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Local Business Born from Industrious Beginnings

Business grad, Jean-François Démoré, shares his cheat code to life

May 15, 2024 - For Jean-François (JF) Démoré, having a strong business sense came naturally. A Laurentian University alumnus from École secondaire catholique Champlain in Chelmsford, Ontario, not only did JF pursue his academics at Laurentian, but it’s where he also got started in entrepreneurship.

Choosing Laurentian for his postsecondary education was simple for JF. He was familiar with Laurentian because his mother was a professor at the University. He felt that choosing to study at a smaller university would actually mean more opportunities would be available to him. And that’s exactly what JF says shaped his university experience.

Never afraid to say yes to any and all opportunities available, JF fully immersed himself in the student experience. “I was on so many committees and participated in multiple sports. At a smaller school, there are many unique experiences and opportunities that aren’t possible for students at bigger schools.”

As an undergraduate student in the Faculty of Management, JF worked in the Liaison department giving tours to prospective students and their families. “I really enjoyed working in Liaison because I had and still have so much pride in this community,” JF recalls. “I always loved showing prospective students around campus and seeing their reaction to the beautiful views and the access to nature all around us.”

When JF was completing his dual Bachelor Degree in Computer Science and Commerce, small class sizes and close relationships with professors were two of the most impactful tenants of his undergraduate experience. “The small class sizes were, and still are, the most appealing part of studying at Laurentian. Anyone who goes to Laurentian knows this,” said JF. “Every one of my professors still knows who I am if I run into them in the community, all these years later. These relationships are why I stayed at Laurentian for my Masters (MBA). I had a favourite professor during my undergrad and then I was lucky to get to have him as my supervisor for my thesis.”

An opportunist and natural entrepreneur, JF started making websites as a small business venture while working on his undergraduate degree. Through this small business, he was able to save enough money to travel through Europe the summer after graduating. For a tenacious and vivacious person like JF, this presented another opportunity – he began regularly writing about his travels for a local newspaper.

Despite his eagerness to take on new projects and travel to new places, JF never faltered in his love of his home town. “Sudbury has a lot of cool things to offer. I had opportunities to leave but Sudbury continues to offer the best quality of life for my family,” he reflects. “Camp, family, and friends are all close by. No commute. Within a 30 minute radius, we have 330 lakes. What more could you want?”

Now the owner of Innova Wealth Partners, JF prioritizes local in his business. “When I was a kid, whenever I would go into stores with my dad, he would talk to shop owners and get to know them. That’s the approach I bring to my business. At my firm we have a good roster of Laurentian grads. We believe in building deep connections with clients and I have found that students who come out of Laurentian are well-rounded, and have great interpersonal skills. I again credit the small class sizes and social opportunities available at Laurentian versus other universities for that culture. We have had much success bringing Laurentian grads into our firm and we will keep doing that.”

JF is a big proponent of traveling and taking your time with getting into the working world.

His advice to young people who are just getting started is to push themselves outside of their comfort zone. He says to pick a country you’ve always been interested in and save money for a few weeks of travel. Once there, JF suggests diving into the culture, saying, “don’t set rigid agendas, just try to absorb the world and come back a changed person. As a student , your goal is to become a better human, a better member of society, and to focus on personal growth. Alongside travel, ask professionals in your community if you can shadow them for a few hours, or keep in touch with them as a mentor or as a sounding board for your career choices. This is the time to experiment, so don't get stuck in one path without exploring what's out there. Along the way, continue to ask yourself if you are happy on your current path, and readjust! That’s a cheat code for life.”