40 under 40 — James Upright

Mu Theta, 2008 — Recognized in: 2020

Photo of James Upright.“I was halfway through University when I was introduced to Zeta Psi and Brother Keith Routhier through a friend, a Pi Beta Phi, who invited me out to one of their events. Like most Brothers, I asked questions and I met some new people who invited me out again, and again, and again. In the Winter of 2006, I was offered a bid and pledged the Mu Theta Chapter. Not a year later I was elected Phi and without even realizing it, was learning life lessons through running a chapter. One of these lessons was the value of travel, including my first flight ever to convention in Philadelphia where I attended as the delegate. Shortly after, I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Art & Design and Economics and was tossed into the working world which didn’t last too long – I found myself Down Under less than a year later, backpacking and asking myself who I wanted to be (while crashing on a few couches care of Mu Theta Brother David Skrpycheynko).

After supertramping for the better part of a year, I came home and gave the working world another go. I decided to give banking a try and asked a few Brothers to help me network. Brother Rob MacMullen helped me get started in my career almost 10 years ago by preparing me for an interview with TD Waterhouse as an Investment Representative. Adulthood finally began until it stopped suddenly like being hit by a car – literally. “Being shot out of a cannon will always be better than being squeezed out of a tube. That is why God made fast motorcycles.” Two and a half backflips, a broken spine, a few broken ribs, and a punctured lung later I found myself with a lot of free time so I asked myself what I wanted to do and became more involved with the Elder Association as Beta Pi and a few years later Elder Phi. The support from the Brothers kept my mind off the accident and kept me busy while recovering until I returned to the working world and attempted adulting for the third time.

Today, I have been a Brother for 14 years, I have asked my amazing girlfriend to be my fiancee last year, and by the time this is posted I will be a father (to a future Zete). Currently I am building our dream home on a half acre of land just outside the city to begin our family. Last year, I was ranked 8th in Canada as an Investment Specialist with Scotiabank and asked a colleague to start a partnership where we currently manage almost $100 million in investments. I have travelled to many countries, including a few conventions, and made even more friends. Zeta Psi has given me so much and helped me get where I am today through both the good and bad times. With everything Zeta Psi has done for me I continue to pay it forward be it through recruitment (including initiating my best friend Brother Christopher McNally) to getting fellow Brothers hired (congratulations, Brother Tammam Takieddine for your recent promotion).

If I had to leave one piece of advice to new Zetes it would be don’t be afraid to ask. Ask that girl out, ask for a raise, ask for the business, ask for help, ask yourself who you want to become, just ask.”

You can connect with James on LinkedIn.

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