What COVID-19 has taught us about long-term care
Building an equal future for women in Atlantic Canada
SaltWire Selects: Stories you don't want to miss
SPECIAL REPORT: Facets of family violence
Have you tried the SaltWire News app?
UPDATED: COVID-19 news and numbers
Continuing coverage: Mass shooting in Nova Scotia
What's working for businesses in 2021?
CEO of real estate development company KMK Capital passionate about business, sailing, family
When Justin Ladha's name first started appearing in The Telegram decades ago, it was largely in the sports section.
The current chairman of the St. John's Board of Trade competed at multiple Canada Games in sailing (plus another in squash). He teamed up with his younger brother, Jonathan, at the 2001 games in London, Ont., to claim a bronze medal for Newfoundland and Labrador.
Today, he's still passionate about sailing, but has a lot of other responsibilities to contend with. The CEO of construction, project management and development company KMK Capital also has three daughters with his wife, Andrea. He has been involved with the St. John's Board of Trade for several years and took on the chairman role in February.
"I looked at it and thought that it was a great organization and a good way to give back to the business community," Ladha explained.
- Zimbabwe-born, St. John’s-based hip-hop artist King Sway answers 20 Questions
- 20 Questions with Marystown Fire Chief Justin Bolt
- 20 Questions with St. John’s based graphic designer and illustrator Jud Haynes
- 20 Questions with new Happy City St. John’s chair Meghan Hollett
He has been with KMK for about 12 years and took on the role of CEO in 2018. Over the course of a 20-year career, Ladha has worked on real estate developments, sales and construction projects in Canada, the United States, Europe and the Caribbean.
As an experienced sailor, Ladha can pinpoint skills he developed at sea that also apply to the business world.
"There's a ton of parallels. Hard work, competition, leadership," he said.
He has worked on projects in a variety of locales and has a clear sense of what he's been able to learn from those experiences. Ladha has a strong grasp on how to apply what he learns to other projects.
"Doing work in different jurisdictions, the more you're exposed to — different ways of doing things, different regulatory regimes — the better you get in being able to fend off potential problems from the beginning," he said. "Because you see how things work well and how they don't work well and how different people deal with different situations thrown upon them. Something that may happen in the Caribbean in development may not be exactly as in Newfoundland, but there are similarities. That's been extremely beneficial.
"And being able to adapt to different ways of doing things, because even when you bounce from municipality to municipality, everybody is a little bit different. When you become accustomed to working in different environments, you adapt quicker."
1. What is your full name?
Justin Robert Ladha.
2. Where and when were you born?
I was born in St. John's in January of 1978.
3. Where do you live today?
4. What’s your favourite place in the world?
I would have to say my favourite place in the world is St. John's, Newfoundland. I've been lucky enough to travel and work in various different spots. But despite the weather, when I get off a plane here and smell the ocean, I love it every time.
5. Who do you follow on social media?
I'm a little bit behind when it comes to social media. I don't really follow anyone. When I became chair of the Board of Trade, it was time to get on Twitter. Now I do scan it sometimes. St. John's Board of Trade and various news networks.
6. What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I don't know that there's a lot that would surprise people. What you see is pretty much what you get. I guess I like to watch cheesy TV shows.
7. What has been your favourite year and why?
I would have to think my favourite year is the year I got married, in 2009, because ... we now have a great family, my wife Andrea and I. That was a pretty special year for me.
8. What is the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
I've been involved in starting a lot of companies and hiring a ton of people. But throughout my career, I've also had to close companies and lay people off. That's really difficult. It's part of business life, but I hate it, and it's very difficult to do that.
9. Can you describe one experience that changed your life?
Having our three lovely daughters. We had one daughter, and then about 22 months later, we had twins. That experience, while it was tiring, it was great, and it certainly changed our lives.
10. What’s your greatest indulgence?
I love the Toronto Maple Leafs. I watch as many of their games as I can, and I love to go into Toronto for a hockey game when I can with some friends. ... So far so good (this season), but I've learned not to get too confident over the years. (Laughs.)
11. What is your favourite movie or book?
I think my favourite all-time movie is still "Top Gun." I like lots of action, competitive, but despite the ups and downs, a happy ending.
12. How do you like to relax?
I like to exercise. I try to exercise as much as I can, whether it's running, on a spin-bike, swimming laps, that's how I relax. It clears the mind, leaves you refreshed, keeps you sharp, and despite the hard work you're doing, I do find it relaxing.
13. What are you reading or watching right now?
I read a lot of news. I read as much as I have time for, especially financial news. The show my wife and I are watching now is a cheesy TV show called "Royal Pains." ... It's light, mindless, funny, something you don't have to think about, happy — I don't like watching anything that makes me sad.
14. What is your greatest fear?
I would say my greatest fear is (something happening to) my children. I wouldn't have said that, obviously, before becoming a father, but if I had to think of everything now that I'd be most afraid of, it's one of them getting hurt or something happening to them.
15. How would you describe your personal fashion statement?
I would say fairly conservative. I'm not a risky dresser, but fairly conservative and professional. Not too exciting. (Laughs.)
16. What is your most treasured possession?
Our family sailboat. It's older, but I love it. Shalloway is its name. ... I have created so much memories when I was younger, and then with friends growing up, and now again with my daughters, and still with my brothers and dad and my wife. So many good memories on that.
17. What physical or personality trait are you most grateful to a parent for?
I'm most grateful to my parents for instilling the work ethic that I have. They're in their 70s now, and they still work very hard, because they enjoy it. They taught us that you need to work hard and have a good work ethic. They also taught us when you're doing that to be extremely polite and considerate. ... Work ethic, manners and empathy.
18. Which three people would join you for your dream dinner party?
This is not an exciting answer, but we have a big family. A lot of friends. But three people, Number 1 would be my wife, Andrea, and then the two others, anyone from my family. My brothers, my parents, anyone. No celebrities. I'd pick them.
19. What is your best quality, and what is your worst quality?
I think my best quality would be I can work with anyone. I feel that I can get along and work with anyone in the world. My worst quality, without doubt, is procrastination. If there's something I don't want to do, I'll put it off until I absolutely have to do it. I probably shouldn't do that, but I do it all the time. (Laughs.)
20. What is your biggest regret?
I don't spend a lot of time looking at the past. It's not something I've ever thought of. I don't have any huge regrets. If I make a mistake, yes, I'll try to learn from it. But I don't spend a lot of time dwelling on the past. I look forward.
Note: Some answers have been edited for length.