ENTREPRENEUR. Businessman. Author. Dynamo. Words evocative of riveting wunderkind Warren Cassell, Jr.
He is currently one of the Caribbean’s most talked-about entrepreneurs, with investment holdings in the financial services, media and real estate. If you haven’t heard of him, consider yourself officially put on notice because his company, as well as his influence, is growing.
Cassell is the chairman of The Abella Group, his own privately-held investment holding company with a solid reach around the globe. His business acumen has impressed countless admirers: young people just starting out in business and seasoned veterans who have mastered the field. Yet, many who work for him are much older than he is.
You see, Cassell is only 15 years old.
What is most compelling about the Montserrat native, however, is not his age but how in such a short time has he captured international attention in a world still considered by many to be full of intrigue and exclusivity. His Caribbean roots are indeed his anchor, projecting him as a sharp businessman with a sincere love for hard work, meticulously studying the game of business from leading industry experts and building upon his knowledge to grow his own empire. (Again, at age 15.)
He also is prolific in other areas. Cassell has authored two books: The Farm of Wisdom: 25 Unforgettable Tales that Will Ignite a Wiser You and Swim or Drown: Business and Life Lessons I’ve Learned from the Ocean. His motto, “I imagine a world where everyone maximizes their potential,” is prominently splashed across his company’s website.
I decided to sit down and chat with Warren to discover what he has been up to lately, what tips he can offer those entering into business or those just looking to build personal wealth. Even before our discussion, I was counting the number of things I was already awed by: his start in the greeting card game and his web hosting company, as well as his writing for The Huffington Post, Elite Daily and Entrepreneur magazine, and his online show on Teen Tycoon—you know, the usual things that 15 year-olds do.
“I am a person who views success as a duty,” Cassell evenly states. His youthful swag carefully calculated and equally imposing. “I believe that everyone should maximize their potential here on earth, because it is only when you are working at your highest possible levels that you truly create value in the world.”
“My goal with all of my projects is to inspire others to start viewing their success as a duty as well.”
He’s off to a good start. Cassell is in high demand. Whether he is writing or working, he finds time to speak to young people about his success and how to best channel theirs. Although he also freely shares his perspective with us on his accomplishments, he is equally eager to display his love of charity. He donates to Trees for the Future, an organization that plants trees in developing countries. But he’s not done there, “I don’t want to be extremely successful, while others are extremely unhappy and poor. I want my children to live in a world filled with people who are working at their highest potential.”
When he’s not giving motivational talks, Cassell is making strides at The Abella Group. Based in Montserrat and exclusively managing his investments, it is a promising Caribbean investment company—in part because of its diversified investments, but mainly because of its leader. It is Cassell’s main focus. And when he talks about his company, he is chatty, at ease and excited to share.
“We tend to invest in established businesses that have the ability to grow over the long run. Sectors we like are financial services, asset management and multi-family real estate. Our current portfolio currently comprises both publicly traded and private companies. Some of our investments include Sagicor Financial Corporation, Berkshire Hathaway, and Bank of Montserrat Ltd.” – Warren Cassell Jr.
When asked if he does venture capital deals, Cassell says no, but notes that he has an open door policy when it comes to clients reaching out to him for an investment opportunity.
Although Cassell does most of the investment analysis work, Abella has contracted two legal counsels, and a public relations consultant. “When I ran a mobile application development firm I had a back office in India and the Philippines as well,” he adds. Again, the guy is 15.
When the talk turns to what motivated him to become an entrepreneur and build wealth, rather than do regular “kid” stuff, Cassell’s answer is at once absorbing and astoundingly mature.
“I was always fascinated with the business world, however, my passion for business grew a lot more when I was eight and started studying successful people,” he states. (Eight?)
“I realized a few things: successful people don’t condemn wealth creation; they create their wealth from owning and investing in businesses and their wealth allows them to protect and support themselves as well as the ones they love. Out of that, I concluded that I must approach wealth creation as a responsibility so that I can share my wealth with the ones I love.”
So how does a 15 year-old fit all this in and get work (schoolwork, that is) done? “I actually have a Grade 1 in CSEC Economics,” he tells us. “In June 2015, I will be writing both units of CAPE Economics, as well as eight CSEC subjects including Spanish, Information Technology and Principles of Accounts.”
The teen really is a marvel of sorts. He counts Jamaican billionaire investor Michael Lee-Chin among his heroes. Also on his list of admirers is Ivanka Trump and David Mullings, another Jamaican investor, who he considers as a mentor.
And his advice to those who want to develop their brand is surprisingly simple —
“I would encourage persons to never be afraid of promoting their products and services. In order to create value in the world, you must get attention. When promoting yourself, try to define what value you can offer the world, and when you figure that out be truly convinced that it would be wrong of you not to convince others to know who you are and what you have to offer.”
Spewing out such truisms as “the wealthy do not condemn getting attention. Do what the wealthy do” is indeed the Warren Cassell, Jr. way. He also wants to build his “empire” in the Caribbean, where he feels the region, especially Montserrat, has plenty to offer growing businesses. He strives to gain from opportunity. And whenever he feels like giving up, Cassell is reminded that his motivations are all worth it.
“My overall goals for life keep me going. Whenever I hit a roadblock I write my goals down—this helps to remind me where I currently am and where I ought to be. I want to go down in history as someone who inspired millions, and who reshaped the entire economy of the Caribbean.
If I quit I will never be able to achieve this. I also want to create as much wealth and success that I can so that when the time comes I can give my future children an advantage and opportunity to become more successful than I could ever be.”
Is Warren Cassell, Jr. too good to be true? He clearly has his sights set high—for himself and his future brood. He aspires to be the Caribbean’s most foremost businessperson: “I see myself as a multimillionaire, with a beautiful wife and great children,” he muses. And ever the consummate businessman, the millennial declares, “I also see companies in The Abella Group’s portfolio that have consistently delivered above-average returns.”
Indeed Cassell exudes plenty of confidence—more than enough for most of us—and believes that he has enough charm and knowledge to “persuade anyone to listen to what I have to say, and to take me seriously.” All of this moxie at age 15.
Perhaps that is the key to his success.
What else he may have up his sleeve is yet to be seen. But his brand has a proven track record, his goals are clearly written and he’s got enough believers to push him into the stratosphere arena of the business big leagues. Warren Cassell Jr. is clearly what’s now and next.
We wish him well.