James Magee Meritus's top businessperson

  • January 11, 2008

{mosimage}TORONTO - James Magee has been named this year’s Meritus Catholic Business person of the Year.

Meritus is a not-for-profit organization that provides networking opportunities for Catholic business people. Every year the organization honours a businessperson who lives out Christian values in their personal and professional life.

“It’s a bit of a catch-22. Part of being a Catholic is understanding humility. How can you be Catholic and understand humility and be put on stage, but it’s a balance we have to have,” said Magee, 55, founder and CEO of Shorcan Brokers, the first inter-dealer broker in Canada founded in 1977.

Magee is “a wonderful person, a great role model and has done a lot of work in the business community,” said Meritus chairman Bernie Wilson.

Wilson said Magee’s generosity set him apart.

“He’s been really generous with his time and time is very important. Busy people don’t have a lot of time. He stands out for that reason.”

Magee is the former Toronto chapter president for Legatus, an organization for top-ranking business leaders started by Tom Monaghan, founder of the Domino’s Pizza chain.

Magee was instrumental in earmarking $1 million to the 2008 Eucharistic Congress in Quebec City, said John Young, Legatus membership chair. Also, during Magee’s tenure as president, membership increased by 50 per cent, from 20 to 30 members, in part due to his leadership.

“This is a guy where faith and family come ahead of business,” said Young. “He’s an inspiration to all of us.”

Magee hails from New York where he was born into an Irish Catholic family with four brothers and eight sisters. He moved to Canada in 1977 where he met his wife of 29 years, Winnie, and together they have five grown children.

Magee attended Catholic schools throughout his primary to university years.

“The Catholic Church has been extremely generous in forming me,” he said.

Similarly, all of his children attended Catholic schools. For 10 years Magee sat on the board of Toronto’s Hawthorn School for Girls, an independent Catholic school, which all three of his daughters attended. His two sons attended the private Basilian-run St. Michael’s College School.

“They couldn’t have picked a finer gentleman that supports Catholic education and all sorts of causes,” said Young.

Among these causes is the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults and ShareLife at Corpus Christi parish in Toronto’s east end. He is also president of Canadian Patrons for Vatican Art, which supports restoration of art work in the Vatican museums.

Magee said taking this honour has caused him to reflect on his Catholic faith and how it’s integrated in his family and parish life.

“It’s made me aware of how fortunate I am to have this great guiding light on what’s important and what’s the objective of my life in family and business and in the community.

“It all comes down to seeing the dignity of the individual in your daily routines.”

Magee challenges young Catholic entrepreneurs to “keep the faith.”

“Remember that we are an example for others and our example may lead people to Christ and salvation at the end of the day,” he said.

Magee is the seventh recipient of the Meritus award.

The award dinner was to be held Jan. 17 at the National Club in downtown Toronto.

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