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Jonathan Martin, BCom
VP Franchise Development, Retire-At-Home Services - Ottawa, ON, Canada

Jonathan Martin

Jonathan Martin, BCom 1998, would describe himself as your “typical entrepreneur” in the sense that he is always on the move. “I just can’t pinned down to a desk,” he laughs. It is thanks to this characteristic that he has helped expand Retire-At-Home, an Ottawa based, fully-accredited, and nurse-managed home care company founded by his mother, Irene Martin, in 1994. As past Executive Director and as current co-founder of the Franchise Division, Jonathan held the position of Vice President of Franchise Development for the company, handling the franchise recruitment and development division. Now, the company has over 30 locations across Canada and is now expanding in the UK. He thanks the Telfer School of Management for having showed him how to network, how to do business and feel confident about projects, which all lead him to where he is today.

Born and raised in Ottawa, Jonathan says that attending the University of Ottawa’s Telfer School of Management felt like the right choice for him. Some of his fondest memories at the school were being involved in multiple clubs and associations such as the student council and the Entrepreneur’s Club. These were real life skills that Jonathan rejoices having acquired through different means, other than in the traditional classroom setting.

Jonathan says he will always remember Professor Peter Koppel, who unfortunately passed away in 2013. Jonathan was Professor Koppel’s teaching assistant for a presentation class and considered him as his mentor and icon. He says: “Every student goes through a struggle in every shape or form, and he helped me get through. Koppel is one of the reasons why I kept in touch with the school after all these years.” Jonathan still admires him today, saying he is everything required in an entrepreneur: disciplinary on one side but caring on the other.

During his studies, Jonathan was also working with his mother at Retire-At-Home, which taught him valuable experience. After graduating, he left Retire-At-Home to start a dotcom company with a friend and another Telfer alumnus. This raised many challenges for him and he is very glad that he went through them. When asked what advice he offers to his mentees, he says that he encourages them to work for a start-up because it is great experience. “Take chances,” he says, “I look at students and see how young they are – they have their whole life ahead of them… It’s through those experiences that you can start your kick-start your own career.”

Jonathan, as a mentor and a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board, truly believes in giving back. “It’s simple,” he says, “there’s no way I would be where I am today without Telfer.” The advisors and teachers that took the extra time to talk to him had a very positive impact on him. Thus, as a member of the DBA, he is able to give back to the school and students by providing advice about strategic planning, accreditations, the hiring of professors and how to engage alumni.

Jonathan returned to work for Retire-At-Home, and within five years, the company grew from 5 to 150 employees. Now with over 20 years’ experience as a Home Care Executive, he still plays a major role in overseeing the ongoing support that current franchisees receive from the support. What Jonathan finds the most rewarding, other than providing healthcare to people in need, is helping someone start a franchise and see it grow successfully. “It’s extremely rewarding to meet a franchisee and then give them a reward 5 years later,” he says. As Jonathan owes a lot his success due to mentorship, he also enjoys giving back and hopes that others will do the same.

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