According to Brad Schmidt (’95), President of Makoto Investments, “There are many business theories, but if they don’t fit with what the Bible says, they are wrong.”
This concept was learned while a student at Trinity Western University, and has given Schmidt a great deal of confidence as he’s traversed through the complex and often difficult world of entrepreneurial leadership.
As a student, Schmidt says he was deeply influenced by his professors from the School of Business. He was struck by the way they desired to put God at the center of business and desired to learn as much as he could from them.
Schmidt says he found his professors inspiring, but it took time to fully grasp it all. It wasn’t until he was out in the working world that he realized how many good and useful things he had learned.
Building His Career
After graduation, Schmidt found himself running a limousine company in Vancouver, BC. After almost two years of this, he moved to Seattle, Washington, where he worked as an interpreter and salesperson for consultants focused on improving industries around the world. Then in 1998, he started a company with a friend doing the same type of international consulting, as well as arranging benchmarking tours of good firms in Japan for top-level executives. He moved to Japan in 2006 to continue this work.
“I’m a missionary kid from Japan, so I grew up there,” says Schmidt of his heritage. His parents were missionaries from South Africa, so he spent a lot of time in that country as well.
In 2011, Schmidt merged his company with a large, multi-national consulting company, but left in 2013 due to philosophical differences. He then worked as a lead for improvement in a German automotive parts company while doing consulting on the side for Makoto Investments. In 2016, he joined MetLife in Japan and became the Vice President and Executive Officer.
“I had a great time at MetLife, taking over the company improvement team,” says Schmidt. “I was actually able to teach Christian principles for running a team and improving operations there. That definitely gave me the assurance that I was where God wanted me!”
This was a great season, but Schmidt ultimately decided to return to Makoto in 2018, where he continues to consult to this day.
Blessings in Business
“I had no experience with international business before I got into it, but somehow I gravitated towards it,” says Schmidt. In the last few years, he has started companies in many countries, including a branch in China, Australia, and Texas.
“I have had a wonderful life and am able to thank God in all circumstances,” says Schmidt. “I am blessed with a Christian wife too who helped me a lot. Many of my employees are not Christian but they know I am. They seem to know that if they stick with Brad, God will help them out!”
Schmidt is thankful for his many experiences but is the first to admit that it has not always been easy.
Thankful Even in Difficulty
Over the years, Schmidt has only become more aware of his need for God in everything he does. In business—as in life—bad and tough things will happen, sometimes quite unexpectedly. A difficult business betrayal and lawsuits in multiple countries left Schmidt deeply discouraged but not defeated. He says that God provided great lawyers for him and that he never lost his faith all through the struggle.
“People will betray you and you may run out of money. Both happened to me,” Schmidt says. “Amazingly enough, if you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, nothing is impossible to deal with. Actually you can give thanks in any situation life may throw you.”
Schmidt believes it’s important to remain joyful and thankful in all circumstances, and the way to do that is by keeping God in the center of all things.
“When people see that you have joy in your heart, no matter what, you become attractive to them and become a godly Christian leader.”
As he’s grown older, wiser, and more capable in his business endeavours, Schmidt has been able to emulate the perspective of the professors who so moved him while a student at Trinity Western. In the process of keeping God at the center of everything he does, he has found lasting joy.