FACILITYCalgary publisher Mark Kolke, in conversation with Dean Kendall
November 29, 2019
An ‘ideal life experience’is a pleasant term – but not one I would expect as a name for a company; my curiosity was aroused; I wanted to know more. I met with the ideal life experience man, Dean Kendall. I found, to my pleasant surprise, not what I expected - an insurance and investment products marketer with an angle, an edge, and while he meets that test, there are notable distinctions and differences I found worthy of learning more about – and learned some surprising elements of ‘what made the man’ behind the slogan …
Dean Kendall was born in Lethbridge. Mom, a nurse. Dad, a salesman. One older brother. Dean’s K-12 years were boring for him, though he did well in school. Sports were the primary interest – hockey and BMX. And by BMX, I mean ‘3-time #1 amateur’ champion in Canada 16-18, followed by turning pro – 5-time Canadian #1, retiring from competition – or as he describes it, “I quit way too early.”
Back to Lethbridge – while he admits to being an adrenaline-junkie, very keen to a sponsored free agent in the BMX world, encouragement from parents to get an education reigned paramount. At the University of Lethbridge, he earned B.Com. degree in finance and marketing, then moved to Calgary in 1992 with a plan. “I wanted something I could build and control.” His process began with an interview with London Life – where he spent the first six months of his career. With guidance from a mentor/uncle Joe Schnitzer he was inspired to take a different route. In 1993 he set up Kendall Financial Services Ltd. (now operated as Ideal Life Experience Ltd.). As he built his business in association with PPI, he added to his skillset and repertoire – M.F.D.A./I.I.R.O.C. – branding as Ideal Life Experience and a change of marketing approach in 2008. His distinct value proposition, something I wanted to learn more about is: flat fee service. Really? Yes.
Along the way,he was introduced to Ellen in 1993 – they married in 1995; no kids – and she works with Dean in the business. And he has published an investment advice book, Stop Paying Hidden Investment Fees!
Dean describes his motivation as wanting to help people to create their life vision, values, and goals – both financial and non-financial. He speaks of value, goals, and strategy in a way I found comfortable discussing.
Why are you successful? “Through my sports background, I learned at an early age how to set and achieve goals. I also learned how to work hard and not quit until I reached my goals.”
What has held you back? “Not learning to say NO sooner in life to misaligned people and organizations with self-serving agendas. Listening to others when I should have trusted my instincts.”
How do you see your business – flat-fee for advice financial fiduciary – going forward over the next quarter?
… significant continued growth. We will continue to rescue people from their current financial advisors who are charging exceptionally high hidden fees and get their financial goals back on track.
And over the next five years?
… We have unparalleled opportunity because of our unique process and client-centered offering. The Canadian financial services industry is broken. The industry is dramatically overcharging and under-delivering. We will continue to deliver better value for our clients.
What qualities distinguish your preferred colleagues, collaborators, and suppliers?
… Integrity, trust. Fiduciary relationships don’t have to have ‘another agenda.’ Values and goals aligned with my clients.
What distinguishes you that causes people to choose Dean Kendall and Ideal Life Experience, and why do they do business with you, why have they hired you, over your competitors?
… The same reasons – integrity, trust – and putting our clients’ interests ahead of our own. Comprehensive services for significantly lower fees. Oversight, coordination, and transparency – full disclosure and elimination of conflicts of interest.
How would you describe your leadership/management style?
… WE before ME. I have two staff and five subject matter expert consultants on my team.
… we schedule vacations one year in advance on our calendar – we always have something fun and exciting to look forward to. A balanced life allows me to ‘be better’ for myself, my family, my community, and team – which consistently enables me to better serve my clients at a higher level.
What do you lose sleep over, what do you worry about?
… recently a painful loss of my 16-yr. old yellow lab Samson. A trusted friend and deeply missed. Otherwise, I sleep well!
Who or what influenced you most – that has made a difference in your life, or that was a major turning point?
… I decided a long time ago that I was going to own my destiny. One of the biggest influences on me is my wife, Ellen. A cousin set us up on a blind date! My sports background in BMX – and considerable success – taught me dedication, focus, and enthusiasm are not only rewarding in their own right, they have been an excellent foundation for success in business, and in life, which keeps me focused on helping my clients win in pursuit of their goals.
… I love the adrenaline – downhill mountain biking. I enjoy heliboarding, and I’m trying to figure out surfing – activities which allow me to turn off the world. Travelling, solitude in the mountains, crackling campfires – and life in Calgary. Life with Ellen, she’s extraordinary.
What do you read?
… love Malcolm Gladwell’s new book Talking to Strangers. I’m enjoying Atomic Habits by James Clear – an amazing book for anyone serious about achieving any life goal.
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