When ambition, passion and hard work meet, they arrive at influence. Dimitrios Seymour happened to cross that very path. From a young age, he knew what he needed to do to become what he wanted to be. In the following interview, one of this year’s top 100 most influential people takes us through how he got there.
Q) You are the President & Founder of DMG, can you describe it a briefly?
A) DMG, originally known as Dimitrios Management Group, is a boutique-style entertainment management firm, with ventures integrating music, fashion, film, television, visual production, sports and endorsements. I have been building DMG for almost three years now, and it is the culmination of a vision I had when I was 13 to become the next International Management Group (IMG), which is the global leader in the sports and media business.
Q) In the beginning, what inspired you to create DMG?
A) As mentioned, I was inspired by IMG, which is the most renowned management and media company in the world when I was just 13 years old. Two of my favourite athletes were represented by IMG, and they not only excelled on their respective courts (basketball and tennis), but IMG did a great job managing their careers and growing their respective names into worldwide brands. Those two athletes were Vince Carter & Anna Kournikova. Being raised in the entertainment business, while also being a sports lover, I knew that growing my own brand into the same vein of IMG was something I was going to do someday. Of course at 13 years old and being this big dreamer, I had this whole life plan mapped out, and it consisted of going to university to play basketball, playing a maximum of three years of professional basketball overseas, and then building my sports and entertainment management business. Funny enough, I realized in my junior year of university that I wasn’t any good at basketball — or at least not good enough to play pro — and I decided then it was time to start focusing on life after basketball, which ultimately was going to be DMG.
Q) How is running a successful business different than what you thought it would be?
A) To be perfectly honest, running a successful business isn’t any different than I thought it was going to be. Luckily I’ve had two of the best, most successful mentors anybody could ask for, in my parents, whom I was able to watch and analyze growing up. They both left their secure jobs and built their own business from literally nothing. I remember the nights when we had to carefully stack papers on the kitchen table, and ask what papers we were allowed to move just to make space for dinner. I remember the vacations that revolved around work calls and laptops. I saw how hard my parents had to work, and how much effort they put into literally everything they did. Everyone sees a successful business or business model and thinks they can ask a mentor or friend a few questions over a meeting and replicate it, but it’s really not that simple. Nobody ever sees how much reading and studying and analyzing and relationship building and networking and sweat and time and patience and grey hairs and personal development is put in behind the scenes. I guess that’s the cool thing, that successful businesses are supposed to make it look simple. But although I knew going in it was going to be one of the most difficult things I would probably ever do, I also knew that it was going to be one of the most rewarding things I’d ever do. I’m grateful to have had parents from whom I was able to learn what it means to run your own business, but also learn the work ethic needed to become successful.
Q) What entrepreneurial skills have you developed to stay focused and productive in your day-to-day?
A) The most important attributes that help me stay focused and productive in my day-to-day are skills I’ve carried over from my days as an athlete. I got into meditation when I was a sophomore in university. Meditation really helps me get a reading on the environment and the energy surrounding me, and it helps me have a clear focus of where I need to devote my attention.
Going to the gym at 7 am before work is something I used to do as a high-schooler, shooting 500 shots every morning before school, and it’s something I continue to do today. Morning fitness allows me to get more out of my day, but it also builds character because I can always go later. Going earlier reinforces my work ethic because I’m training my body to do something it wouldn’t typically want to do, day in and day out, after 10-hour days and 60+ hour workweeks.
I also always used to be a big note taker. I always used to have a notepad beside my bed and would write down dreams, ideas and goals I wanted to accomplish the next day, next week or years down the road. I essentially do the same today, except I devise and revise to-do lists constantly throughout the day. If you come over to my office, you’ll see post-it notes everywhere, papers pinned on my bulletin board, my white board filled in and my calendar up to date. I’m probably overly organized, so everything is always in order and exactly where I know it will be when I need it.
Needless to say, I believe a strong focus on personal development, as well as on the mind, body and spirit, are all things that lead to a very successful leader.
Q) You were recently named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Influential People from the Alberta Youth Congress — how do you feel about that?
A) Well, it’s without a doubt the most humbling thing I’ve experienced to date and it’s without a doubt a major honour. Being recognized with an award like that is something that doesn’t just happen overnight, and it’s something I couldn’t have accomplished alone. I’m reminded daily of how lucky I am to have an amazing roster of super-talented clients that have allowed me to be their manager, and have trusted me to take their careers to the next level. I’m grateful for the award and the recognition, but I’m also extremely focused on continuing to do exactly what earned me the award in the first place.
Q) Name five things you can’t live without?
1) R&B music, 2) Vegetarian food, 3) My laptop, 4) Books , 5) Sense of humour
As Seymour tells us, knowing what you want, along with dedication, good organization and notable work ethic, are the pillars of being a successful entrepreneur. And we of course shouldn’t disregard the importance of taking care of ourselves, both physically and mentally. It’s ultimately up to us to decide what to include in a day’s work. Just remember that good habits add up.