Stefano Macchina went to the University of Windsor before transferring to St. Clair College as a graduate of Finance in 2014. He then went on to graduate with a degree in Business Finance at Davenport University in 2015. He is a partner of CG Realm, a card game store and host of competitive tournaments for games such as Magic: The Gathering, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Heroclix, and Pokemon.
R: How did you become involved with CG Realm?
S: I became involved with CG Realm when offered a partnership with Jeremy Richard, the owner and a close personal friend.
R: What kind of work do you do for CG Realm? Have you had any experience in this type of work environment before?
S: I do sales, managerial, marketing, and planning work for CG Realm. I had sales experience from my years as a financial planner.
R: What did you think of Windsor ComiCon? Would you exhibit there again?
S: I thought the Con went well. It’s definitely grown over the years! It’s a very fun atmosphere with a great community of people and great costumes. Everyone I interacted with was friendly. It was refreshing. I’d say it’s a totally different world. The Con gives people a chance to come out and be themselves. It’s nice to be a part of that.
R: What is your favourite part of being in this industry?
S: I love being in the gaming/hobby industry because it’s one of the few things I’m truly passionate about. Being at CG rarely feels like work. I’ve had a blast and have made tons of friends.
R: Sometimes, the gaming and comic community are seen as something “only for geeks.” You’re also into bodybuilding and wrestling. What do you think of this stereotype? Do you ever experience negative stereotyping?
S: Before I was into bodybuilding and wrestling I was often teased for being a nerd. This motivated me to become more “socially acceptable” by getting fit. I owe it to small-minded people. They helped me discover my other passions. I think people who believe that being a geek is negative are denying themselves an opportunity to delve into something new and exciting. I let the negativity I’ve experienced growing up as a geek fuel my goals in lifting and in life.
R: Where do you think this will lead you in five years?
S: My work with CG will lead me down further business ventures as well as add management experience to my repertoire. Ideally, I’d like to own multiple businesses or be a high level manager for a large company within the next five years. Or both.
R: The products you work with contain tons of fictional stories and characters. Which character do you relate to most?
S: I relate to Garruk Wildspeaker of Magic: The Gathering the most. I have his pop figure at home. He uses black and green mana, my two favourites in Magic. Plus, he’s a burly, hairy man who wields an axe. There’s a few similarities between us.
A final word from Stefano:
I’d like to encourage people to be themselves. Don’t let negative stereotypes stifle you. I met my girlfriend (soon to be fiancé) through Magic: The Gathering. If I wasn’t comfortable playing Magic in public, I would never have gotten to know her. I think that, especially with the way society is changing, people should abandon ancient stereotypes and get to know one another as human beings. We are all a geek about something, whether that be gaming, training, hockey, history, fashion, etc.