I was blessed to interview Frank O'Dea for my Journey To Success Radio show. It was the most fun and exciting interview I have ever done.
As a young man, Frank was a homeless person, living on the streets, panhandling for nickels and dimes.
Today, he is a celebrated business person. Best known as a founder of The Second Cup, he also was involved in founding a number of other successful international businesses and not-for-profits. These include Proshred Security, War Child Canada, Street Kids International and the Canadian Landmine Foundation.
He has been appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada and two Canadian universities have awarded him honorary degrees.
This is an inspiring story of resilience and triumph in the face of adversity, which is also recounted in his best-selling book “When All You Have is Hope”.
He is also the author of Do the Next Right Thing: Surviving Life’s Crises. Mr. O’Dea’s most recent projects include developing sustainably affordable housing in Brazil.
Second Cup is a chain of 350 stores. They invented the premium coffee retail industry, paving the way for Tim Horton's, Starbucks, and all the other coffee chains. Nobody had done that before them.
Frank also Founded Proshred Security in 1986. At the time the world was predicting a “paperless society”. Today, in 2014, there is at least 12 times as much paper produced as in 1986.
For entrepreneur Frank O'Dea, it was a long road from street life to the high life. Born in Montreal to an upper-middle class family, Frank's life took a downturn as a young man when he was sexually assaulted by a priest.
He began drinking at an early age and was soon destitute, living in degradation on the streets of Toronto. By way of a sympathetic employer, the Salvation Army, and Alcoholics Anonymous, O'Dea quit drinking and started a small business that developed into the Second Cup coffee chain.
Over the years, his philanthropic activities extended to AIDS fundraising, child literacy in the Third World, and landmine removal. His message is simple: HOPE, VISION, ACTION.
Frank's Humanitarian efforts include:
Street Kinds International– Co Founder
Canadian Landmine Foundation – Founder
Night of 1,000 Dinners – Founder – with help from Colin Powell, Madeleine Albright and Sir Paul McCartney. Unique fundraiser method – one of the first charities to be internet driven.