a profitable artistic design company, which he ran for over three years. The company was an early foray into the entrepreneurial world—however one which took its toll.
“I like the design world,” stated Lennert. “However constructing an company was a fancy, always-on sort of enterprise. Earlier than I knew it, I used to be utterly burnt out.”
Lennert exited the design enterprise. Whereas on a sabbatical in Costa Rica devoted to recharging his psychological and bodily well being, which included a 10-day silent meditation retreat, one thing started to shift for him.
“I began browsing once more throughout that sabbatical,” stated Lennert. “Browsing not solely helped to heal me, however it jogged my memory of one thing I had forgotten: Time spent browsing on the water was the place I felt at my happiest.”
Lennert and his cofounding enterprise companion, Marcello Gortana, earned their educating certificates with the Worldwide Browsing Affiliation. A brand new imaginative and prescient for Lennert’s life started to kind—and he introduced that imaginative and prescient again to Toronto.
As he started to discover Canadian browsing, he realized what felt like a “secret” each to surfers throughout the globe and to Canadians themselves: There may be wonderful browsing available within the Nice Lakes in Ontario!
He noticed the beginnings of how their ardour could possibly be utilized for a higher function.
A Ardour, a Trigger, and an Alternative
Though a pre-existing browsing group existed within the Nice Lakes area, Lennert shortly discovered that it contained veterans who had been driving these waves for many years; they’d little curiosity in catering to newcomers.
“My model of the Canadian dream concerned capitalizing on the inclusivity of Canadian life,” stated Lennert.
He contemplated hanging up his wetsuit as soon as once more. But, after rescuing individuals who had been unfamiliar with the Nice Lakes’ waters, he noticed a chance to increase and form this group into one pushed by inclusivity, schooling, and journey.
Lennert’s trigger initially centered on making browsing safer within the north. Launching a web-based retailer with Marcello, the 2 sometimes opened pop-ups to convey the group collectively. Ever the adventurer, Lennert quickly left Toronto’s promoting scene, at which level his new enterprise actually took off.
Lennert and Murnaghan opened a newcomer-friendly, Toronto-based surf and occasional store in 2017, Surf the Greats. The enterprise shortly scaled past its preliminary imaginative and prescient. What started as a go-to supply for surfboards, wetsuits, swimwear, and different browsing gear shortly remodeled into a strong group for everybody in search of journey on the Nice Lakes and past.
Whereas Lennert’s life companion, Lucas Murnaghan, remained a silent companion for the primary few years, Murnaghan grew to become notably invested in day-to-day actions in 2019 after falling sick, forcing him to take go away from his place as an orthopedic surgeon at Toronto’s SickKids Hospital. Lennert continued to develop the enterprise with Murnaghan’s assist.
At the moment, the group is making main waves in contemporary water. Surf the Greats has collaborated with a veritable tsunami of leaders within the sports activities business: Patagonia, Rip Curl and Purple Bull, in addition to artists of all identities and backgrounds.
“The entire function of this firm has been to teach and create areas for the group to come back collectively and reside this way of life,” Lennert famous.
With an ever-growing social media following counting 25,000+ and collaborations which have despatched Canadian surfers to international surf competitions, Surf the Greats has helped elevate Canadian browsing to the worldwide stage. What grew to turn out to be the Nice Lakes’ premier surf authority has since advanced into Canada’s surf model.
“By way of loads of work constructing this group and showcasing our waves, we gained worldwide respect within the browsing world,” Lennert stated.
The success, very like the rolling waves, continued for Lennert and firm. A documentary, Fresh Water, chronicled his journey.
Lennert’s exceptional story of overcoming prejudice, discrimination and boundaries was the showstopper. Whereas the movie’s unique idea was to showcase Canada’s surf tradition at massive, filmmaker David Kalinauskas uncovered Lennert’s story—and knew it was one which wanted to be informed. The media world agreed: the documentary is now reside on Crave in Canada, and continues to be featured by media retailers and platforms throughout the globe.
To this present day, once in a while, Lennert wakes as much as a random message in his inbox from strangers thanking him for each his work and his voice for inclusivity. Other than amassing a cascade of collective curiosity within the sport, Lennert’s journey pulled on the heartstrings of athletes, entrepreneurs, dad and mom, kids, and anybody who discovered themselves in quest of their very own inclusive group constructed on ardour. “I simply really feel so honoured and humbled to have my story documented,” Lennert mirrored. “And to have my life with my companion documented without end that approach. It’s so particular.”
Sadly, Lennert misplaced Lucas Murnaghan to most cancers in 2021. It was a tragic occasion that continues to ripple by means of Lennert’s life. But what started to raise him from the depths to proceed on his personal journey was the very factor that had given Lennert a renewed zest for all times years prior: group.
He was invited to an EO occasion in Quebec Metropolis by Julie Mitchell, a Toronto-based entrepreneur within the well being and athletics area who knew Lennert from their neighborhood. With out figuring out what to anticipate, he was thrust into the EO world—and it helped encourage him to remain on target together with his enterprise targets, his desires, and his function. “I want I had recognized about EO years earlier than,” stated Lennert. “It’s been instrumental for me in such a short while.”
He’s seen some challenges, to make certain—however there may be loads to look ahead to in his story in addition to the tales of the colourful, passionate communities of which he stays a core pillar.
“I really feel like I’ve such a powerful help group,” Lennert stated. “Not solely in my chapter, however wherever I am going. It’s the very best factor that’s occurred to me in the previous couple of years.”
Marina Byezhanova, is an energetic member-leader inside EO and a member of EO Canada Bridge chapter, is an entrepreneur, international speaker and college teacher on a mission to encourage entrepreneurs stand out, converse up and be radically genuine. She is the co-founder of Brand of a Leader, the non-public branding company for entrepreneurs. Photograph of Antonio Lennert browsing the Greats by Sam Moffatt.
For extra insights and inspiration from as we speak’s main entrepreneurs, try EO on Inc. and extra articles from the EO weblog.