January is Mentoring Month and to celebrate, we wanted to share the mentoring story of one of Futurpreneur Canada’s most passionate ambassadors.
Margo Soucy is the Executive Director of Community Business Development Corporation (CBDC) Cabot, an organization that assists in the creation of small businesses and in the expansion and modernization of existing businesses by providing financial and technical services to entrepreneurs.
We caught up with her to learn more about her career in business development and her experience as a Futurpreneur mentor.
I worked in business development on the east coast of Canada. Newfoundland and Labrador will always be my home – I enjoy all that it has to offer and the people that make it amazing. Business is a long time passion, and being on the advisory side is most rewarding – and never a dull moment!
I get energized by the entrepreneurs I work with and organizations I volunteer with. I’ve been employed by the Community Business Development Corporation for over fifteen years, a family I’m grateful to have lucked into! I also volunteer with several organizations, largely with a business-related theme.
I had no idea how rewarding a career in business development would be when I started out. I was pursuing a career in accounting when a mentor of my own opened my eyes to business development, an unexpected but most welcome career focus.
From the very first day on the job, I’ve had the opportunity to meet incredible people, and am proud to be a part of their stories now; it’s inspiring, each and every day. Entities like the Community Business Development Corporation and Futurpreneur Canada have had a significant impact on the lives of many, including my own, and truly shaping small business in Canada.
I first viewed mentoring as a specific relationship with defined terms, more or less, but I’ve learned it is about much more.
For me, perhaps it was due to not having exposure to entrepreneurial programs through my own youth that when I learned all there was to offer, I had to get involved and wanted to inspire others, for my own missed opportunities.
It’s also a great way to pass on some of the great stories, knowledge and experiences I’ve been immersed in, in working with entrepreneurs – many of whom who are too proud to tell their own stories.
I think it all boils down to impact. Simple gestures of thanks, or seeing entrepreneurs progress through challenging times, reaffirm the power of relationships and reaching out for help when needed.
I would have to say working with people that success doesn’t happen easily for. Some are fully committed and doing “all the right things” but for one reason or another face challenges that even the best of supports are unable to help them get beyond.
Those are particularly tough, as when you work so closely with people you become part of their business, and their challenges often become your challenges.
Not just for youth, but everyone stands to gain from having a trusted mentor. I often see youth being dismissed for lacking years of experience to learn from past mistakes.
However, young entrepreneurs often make up for their years in other ways, like thinking more creatively, being more open to possibilities, or being passionate and following instincts without reservation. The relationship also works both ways, as I often get more from the deal than those mentored!
It is a great opportunity for growth, self-reflection and making a positive impact. We all have share-worthy insight, knowledge and experience; if we don’t pass it on, no one stands to gain.
Trust, respect and openness. Mentoring lends more to personal and professional growth and connections than knowledge found in textbooks and online sources. Mentoring can happen in a variety of ways, but I have always found face-to-face interaction tough to beat.
We all have a unique perspective, based on our education, experience and the relationships we’ve developed, that others stand to benefit in learning from.
While it is easy to find ourselves overwhelmed at times, life and opportunities can pass us by quickly, so use the resources around you to keep you forward focused.
Challenge yourself to keep thinking big!
Written by: Jasmine Williams, Social Media and Content Specialist, Futurpreneur Canada