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Paul Rivett-Carnac (’04)“We manufacture and distribute our own brand of herbal-based natural health products,” says Paul Rivett-Carnac (’04) of St. Francis Herb Farm, a business his parents founded 33 years ago. “We sell to a variety of health-food stores, grocery chains, healthcare practitioners — and have a strong reputation for quality.”

That reputation has led to tremendous growth. In late 2021, St. Francis Herb Farm opened the largest dedicated plant medicine facility in Canada. As the company’s CEO, Mr. Rivett-Carnac has been key in building the enterprise into the thriving business that it is today — and he credits Thomas Aquinas College with giving him some of the tools that building has demanded.

“I grew up in rural Ontario, and worked in the family business throughout my childhood, mostly in the summers,” says Mr. Rivett-Carnac. He heard about Thomas Aquinas College through a friend from the local homeschooling community. “Attending the College was a great experience. It opened my eyes and laid a strong foundation.”

As is the case with many alumni, it took Mr. Rivett-Carnac a few years to discover how strong and versatile that foundation can be. “When I graduated, I didn’t know what I wanted to do next,” he says. “But at that time, Health Canada was implementing some substantial regulations for my family business’s industry. I came home and helped the business go through the intense and lengthy process of getting compliant with those new regulations.” That incidental involvement deepened over the years, leading Mr. Rivett-Carnac to pursue his MBA at Carleton University in Ottawa to better deal with the challenges of growing the business. By 2014, he was the CEO.

Although grateful for the concrete lessons he acquired while studying for his MBA, Mr. Rivett-Carnac attributes the broader elements of his business style to his time at the College. “I’m passionate about leadership development, both in myself and in my management team,” he says. “There’s a strong correlation between being a good leader and being a perpetual student, something which TAC emphasizes very strongly.”

In his day-to-day affairs as CEO, Mr. Rivett-Carnac has found himself drawing concretely on another habit of mind acquired at Thomas Aquinas College. “The College’s interdisciplinary approach to learning has been very helpful,” he says. “There are many areas of the business which are very different from each other, and while they aren’t in direct competition, they have different objectives that are sometimes opposed. As the CEO, I need to understand all of these different areas well enough to ask questions and hold my department heads accountable.” Those interested in learning more about St. Francis Herb Farm can watch a recent episode of Salt + Light Media’s “Behold” series, produced by none other than alumna documentarian Mary Rose (Bacani ’03) Valenti.