Building a solid career takes hard work and perseverance. But it also takes the realization that sometimes you can use some guidance and a little mentoring.
“It really is about friendships and starts with a mutual respect for each other, and then you can start to help each other be successful,” says Arnie Wohlgemut, who operates the leadership development practice KP Mylene/Learning to Build. “It becomes a two-way street.”
Arnie, who has long career supporting new or emerging leaders, will share his expertise at our next YIP Growth Learning Series event Sept. 22 called ‘Working with a Mentor for Young Professionals’.
During this virtual event, Arnie will touch on a variety of topics including how to develop a mentor/mentee relationship within your industry as well as the benefits this relationship can have on both parties both in the short and long terms.
“The first takeaway (from the session) is making sure people understand the difference between coaching, consulting and mentoring,” he says, explaining coaching is performance driven and consulting is linked to the delivery of a service and related to a task.
“Mentoring is more development driven and it doesn’t just look at the person’s current job or profession that they’re in. It looks beyond that function, more of a holistic career thing,” says Arnie.
Looking at a bigger career picture is something he’s very familiar with after working since the mid 1980s in a variety of management positions at several organizations, including the Regional Municipality of Niagara and both the Waterloo Region District School Board and Waterloo Catholic District School Board.
Initially, he pursued a career in skilled trades before finding himself working in regional government and education.
“My roles inevitably were around restructuring, rebuilding a team or building strengths, or bringing people on who needed to be on that team,” says Arnie, adding this provided him the opportunity to assist others advance their careers. “It’s an interesting and wonderful feeling when you’ve had a moment in someone’s life to coach and lead them as they move to a new organization to a position of management or leadership.”
As he began to do more of one-on-one mentoring as part of his job, Arnie developed one of his first programs and decided to go into business for himself in 2012.
“It was about helping people understand who they want to be, not who do you think you should be,” he says, noting being a mentor is an unpaid ‘position’ and doesn’t necessarily have to involve someone from your own industry.
Also, Arnie says age is not a factor and that a younger person can mentor someone who is older.
“Just because someone is younger than me doesn’t mean they don’t have the knowledge or insight relevant for the times we are in,” he says, adding millennials are very comfortable when it comes to reaching out to each other for advice or guidance. “Maybe it has become more acceptable that you will need a mentor if you have career goals.”
He says that mentor could also be an author or a blogger that inspires you and provides insight and perspective.
“It isn’t always a clear-cut one-on-one friendship,” says Arnie, explaining the days of a connecting with people at a conference or event are gone, or put on hold due to the current COVID-19 crisis. “You have to be more creative or take the opportunity that’s there to connect with other people in different formats.”
He says when it comes to being a mentor, time is one of the most valuable things to offer.
“You have to the find the time,” says Arnie. “You have to sacrifice, so to speak.”
To learn more, check out our YIP Growth Series event on Wednesday, Oct. 28 from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. To register, click here.
As the founder of Revkor Fitness + Lifestyle Training in Cambridge, she has made it her vocation to help others become ‘movers’ after leaving a healthcare philanthropy career in Toronto in 2013 to make this happen.
Her passion to assist others centres on promoting workplace wellness which came about after a decade of working in healthcare.
“We can’t get through stressful times without wellness at the forefront,” says the wellness expert.
The current COVID-19 crisis is clearly one of the most stressful situations facing all us, not just economically but emotionally and physically. In fact, experts are predicting a ‘tsunami’ of mental-health issues to develop in wake of this pandemic.
At our next YIP virtual workshop ‘Better Work Life Balance for Young Professionals’ on May 21, Erin will offer advice and tips aimed at empowering participants with the tools they need to reduce stress and improve productivity.
But more importantly, she hopes to inspire them in work and life.
“The entrepreneur culture often celebrates the non-stop grind,” says Erin. “But the reality is, rest and a calm, controlled mind are in the key to managing challenges and staying on course.”
She has already helped thousands across Canada by initiating programming focused on preventing and minimizing chronic pain and depression by embracing the power of mindful movement.
Erin can highlight some simple habits that can help accomplish amazing results, such as nutrition shifts to alter productivity, an eight-minute morning mindset practice that can ‘train’ your brain to be goal-centred, and a few suggestions for more quality sleep.
“This is the information you need to get and stay on track, striving strong during this unforgettable time in history,” she says.
Our virtual YIP (Young Innovative Professionals) session ‘Better Work Life Balance for Young Professionals’ takes place Thursday, May 21, from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.
The Canadian Mental Health Association offers these tips to creating better work-life balance:
Schedule brief breaks for yourself throughout the day. Your productivity and effectiveness will increase if you take even a ten-minute break every two hours and overall, you will get more accomplished.
At the end of each day, set your priorities for the following day. Be realistic about what you can achieve in the time you have available.
Only respond to email once or twice a day. Then, shut off your email program to avoid being distracted as messages come in.
Make a distinction between work and the rest of your life. Protect your private time by turning off electronic communications. Don’t be available 24/7.
Create a buffer between work and home. After work, take a brief walk, do a crossword puzzle, or listen to some music before beginning the evening’s routine.
Decide what chores can be shared or let go. Determine which household chores are critical and which can be done by someone else. Let the rest go.
Exercise. Even if it’s only for 15 minutes at a time, you’ll feel more energized and refreshed.
Create and implement a household budget. Start by setting aside some money from each pay cheque for the future.
Does making a presentation in front of people send chills down your spine?
You’re not alone. Research shows that at least 75% of people struggle with some degree of anxiety or nervousness when it comes to talking in front of people.
Kevin Swayze, former journalist and communications consultant, hopes to help quash these fears by providing tips about good communication at our virtual YIP Growth Learning Series on April 28 entitled ‘Public Speaking 911’.
“I think that most people stand up in front of a crowd and think everybody there is against them, when in most circumstances they’re there with you and want you to succeed,” says Kevin.
He says the key to good communication centres on connecting with people, whether it’s one-on-one or in a large group, which is something he will stress during his learning session.
“I’m going to show how to polish your elevator pitch when you’ve got only a minute to talk to somebody; to connect with somebody and make yourself memorable.”
Kevin says stories are the best way to accomplish this and during his 30-year newspaper career tried to do just that.
“The best stories are always told through a person. I’ve always tried to do that with my writing,” he says. “People don’t want to be lectured at, they want to connect, and the best stories connect with people. The best communication is conversation.”
Kevin, a client communications teacher at Conestoga College, says he finds inspiration from the international students he instructs. Not only does he admire their bravery for travelling to another country to study, but the fact they will question his use of any corporate jargon or slang.
“I get the look from them,” he jokes, adding good communication doesn’t involve slang or jargon. “It’s pervasive everywhere and it kills communication because you’re either in or you’re out; jargon is exclusive, and it pushes people away.”
Kevin says the use of ‘buzz’ words doesn’t further proper communication and hopes to convey that to participants.
As well, he will also touch on some basic tips surrounding presentation, such as holding on to a piece of paper while standing up to speak.
“I like to give them something to hold in their hands so they’re comfortable,” says Kevin, who has been involved with Cambridge Toastmasters for the past four years.
He says the club, which consists of several groups under the Toastmasters banner, has helped him considerably.
“I’ve seen the change myself. I would not be able to teach as effectively,” says Kevin, explaining club members evaluate every aspect of any presentation by their fellow members. “It’s hard to find anyone who will give an honest and reasonable evaluation of something.”
He hopes YIP participants will leave the session understanding the importance of being an active listener when it comes good communication, noting the temptation of cellphones is difficult to ignore.
“Even if you leave your phone upside down on the desk it still draws your attention,” says Kevin.
He expects participants will already arrive with a set of their own communication tools.
“They will know how to communicate in bits and pieces. My goal is to reflect on what they do and think about what’s working well and where they can build,” says Kevin. “And encourage them to practice what really works well.”
He says most people don’t think about communication deliberately anymore.
“There’s no app that replaces face-to-face communication,” says Kevin.
The YIP (Young Innovative Professionals) Public Speaking 911 session, sponsored by Deluxe Payroll, will take place virtually Tuesday, April 28 from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.
Despite what many may believe, people are not born leaders.
Learning to lead, especially in the business world, is something that can be taught.
“In most organizations, especially in small businesses, we assume people will just figure it out and they don’t,” says Murray Smith, Principal of The Achievement Centre (TAC). The centre has a mandate to assist business organizations in creating a planning strategy and then providing leadership development to achieve those goals.
Murray will bring his expertise in this field to our next YIP Growth Learning Series session – entitled ‘Being an Authentic Leader’ - in February.
During this two-hour session, Murray will focus on several areas related to leadership including communication, trust, and development.
“In training development, we always put an emphasis on technical training,” he says. “We don’t do much on what it means to lead people and train people on the human side of the business and it’s a big failing.”
Murray says in many professions, continuing education is a major requirement but not for many businesses.
“The human side of the business is the most expensive and it has the most impact,” he says, noting it can be tough for those handed leadership roles in smaller organizations.
“You switch from being the buddy on Friday to the boss on Monday and suddenly the dynamic changes.”
Murray says in these situations, quite often employees will ‘test’ their new boss to see what their boundaries are, which a new leader may not be expecting due to their previous relationship as co-workers.
“Often the response from the brand-new supervisor or leader is very defensive and they become very bossy,” he says. “It’s a distinctive defence mechanism because we didn’t train them (new leaders) and didn’t help them through that learning curve.”
Murray says many organizations have a ‘blind spot’ when it comes to leadership training, assuming it’s something new leaders can learn on the job, which isn’t the case.
“Most small business owners are entrepreneurs who don’t have an MBA, or a HR degree,” he says. “Most of us have energy, passion and drive, but that doesn’t make us good business leaders.”
Through his discussion, Murray hopes participants at this YIP learning session will get a better understanding of their own strengths and leverage them to be better leaders.
“Be the leader you are, don’t try to be another leader,” he says.
‘Being an Authentic Leader’ will take place Thursday, Feb. 13 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce office. The session is sponsored by Deluxe Payroll.
A great idea and money aren’t the only two things required to start a business, just ask Angela Englander of Ways To Wellbeing.
Angela, a trained psychotherapist who specializes in trauma therapy and now operates offices in Cambridge and Tillsonburg, says passion is just as important.
“No one just starts a business. You start it because you’re passionate about something and you want to take a risk,” she says. “You start it because you want something to be different.”
But sadly, Angela says, many people who go into business for themselves often lose sight of what inspired them to take that plunge in the first place.
“I feel people get exhausted, or burned out,” she says. “I think so many people have that vision and as they enter that threshold and go beyond to start their own business, but quickly realize there are a lot of hoops to jump through.”
Keeping that vision in focus will be the topic of a discussion Angela will lead entitled ‘Harnessing Your Passion to Achieve Your Purpose’ in January. Part of our continuing YIP Growth Learning Series, her talk will look at ways for business owners to find inspiration as they overcome obstacles when it comes to achieving their dreams.
“Sometimes, people just get discouraged and they need to find that passion again to push through those hurdles and obstacles and realize they’re on the right path,” says Angela, explaining her session will feature a ‘Hero’s Journey’ component in which a journey to success is laid out in various stages leading to a transformation.
As well, she will ask participants to outline what motivated them in the first place to start their own businesses.
“I will be using that to help you find your own guiding light towards where you’re meant to be,” she says, adding people sometimes need to ‘readjust’ when they realize they’ve strayed from the original path they set out for themselves. “It’s hard for people to adapt.”
Angela says some business owners may feel isolated, assuming that others are much more successful.
“Life throws everyone curveballs,” she says. “We all have obstacles to face.”
Angela says she will encourage participants to look inside themselves to determine what was their original vision and purpose for going into business, noting the answer will help them get out of the ‘hole’ they may feel they’ve stumbled into.
“We’ll look at what originally got them into this, because that’s going to help them climb out,” she says.
‘Harnessing Your Passion to Achieve Your Purpose’ will take place Friday, Jan. 10, at the Chamber office from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. This event is sponsored by Deluxe Payroll.
Do you remember sitting in class as a youngster working on a group project with some smart classmates and asking yourself: “How am I going to fit in here? Don’t I belong with another group?”
That sense of not belonging forms the basis of our next YIP Growth Learning Series entitled ‘You Don’t Belong – And Other Lies You Tell Yourself.’
Andrea Cartwright, Chief Escape Officer of Breakout Escapes in Cambridge and Brantford, will lead this session and discuss ways to set yourself up for success and how to avoid the ‘Imposter Syndrome.’
“It’s one of those things that is so very common, and nobody talks about it,” she says, explaining that kids in school and new parents aren’t the only ones who struggle with this ‘syndrome.’
She says feeling like a ‘fraud’ is very common for those in the business world, especially women.
“I’m a CEO of a corporation and I’ve dealt with my fair share of being talked down to,” says Andrea. “You start to doubt how others see and perceive you and that it’s indicative of your performance, which it’s not.”
She says it’s easy to doubt yourself and abilities, especially if you’re dealing with businesspeople whom you may perceive as being more experienced and capable.
“One of the biggest things I like to tell people is that you should never be the most experienced person in the room because then you’ll never learn,” says Andrea. “If you’re an expert, then you’re not learning.”
This is one point she intends to stress for series participants, whom she will encourage to be more open to learning.
“When you put a positive spin onto the negative thoughts you’re processing there are ways around feeling like you don’t belong,” says Andrea, who has developed seven successful games between her two Breakout locations which employ 10 people.
She says marketing yourself in a positive light to highlight your work when you introduce yourself to others in a business setting is key.
“If you position yourself in that manner, you’ll feel a little bit more comfortable about yourself and less like an imposter when you’re speaking with others at a higher level.”
Also, Andrea says asking others what words they would use to pen a bio about you would likely reveal some surprising and very positive results.
“We’re all our own worst critic,” she says, noting changing the way people think of themselves will be a key takeaway from her talk.
‘You Don’t Belong – And Other Lies You Tell Yourself’ will take place Friday, Nov. 29 at the Chamber office from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. The event is sponsored by Deluxe Payroll.
The answer to finding greater success in business can begin with one question: How does the world see you?
But achieving that answer may not be simple according to Michael Jennings, president of the marketing firm MoreSALES.ca, who will lead a presentation May 8 focusing on ‘The Art of Selling Yourself.’
Part of our ongoing YIP Growth Learning Series, Jennings will tackle a variety of topics including building trust, authentic engagement and customer care.
Jennings, who for more than a decade has led a team of marketing experts in helping clients navigate an ever-changing digital marketing landscape, says it can be difficult for young professionals to ‘sell’ themselves and their ideas due to the immense amount of competition.
“There is just so much competition out there,” he says. “Smart, young well-informed professionals are often competing for the same or similar roles.”
As well, Jennings says these young professionals also face competition from more entrenched and experienced professionals.
“Add to that the competition from online,” he says, explaining that most consumers are now doing their own investigation before having any interaction with a salesperson or organization.
“Therefore, it’s critical to know your products and anticipate what shoppers are really looking for because if you don’t know, the next person does and the internet definitely does, and now you’re playing catch-up.”
Lack of preparation, says Jennings, is one of the biggest stumbling blocks people face when they try to sell themselves in the business world.
“I can’t tell you how many times I encounter a salesperson who knows little to nothing about their own products and is quickly thrown off when asked any details about their product or service,” he says, adding poor communications skills among young professionals has become an issue. “Many are well educated and well meaning, but they cannot articulate their own propositions, or stumble when facing challenging questions they can’t just look up online.”
One of the topics Jennings will touch on during his presentation centres on technology and how to use social media and traditional interactions to provide value to clients and influencers. He says the emergence of social media, particularly Linkedin, has become key when it comes to selling yourself in business.
“Employers, potential customers, and colleagues will all refer to your Linkedin profile,” says Jennings, adding it should contain a professional headshot rather than a cropped or blurry ‘holiday’ photo.
He also recommends the profile reflect the young professional’s passions and expertise, not to mention their relevant roles and education, in effort to convince a potential employer or customer they should have a conversation.
The importance of not just networking, but ‘giving back’ to a particular cause or association, will be another topic Jennings will discuss at his presentation.
“There is such competition in the market for young professionals that they need to stand out and differentiate themselves,” he says, noting volunteering for causes that reflect their passions can accomplish this. “Also, try working for companies that align with your career direction, even if it means providing contract services if no positions are available.”
The Art of Selling will take place Wednesday, May 8, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce office, 750 Hespeler Rd.