ARCHANGEL INSPIRED: Giovanni's Story
Archangels have had profound and sustained meaning in Giovanni Marsico’s life. Both a driving force and guiding light ever since he was a young boy.
He attended St. Gabriel the Archangel Catholic School before joining St. Michael’s College School (SMCS), graduating in 1995.
Saint Michael is the leader of all the angels in Sacred Scripture and lauded as the ‘great protector’. Marsico was a student at SMCS from Grade 9 to 13 --- a place he has never forgotten.
“It was so much of a platform for a rocket-ship taking off in my life and helped to shape the rest of my future,” says the father of three, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and author.
Marsico arrived at SMCS having been identified as a gifted student in elementary school. “I thought that was a good thing. My parents said that's really cool, you're really smart, and then kids at school started bullying me for being too smart which is a really weird thing and I had this negative stigma to the word gifted. It just bothered me.”
Everything changed in Grade 9 when he entered SMCS.
“I started reading comic books and one of them specifically was the X-Men. And the first page I opened said Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters. And it was a complete paradigm shift for me because now the word gifted meant superpower. And it was a good thing,” he says. At the time, when I was in high school I thought, when I grow up, I want to lead a group of super-heroes. It's hilarious, but that's where my brain was.”
Connecting ‘super-heroes’ to each other and guiding a new generation of ‘super-hero’ has been at the core of Marsico’s work since 2014, when he created the Archangel network.
“Our community is a huge tribe of leaders and messengers. So people who share their wisdom or lead giant organizations to help make the world better.”
His voice steeped with passion and enthusiasm, Marsico continues, “the idea is to keep growing the community and keep serving them and providing them with whatever resources and wisdom and connections they need to achieve their own personal mission so that we can create exponential change together,” he says. “We have Archangel Masters which is the group that meets in California. We have Archangel Summit which is the Toronto event that gets thousands of people, and we are launching Archangel Academy which is an online school for entrepreneurs who are mission-driven and growing and the professors of the school or teachers are members of our Masters group. So it’s really successful entrepreneurs sharing their specific superpower, their specific expertise to this group so that we can all grow.”
Marsico started Archangel as a side venture. He worked primarily in real estate, was fortunate to “have done really well” but felt a huge void and a tugging towards bigger, more impactful mission.
“I was almost forced to quit real estate because it was such a contrast between the level of meaning and fulfillment from the Archangel project that wasn't there from the real estate. So I quit real estate and put all of my energy into scaling Archangel.”
The Archangel Summit in Toronto takes place on Saturday September 8 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre featuring a host of renowned entrepreneurs from Canada and beyond, including marketing guru, Arlene Dickinson, from the television show Dragon’s Den.
Throughout his journey, Marsico has never forgotten where he came from and who got him here.
“My experience at the school (St. Michael’s College School), changed my life forever, because I was surrounded by [pauses], it was my first mastermind, with people like me who wanted to see me grow, who were as smart as me or as gifted in different ways whether it was academically or athletically or both, and it almost forced me to be the best version of myself.
He also vividly remembers many of the SMCS teachers he says impacted him immeasurably more than 20 years ago.
“Mr. (Frank) Bergin for math who was super-influential. And he had this running joke with my parents, where I was getting 80’s. And my parents were like what’s wrong with 80’s. And he said, well if he actually had a textbook, he’d probably get 100. It’s a long story there!”
He continues, “Fr. (Cecil) Zinger, I loved how he was able to open my mind with respect to how look at religion and spirituality and faith and different things,” he says. “Mr. (Anthony) Zanardo for urban geography. It was actually because of that class that I kind of fell in love with architecture and development. That’s the one thing I loved about the real estate industry when I was it is was to watch construction. I still remember from grade 12, he said, when you see cranes, that’s a sign of urban growth. And Toronto has the most cranes per capita in the world, I think.”
Marsico also credits SMCS with fuelling his deep commitment to service.
“I feel like it has always been ingrained. It became a philosophy. And it was the school, my parents and church – the idea that we live to serve others. Meaning and fulfillment comes from serving others.”
He adds, “Environment shapes everything. [At SMCS] it’s almost like an all-star team in every possible way. So that when you are surrounded by greatness, and you’re surrounded by genius and you’re surrounded by just ‘A’ players, it forces you to be better.”
The Archangel Summit, a one-day extravaganza for entrepreneurs looking to learn from mission-driven, inspirational, influential and international thought-leaders takes place on Saturday September 8, 2018 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.