IDEA 2019

IDEA is Back!

We look forward to you joining us on November 17, 2021! Thank you for your continued support of the Associates and the Asper School of Business. Whether financially or through volunteering, we appreciate what you do for the Associates, Asper students, the faculty and for our great Manitoba community. If you have not reserved your tables or partnership opportunity, please contact AnnaMaria Toppazzini at

Watch an important message from Dr. Ernest Rady here.

Dr. Ernest S. Rady BComm, LLB, LLD Trustee, Rady Family Foundation

Winnipeg-born entrepreneur Ernest S. Rady [BComm/58, LLB/62] is founder, chair, president, and chief executive officer of American Assets Trust, a publicly traded real estate investment trust he has astutely grown to a value of approximately $4 billion USD. In San Diego, his home since the mid-1960s, Dr. Rady also founded Insurance Company of the West—now part of ICW Group Holdings—and Westcorp, a public financial services company that eventually became part of Wells Fargo. He is Director, Chairman and former President of the Insurance Company of the West, he was a member of the board of directors of Wachovia, and has been affiliated with a series of sector-leading Canadian companies including Summit Resources, Silpit Industries, Canadian Sportswear, Olympic Sportswear, Keystone Resources, Ltd., and Canpac Enterprises, Ltd.

Dr. Rady has inspired phenomenal success in his entrepreneurial ventures through a combination of intelligence, zeal, sharp instincts and hard work. In 2009 Ernst & Young named him Financial Services Entrepreneur of the Year and presented him with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Dr. Rady’s business prowess is matched only by his capacity for giving back. Throughout his distinguished career, he and his wife Evelyn have contributed hundreds of millions of dollars to philanthropic causes, establishing a business school and university residences, revitalizing a children’s hospital, and building shelters for the homeless. In 2016, through the Rady Family Foundation, he donated $30 million to the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Health Sciences, which now proudly bears his and his father’s name, as the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences.

Dr. Rady earned the title of “San Diego Person of the Year” in 2014 and received an honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Manitoba in 2015.

Read the Free Press article on Dr. Ernest Rady here.

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Partnership opportunities for IDEA 2021 are open. Please contact the office at 204.981.4880 to learn more.

Limited seating. Buy early to reserve your spot!

IDEA 2018 Recipients

L to R: Hartley T. Richardson, Dr. Gady Jacoby, Tony Quach, Arni Thorsteinson, Colin Ryan, Andrew Stibbard

On May 23, 2019, Dr. Hartley T. Richardson, President & CEO of James Richardson & Sons Ltd. was honoured as the 2019 International Distinguished Entrepreneur Award (IDEA) recipient.

A record 1500 + guests celebrated his lifetime of entrepreneurial achievements. Hartley presented a most triumphant and moving story of his journey which included the history of philanthropy in his family. His parting advice to all guests: Enjoy the rise and work hard to climb the mountain of life. Attitude is key as you face life’s challenges and it is how you react to those challenges that will help you ultimately reach your personal summit.

Family, friends and fellow U of M alumni surprised Dr. Richardson with the unveiling of the Hartley T. Richardson Student Support Fund, which raised $3.5 million. The fund was established in honour of Dr. Richardson’s commitment to youth and education. This fund will create life-changing opportunities for students with limited financial means to obtain a world-class business education at the Asper School of Business.

IDEA concluded with a surprise performance by the IDEA All-Star Band featuring James Cohen, Peter Jessiman, Mark Chipman, Ron Paley, and lead vocalist of Jefferson Starship and close friend of Hartley, Mickey Thomas. The finale included Hartley being called up to join in the singing of Starship’s classic “We Built this City,” as photos flashed across the screens showcasing our great City of Winnipeg and the impact that Hartley and his family have had on it.


Thank you to all who attended IDEA 2019.
Mark your calendars for IDEA 2021 on November 17, 2021!



Asper School of Business Medallion

Story of The Medallion

Awarded first in 1984, IDEA recognizes international entrepreneurial excellence. Recipients are presented with a custom IDEA gold medallion from the Royal Canadian Mint at Manitoba’s “Dinner of the Year”. The dinner is hosted by the Associates whose tremendous efforts and influence ensure IDEA achieves increasing success by celebrating extraordinary recipients. IDEA continues to generate international awareness for the University of Manitoba and the I.H. Asper School of Business.


Past IDEA Recipients

David Thomson

Hartley T. Richardson
President & CEO
James Richardson & Sons, Limited

Arianna Huffington

Arianna Huffington
CEO & Founder, Thrive Global
Founder, The Huffington Post

David Foster

David Foster
Chairman & Founder
David Foster Foundation

V. Prem Watsa

V. Prem Watsa
Chairman & CEO
Fairfax Financial Holdings