Andy McCreath and Christian Darbyshire: Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneurs

Andy McCreath and Christian Darbyshire are two names that should appear on every top 40 under 40 list in Canada. Their company, tinePublic Inc., is dedicated to producing events for young professionals, and in the last few years they have thrown several events that would make any PR firm swoon. If you ask Andy to tell you who is the nicest person he’s ever worked with, he’ll tell you it was George W. Bush. Andy and Christian have worked with everyone from British Prime Minister Tony Blair and former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin to former Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger. These two savvy entrepreneurs were also responsible for Oprah making appearances in seven Canadian cities after leaving her show. Andy met us at Mercato in Calgary a few weeks before his event with former U.S. Energy Secretary and Nobel Prize winner Steven Chu to share his advice with young professionals and entrepreneurs. 

Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
In a nutshell my business partner Christian Darbyshire and I dabble in a little of everything, from PR to events, boards of companies, real estate, etc. But I guess we are best known for producing events across Canada. We have been lucky to work with and produce events with some pretty cool people.

Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
The reason I chose this career route was due to the basic fact that we did not want to work for anyone else. Like many people, we wanted the freedom of being our own bosses, setting the hours, and establishing our own goals and rules to follow.

What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
The best part of our day-to-day would have to be the variety. It’s a really exciting and rewarding job since there are so many moving parts. The most challenging part of it all would have to be managing everything since it’s just the two of us!

What is one sign that you’ve seen over the years to suggest that your work/life balance is off?
About seven years ago it seemed like Christian and I were working around the clock and I never slept.  At one point in a nine-day period, we had five events across the country in five different cities that caught up to me, and my work/life balance was completely off. Over the years we have learned to manage what we are doing much better with less stress.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
Probably doing the same thing five years from now. We are lucky that we get to meet new people all the time with what we do; new opportunities continue to pop up, so we will continue to be entrepreneurs.

What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
The one major challenge I’ve had to overcome in my career would be that it can be challenging to work for yourself because nobody is telling you what to do and you don’t have to keep regular office hours.  It’s an interesting transition going from working for someone else to your self, and any challenges associated with that you learn to overcome with time.

What does success look like to you? Does Money = Happiness?
Success to me is happiness and having great relationships; none of us have anything if we are not happy. Money is important from the standpoint that we all need to make money to exist, because that is how the world works, but money certainly does not equate to happiness.  

What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
We are pretty pumped that we were able to produce Oprah’s first-ever speaking tour after she finished her 25-year run with her show. We brought her to seven cities across Canada. We were also responsible for bringing former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush to Toronto for an event. It was the first time those two presidents had ever done an event like that together. I’m also very proud of the fact that Christian and I have been buddies since we were 12 years old; its very cool to be able to be business partners with one of my best friends for the last 10 years.   

Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
My advice to young to professionals is to find out what you’re passionate about, and what you love to do, and do it. You can’t be afraid to take risks and you will always excel when you are doing something that you love. 

Where is your favourite place to wine/ dine in your city and why?
My favourite spots to eat in Calgary would have to be Mercato and Earls Tin Palace! They both have consistent food and a great atmosphere. 

When you’re not working how do you love to spend your “Me” time?
I like to go hang out in Banff at the Banff Springs hotel. My wife and I love the Rundle Lounge and hanging out at the spa is a perfect place to relax. The hotel has an awesome old-school feel and is an easy getaway.

Where is your favourite place to travel? Why?
My favourite places to travel would have to be Banff/Lake Louise. We are so lucky that it is such a short drive away from Calgary.  My wife and I also like going to Palm Springs and Newport, California, in the winter time for the good weather.

If you had to choose a theme song, what would it be?
My theme song: Marvin Gaye, “What’s Going On.”

If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you be doing?
If I wasn’t doing what I am presently doing I would be… I have absolutely no clue what else I would be doing. Maybe work for my Dad and brother in the investment business.

Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
Yes, I do support many charities throughout the year. I feel extremely fortunate to live in this country, province and city, and have the opportunities we have as young professionals, so to give of our time and support charities is an absolute responsibility of our generation. I am formerly on the board of KidSport Calgary and currently on the Telus Community Board. Christian and I are also Co-Chairing the True Patriot Love dinner in Calgary this April in support of the Canadian military, the veterans, and their families.

What to you is notable?
Being your own boss and doing what you love.

BlackBerry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
I’m still with BlackBerry!