Tyler Smyrski

 Forty Under 40 Winner 2016: Partner, Yellow Point Equity Partners, Age 38

Tyler Smyrski never had to rack his brain to figure out what he wanted to do with his life.

In Grade 10, Smyrski visited the now-defunct Vancouver Stock Exchange on a field trip. He was immediately taken with the fancy suits, cellphones and tall buildings.

“That is what I wanted to do,” said the University of British Columbia commerce grad and partner at Yellow Point Equity Partners. “I wanted to sit in an office and look out at nice views and talk on the phone.”

That idea put him on the right track. In 2004, Smyrski joined Yellow Point, a firm that manages $300 million in assets and has invested in 19 local companies.

A chartered business evaluator, Smyrski has been involved with several of these companies through all stages of their development, assisting management and helping with growth strategies. Smyrski directs Bravo Target Safety LP, Remcan Projects LP and Viper Innovation.

In his role, Smyrski regularly has to assess and coach business leaders. Good leadership is fairly simple to identify, he said.

“The ones that tend to do the best are the ones where the people running the business have taken money out of their own pocket and invested into it,” he said. “It just creates that permanent feeling and makes them feel like owners instead of working for someone else.”

He said the alarm bells ring pretty clearly when it comes to companies to avoid investing in. “As soon as you get a sniff that maybe somebody isn’t fully transparent with things, those are the red flags you try to stay away from.”

Smyrski said he learned that asking simple questions of executives is the best way to focus their goals.

“People get caught up in the details,” he said. “[I say] ‘Tell me in 10 words what I should take away from that.’ It forces them to think about a bigger picture, which often leads to better answers.”

Changing personnel is the toughest part of his job. “Just be open with people about what’s going on,” he said. “Be grateful for the contributions they have made in the past.”

 Join us to celebrate the 2016 Forty under under 40 Awards January 25, 2017 at the Vancouver Convention Centre. For tickets and event info visit www.biv.com/events/40under40.