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20 July 2017

Meet Rob: Creating Change For Good

Rob LeBlanc (33) left his life and career in Canada to pursue a passion for paying his privilege forward in South Africa. His desire to create social impact makes Odrin’s responsibly made items a no-brainer!

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ON SMOOTH STYLE

I look at style exactly like I look at food: the best meals are simple things made well. Clothes and style are the same – I’m all about timeless, simple classics made exceptionally well so I can dress them up or down, and diversify the same underlying staples.

ON ODRIN FAVOURITES

I work in a relatively informal setting, so the Odrin classic chinos are the perfect fit for the office. And the dress shirts are fantastic – great fit, very well made, with impeccable attention to detail, like the finishing on the collar and cuffs.

IN HIS WORDS


“…privilege isn’t earned, the best thing you can do for humanity with it is to pay it forward…”

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ON THE ODRIN DIFFERENCE

The Odrin brand obsesses over cut and quality and has a clean, minimalist aesthetic. They produce simple designs but make them with such skill that they look great and last for ages, which appeals to my sense of style.

ON PAYING IT FORWARD

I came to work at Awethu and join my business partner because I believe that privilege is never earned; it’s something you inherit. My parents taught me that because such privilege isn’t earned, the best thing you can do for humanity with it is to pay it forward – in other words, use it to create privilege for others. Our work at Awethu is my vehicle for doing just that. We use entrepreneurship – and create opportunities for structurally disadvantaged entrepreneurs – to reduce inequality and build a more just society.

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ON COMPETING FOR GOOD

I come from a sports background, so, even in work, I love to compete. But because we’re building something a bit different at Awethu, it’s not always clear to me what I’m competing against! In this sense, I want to prove to myself (and maybe to my peers and society at large) that you can build a valuable and impactful social enterprise without compromising on your career goals. What drives me is the desire to prove that you can still earn a healthy living, provide well for your family and create wealth, but do it in a way that’s fundamentally inclusive and moves humanity forward. In my mind, such an outcome is definitely worth competing for!

I never leave home without…

Definitely my cell phone.

My favorite holiday destination is…

Locally, Cape Town to visit my wife’s family. And internationally, Vancouver, to see mine.

My favourite restaurant is…

Depends on the meal! For breakfast, Croft & Co. in Parkview, especially after an early morning cycle. For dinner, Momo Baohaus in Greenside.

My favourite food is…

Fruit. Almost any fresh fruit! Since I like simple things done well, a good, cold apple is my favourite.

Coffee or Tea?

Coffee

Wine or Whisky?

Whisky

Still or Sparkling Water?

Sparkling

Beach or City?

Beach

Cats or Dogs?

Neither

On a Friday night at 9 PM I’m most likely…

Cooking and having dinner with friends, or, if I’m really honest, probably watching Netflix with my wife.