On the clear and mild afternoon of May 12, 2015, Mantella Corporation took part in a day of fashion and fundraising by becoming a platinum sponsor of the inaugural Haute Health event. Not only did the event’s first-ever show treat guests to the Canadian debut of Greek fashion designer Mary Katrantzou’s fall 2015 collection, but thanks to the generous hearts of all involved, it managed to raise a whopping $400,000 in support of programs dedicated to individuals and families struggling with dementia.
Held at the elegant Arcadian Court, Haute Health was launched by the Bitove Foundation and brought together fashionable philanthropists from across the city to raise funds for initiatives that work toward bettering the lives of those living with and affected by dementia. Proceeds from this year’s event went to the Dotsa Bitove Wellness Academy and the CAP Innovation Fellowship Program at the University Health Network, two of the country’s leading organizations in the field.
“There are about half a million people in Canada that suffer from the debilitating effects of dementia, but it’s also a weight that must be borne by their family and friends,” says Robert Mantella, president and CEO of Mantella Corporation. “Organizations such as the Dotsa Bitove Wellness Academy are there to offer the support and services that help both individuals and their families through the hardship. We’re proud to support such a cause.”
Co-host of Breakfast Television Dina Pugliese picked up the mic and emceed the inaugural event, welcoming to the stage speakers such as chair of Haute Health and executive director of the Bitove Foundation Vonna Bitove, philanthropist Suzanne Rogers and Dr. Joy Richards, vice-president of Health Professionals and chief nurse executive of the UHN.
The cause is particularly close to the heart of Bitove, as her mother Dotsa, suffers from dementia. It was in Dotsa’s honour that the family, in 2013, founded the Dotsa Bitove Wellness Academy, the first day program in the country focused on providing wellness, care and hope to individuals and families living with various levels of dementia.
After guests sipped crisp Argentinean wines and savoured the delicious Cornish hen “cobbs” and decadent pink grapefruit soaked vanilla sponge by Oliver & Bonacini, they were treated to the main course: an exclusive fashion show by Mary Katrantzou. The award-winning designer paraded the unmistakable looks of her Fall 2015 collection, which featured a range of elegant, regal patterns and fearless colours.
As things wound down, it was announced that an impressive $200,000 was raised from the event. But the biggest surprise of the day came with a late announcement: An anonymous donor made a generous pledge to match that figure, bringing the total funds raised from Haute Health to an astounding $400,000.
“The extraordinary amount raised by this event is a testament to the compassion and effort put forth by Vonna Bitove and her team at the Bitove Foundation,” Mantella explains. “We look forward to being part of future Haute Health events and helping to better the lives of those most in need.”
Real estate developer Robert Mantella was always intrigued by the way his three children were able to interact with technology with comfort and ease. In their early teens they had mastered their devices — their computers, their smartphones — and Mantella was fascinated by the way technology was seamlessly weaved into their everyday lives.
“It isn’t hard to see how personal devices are integral to the lives of today’s youth,” says Mantella, president and CEO of Mantella Corporation, a family-owned and operated real estate development company that’s been in business since 1946. “This generation grew up connected and their futures will continue to be tied, ever more closely, to their technology. This is something that simply can’t be ignored.”
Mantella, a wildlife enthusiast and proponent of the power of evolution, had already witnessed the changes that swept through the real estate development business. Investment trusts emerged and institutionalized the industry, and many family-owned development companies that couldn’t compete with the trusts’ deep pockets were pushed to closure. The environment had shifted and Mantella knew he needed to evolve the family development business to find new avenues for growth. Technology was the obvious route.
In 2008, Mantella sold a group of properties from his company’s portfolio to generate the funds needed to lay the foundation for his own venture capitalist firm. He teamed up with Robin Axon and Duncan Hill, the founding partners of early-stage technology accelerator Basecamps Labs and together they launched Mantella Venture Partners in 2010.
Today, Mantella Venture Partners has flourished into a $23-million early stage fund that invests upwards of $500,000 in companies and entrepreneurs developing market-altering mobile and Internet software. In it’s first year alone, Mantella VP invested in 60 entrepreneurs and even sold PushLife, a mobile entertainment platform, to Google for $25 million.
And Mantella VP’s successes don’t stop there. In a recent New York Times article, it was announced that Chango, a platform that helps connect marketers with their target audience and one of Mantella VP’s first investments, was purchased by Los Angeles-based advertising company Rubicon Project for a reported $122 million. Online security and privacy company SurfEasy was also recently purchased by Norwegian software giant Opera. And Unata, which allows for real-time shopper marketing, was selected by North Carolina grocery chain Lowes Food for a pilot project that will offer a one-to-one e-commerce connection with its shoppers.
“By aligning with brilliant partners, we were able to develop a different model of investing seed money,” says Mantella. “We believe a coordinated effort between the founders and the investors is key to developing these companies and their products. We’re very hands-on in all stages of growth, mentoring these young geniuses so they can build a successful business.”
Mantella VP also has no plans to slow down. “These brilliant minds are creating technology that shapes the way we interact with businesses, products and, of course, each other. We’ll continue to provide the support and guidance they need to bring these ideas to life,” Mantella explains. But when it comes to what we can expect from the company in the future, he remains reserved. “The best is yet to come.”
On Jan. 31, 2015, Mantella Corporation once again took up the reins as a leading sponsor of the Canadian Arts & Fashion Awards (CAFAs), making the event’s second annual gala one the city, and the country, were all talking about.
President of Mantella Corporation Robert Mantella and his wife, Sylvia Mantella, have become regulars on the fundraising circuit. On top of their work with the CAFAs (Sylvia is also the chair of the CAFA Nominating Committee, which features 43 members), the Mantellas support over 30 organizations, including Scrubs in the City and ONEXONE. For Robert, supporting Canada’s fashion industry has become a shared passion between himself and Sylvia.
“Canadian fashion designers have reached a level that is turning heads on the international stage,” says Robert. “The CAFAs not only celebrate that success but also garner further recognition for those talents here at home and across the globe.”
The CAFAs honour the accomplishments of leading Canadian designers as well as recognizing the country’s emerging stars in fashion. Through this support, it’s hoped that the fashion industry in Canada will further develop, elevating the presence of homegrown talent across the globe.
This year, the CAFAs returned to the Fairmont Royal York in downtown Toronto, where the city’s tastemakers and fashion elite mingled among cocktails, live entertainment and, of course, the awards presentation. Editor-in-chief of Yahoo Style Joe Zee hosted the evening and welcomed a star-studded roster of presenters to the stage, including actress Elisha Cuthbert, supermodel Yasmin Warsame, philanthropist Suzanne Rogers and husband-and-wife fashion power couple Joe Mimran and Kimberley Newport-Mimran.
Eleven of the Karim Rashid-designed awards were handed out over the course of the evening, with Mikhael Kale winning Womenswear Designer of the Year, Philippe Dubuc taking home the Menswear Designer of the Year award, Sid Neigum earning the Swarovski Award for Emerging Talent and Marie Saint Pierre honoured with the Outstanding Achievement Award.
“The CAFAs have proven to not only be beneficial for the Canadian fashion industry, but something that the public has been craving,” Robert adds. “We couldn’t be more proud to lend the Mantella name to such a notable event.”
Read more about Robert Mantella & Mantella Corporation:
Real Estate Developer Robert Mantella Discusses His Love of Animals and the Motivation Behind His Florida Wildlife Sanctuary
Businessman and philanthropist Robert Mantella has a connection with nature that few in his position share. The president of real estate development company Mantella Corporation holds a life-long fascination of animals and how evolution has shaped wildlife all over the world. Along with his wife, Sylvia Mantella, Mantella has transformed his 40-acre Florida estate into a private, non-profit animal sanctuary for endangered and abused animals. The compound is home to more than 150 species of exotic creatures, from big cats, such as tigers and white lions, to capuchin monkeys, two-toed sloths, white-faced gibbons, Burmese pythons and more. We reached out to Mantella to learn more about his affinity for animals and how he and Sylvia are providing an environment where the wildlife in their care can live and thrive in peace.
You’ve converted much of your Florida estate into a reserve for endangered and abused animals. Why was this something you were compelled to do?
My business is one that requires deep thought and, quite simply, is mentally exhausting. The creation of our sanctuary in Florida is one that of course puts the needs of the animals first, but the fulfilment and peace I feel when close to these amazing creatures, helping them to live respectful, safe, quality lives, is an escape for both Sylvia and I — a virtual dream come true. Our sanctuary is not for profit. If an animal breeds, we build a new enclosure. Nothing is for sale. We are not open to the public so these animals are not stressed by strange smells and noises. To them, it is home.
Where does your love of animals come from? Do you remember the first moment when you felt that connection?
I have been fascinated by the animal kingdom since a very young age. In fact, I still own animal encyclopedias labelled “Robert Mantella, Grade 2, Princess Margaret School.” So we’re going back 40 years. I would study each animal and its habits, and dream of one day experiencing encounters with each. For example, I would study each species of parrot and was easily able to name the 30 species of Amazon parrots and the over 300 species of parrots in general. My quest for knowledge of the animal kingdom was this obsessive. I also spent my spare time as a child collecting frogs, minnows, turtles, insects — anything that would bring me closer to nature. The fascination has never left me, and I rarely get through a day without researching something in this arena.
Do you have a favourite animal? If so, what is it that draws you to it?
My favourites are the big cats. I have studied and trained with these magnificent evolutionary hunters and have a relationship with each of them. I have raised all of the big cats at our sanctuary from cubs and I spend each day working with all of them in a manner that each personality permits. Their habitats are quickly being destroyed and ancient beliefs that their body parts have mythical powers feed a horrid billion-dollar black market and fuel the rapid extinction of these animals. I will do whatever I can to help stop canned trophy hunting of these cats, and to try and save some so that future generations can cherish their existence on this planet.
Sylvia’s favourites are certainly the two-toed sloths. They are fragile and difficult to care for, but she has had many successes in raising them. They do require a nurturing, caring upbringing, balanced with the fact that as adults they can be quite dangerous. Sylvia is best with these creatures.
You’ve studied the behavioural patterns of these creatures and, as you said, even trained to be licensed to handle big cats. Why was it important to you to take such an academic and hands-on approach?
I believe that understanding these creatures would quickly force any learned person to put their egos aside and understand that only a few should be permitted to house these animals. To answer your question in the shortest and most accurate manner, without knowledge and a deep understanding and respect for these animals and what they have evolved to be the result will be death of the human or an unfortunate incident resulting in an injured human and a destroyed cat. They are wild animals and cannot be tamed. They will simply tolerate you if you treat them with respect and understand their needs and desires.
Caring for these animals is undoubtedly a serious obligation. What are some of the challenges that come with caring for such a diverse group of species?
We have the best team and staff and I have over 200 cameras with live feed, so even when in Toronto I watch all that is going on and give instruction. We have successes and we have failures and both Sylvia and I take each quite personally. We try our best with the best equipment, people and knowledge available to us.
You say many of the animals at your reserve don’t have better options available to them, that there is no safe place in the wild for them. What are the dangers or threats they face in the wild?
Yes, sadly there is little wild left. Deforestation, black market slaughter, even reserves, although set up from a “good” place, only assist criminals to more easily locate the targeted animals. Simply put, as population sprawls, and 7.5 billion people require more space, farmland, etc., the wild is disappearing. Predators such as tigers, lions and hyenas do not make good neighbours, and incidents of course occur. This coupled with hunting, legal and illegal, black market ivory trade and tiger part trade, make even the tiny habitats available to these animals unsafe. Inevitably, extinction is the result. Your children will read about tigers as they do now of dinosaurs, or more recently dodo birds or Tasmanian wolves.
What are some of the goals that you have for these animals?
Our main goal is to give these animals respectful, safe, fulfilling lives, and through controlled breeding and placement in other facilities similar to ours, we hope to create a short-term solution until a long-term one is available. This is a difficult task, but there are good people out there that feel the same. Through teamwork and cooperation, we can only hope to make a difference.
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“Mantella Corporation the leading sponsor”. This is something that has been in the news many times recently. The reason being that Robert and Sylvia Mantella have been involved in various high profile events and charities. Here is a short list of them:
- Ronald McDonald House
- Scrubs in the city
- Amore without borders
(CAFA) Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards:
- Early this year there was an event held to honour the emerging talent Canadian Designers. Their chief aim to bring forward all the hidden and emerging talent in Canada, in the Fashion Designing Field and to provide them a good platform to launch themselves.
- This event, the Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards was all about providing national and international exposure to the emerging designers in Canada.
- Robert Mantella was aware of the issues surrounding the Fashion designers in Canada. It was that the Fashion Designers in Canada had a very small market compared to that of USA and Europe.
- At the same time it was difficult for individual designers to access the international market. This event was a golden opportunity for all the young Canadian talent and hence Robert jumped at the opportunity to do his bit and thus was the exclusive gold sponsor of the event.
- At the same time he also showed that he was committed to supporting such events in the future as well.
Canadian Fundraiser to Support Doctors without Borders:
- The year 2014 did not end with just one exclusive event for both Robert Mantella and Mantella Corporation.
- There was another event recently held which was the Amore Without Borders event. This event was held in the DownTown Porsche dealership.
- This was a first of its kind event in Canada and it was a fund raiser to support the Medicins Sans Fronteieres / Doctors without Borders (MSF).
- Mantella Corporation was the sponsor again and again it was the lead sponsor. In fact Robert Mantella believed that an event of this kind was long overdue.
- There hadn’t been a single fund raiser for this charity since it began it’s operations in Canada way back in 1989.
- More than 250 VIPs attended the event where they enjoyed the generosity.
The politics of Fashion / Fashion of Politics:
- Fashion exhibitions are quite common. However there are not many who touch the Intellectual side of fashion and the thoughts on Identity and Politics. The Politics of Fashion / Fashion of Politics (POF/FOP) does just that.
- The (POF/FOP) is an exhibition that focuses on the controversial side as well as the propaganda and protests. What this event brings together the style, statement and classic and controversial.
- Their exhibits are educational and also showed how there is more to clothes than just style and means to cover ourselves. Furthermore it is a good means to show how our clothes carry a deeper message.
- Mantella Corporation has always been a supporter of Arts and hence will be participating in this event.
Who is Robert Mantella?
- Robert Mantella is the President as the CEO of Mantella Corporation. Paul Mantella, the father of Robert Mantella was in this top job prior to that and as the Industrial Development Arena evolved, so to did the thinking behind Mantella.
- Robert looks up to his father and respects most that he knew when it was time to let new ideas and strategies led by others to replace the ways of old, almost like a mentor. Mantella Corporation is a family business and has always been since it was established by Robert Mantella’s grandfather Anthony Mantella in 1946.
- Mantella Corporation is still going strong approximately 70 years since it was established.
- In his 25 years long career Robert Mantella has faced some rough times as has Mantella Corporations itself.
- “Nepotism, the destruction of most family corporations…..I have always believed the best person for the job should be in that position….last name different irrelevant…”
- There was a time when many companies in Canada where finding it tough to survive and some didn’t. This was a time when Robert Mantella made some wise decisions many based on his strong beliefs in the necessity to evolve to survive….
- This helped Mantella Corporations through these tough times and made sure they were able to compete and find their niche despot the walls of institutional money being thrown at an industry once controlled by smaller family operations. This was a great display of the foresight of Robert Mantella and in doing so Robert also secured the future of Robert Mantella corporations for some time to come.
- Robert Mantella is the President as well as CEO of Mantella Corporation. Robert Mantella took over as President of this family business from his father Paul Mantella.
- Mantella Corporation was established by his very own grandfather, Anthony Mantella way back in 1946. Robert always looked up to his father as a mentor but knew when it was time to move into the lead role….. and finally accepted the responsibility of the top job.
- Mantella Corporation is a well-established company even now, 70 years since inception.
- Robert Mantella has had a long career of about 25 years now leading the Mantella Corporation. It was not always smooth rolling though. Mantella Corporation too has been through tough times… family businesses have forces to deal with internally and externally.
- This was a time when many corporations were faced to close and others were finding it difficult to survive; at a time like this Robert Mantella was able to not only keep Mantella Corporation afloat but he also managed to secure the future of the firm for some time to come.
- The actions taken by Robert Mantella brought forward his great foresight and the knack of taking the correct business decisions.
In recent times Mantella Corporation Toronto has been involved in several high profile events and charities too. A few of
them are mentioned here:
- Ronald McDonald House
- Scurbs in the city
- Amore without borders
Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards (CAFA):
- The first Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards event was held earlier this year. The main focus of this event was on honouring the emerging talented Canadian Designers.
- They in fact where hopping to bring forward all the hidden and emerging talented Canadian Fashion designers to provide them a good platform to launch themselves. This meant national as well international exposure too.
- Mantella Corporation was the leading sponsor, in fact it was the exclusive gold sponsor of the event. The reason being that Robert Mantella to shared the same beliefs.
- He felt that the Canadian Fashion Designers never got enough exposure to the international markets and the Canadian Market was smaller than that of either USA or Europe.
- This was one event where the fashion designers in Canada had an opportunity to gain exposure to the international market and prove their worth. Thus Robert Mantella jumped at the opportunity of being a part of this event and event committed to support similar events in the future.
Canadian Fundraiser to Support Doctors without Borders:
- There was another first in Canada, this time it as the first Amore Without Borders event, that was held at the Downtown Porsche dealership.
- This happened to be the first fund raising event to support Medicines Sans Fronteieres / Doctors without Borders (MSF) and again Robert Mantella did his part in being the lead sponsor of the event.
- He believed that the event was long overdue since this charity had begun its operation in Canada way back in 1989.
- This was an event that saw more than 250 VIPs getting together and sipping champagne and enjoying the generosity of the hosts.
The politics of Fashion / Fashion of Politics:
- The politics of Fashion / Fashion of Politics (POF/ FOP) is an event that deals with the Intellectual side of fashion and the
thoughts on identity and politics.
- It is a fashion exhibition, but it is more than just about clothes. This exhibition focuses on the controversial as well as the propaganda and protests.
- It brings together the style, statement and classic and controversial. The exhibits are both educational and at same time show how there is more to clothes than just style and a means to cover ourselves.
- It shows how our clothes carry a deeper message. Mantella Corporation will be participating in this event. In fact Mantella Corporation has always been a supporter of Arts.