Richard Branson’s autobiography, Losing My Virginity, was the first entrepreneurial book I’d ever read. Flipping through the pages shortly after I’d graduated from school, his life story was one I’d never imagined possible – a 16-year-old high school drop-out who built the Virgin empire starting with one tiny record store and growing to develop everything from airlines to mobile phone companies, leading with the motto “Oh, screw it, let’s do it.” A true renegade, Sir Richard had me hooked. Reading his book, I felt the tingle of adventure and the excitement of risk and knew that there was no going back – this was a life I craved.
Fast forward to just last week, when I found myself no more than six-feet from the man himself, sweaty-palmed and anxious as I waited for him to take the small stage for a panel discussion and hyped announcement. I was at a party at “Steve’s House”, the friendly name given to Virgin Mobile’s super-fast modem for their new Home Internet (yep, the peeps that brought the world Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Radio and the epic V Festival are hooking Canadians up with quality internet, too).
But in true Virgin style, the party was for more than just celebrating the arrival of Virgin Mobile Home Internet. The brand has always been a leader in philanthropy, which is why the Home Internet announcement came with an even bigger announcement – one that would directly impact Canadians and encourage them to build better communities by empowering at-risk youth to turn their lives around through the Virgin Mobile RE*Generation program.