Jarrod Goldsmith: Pursuing His Passion
My First Feature Profile Piece as a Journalism Student
By Myriah Saulnier
A kiss on each cheek and a warm, delicate embrace. This is how this Montreal native will greet you whether you are his closest friend, his co-worker, an acquaintance or a stranger. When leaning out of his unusual and most sincere welcome, you can’t miss his trademark fedora or his upbeat attitude. With almost a skip to his step and a smile so genuine, his animated character makes you feel all warm and enthusiastic right along with him. This is just the beginning of the lasting impression the 39-year-old Orleans resident gives every person he encounters. He instantly has this rare ability to make you feel like you are the only person in a crowded room and there is nowhere else he would rather be. He genuinely wants to get to know you and help you find your way to success such as he has. No matter who you are or how long you’ve known him, Jarrod Goldsmith will always make you feel like an old friend.
One of Ottawa’s leading entrepreneurs and currently owning two booming businesses, Goldsmith is quickly gaining popularity in and around Ottawa. He is the leader of Sax Appeal known as Canada’s premier saxophone quartet and the founder of the social networking group named eSAX – the Entrepreneur Social Advantage Experience – that just hosted an event for over 300 business people including Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson. His professionalism and ability to manage two businesses is more than impressive, but it is Goldsmith’s extraordinary thoughtfulness that takes people by surprise. A fellow musician and friend, Peter Turner, recalls when Goldsmith helped him do yard work for a musician colleague of theirs who was dying and another time when Goldsmith traveled over an hour to show his support at Turner’s mother’s funeral. This genuine attitude that Goldsmith seems to carry with him always is what solidifies his name and face to the memory of each person he meets.
Goldsmith grew up in a Montreal suburban neighborhood with his parents and his younger brother and sister. He started playing the saxophone in high school and joined the Montreal All Star City Big Band formerly known as the CJAD, while only in Grade 9. The band was mostly made up of McGill University students from their prestigious and well-known music program. Despite the age difference, Goldsmith made strong connections with the other band members and this persuaded him to go there for a secondary education. He pursued a B.A. honors degree in anthropology while also playing in numerous McGill ensembles and working with the Student Society of McGill University and other departmental student organizations. He graduated from here in 1997 and went to the University of Alberta to earn a master in anthropology while specializing in archaeology. He joined the University of Alberta Jazz Band 1 as well as a hi-octane Latin band called Orchestra Energia that required him to perform throughout Western Canada. It was through a band member that he met the famous jazz musician Jeari Czapla, whom he helped record the album titled “For Ella” in the year 2000. The album garnered two nominations from the Aboriginal Music Awards and the Prairie Music Awards and was shortlisted in the Best Contemporary Jazz Album category at the 2002 Juno Awards. Goldsmith also travelled extensively while in his twenties. He went to England, Scotland, Paris, Israel and Japan (to name a few) for archeology co-op and music performances. He was also the president of both the HUB International Residence and the Anthropology Graduates Students Association at the University of Alberta where he organized events, coordinated meetings, and led student groups. He eventually graduated in 2001, his two-year degree taking him four years because he was so involved with student affairs. This is where Goldsmith’s love for music, travel, communicating, leading and networking began to bloom.
However, he moved back to Montreal after graduating and was still trying to figure out what career he wanted to pursue. “‘Get a real job’ was what my parents would always say,” Goldsmith said. So, not wanting to take over the family furniture business and not feeling like he fit in with archaeology, he decided to move to Ottawa in 2003 for a woman he was seeing and to get a job working with the government. “I started applying for government jobs, hundreds of jobs a week,” Goldsmith said. “That was my life to apply for government jobs and I didn’t even care what department.” He ended up getting contract work with the government but it would only last six to eight months or one year at a time. Still, Goldsmith was determined and he applied to jobs every single day which helped him to hone his organizational skills and taught him the importance of making connections. He did this for seven to nine years, but there were no benefits and nothing was permanent.
In the meantime, between the contracting jobs, Goldsmith quickly became a regular in the Ottawa / Gatineau music scene. He played with numerous bands, but most notably Big Band Caravane and Alternate Takes which had more high-end gigs. It was with both of these groups that Goldsmith performed at the NAC and the International Jazz Festival. He ended up getting married to the woman he moved to Ottawa for in the summer of 2007 and they got a house together in Orleans. They divorced in 2008 partly because he couldn’t hold down a job. Again, the stress of not having a “real job” was a problem he faced.
So after his last contracting job in May 2011 and with nothing to lose, Goldsmith decided to try an employment center to figure things out. He knew he had played music his whole life and realized maybe that was something he actually wanted to pursue. He ended up being eligible for a program called OSEB which is the Ontario Self-Employment Benefit program, which gave him funding for 42 weeks and specialized training on entrepreneurship, marketing and sales. This transformed his whole outlook on his career. “I never thought I would ever go into music, never thought I would be an entrepreneur or have my own business,” Goldsmith said. “Something clicked in my head that this was what I was supposed to do, this was it.”
With all of his experience and background to support him and with the funding OSEB provided, he started hosting networking events where they would talk about business. He would attend other networking events seven to eight times a week and tried everything he could to promote his new musical group, a saxophone quartet named Sax Appeal. “I had tried all the other routes, and they weren’t working,” Goldsmith said. “Music was my passion and I was really happy to do what I wanted to do, finally, after a lifetime of people telling me I was crazy or that I should find something else.”
So he continued to work harder to prove them wrong. He decided to join all the Chambers of Commerce which further got his name recognized around Ottawa and which got him the business for Sax Appeal that he had been looking for. He started playing for wedding ceremonies, cocktail/dinner receptions, and diplomatic events and even took the time to play for charitable organizations, not-for-profit events and retirement facilities. “I realized nobody had heard of a group like this, so I needed to go above and beyond with networking to tell people what I did or I wasn’t going to have a job,” Goldsmith said.
He was still hosting networking events on the side but instead of naming them after OSEB, Goldsmith came up with his own name eSAX which started his next business in September 2011. The name is easily relatable to his other business Sax Appeal, even though they are two very different businesses. He made eSAX for business people to make connections, gain applicable knowledge from featured speakers and to promote collaboration among the various Chambers of Commerce in Ottawa. “These events were actually helping people, especially entrepreneurs and when one of my events was sponsored for the first time I realized I could make money on them,” Goldsmith said. “I could finally break even and start paying my mortgage.”
The name of his businesses have grown since, keeping Goldsmith a very busy man. He collaborated with Algonquin College School of Media and Design student Wasim Baobaid resulting in a documentary short “The Making of Sax Appeal Ottawa – Behind the Music” which screened at the 2012 Wakefield International Film Festival (WIFF) on April 1. He has been featured in the Globe and Mail, the Ottawa Citizen, the Orleans Star, the Ottawa Sun, the Epoch Times and numerous other publications. He has performed and been interviewed on Daytime Ottawa on Rogers TV, CTV Ottawa and CBC Radio. He has given speeches about his expertise on networking for OSEB, the Carleton Place Chamber of Commerce and Carleton University as part of their Political Science Professional Development Day. Sax Appeal has had their busiest year yet, performing at over 35 events including the Ottawa International Jazz Festival and the Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival. eSAX has expanded gathering over 300 business people together and his networking events continue to be sponsored. To say he is everywhere is an understatement and his hard work has not gone unnoticed.
Just recently, Goldsmith has been nominated for three awards: Orleans Chamber of Commerce Arts, Leisure & Recreation Business of the Year Award, Ottawa-Gatineau’s RGA Francophone Chamber of Commerce Micro-Business of the Year and Project/Initiate of the Year Awards.
After a lifetime of experiences and misfortunes, Goldsmith persevered and turned his passions into business opportunities with extreme dedication. He has finally found his niche.
“Always get a real job was what I always heard, but music was what I loved,” Goldsmith said.
“So pursue something you love and show people you can do it.”
Originally posted at: http://classylovelydreamer.tumblr.com/post/72820497608/my-first-feature-profile-piece-as-a-journalism