In our Storyteller profile series, we highlight the dreams, journeys and achievements of Doyon Foundation students, alumni and supporters. Profiles are available to read, watch and listen.
In this Storyteller supporter profile, we speak with Tony Reda, founder, president and CEO of Tectonic Metals, a generous Doyon Foundation donor.
You can watch or listen to Tony’s full interview below, or read a transcript, with minor edits for clarity.
ELIZABETH GREEN: Good morning. My name is Elizabeth Green and I’m the Morris Thompson executive intern at Doyon Foundation. I’m a current student and competitive scholarship recipient through Doyon Foundation. Today in this episode of Storyteller, we’re here with Tony Reda, a loyal Doyon Foundation supporter. Thank you so much, Tony, for joining us and supporting students like me.
TONY REDA: Thank you for having me, Elizabeth.
ELIZABETH GREEN: To start, tell us a little bit about yourself.
TONY REDA: I’m Canadian; I grew up in the province of British Columbia, in Vancouver. My name is Tony Reda, and my family are immigrants from Italy. They migrated to Canada at a very young age. I was born in Toronto, Canada, then we moved to Vancouver, and I grew up there pretty much my entire life. I now live in the Okanagan, in a city called Kelowna.
ELIZABETH GREEN: Thank you. Tell us a little bit about your educational journey. What school did you attend, what’s your degree, and when did you graduate?
TONY REDA: I went to school in Vancouver, and high school was a private Catholic school called Notre Dame Regional Secondary. From there, I transitioned to Capilano College in North Vancouver, and then I transitioned to Simon Fraser University. I do not actually have a degree; I’m a year and a half away from getting my degree. I decided to hit pause on school to pursue my entrepreneurial spirit and started a business. I thought I’d go back, but for better or for worse, I didn’t.
I am a big fan of the schooling system although I don’t technically have a degree. I’m pretty much self-taught, whether it’s exploration, geology, business, trading, investing. I learned from a few key people and also by doing, but my schooling did provide a foundation for me to launch upon. It also taught me about work ethic and being diligent, being responsible, being accountable. And a lot of good friendships were formed in my schooling environment.
ELIZABETH GREEN: What does supporting Doyon Foundation mean to you?
TONY REDA: For me as an individual but also as a CEO and founder of Tectonic Metals Incorporated, I love supporting local. We’ve chosen to hang our hat in Alaska so all our projects are situated in Alaska, predominantly on Native-owned land, or Doyon land. So having our work directly impact the communities and the villages that we operate in is extremely important. Doyon Foundation was just a natural fit for a multitude of reasons.
ELIZABETH GREEN: That’s good. You’re working at Tectonic Metals; tell us about your role there.
TONY REDA: I’m one of the founders of Tectonic Metals; there’s four of us. We are a publicly traded mineral exploration company. I serve as director of the company, but also as president and CEO. Our job, if I were to distill it down to its simplest form, is to find the next mine ethically and responsibly. So we’re treasure hunters, and we love sort of spinning the globe and applying all of our skills, our experience, our geological business acumen, and saying, ‘Okay, where’s the next mine?’ It’s not an easy endeavor, but I like challenges. So my role is to do that, and I’m proud to be doing it in Alaska and also working alongside Doyon, Limited.
ELIZABETH GREEN: That’s great. Can you share a bit about why you chose to support the Foundation?
TONY REDA: As I mentioned earlier, it was a natural fit, working directly on Doyon land. Our job is to find a mine, but how can we benefit the communities in which we operate in? Doyon presented us with their nonprofit foundation, which has many tentacles. I also love that we can say, ‘Okay, do we want to support students perhaps in earth sciences or economic geology? Is there a local community we can support?’ Doyon Foundation has a broad outreach, and the fact that we get to be creative on that front is extremely rewarding. And what I also love about the Foundation is that it’s direct; there’s not multi layers of bureaucracy. We can actually have an immediate and direct impact with our capital, with our donations. So I love the direct action and the immediate impact it has.
ELIZABETH GREEN: Thank you. What would you say to other people who may be considering supporting the Foundation’s work?
TONY REDA: What I would say is that Doyon, Limited is the largest Native corporation in Alaska when it comes to the amount of shareholders. Those tentacles are far outreaching; it has a direct impact there. Also when it comes to choosing to work with this company or choosing to work with a foundation or charity, it’s all about the people. That’s regardless of what industry you’re in, it’s all about the people, and I can’t sing enough praises for the people at Doyon, from the CEO to the current board of directors, to the vice presidents, to people such as yourself. Every one that I’ve had the opportunity to interact with at Doyon I’ve been extremely impressed with, not only with their business acumen, but also with their heart, and how much they care, and how meaningful this is to them and to their shareholders.
ELIZABETH GREEN: Thank you. Do you have any advice or words of encouragement for our students today?
TONY REDA: I do. My advice is to try to tap into your passions instead of feeling like you should be doing this. Schooling is very regimented and we kind of get stuck in these certain paths, and I encourage students to explore all the paths available to them.
I made the decision of going down the path of business, because my father was in business, and this is what I was supposed to do. And then, three years into my schooling and a year away from my degree, I was like, ‘I don’t know if I like this.’ If I were to do it all over again, I would have taken a step back and spent a bit more time testing, experiencing, trying different courses or different experiences within the schooling system.
Doyon Foundation provides opportunities if you want to learn about earth sciences or the environment; there’s avenues to go explore that in school and outside of school. So don’t be in a rush to figure it all out.
Sometimes even myself at my current age, I’m still trying to figure things out and I think that’s the key: figure it out, don’t go with a prescription, go with your heart, with your mind and with your gut. There’s the academia side of things, but tap into those sorts of spiritual aspects in order to navigate which way to go. It’s like ice cream, you try a different flavor, try another flavor, before you know it you’ve tried 20 flavors. You’ve got your favorite, and you can just stick with that one flavor, which is fine, and that works for some people. But I would encourage you to try as much as possible as soon as possible so you can vector into that field of choice that you want to pursue a career in.
ELIZABETH GREEN: Thank you, that’s good advice. Is there anything else you would like to share?
TONY REDA: What I would like to share is, don’t be afraid to reach out. I’m available, our team’s available if you have any questions or comments. Tap into the Elders, tap into the people at Doyon. Try to get experience at a very early stage. You’ll be surprised how many people are willing and want to help. As much as it’s rewarding to you, it’s also rewarding for people like me to have an impact and share our thoughts and experience. You know, age provides not only a higher number but it provides experiences and I think that definitely counts for something. So tap into some of the older people out there and learn from them as much as possible.
ELIZABETH GREEN: Thank you so much for your time today, Tony, and for sharing your story with us.
TONY REDA: Thank you for having me and you’re welcome.