Forty under 40 Award winner profile: Maxime Charron

Founder and CEO, LeadingAhead Energy

BIV is proud to recognize Maxime Charron, founder and CEO of LeadingAhead Energy, and 39 exceptional business leaders with 2022 Forty under 40 Awards.

Each recipient is featured in BIV's annual Forty under 40 Magazine, and will be celebrated at an awards gala Feb. 22. Profiles of each award recipient – originally published in the magazine – will be available at in the days ahead.

Who or what is responsible for your work ethic?

Work ethic has always been in me. Give 120 per cent or don’t start. It was reinforced by my time in the military in my early 20s. Waking up early and staying physically active definitely helps to keep up the energy required to push through when needed.

What drives you?

I lost my dad at a very young age. Realizing that life can be short, I understood that there’s no time to waste on things that aren’t productive or joyful.

A favourite book you would recommend?

Red Notice by Bill Browder; Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink; New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins; The World by Richard Haass; Limits to Growth by Dennis Meadows; The Golden Spruce by John Vaillant.

Now that you are (or are close to) entering your 40s, what goals have you set for yourself?

Professionally: Expanding LeadingAhead Energy (LEA) across North America and getting into other vertical markets while building a self-supporting structure. Personally: Start a family and stay physically active.

What was your toughest business or professional decision?

Starting! People think too much before starting a new venture, then they get paralyzed. Actions always speak louder than words. Perfection will never be reached – just make the first move and keep improving along the way.

Tell us one improbable fact about yourself.

I’ve never seen Star Wars and celebrity names and faces are lost on me unless they are business-related figures.

Best piece of advice ever received?

Always follow your gut feeling and fight for your ethics and values. Many opportunities to make money faster or take a shortcut will come up. It always comes with strings attached. There is no better feeling than a clear mind without having to look over your shoulder.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned in business?

Reading too many books or going to too many seminars or motivational events will become entertainment instead of getting the work done. Nobody really knows what they are doing when starting their first company. Embrace your failures. The most important thing a business has is its values.

What career highlight are you most proud of?

Starting a company from scratch with $5,000 and no outside investment, which is now allowing us to work with national clients across Canada and the United States. Building a sustainable and profitable business model was crucial for me. The company is still self-funded today.

What’s left to accomplish?

Open an office in Los Angeles and grow our U.S. portfolio. Aside from LAE, I have many other business ideas in mind.

Read the profiles of all 40 award recipients in BIV's annual Forty under 40 Magazine. Register to recognize this year's winner at the Forty under 40 Awards gala on Feb. 22.