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Monday, September 30, 2013

10 tips for Success that I wish I knew earlier from Highly Successful Business Women

Tips for business women success
Photo Credits: Aleksandr Slyadnev 

Curious what you can do to help you achieve greatness?

I had the opportunity to learn just that at the Canadian Women in Communications (CWC) Power Networking event. CWC had organized an amazing panel of women in leadership roles from a variety of different sectors. 

With leaders such as Sandy Pell the Communication Manager at Hoot suite, Meredith Powell one of the CO-Founders to the Next Big Thing and many others, the whole night was full of great conversation, advice and ideas.

Here are my takeaways from the 10 tips for success shared by Juggy Sihota the VP of Client Experience and Strategy at TELUS and what she wish she knew earlier in her career.

1)    Try to surround yourself with the most talented people you can find

Look for the most talented people you can find and then surround yourself with them. Do it deliberately because it will help develop your career and you’ll grow simply through osmosis.

2)    Tell people what you want to do and why

Sharing something that personal can feel difficult and uncomfortable with others. Do it anyways and share it freely with those around you. When you’re hiding it instead of sharing, it can seem suspicious and people are always imaginative. They will come up with reasons for why and at times that may not be a positive thing.

Be open so that nothing is left to the imagination and you will also be seen as both more confident and trustworthy. When meeting with leaders, those can be the greatest opportunities for you to share your goals and dreams. They can often times be in a position with the resources to help you but can only do so if they know what you are looking for.

3)    Be prepared to allow who you work for to trump who you are

If you believe that there is a great learning opportunity at work but it’s not quite what you enjoy doing too much, you should still go for it. Don’t second guess yourself too much as in the long run it will be more valuable than the short term discomfort. Take those big learning opportunities while you can.

4)     Champions are important

Find and work for leaders who are champions for others. These are the people who are secure in their career and in themselves. They are the type of leaders to be vocally loud and proud when it comes to the accomplishments of their teams and champion those who do amazing work. Other hints for these types of individuals is that they protect their teams and takes ownership of team weaknesses instead of blaming individuals or throwing others under the bus.

5)    Understand the importance of cultivating relationships

“If I spent more time building relationships I would have been able to enjoy my career even more”

Take time to go and have coffee meetings with other peers and professionals from all areas. When things aren’t going well it can really help to have someone to speak to that can understand and relates to your challenges. By developing relationships with individuals from all walks, it will also provide you with expert help from others when you need it. After all, you can’t be an expert in everything.

6)    Develop yourself awareness

It’s important to be self-aware of yourself. How you can help develop self-awareness is by asking those you trust and close to you how you come across. Not only will that help you become aware of things that you never knew, but if you are honestly making an effort to incorporate their advice they will become vested in your success.

7)    Understand there is a difference between being right & success

Being right doesn't mean you will be successful. At times there is a difference between the two. Especially if being right comes at the expense of fracturing and dividing relationships that you have with others that you work with. Organizational success is a team effort and relationships matter. But if you want both, maybe you can just be quietly right instead of loudly.

8)    Be purposeful with mentors

Look for mentorship purposefully but understand that some of the best mentorship is an informal arrangement. This means deliberately making time to meet individuals and allowing the mentorship to naturally develop over time. This was something many of the women on the leadership panel found that they shared in common as a key ingredient to their success.

9)     Be humble

Being humble and honest when you make mistakes allows you to be more human and relatable to others as a leader. By admitting mistakes and being okay with them as a leader you are creating an atmosphere where it is okay for others to mistakes as well too. This is especially important if you’re in an organization that is interested in fostering innovation and creativity. This allows those on your teams to be more of a risk taker and leaders themselves.

10)  Always be grateful

The final piece of advice was to always be grateful and appreciate those who have helped you on your journey to success.

Canadian Women in Communications Power Networking
Canadian Women in Communications Power Networking

Definitely a recurring theme during the night when it came to success for the panel was both making time to build new relationships and finding mentors. I’m thankful to Kelly Gill from CWC who took the time to organize this event and bring together such an amazing group of people with great wisdom to share but also networking in Vancouver for being a great portal to find out about fantastic networking opportunities. You should definitely check out their next event if you get a chance.


By Stevie Vu

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Sunday, September 29, 2013

My thoughts on turning 23 : The people you surround yourself with determine your success

handmade birthday present
Birthday presents for my friends on my birthday

I'm 23 now... 

I see my birthday as more a count  down to zero rather than a count upwards. We have a finite amount of time and will never know when its up. My birthday is a time to review the year and what I want the following year to be like.

Usually I don't celebrate with a big party and haven't for the last few years.

This year I decided that I should. I did it because I know a lot of the fantastic success I'm having right now was never accomplished on my own, it was always with a team and support of my friends. People right now might see me as being a capable and talented individual but its mostly not true.

Successfully starting a chapter of global youth leadership organization at my university when all other teams had failed? It wasn't me, it was the talent and hard work of our team who became a second family.

Winning three international IT competitions against universities around the world ? It wasn't me, it was the combination of three of us that made us unstoppable.

Starting and completing a Marketing contract as a consultant targeted at youth? It wasn't me, but the collaborative effort of students from three different universities.

Helping connect and create an empowered nonprofit community through supporting them with technology ? I'm building on the work and efforts of those who have started before me.

Creating, inspiring and running entrepreneurial workshops for over 400 people, both adults and high school students ? It would have been impossible for me to do all the work needed, by myself I would not have been able to accomplish one tenth of the impact we achieved working collaboratively together.


Being 22 has been phenomenal. Full of crazy new experiences, as well as making great new friends and rekindling relationships with old friends.

When you put more people into your life it means more of everything, both the good and bad. For those of you who have been a part of my life, you are the ones who give more good than bad. As thanks for that, I've decided to give all of you silly gifts and I hope you enjoyed it.

Photo Credits: Christophe Revelly

"A friendship can weather most things and thrive in thin soil; but it needs a little mulch of letters and phone calls and small, silly presents every so often - just to save it from drying out completely.

Pam Brown "
By Stevie Vu

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Being a Failure is not the opposite of Success

Photo credits: Chor Ip
Whats the opposite of success ? Failure.

Is that really true though. Is failure the yin to the yang ? The complete opposite of success ? No, it isn't. Because you see, there is no success without failure.

I didn't make it on my first attempt in competing in business IT case competitions. I've failed classes and tests before. I didn't succeed at my first leadership role.

But eventually I went on to win multiple competitions, I've managed to get 100% on class exams and I've successfully lead teams to succeed at achieving organizational goals. All of this was possible because my failures helped me learn to be successful.

Failure is success if we learn from it.
~Malcolm Forbes
The opposite of success is what will not help you get there. Its when you don`t do anything, sit there and decide not to be proactive. Its when you stop trying that you're not going to get closer to succeeding.

Because as bad failing is, it gives you an opportunity to learn and grow and move closer to success. Doing nothing won't give you that.

So go out there and try stuff, its okay to fail because it'll help you succeed. Don't do nothing.

By Stevie Vu

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Monday, September 9, 2013

Small Team Doesn’t Mean Small business

At times I find myself wishing I had more people on deck to work on cool projects or to build the organization.  After all more people means we can get more stuff done and faster right? However, that can be misleading. People in smaller teams can be more productive because they are more engaged.

Monday, September 2, 2013

1000 Fans for 100,000$

Photo Credits: Matthew Field
"A creator, such as an artist, musician, photographer, craftsperson, performer, animator, designer, videomaker, or author - in other words, anyone producing works of art - needs to acquire only 1,000 True Fans to make a living."
-Kevin Kelly

Kevin Kelly provides a simple concept where if you can create a community of 1000 true fans it is possible to make a decent living. A true fan described by Kevin Kelly would be: "someone who will purchase anything and everything you produce." With that mind and based on simple math if your 1000 fans spend $100 per year it will result in a gross $100,000 per year.

Businesses and Organizations Are All About Creating Communities.

With today's technology it is possible for you to do exactly that. We naturally subscribe and become a part of multiple communities now. Just think of how we use social media. Within Facebook we create our communities through adding friends and join sub-communities through "likes" on pages for products and services. In Twitter we pick individuals and organizations to follow.  If you read blogs then you also subscribe to their RSS or email subscription. Within our daily lives we are all constantly joining and leaving different communities.

Your Opportunities in life come from your community