By Craig Patterson
Dax Dasilva, founder and CEO of Montreal-based Lightspeed, has written his first book that maps out his personal journey with a motivational framework for leaders to create a better world. The book is called ‘Age of Union’ and is now available for purchase both as an e-book and in paperback format.
The book maps out Mr. Dasilva’s journey of individual realization with a goal of creating a better tomorrow, including his vision for positive global change while helping others discover their self-purpose. At a time when society is seeing growing division in areas of gender, religion, politics, and culture, the book highlights the importance of facing these challenges both quickly and cooperatively through meaningful individual acts to create unity. Mr. Dasilva refers to it as ‘unseparation’ in his book with a recognition that in the end, we’re all human on a journey together on this planet.
He also founded the cultural non-profit ‘Never Apart’ in 2015 that includes the Never Apart Centre in Montreal, which follows his passion for arts and creating a forum for the expression of varied perspectives. What resulted was a not-for-profit centre aiming to bring about social change and unity through cultural programming with a global reach and impact. Mr. Dasilva came out as a gay man at the age of 18 to his immigrant parents and as part of the process, he discovered his identity with the assistance of LGBT community centres which helped frame his vision for philanthropy.
“Age of Union began with my plans to open Never Apart where I could use my experience to inspire others and fuel unity across humanity, society, and nature,” said Mr. Dasilva. “With the words of this book, I hope to provide today’s changemakers with the tools they need to pave the path to a new age of connectedness that safeguards our world and all living things within it.”
Mr. Dasilva’s remarkable successes make the book especially compelling. He founded Lightspeed, the Montreal-based powerful cloud point-of-sale system for independent retailers and restaurants in 2005, and the company has grown exponentially into a company with more than 700 employees in eight cities with a presence in more than 100 countries. In March of this year, Lightspeed became one of the top 10 technology initial public offerings on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
Lightspeed was founded on the premise of inclusiveness and diversity, which remains core to the ethos of the brand today, according to Mr. Dasilva. He explained how differences are celebrated in his company, and how those with varying backgrounds have helped shape the diversity and inclusivity in the company.
In his book Age of Union, Mr. Dasilva advocates that the time for change is now and that our choices are the catalyst. At a time of human-accelerated climate change and environmental degradation, not to mention other challenges, the book highlights the importance of facing these challenges quickly and cooperatively through meaningful individual acts that can unite all people, cultures, and living things.
Mr. Dasilva identifies critical moments in his own life that led to his understanding of the larger role he was to play in helping others become agents of change. That includes early influences from his parents, as well as connections he made with nature growing up in British Columbia that included joining the environmental battle to save old-growth forests as well as his own coming out. In university, Mr. Dasilva’s theological studies that drew him to convert to Judaism, and his extensive international travels further ignited his spiritual connection between body and soul.
The premise of Mr. Dasilva’s book is grounded in the Four Pillars of Unseparation —leadership, culture, spirituality, and nature. He discussed these in more detail.
Leadership: Mr. Dasilva explained how leadership unlocks the potential for individuals to be agents of change in ways both large and small, and how at a time of access to the internet and social media, we all have the opportunity to make a greater impact on the world through diverse talents that can help broaden leadership.
Culture: Mr. Dasilva discussed how culture influences behaviour and how it harnesses the potential of identity, diversity, and expression with the potential to unify and share awareness among people.
Spirituality: Recognizing a higher power while understanding the oneness of all things is a powerful thing, he explained, as faith results in the strength to act for positive transformation. Mr. Dasilva said that many are lacking spirituality as a base and how he was able to succeed in his various endeavours by learning from challenges and successes, and that his successes were greatly enhanced by recognizing something greater than humanity itself.
Nature: Mr. Dasilva explained how the time is now to help make the planet a better place — protecting our planet is critical not only for the future but for our own current endeavours that will ultimately make the world a better place now and for the future. Mr. Dasilva said that his years of living in British Columbia, including saving old-growth forests, helped him find his place in the world by recognizing how we are connected to our planet.
Mr. Dasilva said that he had considered adding a fifth pillar, Diversity, but realized that diversity is a common theme in the other four pillars and are ultimately key to helping the world become a better place.
Age of Union, as per its title, forms a unification of principals that can be used as guidelines for leaders to create a better world. Mr. Dasilva explained how there are plenty of books out there discussing each of the pillars separately, and he said that examining these in unison leads to more holistic success and life meaning. Mr. Dasilva concludes the book by listing 40 specific acts of union that will spark a better tomorrow.
Age of Union took about three years to write, said Mr. Dasilva. That included about a year of notes and transcription that was followed by a concerted effort to create the book. He also wrote the manifesto for his charitable Never Apart centre that led to a TED talk in 2016 that included discussion of how a day job and passion projects are all part of an authentic individual.