Alon Ozery was a reluctant writer until MMT Community encouraged him to tell his most intimate story. His journey of self-discovery has since resonated with thousands of readers.
The Toronto-based restaurateur, MMT Member and author of Even the Sidewalk Could Tell penned his coming-out confessional after years of insisting: “I will never write a book.” Most entrepreneurs covet this chance for self-promotion—not Alon, who now jokingly says the book manifested partially under his own protest, the result of emotional support, some key invitations, renowned expertise and practical resources from the Community. He’s happy he listened to his peers.
Here’s how the world’s most exclusive community of entrepreneurs helped Alon see strength and value in his personal story, nudging him to achieve goals beyond his career as co-owner of Parallel restaurant and Ozery Bakery, family-owned businesses that grew from the Ozery’s kitchen table. These were new goals he’d never thought to set himself.
In 2019, MMT co-founder and head community curator Jayson Gaignard, along with MMTer Philip McKernan, invited Alon to One Last Talk, a speaking series and podcast hosted by Philip, with the premise: “If you had to deliver One Last Talk to the world, what would you say?” That year, Philip brought the event to MMT Cabo. He immediately thought of Alon, who had all the makings of a raw, “unapologetic” story, the kind One Last Talk delivered.
Alon was born to an Orthodox Jewish father and Protestant British mother and raised in Israel, growing up conflicted by social expectations. He moved to Toronto at 16, where he eventually married his wife and had three children before coming out to his family at age 43, after a therapist confronted him with the bold question, Are you gay?
Asked to speak, “I couldn’t say no,” Alon recalled.
“That was ground-breaking,” Alon told the audience at his Toronto book launch. One Last Talk at MMT Cabo was “the first time I sat down and wrote.” It was also the first time his private life became public, a story about self-discovery reaching a wider community, strengthening a bond.
Fellow MMTer Kelsey Ramsden called it “spellbinding.”
“The genuine truth that he shared with the room—raw, authentic, but totally graceful truth—they could have listened all night.” Kelsey noticed something else, looking back. The book started in this moment, even if Alon didn’t know it at the time.
“To me, as an outsider, you couldn’t have captured this [book launch] if not for this [talk].”
After captivating a live audience, Alon still didn’t want to write it down. Some time passed, and Philip offered Alon another invitation—this time to Austin to attend a memoir writing session led by MMT Member and Scribe Media co-founder, Tucker Max.
Alon was still adamant he’d never write a book. He agreed to attend only for the Texas barbeque: “I went under protest,” he said.
The session, he recalled, was less about writing than he expected, and more about the why of telling a personal story. It sparked something in Alon so urgent he started a book mid-air.
“I thought I would watch a video. Instead I took out my computer and started writing. Suddenly we were landing.” The three-hour flight time back to Toronto vanished. “I said, there’s something there.”
Even the Sidewalk Could Tell has since reached number one in several categories on Amazon’s Kindle Store, including Counselling Reference and LGBTQ non-fiction; nabbed attention from legacy media; and more importantly, inspired readers to reach out to Alon, whose community has grown.
At MMT, we often talk about the Second Mountain Journey, moving from professional success to personal fulfillment. Alon’s relationships and his community pushed him when he needed it most, even beyond his career. With half the book’s profits donated to support housing for LGBTQ youth in Toronto, Alon is also making a more tangible social impact, leaving a legacy greater than his work accolades, something many MMT Members strive for.
Alon says reader responses make the long, rocky road to memoir writing worthwhile. “The book is making such an impact on people’s lives,” he wrote to his Facebook followers. “This makes me so happy!”
“I hope that you also feel the love that was embedded in and around the words.”
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