Posted in High School, University

Hey Youth! Be the next “Penny”!

You don’t have to be foolish to be young – Anonymous

foolsOnly one thought came to mind watching Canadian Penny Oleksiak capture her medals at the Rio 2016 Olympics, “16 years old!”

People joke that the youth all think they want to be the next “Mark Zuckerberg” of Facebook. The truth is that while the youth might think that, even though it is literally a one in 7 billion chance, their behavior does not walk the talk.

Most of the youth I have come across laugh over petty things, are pessimistic, disrespectful to knowledge, impatient, image driven, taken care of and managed by their parents, etc… just look around! I am not eluding that there aren’t serious, assertive, respectful, patient, realistic, independent youth out there, it is just that those who want to be the next “Mark Zuckerberg” are the former whereas those who ARE going to be the next “Mark Zuckerberg” are the latter.

I always say that age has nothing to do with success. Just as the youth are key, the middle-aged are also key and even more profoundly, those over 60 … they are vital.

However, let us come to terms with one thing, there is no success without self discipline and respect for self and others … in any age.

Penny is 16 years old … it is not that she won medals, it is what it took to get there. She probably trains 6 hours a day and trains during holidays. She probably goes to school and takes schoolwork seriously for at the end of the day, she needs knowledge for her longer term success. She is aware of the commitment it takes to accomplish anything in life.

So youth? What’s stopping you? Why can’t you be the next “Penny” in Maths? The next “Penny” in literature? The next “Penny” in Engineering? The next “Penny” in Social Work? The next “Penny” in anything you choose!



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Posted in WISE, Women @ home

Does taking time off work hurt womens’ careers?


Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe. – Gail Devers

Short answer? Absolutely not!

The long answer is that despite what may be imagined, women – especially high flying, intelligent and ambitious career women – who take time off of work for their families do so for the same reason companies and others hire them, excellence.

So why do companies and others resist re-hiring them or treat them like they have missed the boat when they decide to re-join others in full-time jobs and contracts?

The truth is that driven women who take time off rarely forget about their careers, in fact, I have seen that the key aspect to look for when re-hiring a professional woman is to look at what she has done during her sabbatical. One will most often find that they have gained knowledge, attended courses, freelanced, volunteered, and many other things that keep them in the working loop. Those whose careers are hurt are those who sit idle, do not look at learning something new and do not commit to staying productive to the best of their ability and availability.

Add on to that the mentally and physically demanding role of taking care of their children full-time, children who need mentors, guidance and constant problem solving that those in the workplace do not have an opportunity to practice.

In fact, these are the same women who constantly follow news and advancements in their respective industries, attend conference and get exposed to new people, new knowledge and new opportunities taking on risks that those in full-time jobs wish they had the opportunity for.

The bottom line is that each of us have a path and no path is right and no path is wrong. We all do our best.

What does need to happen is to recognize people for who they are and that once they are hard-working, intelligent, ambitious, creative, innovative … they will always be hard-working, intelligent, ambitious, creative, innovative; it is not the job that makes them so, it is their character.

While I commend organizations who are now turning to these women and supporting their return to work, my recommendation is to be careful about the wording of such endeavors and instead, focus on hiring the right person for the right job without indirectly discriminating against choices they have made.



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Posted in Career Growth, Early Career, Leadership, Retirees

Do Not Miss This Opportunity, Say YES!

No one has ever become poor by giving.― Anne Frank


… Quite the contrary, people gain by giving.

There is a disturbing trend, people hesitating to answer a question, to offer advice, to “waste” whatever little time (in a fast paced world) they have or provide information that they may have wanted to keep to themselves for some future need. More simply, people are “too busy”and the world around them is “not a priority” … at least that is the message conveyed.

I have dealt with people who portray one image online or in public and a different one one-on-one. It doesn’t matter how successful they become in the eyes of the public, it is in those critical moments where an impression is made. I have been witness to people complaining about others who ask for help, my feedback is consistent, “why does it bother you so much?”.

The truth is, missing the opportunity to help is like missing a rare opportunity to build and evolve your career, reputation and engage in self-reflection … and what we forget is that what we give, is what we get, especially for those in mid-career.

From experience, there is nothing more satisfying than helping someone else solve a problem, nothing, not even a raise or a promotion! Unless that raise or promotion will help someone else as well.

Next time someone emails you with a question, answer it even if you don’t know … don’t ignore it.

Next time someone asks you to advise them, go ahead, listen and share the best that you know … don’t hesitate.

Next time someone asks you to help them review something, find an hour to spare … don’t belittle what they are asking for.

Do not miss this opportunity !



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Posted in Career Growth, Early Career, High School, University

Learning from Careers: Jeff Skoll

I’ve come to realize your career is all about the choices you make. Every single one matters. – Demi Lovato


I have mentioned before that one of the fastest ways to know the next steps to take and decisions to make in our careers is to identify 10 people we think are doing interesting things, one of them for me is Jeff Skoll.

An Engineer by background, entrepreneurial in growth, passionate about social change, here are some of my learnings from his career*:

  • Careers need not be complicated, they can be simply made up of a few ‘yes’ decisions
  • Sometimes it is about who you happen to meet, so take every meeting seriously
  • Take a chance, if you can, the best careers are not always with large stable organisations
  • Our degrees give us the knowledge we need to think, what we do in our careers does not always match what we “study”
  • Being interdisciplinary is good
  • In your career, the bigger your service to others is, the bigger impact you have on people, and the more rewarding (both financial and reputational) your career will be
  • Give back to those who have helped you along the way


* based on my Wikipedia / Google search



Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

Posted in Career Growth, Early Career, High School, Retirees, Unemployment, University, Women @ home

Do what you love?

If you tell me how you get your feeling of importance, I’ll tell you what you are. – Dale Carnegie

VIPEver since I can remember, career coaches and advisors tell us to do what we love … choose a job that you love, choose a volunteering opportunity that you love, choose an industry you love, etc….

I always supported that view but at the same struggled with it.

You see, love is both restrictive and generalist at the same time. It is restrictive in that it advocates one or two things that I “love” and go find a job / opportunity / place that supports that. It is also generalist in that it advocates “love” that is so relative, you see I love eating … and I love art … so will I go and rush to become a food critic / restauranteur or gallery owner in a rush?

I came across the quote above and thought that maybe we ought to start asking people about appreciation … what makes you feel important?

While some may see this as self-involved, isn’t that the whole point?

When we tell people to do what they love … we are asking them to follow a desire irrespective of impact. But when ask them to do what makes them feel important … we are ultimately asking them to take their passion and apply it to an area, place, action, words, etc… where they feel appreciated, i.e. making an impact.

This appreciation translated to motivation to keep on learning and improving.

Whether you are in high school, university, early career days, stay at home parent or experienced professional assessing goals, what makes you feel important?

The clarity that emerges will no doubt surprise you.



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Posted in Career Growth

When Things Shift

Sooner or later my needs as the employer will change. If I now need an employee that is really, really good at managing other employees and you’re not, you’ll soon be off looking for another job. My needs changed, but you didn’t. – Richie Norton

shiftWe live in shifting times … but when has it not been?

It is quite interesting to see people worry about job losses when we have always had job losses.

Some may say, “c’mon, people are losing jobs everyday” … but people have lost jobs everyday since … forever.

But then some will tell me, “lost jobs, yes, but not in the 100s” … but in fact, yes it has happened, people have lost jobs in the 1,000s especially after major company failures in the automotive, financial, manufacturing, etc. industries.

What is different this time?

It is the philosophical position that once global financial markets seem to be facing a rough patch because of one thing or the other, everyone else jumps on that same bandwagon to benefit from letting go of people without question other than the assumption that it is “due to the economy” when in fact, it is due to wrong decisions made yesterday, bad management today, and lack of planning for tomorrow.

The reality is people lose money and make money, people lose jobs and find jobs, people become poor but people also become rich. We need to train our minds and hearts to really see things clearly – the world is exactly as it is – and we all move through it, in good and in tough times.

We are each responsible for taking our own careers in our own hands … and when we see trends shifting, we need to think about whether or not we are still doing what we want to do, and if not, find other jobs / create our own jobs / expand our learning and career. And if we are doing what we want to do, we need to think about if where we work is giving us that opportunity or will continue to give us that opportunity and plan accordingly.

Your career is in your own hands, plan wisely, move swiftly, and work accordingly.




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Posted in Career Growth, Early Career, Entrepreneurship, High School, Retirees, Social Media, Unemployment, University, Women @ home

Why Traditional Networking is Dead

A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life. – Charles Darwin

NetworkTraditional networking is dead. Be it in the form of networking events or even social networking (networking over social media).

You see, it is not that *networking* is dead … it is networking that doesn’t add value.

We are busy and unless something adds value, we are seldom committed to attend or participate. An exception to this rule is one who is generally extroverted and enjoys connecting and meeting people or one who has intended to meet someone specific at an event.

From alumni organizations, professional associations to job seeker and business oriented sessions, from connecting with fellow colleagues to someone who is in a field or job you are interested to connect with, it is time to move from traditional networking to value based networking.

There must an intent or aim to networking, there must be appropriate people who can add value towards the specific aim, and it must be transparent.

One idea is to utilize “speed meeting” formats where people meet based on a specific theme and run brief meetings with each other as facilitated by the host specifying specific matters to discuss.

Another idea for social networking is to move from the need for a general introduction or connection, to a specific introduction that states a purpose and expectations from both parties or use group setup and membership to connect like people with like aims and objectives.

In all cases, networking is a need and in these economic times, critical. What is more critical however is to make it count and not just say “here goes another hour or here goes another connection”.



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Posted in Career Growth, Early Career, High School, Retirees, Unemployment, Women @ home

Series – What do I want to do?: Barriers to Action

If you’re trying to achieve, there will be roadblocks. I’ve had them; everybody has had them. But obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it. – Michael Jordan

hurdlesOnce we start to take action in the direction of our goals, we will undoubtedly face what we see as barriers, or more often, fears.

Barriers are more easily dealt with, as we first must see them for what they are, challenges that we need to work around or solve to get something better than we had even originally planned. They are easy to solve, even if we don’t think they are. The key is to keep it simple.

The more challenging ones are the fears. What if what I want to do:

  • has already been done by someone who does it better? – Fear of Failure
  • makes others move away from me and end friendships? Fear of Disapproval
  • will not be appreciated by anyone? – Fear of Rejection
  • is something that will expose parts of me that I am ashamed of? – Fear of Losing Image
  • is impossible to do where I currently live? – Fear of Helplessness
  • is something nor I nor anyone else believe I can do? – Fear of Success
  • is good but someone then copies me and does better? – Fear of Being Vulnerable
  • pushes me to make peace with something that I don’t like in my life? – Fear of Being Vulnerable
  • is something I will fail at? – Fear of Loss of Image and Fear of Failure
  • is possible but I have no one to trust and I have to do everything on my own? – Fear of Being Conned

And the list can go on and on.

We all have fears but can we approach things by feeling these fears but moving on knowing that the only thing worse than failure, or success, or disapproval to materialize is never doing anything about it! The reality is that these fears may materialize but at least you did something. Clarify your values and then go for it … clarify what risks you can handle that will not put you or your loved ones in jeopardy and then go for it.

How many times have you thought of an idea, a good idea, and next thing you know someone else did it? It is not that you missed the boat but the fact that there are people of action and people who don’t take any. Those who don’t take any lose nothing, they lose everything!



Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /