ID Connections

One-on-one with Tony Brenders

Published by Patrick Voisin, July 27, 2016.

What inspires you?
I am inspired by principled leaders, those who demonstrate courage in the face of adversity and those who recognize when to question the status quo. Our world is in a constant state of flux where the only true constant is change. As a result, I believe in being resilient, helping others manage through change, striving for more, and that better IS always possible.

What are some of your favorite hobbies?
Throughout my life I have been primarily attracted to team sports. I thoroughly enjoy hockey, football, golf and baseball. I have continued my passion for hockey and golf by still playing both sports – hockey in winter and golf in summer. They help me stay in reasonable physical shape! Also important to me are travelling the world to experience history and other cultures, landscapes and people. Of course with travel comes my interest in exploring culinary pursuits - trying new foods, restaurants and recipes, regardless of where I happen to be.

If you could only listen to three albums for the rest of your life what would they be?
That’s a tough question to answer because my musical influences and tastes have changed so much over the years. I grew up in Southwestern Ontario and was heavily influenced by much of the music coming out of Detroit and Motown. That said, I have different likes for different moods and enjoy everything from rock to classical. If I had to pick just three albums to last a lifetime, I might pick Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band’s Greatest Hits, Van Morrison’s Greatest Hits and a collection of Mozart’s compositions.

What drove you to take this new role with IDC?
I was attracted to IDC because of the number of similarities between the position of CEO and that of the role I held at the Ontario College of Trades. I was also drawn to the creative passion of interior designers which is very similar to that of land use planners – interior design finds creative solutions for interior spaces, whereas land use planning seeks creative solutions for urban and rural development.

What was your journey like to get where you are?
Everyone has a unique journey and each life is as different and varied as one’s personality. I can’t say that earlier in my career I ever envisioned myself in this role or a part of the design industry. However, I have always had an interest in interior design and was thrilled to be presented with the incredible opportunity to leverage my experience and become IDC’s new CEO. I worked as a land use planner for more than 14 years, before moving into roles where I could hone my leadership skills and experience. Once I explored beyond the world of land use planning, I discovered that opportunities based on skills, values and experience were only limited by my imagination and the imagination of those I worked with and for. As a result, I have had both a robust and varied career. I have been fortunate to lead in a number of senior positions including leading a team as a senior planner in the public and private sectors, leading two communications teams for two large government departments, being a Chief of Staff to a Deputy Minister with a large and complex portfolio and most recently, as the executive leading the set-up, development and operations of the largest regulatory body in North America. So, I would say that my entire career has contributed to, and prepared me for, taking on this wonderful role at this point in my career.

Would you rather be respected or feared?
That’s an easy one - I would much rather be respected than feared. I fully subscribe to the value that respect is earned. Garnering respect affords one the opportunity to accomplish so much more and create strong, long-lasting and valuable relationships. This is what I am working towards with our membership, partners and industry.

How many messages are in your inbox right now? And how do you manage email?
Currently there are no emails in my inbox. It is my practice to ensure that I address every email within 24 hours of its receipt and that means my inbox is usually empty at the end of each day. In order to manage my time, I try to handle each email only once. I am also pretty organized and that means I manage those volumes by ensuring a folder system to manage those emails by urgency and content.

What was the biggest lesson you learned?
The greatest lesson I have learned from my life experiences is that everything comes down to relationship building, effective communications and treating everyone with respect regardless of our perspectives.

In one word, describe yourself.
There are many words that I believe describe me as a person. If I have to pick just one word, that word would be “determined”. I am a positive, passionate and committed person who is determined to find a way forward, positive solutions and effective results. We are all working towards the same end goal which is to advance the interior designer profession across this country, by the great things we do and the values and vision we espouse.

Industry Partners
Shaw Contract Interface Architex Patcraft Levey Industries Mohawk Group
Cosentino CERAGRES Milliken Midgley Benjamin Moore Hunter Doulgas
Krug Altex Arconas HanStone Lauzon Caesarstone Canada
Williams Sonoma For The Trade IIDEX Knoll
Tier 3 Members