A Legacy of Philanthropy

By: TEC Canada

Dec 5, 2013

$1,000,000 is no small sum, but in December 2012, Nova Scotia-based O’Regan’s Automotive Group donated precisely that to the brand new Central Public Library in Halifax. Given in memory of the late Paul O’Regan (a former teacher who ran the O’Regan family business for many years before passing it along to his children), it’s the single largest gift ever donated to a public library in Nova Scotia. It’s also one that Paul’s son Sean, O’Regan’s current CEO and President, knows his father would be extremely proud of.

Located on Halifax’s vibrant Spring Garden Road, the library will be a community gathering place – one that will accommodate everything from reading, to performances, to musical recording sessions. It’s a public space that celebrates life-long learning and civic engagement; qualities that Paul – a man known for his ardent support of community initiatives – valued throughout his life. His belief in the saying ‘you cannot be a success in a failed world’ is one that lives on in the company now helmed by his son.

“ As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.”
- Sean O'Regan

As the CEO of a 3rd generation family company operating in Nova Scotia since 1915, Sean O’Regan is no stranger to the idea of giving back to the community. With over 700 employees, he is keenly aware of the role his company plays in their community and the responsibility that comes with running a successful business. “Our company is only as strong as the community we live and work in,” Sean says. “We make our business in this community and it is incumbent upon us to do what we can to make it stronger.” Each year, O’Regan’s donates $300,000 to local, regional, national and international community groups, many of which are grassroots initiatives brought to the company’s attention by clients and staff.

This holistic understanding of business undoubtedly contributed to Sean being named one of Atlantic Canada’s Top 50 CEOs in 2010. Along with his company’s commitment to philanthropy within the communities in which they operate, Sean also believes strongly in helping people grow and develop. O’Regan’s corporate policy is to hire great people, regardless of their background, and invest time in training them for their specific roles. “Our goal is to hire the best people and train for skill. We bring in the best trainers from our industry to work directly with our people. We benchmark against the best in the business and are part of national performance groups to gain exposure to best practices.”

Just as corporate social responsibility can be good for business, so can functioning as a place of learning: “One of the key benefits of operating as a training organization is that you can hire great people from outside your industry. We have widened our scope beyond automotive to attract applicants with strong sales ability and strong customer service.”

With such a solid commitment to continuous learning running through his family and his business, it’s no wonder then, that Sean found his way to a TEC group. For him, it’s a place where he can immerse himself in an environment of mutual support and accountability, and focus on what he needs to grow his business and develop his strengths as a CEO. “TEC is a disciplined, goals-based group with strong focus on setting objectives and measuring the result,” Sean says. “I’ve set some aggressive goals for myself for the coming year and I know this group will hold me as accountable as I hold myself.”

Bill Gates has remarked that, “As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.” Whether it’s his community involvement, investment in employees, or the support and guidance he contributes as part of his TEC group, Sean O’Regan is clearly a leader ahead of his time.

In May 2013, O’Regan’s Automotive Group of Halifax NS was recognized as an Outstanding Corporate Philanthropist by the Association of Fundraising Professionals.


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