Featured Business Leader Adam Garone
Who knew that a friendly challenge to grow an old-fashioned 70’s style moustache could evolve into a $580 million dollar worldwide movement, with over 800 funded programs spread across 21 countries? Well, it was the passion and ingenuity of Movember’s co-founder and CEO; Adam Garone that made it happen. Adam, and brother Travis began the Movember movement in 2003 to raise awareness and funds in support of men’s health issues. By exploring Adam Garone’s philanthropic journey, we learn how a creative idea sitting right below our noses can grow into a worldwide business phenomenon – an idea that continues to inspire and make a real impact towards changing the face of men’s health.
Born and raised in Melbourne Australia, Adam Garone started his career in the Defence Force Academy and enrolled in military college as an Army officer. After nine years in the Army, Adam decided to embark on the next phase of his life in the business world and began building up an extensive corporate portfolio in developing, managing and marketing, emerging web and mobile technologies.
Adam’s career comprised of a variety of managerial marketing roles in organisations such as ‘Pracom’, ‘RUN Property Pty Ltd’ and ‘StayClassy’. Lessons learnt within these roles taught Adam the skills to make Movember a success, and sparked his passion to make the world a better place. To accompany Adam’s extensive experience, he completed his Masters in Marketing at the University of Melbourne and, in the year of his graduation, Movember was born.
It was on a night out at a local Melbourne beer garden where the idea of Movember originated. Conversation shared between Adam and his mates quickly turned to past trends that had come back into fashion. The famous 70’s moustache was on the agenda and Adam and his friends chuckled and joked about bringing the ‘stash’ back.
Inspired by his friend’s mother who was fundraising to support breast cancer research, Adam saw the need to create a campaign to support men’s health issues. Adam and his friends decided to rally up 30 guys to take up the challenge of growing a traditional “Mo” for the full month of November, to raise money for men’s health. Enthusiasm grew enough to formally legitimise the idea, and turn it into registered company to provide participants (“Mo Bros” and “Mo Sistas”) with a cause to change ‘the face of men’s health’.
Adam undertook research into causes that were aligned to the mission of Movember, and this led to the proposal to partner with Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA) – although, this proposal came with its own challenges. Being a conservative company, the idea of associating with such an interesting concept like Movember was a sensitive hurdle to tackle. In 2005, after multiple successful campaigns and Adam’s continued persistence, 9,315 Mo Bros grew their moustaches and raised AUD $1.2 million for the PCFA. In that year they officially became Movember’s first men’s health partner. With the continuing growth and success of Movember, Adam elected to quit his job to fully commit to the expansion of the movement.
The year of 2006 presented a pivotal challenge in the Movember journey. All sponsorship funding and Adam’s financial input into Movember had run dry, leaving the burgeoning business in debt to the tune of $600,000. However, it was this downturn which marked a valuable lesson for Adam and his fellow co-founders – the importance of being both persistent and patient when it comes to taking big risks.
In late 2006, word and interest of Movember spread globally. Calls and emails from US, Canada, UK flooded in, demanding that the Movember movement to be brought to their hometowns. This opportunity took Movember across other parts of the world, where funds could grow on a much larger playing field. These vital funds not only contribute to raising awareness, supporting survivors and educating our society about men’s health issues, but are critical to improving the collaboration of global research experts to help find a cure.
Through Adam Garone’s eyes, Movember’s mission has remained the same since founded in 2003; “to use the moustache as a catalyst for conversations about men’s health in Australia”.
Now as the biggest funder of prostate cancer research and support programs in the world, Adam Garone, along with the many committed staff, Mo Bros and Mo Sistas, continue to collaborate and contribute to this incredible cause. Adam Garone’s journey is a commendable paradigm to illustrate three key important business lessons; the importance of having the persistence to strive for results, patience to overcome downturns and to always have passion to motivate you to make a difference.
This article was written by Tina Beatrice on behalf of the Australian Institute of Business. All opinions are that of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of AIB.