(The Network Journal) — Born to Black and Chinese biracial parents in Port Antonio, Jamaica, Michael Lee Chin, always knew the value of hard work. When he was 7-yrs old, his mother married local grocery store clerk Vincent Chin. A true Brady bunch clan, together the couple had nine children. His mother sold Avon products and performed bookkeeping duties to help support the large family. Chin had various jobs as a teenager including landscaping and working on the Jamaica Queen cruise ship cleaning the engine room. Michael saved enough money to attend one year at Canada’s McMaster University. Using ingenuity, Lee-Chin wrote the prime minister of Jamaica requesting financial support to complete his education abroad and was granted a three-year scholarship to complete civil engineering studies at Canada’s McMaster University.
Starting out as an investment advisor, Lee-Chin worked his way up to management for Investors Group of Canadian. “The highest form of leadership is to lead by example,” explained Lee-Chin. For this reason, he wanted to be a great investor, not just an adviser. In 1983, he borrowed $500k to purchase a stake in Mackenzie Financial Group. He also created Kick Athletics with Andrew Gayle. After four years, both investments were worth 3.5 million. When asked what makes a good leader, Lee-Chin elucidated “the comfort of being different, to be bold enough to execute on your decision.” Following that success, Lee-Chin took the profits from his MacKenzie investment and purchased Advantage Investment Council for $200K. At the time, the company was worth $800K. He renamed the company AIC, and established it into a fund that’s worth around $6 billion.