CORNER BROOK — As an outsider looking in, Brad Smoling sees something young Newfoundlanders eager to get out in the world may miss. And that is they don’t have to go far to do that.
“They are the opportunity,” said Smoling, a master stockbroker from Southport, Aus. “It’s not elsewhere, it’s right here, it’s in the mirror.”
For the last 20 years Smoling has been visiting Corner Brook for Christmas with his wife and family. Roseann Smoling (nee Young) grew up in the city and her mother and brother still live here.
On Monday and Wednesday, Smoling shared some of his insight and experience with students in the career development and entrepreneurship courses at Corner Brook Regional High. His wife is a graduate of the school from its days as Herdman Collegiate.
Smoling didn’t only give the students a lesson in finances, he also shared how he got to where he is today.
Smoling dropped out of high school at the age of 17, went to work, then back to finish high school. At 19 he wanted to buy an insulation business, but he had no money and the bank wouldn’t provide financing. He convinced the owner to let him pay it out over one to two years, but had it paid off in one. He ran the company for 18 years and then found his passion was finance. He started trading shares, went back to school and seven years ago started his own company, Smoling Stockbroking.
He suggested to the students they too could find opportunities in their passions.
Following Wednesday’s session he said his reason for offering to talk with the students comes from the things he’s seen while visiting Newfoundland.
“Seeing the way things are evolving and being consistently upset by seeing people leaving this part of the world,” said Smoling. “If I can do something to halt or turn that around, I gladly give my time.”
Smoling told the students they don’t have to leave. He said technology today gives students an edge that allows them to find and capitalize on opportunities right here at home.
Proof of his message, and something that amazed the students, was that Smoling was able to continue to do business in Australia, manage client funds, monitor the market and buy and sell stocks in mere seconds all through his laptop.
Level 2 student Brandon Baker said he found Smoling’s presentation really informing. Baker is interested in business and law and said Smoling’s work is interesting.
“I guess the fact that he’s helping people,” he said. “Having such a big impact on people’s lives.”
He also thought the things Smoling said could help people figure out what they want to do with their lives.
Melissa O’Brien, Level 3, also liked Smoling’s message.
“I like the concept of actually staying here and how you don’t need to go somewhere big to actually make something and be successful,” O’Brien said.