First Name: Tom
Last Name: Heslip
Job Title: Former Director and Chief Executive Officer
Company: Granite REIT
Hometown: Oakville, Ontario
Area of Study: Economics/Finance
There’s a lot to be learned from a simple game of basketball. Growing up in Oakville, Ontario, Tom Heslip started playing competitive basketball when he was just in grade 7. At that time, he didn't realize how much the sport would influence his life. His decision to attend the University of Guelph was based largely on an older basketball “hero” of his from Oakville, after he had enrolled at Guelph's human kinetics program. Tom, followed suit and enrolled in the same program.
Within his first year however, Tom realized that science might not be the best fit for his career. He quickly made the switch to a Bachelor of Arts in Economics in 1980. Tom excelled not only in the classroom but also on the court. He was named team MVP of the Year in both the ’80-81 and ’81-’82 season and was awarded with the W.F. Mitchell Sportsman Award for leadership and sports involvement. In 1982, Tom was inducted into Guelph’s Basketball Hall of Fame. Upon completing his Bachelor of Arts degree, Tom went on to complete his Masters of Arts degree in Economics and Public Administration also at the University of Guelph.
Over the past 30+ years, Tom’s career has covered commercial property development, investment, management and operations in Canada, the United States, Asia and Europe. Most recently, Tom was the CEO of Granite; a Toronto based Real Estate Investment Trust. Prior to his role at Granite, he was the President and CEO of Realex Properties Corporation. He has previously held senior management positions with Fortress Canada, Goldman Sachs, CIBC Development Corp. and Cadillac Fairview Limited. He has served on numerous public real estate company Boards including Intrawest Corporation, Jinsan Investments Ltd., a Korea based investment company, Dusit Thani Hotels South East Asia and Rajadamri Hotels Thailand. For 12 years Tom was an adjunct professor at McMaster University and the University of Toronto.
When asked about his thoughts on university education vs. other options available to young adults, Tom says that the differentiating element is the “integration universities brings to so many meaningful life experiences and learning opportunities. The pursuit of a degree is at the forefront, but social development, the arts, music, technology, the exchange of ideas, political awareness and of course, physical activities and sports provide life changing moments while at university." His advice to future Gryphons about to enter into the workforce is to "learn as much as you can from your co-workers and to treat everyone equally."
Basketball has instilled many valuable character and leadership traits that he has called upon throughout his career. His prowess on the court has also translated to his son, Brady Heslip, who has represented his country on numerous occasions including the 2015 Pan-Am Games in Toronto. Tom, could not be more proud of his son.
Learn as much as you can from your co-workers and treat everyone equally." - Tom Heslip