The Cassaday family of Ontario has been reading Canadian Business for nearly 50 years, ever since George Leo Cassaday picked up his first issue back in the mid-1960s. In fact, passing on a subscription to the next generation has become something of a family tradition. Leo’s son, Mike, a director with Suncor Energy, and Mike’s daughter Kate, a senior editor with HarperCollins, recently stopped by the Canadian Business offices to chat about their unique relationship with the magazine. They spoke to managing editor Conan Tobias.
Canadian Business: Mike, how did your father become a Canadian Business reader?
Mike Cassaday: He went into the armed forces at 17—he lied about his age—came back seven years later, finished high school by taking night classes, and eventually worked his way up to become senior vice-president for A&P (now Metro). I think it was just a part of his business education, because he didn’t have a formal education.
C.B.: And he later made a reader out of you?
M.C.: Whatever your skill set is, your knowledge is usually narrow and deeply focused on those skills. When I graduated university in 1977, he gave me a subscription and said, “This will be a good broadening experience for you.” And I don’t think I’ve missed an issue in the past 35 years or so. If you offered me Businessweek, I wouldn’t take it.
C.B.: Kate, how did you feel when your father first bought you your subscription when you started your job in 2005?
Kate Cassaday: I didn’t know the story that Grandpa had given it to him until after he sent it to me. I think I said, “Can I have a subscription to The New Yorker instead?” [laughs] I couldn’t see at that point how it was going to be helpful for me in my career.
C.B.: Did it end up helping you both? Or, Kate, are you still bitter about not getting a New Yorker subscription?
K.C.: Yes, it helped. One of the things that surprised me about book publishing was how interested I was in the business side of it, and as that interest in the business grew, my interest in the magazine grew. Now I read it cover to cover. But one of the things I wish is that I’d been reading it enough early on that I’d had some conversations with Grandpa about it. I wish that kind of cross-pollination had happened. [Leo Cassaday passed away in 2011.]
M.C.: I did engineering for a number of years, then you start supervising people, and you start moving into more business-oriented roles. And so it did help. And occasionally you read about somebody you know. Michael Lee-Chin—he used to be a bouncer at the campus pub at McMaster University. He was a couple years ahead of me, and I actually worked as a bouncer at the pub and knew him casually.
C.B.: Kate, so will you continue the tradition and force Canadian Business on your children too?
K.C.: Yes, absolutely! I think it’s a really nice tradition. Though I think we’ll be passing on subscriptions in pixel form by that point.