One key takeaway from each person I talked to this summer

Students have a tremendous opportunity to ask professionals for advice. My boss this summer joked to me that once I get out into the world, I’ll face a lot more reluctance in getting other professionals to sit down with me for coffee. One of the most valuable things I did this summer was speak to a diverse range of experienced and career-driven people in different fields, both to grow my network and also gain perspectives on industries and roles of interest.

I thought it would be be helpful to share the key takeaways of each conversation with my peers who are also seeking new insights and perspectives.

Gary Herman- CEO of the Industry Training Authority BC

Recognizing the gaps between where you are and where you want to be, and creatively come up with ways to fill them, can give you a tremendous advantage in advancing your career.

Read more about my chat with Gary here

Patrick Nangle- CEO of Modo

To Patrick, fulfilment in life comes from continuous learning and giving back. By mentoring young entrepreneurs, Patrick gets to test his mind and explore new interests, like geospacial mapping, while sharing his extensive management knowledge with the start-up community.

Ernest Lang- Founder at Promerita Group

Ernest advises to structure your career as a T, where the early years are dedicated to learning through a variety of different experiences, and dig deeper and specialize in your 30's and 40's. Once you’ve explored different industries, you’ll realize that many skills and employable traits are transferable between each one.

Oksana Exell- CEO at Western Transportation Advisory Council

Traditional industries in Canada are facing challenging times. Forestry, mining, and other resource sectors are exploring ways to maintain their global market share by improving their productivity. By bringing together the key players in these sectors, as well as those companies that help them move their product e.g. transportation providers, they share ways to manage their risks in a volatile global marketplace and improve their productivity by discussing successful business strategies

Jordan Gutierrez- COO at Wishpond

Leverage anything that will make you money. Jordan brought up the example that if I speak Chinese, I have the opportunity to do purchasing and re-selling from Chinese suppliers, which makes money, is valuable, and gives me purchasing experience that would be useful if I want to do supply chain consulting in the future.

Monica Morgan- Management Consultant at Western Management Consultants

People do not always recognize the need for a management consultant, but they will recognize someone who has experience with meeting government policies or getting buy-in from corporate executives. Position yourself in a way with tangible deliverables.

Read more about my chat with Monica here.

Darrell Lim- Executive Coach at Oak Management Consulting

Most people don’t fully understand coaching and its benefits. Coaching helps business leaders find the clarity and confidence they need to obtain the change they desire. Consulting is solving that problem for the client. Coaching is strategic, consulting is tactical.

Learning and development professional in the resources industry

When it comes to training and getting buy-in from people, it comes down to adapting it to the style that people are able to digest. For example, people who are constantly moving around on the job are unlikely to benefit from classroom training. Therefore, in that case managers should adjust the delivery of training to fit the employees work style

Jon Wat- Talent Acquisition Specialist at BroadbandTV

When starting off, it’s incredibly valuable to be clear and focus on what you’re in. For Jon it was the intersection between technology and sales, both valuable assets that he can carry forward as he moves forward in his career.

Sergio Del Piccolo- Director at Dynamic Management Solutions

Technical skills can be taught, what tech companies are really looking for are people who are willing to learn and are passionate about what they do.

Read more about my chat with Sergio here.

Rafael Zveibil- Management Consultant at Optis Consulting

If you’re not a software developer, don’t be fixated on needing to learn the software. A business person will need the basic configuration skills, but for someone with a BA business knowledge is ultimately what people are going to hire you for.

Talking with experienced professionals was intimidating at first, but knowing the value I can get out of each conversation made the coffee chats into something that I looked forward to every week. If you’d like tips on how to reach out, or found any of these insights helpful, please feel free to leave a comment or connect with me on LinkedIn.