Randy Lennox Aspires To 'Elevate'
The renowned and charismatic music executive turned broadcast chief is starting a new career chapter and shares a few of his next steps, telling us that he has accepted the position of Executive Chairman with Elevate, the not-for-profit Canadian company best known for its annual Innovation, Tech & Media festival, and filling us in on several music projects that he has in production and ready for delivery in 2022.
By David Farrell
He is now ready to share a few of his next steps, telling us that he has accepted the position of Executive Chairman with Elevate, the not-for-profit Canadian company best known for its annual Innovation, Tech & Media festival (full press release below) and sharing a few of the music projects that he has in production and ready for delivery in 2022.
Q: Bring us up to speed on what Randy Lennox has been up to in the past six months?
RL: Initially I was going to take a minute to recharge; however, some opportunities came rather immediately, and I couldn’t say no. So, there was a little less R&R than I had anticipated (laughing).
Q: I’m not surprised coming from you–but tell us more about Elevate.
RL: Elevate Is a not-for-profit Innovation and leadership community that holds an annual innovation/tech event; for example, Michelle Obama was the most recent speaker. The conference/event is now world-renowned and works with countless other organizations that include the UN.
The most recent Elevate Technology Festival attracted 34,000 people, hosting 350 speakers.
Elevate is also an ‘Excelerator’ (incubator) for young talent. What is attracting me to the organization is the opportunity to mentor young creative innovators. Equally attractive is the opportunity to develop and expand the Elevate Talent program where we collaborate with community organizations to support underrepresented communities. This program has a fund of over $10 million to help new employment in the BIPOC community and specifically Indigenous communities.
I’m really excited about the purpose-filled mandate of Elevate. Helping others who don’t have the tools, the contacts, or the resources to become successful is a challenge I am looking forward to.
Q: Is this your next full-time role?
RL: The role is more as an advisor and providing strategic thinking. It is part-time, a couple of days per week; mind you … I can’t help myself, so I’ll probably put in more time than that (laughs), and my role is to provide mentorship, guidance, and strategy to the team of 42 people., We will be looking at expanding Elevate into additional Cultural & Music sectors.
Q: Now we all know that music is in your DNA, so bring us up to speed on any relevant projects you are involved with.
RL; Absolutely, I’m currently helping an amazing music start-up in the UK that has some forward-thinking ideas, also an international music start-up from Vancouver, along with Tyson Parker who, as you know, was with me at Universal and Bell Media.
I am also an advisor to Hipgnosis who have some very exciting projects on the go (but not at liberty to talk about at this time). I’ve known Merck Mercuriadis for 35 years, and he is an absolute visionary, so I’m having a blast working with him.
Q: There are some music documentaries that you are involved with as well, right?
RL: Yes, I’m deeply involved in several; for example, Rezolution is making an incredible documentary about the band Steppenwolf that I’m deeply committed to. Steppenwolf has a surprising backstory, and, as you well know, their history is amazing!
We’re also making a Buffy Sainte Marie documentary in partnership with Robbie Robertson’s team. Buffy is really Canada’s Indigenous First Lady. This one is going to be incredible when it’s completed. It’s set to be released in 2022.
We Just completed the Oscar Peterson documentary, which is our follow-up with the David Foster/Barry Avrich documentary team, and we’re incredibly proud of it!
Oscar will be out in September, as well as a great documentary with my dear pals from Triumph entitled Rock & Roll Machine.
There’s one more really exciting one, but it’s on an NDA right now.
Q: And what about film and television since coming out of Bell Media? I would imagine there are some projects over and above your documentaries?
RL: Yes, I’m particularly excited about a partnership with Lionsgate. My producing partners are actors Amanda Seyfried and Tom Sadoski. We have collaborated on a series called Adult Children, which is well on its way. It’s a modern-day Big Chill.
We’re also involved in creating the music and looking to Exec produce a film titled Lilly (Lilly Ledbetter is her full name). Patricia Clarkson stars as Lilly. She is an Erin Brockovich type person in that she was literally on the Goodyear assembly line and noticed the pay cheque for a man was much higher than her own. She then took the fight for equal pay rates for women all the way to the Supreme Court, where Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the presiding judge and awarded her a much-deserved monetary win.
It’s an incredible story of tenacity that earned a hard-won victory for women.
Q: So, you have been extremely busy!
RL: The combination of charitable work, mentoring, and producing is really what makes me happy and challenged at this time in my life. I have a company called Lennox Endeavours, and I’d really like to avoid boardrooms from here on in (laughing).
And here's the official announcement...
Elevate Welcomes Canadian Business Innovator Randy Lennox as New Executive Chair & Co-Founder Lisa Zarzeczny becomes General Manager
Razor Suleman Hired as the President of Pacaso International & Moves from Elevate CEO to Board Co-Chair Position
“We’re thrilled to welcome Randy as Executive Chair to Elevate,” commented Board Co-Chair Commander Chris Hadfield. “His established leadership, coupled with his extensive board work in the charitable and not-for-profit sectors, make him a natural fit to advance our mission at Elevate.”
Lennox is a multiple award-winning media and music executive who has led two of Canada’s leading content companies. In 2015, he became President of Bell Media, Canada’s largest broadcasting, streaming, and content creation company. Prior to joining Bell Media, he served as President and CEO of Universal Music Canada, the country’s largest music company.
“The world is entering an unprecedented era and Canadian innovators are poised to play an important role in navigating this time in our history," said Lennox. "I'm delighted to join the incredible team at Elevate as we work towards expanding our presence, both through the festival and new programs like Elevate Talent. We thank Razor for his dedication and leadership and wish him the very best in his new role”
Razor Suleman, Elevate’s Co-Founder and outgoing CEO, has accepted a new role as the President of Pacaso International, whose mission is to enrich lives by making second home-ownership possible and enjoyable for more people. Suleman will retain his position as Board Co-Chair at Elevate, where he will serve as an active board member and continue to offer his guidance and expertise.
“I couldn’t have imagined that Elevate would achieve such success when we launched the first festival with Mayor John Tory in 2017,” commented Suleman. “Now with several new programs and initiatives designed to support our communities, I feel extremely confident about the future of the company under Randy’s leadership.”
Elevate Co-Founder Lisa Zarzeczny becomes General Manager and will work closely with Lennox on the company’s ambitious strategic initiatives including the newly launched Elevate Talent program, eCommerce North accelerator, and marquee events and productions. The Elevate Board will be supporting Lisa and the Senior Leadership Team during the interim period.
“As a Cofounder of Elevate, it’s really exciting to see Elevate evolve to its next generation of leadership,” commented Zarzeczny.
And Mayor John Tory: "Razor’s leadership and ambition for Elevate have been nothing short of inspirational. Since 2017, Razor and Elevate have helped put Toronto on the map as a leader in the tech and innovation ecosystem. Today, Elevate continues to be a great partner of the City of Toronto. Having worked closely with Randy in the past, I’m confident that with him at the helm, the future of Elevate is brighter than ever."
As Executive Chair, Lennox will be responsible for providing strategic direction and overall corporate vision to the Senior Leadership Team. Lennox will continue to work with our various community, corporate, and government partners to further expand the Elevate mandate.