Our Impact

10 Life Lessons from Remarkable Bostonian & Successful Businessman, Vin Cantella

Posted by Jennie Pane-Joyce on June 06, 2016

While we try not to post content that has been posted elsewhere, this article was too good to pass up.

Today we’ve got some exciting & widely-applicable lessons from the life of Vin Cantella. A remarkable Bostonian & successful businessman, Vin Cantella overcame many challenges. Upon returning home from World War II, he was bedridden for five years. Doctors said he would never walk again.

Despite this dim prognosis, Cantella preserved. Not only did he get back on his feet, but he walked door-to-door throughout Boston as a representative of the George Putnam Fund. He went on start his own company, Cantella & Co. Cantella found success in the finance industry, eventually becoming Chairman of the Board of Governors for the Boston Stock Exchange.

Jim Freeman (Cantella & Co.‘s National Sales Manager & Director), who was lucky enough to call Vin Cantella his mentor, has written an article with ten valuable life lessons. We’ll tease the first three here, but for the rest, you’ll need to head over to the Cantella & Co. blog.

1. Always give away the best seat in the house

Vin always emphasized the importance of making a good impression, and lunch at the Bay Tower Room was no exception. Exiting the elevator, you would be greeted by Zito, a jovial and friendly maitre d’ with a subtle Italian accent. “Good afternoon, Mr. Cantella,” Zito always said, “I see you have a new guest.”

“Yes, Zito, this is Mr. Smith, a respected financial consultant who I’m hoping will join our company.”

“You will be joining a great man,” Zito would reply with seriousness, “Let me get you a seat by the window.” If our guest didn’t know it already, he or she would immediately sense that Vin wasn’t your typical person.

Vin always made sure that the client took the seat with the best views. It wasn’t just about showing off the incredible Boston skyline that he knew and loved so well, it was about showing the advisor who came first in the relationship.

2. If you want to be a professional, dress like one

Those lunch guests were also meeting a man who was always dressed for business. Vin always wore a suit and tie. Always. He would tell me, “You never know when you’ll need to make a positive impression on someone, and you never get a second shot.” He was wearing a suit the day I met him, and he was wearing a suit on the last day I ever saw him, at his funeral. I think he may have even gardened with a tie on.

3. Never burn bridges: Give people a chance to learn from their mistakes

During one of our lunches I learned that a very close and trusted attorney of Vin’s had stolen a large amount of money from him several years back.

The attorney eventually went to jail, but what amazed me at the time was that Vin didn’t speak ill of him. Vin felt that for someone to commit such a heinous crime against a friend meant only that there must have been some serious problems. I never once heard him say an unkind word about what happened.

Years later, after the attorney was released from jail, he referred a very large customer to our firm. While he’d lost his ability to generate the money he stole from his friend, he still tried to pay Vin back as best he could. I think Vin knew all along that his attorney was remorseful, and I’ll never forget the humanity in Vin’s face when he told this story.

Click here to read 7 more lessons on the Cantella & Co. blog.