FACILITYCalgary publisher Mark Kolke, in conversation with Marshall Toner
March 17, 2015
I’d been planning to interview Marshall – and given his team(Haney, Proud, Allen, Kemmler)’s recent migration from CBRE to join Jones Lang LaSalle (he is Exec. VP, Managing Director, Industrial – Canada).
It was time to get out my note pad over lunch last Saturday …
“My mother was way ahead of her time in terms of health, diet and supplements. We had the best of both worlds – the work ethic of farm life, and living in the city. I was an over-achiever as a player. I was not mega-talented. I worked hard.”
Born in Saskatoon, mom was a homemaker, dad was a grain farmer. First born of three brothers. He has an B.Sc. in Engineering. He wasn’t drafted. He sent out letters to all the CFL teams. Hamilton and Calgary responded. He came to Calgary in 1986 to try out for the Stampeders along with hopes of a post-football career in the oil & gas business. Someone suggested he meet Jim Duggan and Russ Kindred at Duggan & Kindred Realty … and he’s not left the commercial real estate brokerage industry since …
He was a high school athlete (played all the sports at Evan Hardy Collegiate), Huskies star, university athlete (football, track, hockey, male athlete of the year – all Canadian in football and track – at University of Saskatchewan), pro athlete – Calgary Stampeders. Saskatoon Sports Hall of Famer. Commercial real estate veteran.
He tells me the second marriage is going well, his two children (his son lives with him, his daughter with her mother) are doing well.
I asked Marshall if he’d had concussions, if had any thoughts on what pro-football is doing in terms of head injuries. He gave me a politically correct answer that ‘the right kind of things are now being done’, and finished with this gem: “your head isn’t made to run into things”.
Some people face a few challenges. Some face many – and it strikes me that qualities found in high achievers, particularly high performance athletes, seem to equip them to deal with extraordinary demands. Maybe it is being in the public eye. Maybe it is the training. Case in point: Marshall Toner. Retired professional athlete, success in business. Divorce survivor. Thyroid cancer survivor. Heart attack survivor. Marshall adds, “I’m grateful to be alive.”
What has contributed most to your success? “Hard work. IQ won’t do you much good without work-Q. Willingness to adapt and learn about myself and others. Market knowledge + relationships = ability to do deals.”
What has held you back? “My limiting beliefs. Scarcity, hungry (past tense), feeling I wasn’t deserving”.
His final comments: “I try to be on the path to leave it better than I found it. I live by the 5-F’s: family, friends, faith, finances and fitness.”
I asked Marshall how he sees his businesses – industrial real estate sales and leasing ; ‘how’s business?’ over the next quarter?
… active. We have solid fundamentals, we don’t have big spikes and big valleys. I expect we’ll see some hurt coming in fabrication facilities.
Over the next five years?
… we will still be very active and trending upward …
What qualities distinguish your preferred colleagues, collaborators and suppliers?
… I don’t shop on a regular basis. I’m a funny consumer – into quality and good service and I’m prepared to pay extra for it. Gut feel. I read people pretty well.
What distinguishes you that causes people to choose Marshall Toner, why do they do business with you?
… I don’t know why they pick me! I foster relationships that seem to stand the test of time. I wouldn’t ask anyone to do something with their money that I wouldn’t do with my own. I know what I’m doing and I have their best interests at heart.
What do you lose sleep over, what do you worry about?
… I’ve tried to get to the point of ‘being in the moment’, being ‘present’.
Who or what influenced you most – that has made a difference in your life, or that was a major turning point?
… my parents. Coaches Blaine Knoll and John Mooney at Evan Hardy Collegiate brought the best out in me, made me believe in me. Val Schneider - my football coach at U of S, he let me be a leader (captain) of the team. Jim Duggan, Russ Kindred and Ralph Gibson taught me how to do business the right way. I’ve been on a fifteen year quest – a path, to do things differently since I got divorced in 1997. I remarried in 2005. There has been one very important influencer in my life – my wife Sherie. You can’t give what you don’t have. I have been on a mission of personal development and my life is enriched – I’ve been willing to compress my ego to see myself as I really was – I didn’t like what I saw. It’s a never ending journey.
Work life balance, do you have it?
… I do now! … personal, family, business is a three legged stool. I came from a scarcity thinking background. Every morning I remind myself of my priorities: health, wealth, peace, prosperity, joy, gratefulness and a divine being.
… I’m a gym-rat. Fitness. I play hockey. Golfing. I like being active. Travelling with and golfing with my wife Sherie.
What do you read?
… I’ve read lots of Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra. Sport sector books. Biographies. I should read more …
… a 2010 Ford F150. And a 2011 Porsche Cayenne Turbo.
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