A personal story of success through education, entrepreneurship, community-giving and parent involvement.

PRESENTER(S): Jay Mandarino

Jay Mandarino

Jay Mandarino

President and CEO of The C.J. Group of Companies

For Jay Mandarino, skateboarding served as a vehicle to self-confidence during an often troubled childhood.

Now, years later, the successful businessman and founding president of Etobicoke’s CJ Skateboard Park and School is using the sport to instill that same sense of empowerment in kids of all abilities.

“With skateboarding, I learned self-confidence and changed my whole life around,” said Mandarino, who was diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia after attempting suicide at age eight.

“I had no self-esteem; I couldn’t read or write; and I was told I was stupid and laughed at everyday. Luckily, I had very supportive parents who sold their home and sent me to a special school in the states, where I learned to skateboard…now I own 23 companies – six of them philanthropic.”

Parlaying his personal successes into opportunities to help children has remained one of Mandarino’s top priorities – especially through his skateboard park, the fourth largest indoor facility of its kind in the world.