Meet Cleveland Brownlee, 38, general manager of The Better Bin Company, designated hitter with the London Majors, and one of our 20 Under 40 Class of 2023 recipients
A PERENNIAL FAN favourite — and franchise home-run record holder — with the London Majors, Cleveland Brownlee has applied the same tenacity and great-natured enthusiasm to his business career, helping take materials disposal firm The Better Bin Company from a London-based startup to a regional enterprise servicing a coverage area spanning from Sarnia to Guelph. Actively involved with a lengthy list of community organizations, he puts in countless volunteering hours in his adopted hometown, lending his infectious Southern charm and energy to help motivate and inspire people to work together.
What do you consider your biggest achievement in business?
I would have to say being named the recipient of the President’s Award from the London Home Builders’ Association. This award is given to a person that shows great community achievement while building strong business relationships with local homebuilders.
Who has been your biggest influence?
My biggest influence has been actor and community activist Tyler Perry. I have listened to him speak numerous times. He never forgets where he came from, and he shares motivational lessons to help you believe in yourself and continue to grow as a person. From starting his business out of the back of his car to becoming a self-made billionaire, he demonstrates that if you believe in yourself or your product, all things are possible.
What do you love to do outside of work?
Playing baseball — and having my son on the field with me. I’m fortunate enough to be able to still play for the London Majors, and being able to have my son see me play and having my family around is nothing short of amazing.
You’re off on your dream vacation — where are you headed?
Africa. I would love to learn about my family history and learn more about African-American culture. So much of my culture has been hidden or forgotten, and I would love to dig deep into the motherland and see what I find out.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Jump out and be courageous early in life. Aim for those high goals and see how far you can push yourself to succeed. Try building your business and not fearing the world of what-ifs.
What’s your guilty pleasure?