“You just do what you’re good at, and either it comes naturally or it doesn’t. That’s BS,” says Greg White, UTSC Management alumnus and former investment banker turned entrepreneur/producer/artist in theatre, film, and television.
“You always have to be learning. You always have to be pushing yourself. That’s part of how I discovered I’m an artist at heart.”
When White graduated with a BComm from UTSC in 2000 (having switch majors from biochemistry along the way), he was motivated to start an international career in finance. The experience of almost failing Prof. Syed Ahmed's Advanced Finance course had prepared him not to underestimate new challenges.
"I made the mistake of thinking, 'Oh, this is easy. I've got a handle on this.' Then I got my final grade. It was a sobering moment that would define my university career."
By 2003, White had earned his CFA and was living in the UK. Then an interview with a global financial institution changed the course of his life in unexpected ways.
“It was one of those big interviews. I went in that day thinking, 'You've got this'," says White.
"Turns out, it was a dumpster fire. I was like Ricky Gervais in The Office on his worst day. Then, I had an epiphany that I was not supposed to be doing this.”
White’s priorities crystallized during that interview in London. He recalled being in the Drama Club at UTSC, a feeling that was “overwhelmingly perfect". The future became clear to him: not investment banking, but the entertainment industry. He quit finance.
Fast forward to 2014. Over the course of a decade, White had waited tables, trained at The Second City, hired an agent, served as head writer of a TV quiz show (it got cancelled), gotten married, welcomed two kids, and quit a new job as CFO of an environmental company based in Dubai. He wrote and directed his first feature film, Separation. He also produced The Neighbor by Nayla Al Khaja, the first female filmmaker in the UAE, which went on to win the Special Jury Prize at the Dubai International Film Festival.
All of that culminated in needing to come back to Canada, says White, where he recently launched Evermore Theatre Company, a Toronto-based live theatre venture focused on producing Canadian premières of plays with off-Broadway pedigree. Leveraging his UTSC Management education and lived experiences on stage as well as behind the camera, White has taken on multiple leadership roles including founder, producer, and actor with the company. He searched for two years before finding the perfect script for Evermore's inaugural production: Dry Powder, by Sarah Burgess, a razor-sharp, satirical look at the price of success and the real cost of getting the deal done.
“I love stories about the financial industry, so I really connected with the material. It’s hilarious, well-written, and whip smart, like an Aaron Sorkin kind of thing,” says White.
Set in a private equity firm struggling with a PR disaster while two partners do battle over an acquisition to save the company, Dry Powder stars Rebecca Liddiard (Frankie Drake Mysteries, Alias Grace), Christef Desir (Soulpepper's The Royale), and Peter Keleghan (Workin' Moms, Murdoch Mysteries). The play runs from April 4–14 at Greenwin Theatre, Toronto Centre for the Arts.
“I think there's a lot of projection on corporations, especially multinationals in finance, that we forget those companies are populated by human beings, " says White.
“I've seen things where people have had a lot of success out of the gate, and they think that the-thing-they-did-that-time is what made them successful, so they try to repeat it and it doesn't work. Well, when you're making mistakes, you get to see how things are connected a little bit more."
Pictured: White, in his role as SVP of People & Partnerships at BuzzBuzzHome, chats with Management Co-op students at a recruitment event.
Story by Kendal Egli
Evermore Theatre Company is extending a VIP invitation to all UofT alumni, faculty, and staff courtesy of our fellow UTSC Management alumnus, Greg White.
On April 11, Evermore proudly presents Dry Powder starring Rebecca Liddiard (Frankie Drake Mysteries, Alias Grace), Christef Desir (Soulpepper's The Royale), and Peter Keleghan (Workin' Moms, Murdoch Mysteries).
The performance takes place at 8:00pm at Greenwin Theatre, Toronto Centre for the Arts.
Arrive early for appetizers and a VIP reception from 7:00–8:00pm jointly hosted by the Management Alumni Association and the Department of Management.
Stay after the show for a Q&A with the cast.
SPECIAL OFFER: Book $40 tickets* with code UOFT11. Regular price $69.95. *Apply promo code before selecting your seats. Play runs 105 minutes with no intermission. Please share this invitation with your UofT alumni network. We hope to see you on April 11!
Learn more about the Management BBA program.