W. Brett Wilson

William Brett Wilson, CM SOM (born on July 1, 1957;[2] named after his father William George) is a Canadian investment banker, businessman, investor, and philanthropist. He was a season 3, 4 & 5 panellist on CBC Television's Dragons' Den. Wilson was born in North Battleford, Saskatchewan.

Brett Wilson

Born (1957-07-01) July 1, 1957 (age 63)
Alma materUniversity of Saskatchewan
University of Calgary
OccupationBusinessman, investment banker, and philanthropist
Political partyConservative


Wilson graduated with degree in Civil Engineering and worked for Imperial Oil for three years in the oilfields of Western Canada. In 1985 he graduated from the University of Calgary with an MBA in entrepreneurship and began work as an investment banker with McLeod Young Weir Limited (now Scotia Capital). Wilson co-founded an investment banking advisory firm, Wilson Mackie & Co., in 1991, and in 1993, co-founded FirstEnergy Capital Corp. in Calgary, AB with Rick Grafton, Jim Davidson and N. Murray Edwards. FirstEnergy is a Canadian stock brokerage firm that provides investment-banking services to global participants in the energy sector. Wilson retired as Chairman of FirstEnergy in 2008.[3] His sports interests include ownership in the Nashville Predators of the National Hockey League.

After announcing his departure from Dragons' Den in early 2011, he participated in his own entrepreneurship-themed series, Risky Business.[4] He has written regularly on entrepreneurship for the Oilweek, Alberta Venture [5][6][7] and the National Post.[8] In 2012, he published Redefining Success: Still Making Mistakes[9] through Penguin Books. He regularly speaks to student and business audiences about the importance of marketing, entrepreneurship, and philanthropy and believes these subjects should be core curriculum.[10]


Wilson has claimed that he sees corporate social responsibility not as an obligation, but as an opportunity, and believing that strategic philanthropy can create major social and economic benefits.[11] He has shaved his head to support Kids' Cancer Care, and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro to support Alzheimer's research.[12] He has for many years made annual trips with Youth with a Mission to Mexico to build homes for the poor.[13] He has chronicled his philanthropic perspectives in a series of articles written for Alberta Venture magazine.

Specific events hosted by Wilson have supported prostate cancer, David Foster Foundation[14] Right to Play, Little Warriors, Boomer's Legacy, 777 Run for Sight and Dare to Care and the Veterans' Food Bank. He is active on funding research into the issue of domestic abuse and has funded the Wilson Centre for Domestic Abuse Studies at the Calgary Counselling Centre.[15] He also supports the sport of volleyball through the Rally Pointe volleyball centre in Calgary, Alberta.[16] He is a strong mental health advocate and supporter of programs which help with the treatment of eating disorders.[17]

He travelled to Afghanistan to visit front-line Canadian troops with General Walter Natynczyk, Defence Minister Peter MacKay, hockey player Guy Lafleur and actor Paul Gross [18] and has hosted events to support military members and their families.


Wilson was married to his engineering classmate from 1981 to 2001. Together they have three adult children.

Selected awardsEdit

  • Canada's Top 40 under 40 - Caldwell Partners (1997)
  • Top 20 Deal Makers in Canada - Globe & Mail (1999)
  • Top 10 list of M&A specialists in Canada - Globe & Mail - (2000)
  • Management Alumni Excellence (MAX) Award, University of Calgary, Haskayne School of Business (2003)
  • International Legacy of Honour, Young Presidents Organization - recognizing the global YPO leader who best exemplifies commitment to excellence in business, community orientation and the ideals of YPO (2004)
  • Spirit of Giving Award - Association of Fundraising Professionals (2005)
  • University of Calgary Top 40 Alumni (2006–2007)
  • Calgary's Person of the Year - Avenue Magazine (2007)
  • University of Saskatchewan Alumni Award of Achievement (2007)[19]
  • University of Saskatchewan Top 100 Alumni (2007)[20]
  • Distinguished Lecturer, CJ Mackenzie Banquet, University of Saskatchewan College of Engineering (2008)
  • Business Person of the Year - Alberta Venture Magazine (2008)[21]
  • Nation Builder Award - Canadian Youth Business Foundation (2009)
  • Honorary Doctor of Laws, Royal Roads University (2010)[22]
  • One of Calgary's Top 10 New Mavericks (2010)[23]
  • City of Calgary Signature Award – for bringing significant recognition to Calgary (2010)[24]
  • Appointment to the Order of Canada (2011)[25]
  • Saskatchewan Order of Merit[26] (2012)
  • Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal[27] (2012)[28]
  • Olds College Centennial Honorary Degree Recipient (2013)
  • SAIT, Honorary Degree Recipient, Bachelor of Science (2015)[29]
  • University of Saskatchewan, Honorary Degree Recipient, Doctor of Laws (2015)[30]
  • Bob Edwards Award (2015)[31]
  • Canadian Petroleum Hall of Fame, Inductee (2016)[32]
  • Oil and Gas Council,[33] Lifetime Achievement Award (2016)[34]


  1. ^ Hiebert, Richard W. "The incomparable Brett Wilson". North Battleford News-Optimist. Retrieved 19 November 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ According to an article in Calgary magazine Avenue
  3. ^ http://www.enervest.com/files/pdf/Canoe%20Financial%20News%20Release%20Brett%20Wilson%20Final.pdf
  4. ^ "Former Dragon Brett Wilson starts Risky Business". The Globe and Mail, April 20, 2011.
  5. ^ "Why you shouldn't wait to give, and what the government can do to encourage you to do it - Alberta VentureAlberta Venture". albertaventure.com.
  6. ^ "The School Of Brett: Three ways to help students change the world - Alberta VentureAlberta Venture". albertaventure.com.
  7. ^ "Return on Investment: Fun Raising - Alberta VentureAlberta Venture". albertaventure.com.
  8. ^ "W. Brett Wilson". Financial Post.
  9. ^ Inc., Indigo Books & Music. "Redefining Success: Still Making Mistakes, Book by W Brett Wilson (Paperback) - chapters.indigo.ca". www.chapters.indigo.ca.
  10. ^ http://www.progressmedia.ca/article/2013/02/redefine-change-world
  11. ^ "Return on Investment: The Give and Get Play - Alberta VentureAlberta Venture". albertaventure.com.
  12. ^ Wells, Jennifer (17 March 2010). "Brett Wilson: The Dragon with a heart" – via Toronto Star.
  13. ^ http://www.wbrettwilson.ca/media-files/uploads/documents/saskbusinessfeb2013.pdf
  14. ^ "Gala Winners Named at The Special Event 2009". specialevents.com. Retrieved 2009-02-10. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  15. ^ "May 10, 2006" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-12-01. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  16. ^ "Our Story". Rally Pointe.
  17. ^ With, I'm Here. "The Power of W. Brett Wilson". imherewithmagazine.com.
  18. ^ "Calgary's favourite entrepeneur [sic] - The Gauntlet". www.archive.thegauntlet.ca.
  19. ^ "U of S: University Advancement: Alumni Relations: Alumni Awards". Usask.ca. Retrieved 2008-12-01. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  20. ^ "University of Saskatchewan - 100 Alumni of Influence". Usask.ca. Retrieved 2008-12-01. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  21. ^ "Brett Wilson Archives - Alberta VentureAlberta Venture". albertaventure.com.
  22. ^ Wilson, Brett. "Speech by W. Brett Wilson". royalroads.ca. Royal Roads University. Retrieved 26 February 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  23. ^ [1] Archived November 10, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ http://newsroom.calgary.ca/pr/calgary/winners-announced-for-2010-calgary-208040.aspx
  25. ^ General, The Office of the Secretary to the Governor. "The Governor General of Canada".
  26. ^ "Government of Saskatchewan". Government of Saskatchewan.
  27. ^ General, The Office of the Secretary to the Governor. "The Governor General of Canada".
  28. ^ General, The Office of the Secretary to the Governor. "The Governor General of Canada".
  29. ^ SAIT. "Honorary Degree Recipients - SAIT, Calgary, Alberta". www.sait.ca.
  30. ^ "Honorary Degrees - University of Saskatchewan". library.usask.ca.
  31. ^ "Bob Edwards Award Past Recipients - Bob Edwards Award". www.bobedwardsaward.ca.
  32. ^ "2016 Inductees - Canadian Petroleum Hall of Fame". www.canadianpetroleumhalloffame.ca.
  33. ^ "Oil & Gas Council - Home". www.oilandgascouncil.com.
  34. ^ "Oil & Gas Council Gala Dinner (May 26th): Brett Wilson & Jim Davidson To Receive 2016 Lifetime Achievement Awards".

External linksEdit