Meet the Tireless Humanitarian & Philanthropist
An hour with Perminder Chohan will leave you feeling inspired, enlightened and wanting to find ways to be of service.
His calm, modest and gracious demeanour, make you believe you too can achieve great success and overcome obstacles such as learning a new language or starting a business from scratch. He is an inspiration for everyone, whether someone is of South Asian descent, immigrant or someone trying to build a future for their family. For someone leading 500 advisors as the Managing Director of DFSIN Richmond South – Chohan isn’t afraid to mention his own financial struggles or the fact that he taught himself to speak English by watching movies. Also, I should mention he has co-authored two bestselling books UnCommon with Brian Tracy and Performance 360 with Sir Richard Branson. Last year, he was awarded Spirit of Generosity by Drishti Media for his tireless efforts to support those in need.
Chohan is known in the community to be insurmountably generous with his time and energy, and supports many causes financially. Some of the organizations he supported last year include BC Children’s Hospital, Kids Play, Sikh Motorocyce Club, LA Matheson Secondary School, Ronald Mcdonald House, and Eagle Ridge Hospital, among others. Altruism is indeed a fundamental part of his making. One can clearly see, it’s his transparency, genuine and authentic spirit along with tenacity and resilience that have brought him success today. A conversation with Chohan is bound to leave you feeling electrified with possibilities, and dream bigger. I can picture him on the TED stage soon sharing his stories.
Tell us about your childhood, and growing up in India.
In my childhood I always dreamt of having personal success but also being in a position where I can create a positive impact on others. My dad taught me from a young age – what you do for others, that’s what will be remembered about you. He never said no to anyone, if someone came asking for help.
What was your first year in Canada like?
I couldn’t speak English when I first moved to Canada. It was hard in the beginning, to adjust and find employment. In India, even if you are hardworking and have a dream, there are so many roadblocks, unlike Canada. My first six months were tough, and I was close to going back but soon I made a decision to make Canada my home.
When I was in India, I was always struggling and barely making ends meet. When I came to Canada I decided I needed to make enough to not only support my family but have more than enough to impact other lives. My first job was in a plastics factory working graveyard shifts. I was never afraid of changing or taking a risk. To overcome financial issues I had to become more creative, so I launched my own business.
You were interviewed by Brian Tracy and then asked to write a chapter in his best selling book, UnCommon, tell us about that experience.
Early on in my life when I joined the financial field, I had heard Brian Tracy was the man to see regarding leadership, business and success. I didn’t end up going to any of his coaching seminars, but then fast forward to a few years back Tracy asked to interview me on his show. I was in complete shock, I showed up on his set and he seemed to know everything about me – someone I had looked up to immensely.
Can you tell us about the work you have done in the community last year?
I am humbled to be involved with the Rotary Club, who aspire to be of service above self. Last year we did oral cancer screening for 400 individuals in collaboration with UBC and 38 among them had positive signs. I make sure I am present, whether at Surrey Food Bank or Surrey Urban Shelter. For me money is not that important, it’s being there and supporting someone emotionally that’s more important.
What inspires you to get deeply involved with social work?
It gives me great pleasure and joy to be of service. There were a lot of people who were there for me when I was first starting out, so I take it upon myself to give back. Human connection is very important
What advice would you give to someone new in Canada?
I simply would say, there is no such thing as impossible. Everything is possible if you’re committed, focused and honest. Anything you start needs commitment, dedication and hard work, and remember nothing comes free. If you want your business to grow you will have to make a schedule and set goals. I recommend my trainees to read motivational books and to train their mind. One of my own habits is to read a book for 20-30 minutes before going to bed. Find inspiration, and commit to personal growth. The people who get ahead in life are the ones who create the circumstances they want to be in. I recommend everyone to read Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. It taught me to learn from mistakes and failures, and to keep moving forward. Our predominant thoughts must become less focused on self, but to be of service to others, that is how you will succeed in life.