Mentoring success, one business plan at a time

July 21, 2013

The YMCA’s Carla Kendall combines a keen business acumen and strong leadership to inspire budding entrepreneurs.

We’d all love to be our own boss. It can be hard to get a job in uncertain economic times, so making your own work is often a better choice. But it is so much easier to with an experienced mentor.

Carla Kendall, director of the YMCA’s Self-Employment Development Program, loves mentoring new entrepreneurial talent. She admires the drive of the people who have attended the program because of their “sheer determination, fortitude and persistence” in making their own livelihood.

Carla came to Canada as a university student from Trinidad and Tobago and went on to have an 18-year career at one of Canada’s leading retail banks. She then used her experience to foster financial independence in the clients of Calmeadow, a Canadian non-for-profit that promotes microfinance and character-based lending. For over a decade she has been the director of the SED program. She has found that the YMCA is particularly well suited to deliver the program.

“Here we promote the dignity and worth of each person,” she said. “Inclusiveness is truly at the heart of the YMCA experience.”

The program consists of two months of intensive business training where each individual creates a business plan. For the next 12 months the newly minted entrepreneurs are given ongoing support and networking opportunities.

A true mentor, Carla stays in touch with participants long after the formal program ends, offering encouragement and advice. She has stayed in touch with some individuals for nearly a decade after they have enrolled in the course, and uses her ever-expanding network of entrepreneurs as sources of information as well as to provide volunteer opportunities for the latest recruits.

To date, a thousand people have enrolled in the program, and 80 percent have completed it.

“The ideal candidate is passionate about the business, competent and committed, with the necessary business and personal skills,” Carla said.

They also need to have a hunger “to absorb shared information and resources.”

She is philosophical about those who do not succeed, noting life can present its own challenges.

“The definition of success is fluid,” Carla said.  “Life with its unexpected events and situations can temporarily change a person’s priorities.”

Nothing inspires Carla more than watching the transformation of participants as they gain confidence to become their own bosses and she compares it to a caterpillar morphing into a butterfly.

“It is extremely gratifying to witness the entrepreneurs at the start of the program, being ready to soar after presenting their business plans,” she said.

Action Items:

  1. Support local businesses and entrepreneurs in your area.
  1. Learn more about the YMCA’s Self-Employment Development Program at http://www.ymcagta.org/en/get-a-job/help-you-find-job/start-own-business/ont-works-self-employment.html.
  1. Mentor someone.

Mentoring success, one business plan at a time

July 21, 2013

The YMCA’s Carla Kendall combines a keen business acumen and strong leadership to inspire budding entrepreneurs.

We’d all love to be our own boss. It can be hard to get a job in uncertain economic times, so making your own work is often a better choice. But it is so much easier to with an experienced mentor.

Carla Kendall, director of the YMCA’s Self-Employment Development Program, loves mentoring new entrepreneurial talent. She admires the drive of the people who have attended the program because of their “sheer determination, fortitude and persistence” in making their own livelihood.

Carla came to Canada as a university student from Trinidad and Tobago and went on to have an 18-year career at one of Canada’s leading retail banks. She then used her experience to foster financial independence in the clients of Calmeadow, a Canadian non-for-profit that promotes microfinance and character-based lending. For over a decade she has been the director of the SED program. She has found that the YMCA is particularly well suited to deliver the program.

“Here we promote the dignity and worth of each person,” she said. “Inclusiveness is truly at the heart of the YMCA experience.”

The program consists of two months of intensive business training where each individual creates a business plan. For the next 12 months the newly minted entrepreneurs are given ongoing support and networking opportunities.

A true mentor, Carla stays in touch with participants long after the formal program ends, offering encouragement and advice. She has stayed in touch with some individuals for nearly a decade after they have enrolled in the course, and uses her ever-expanding network of entrepreneurs as sources of information as well as to provide volunteer opportunities for the latest recruits.

To date, a thousand people have enrolled in the program, and 80 percent have completed it.

“The ideal candidate is passionate about the business, competent and committed, with the necessary business and personal skills,” Carla said.

They also need to have a hunger “to absorb shared information and resources.”

She is philosophical about those who do not succeed, noting life can present its own challenges.

“The definition of success is fluid,” Carla said.  “Life with its unexpected events and situations can temporarily change a person’s priorities.”

Nothing inspires Carla more than watching the transformation of participants as they gain confidence to become their own bosses and she compares it to a caterpillar morphing into a butterfly.

“It is extremely gratifying to witness the entrepreneurs at the start of the program, being ready to soar after presenting their business plans,” she said.

Action Items:

  1. Support local businesses and entrepreneurs in your area.
  1. Learn more about the YMCA’s Self-Employment Development Program at http://www.ymcagta.org/en/get-a-job/help-you-find-job/start-own-business/ont-works-self-employment.html.
  1. Mentor someone.

Vermont is the First State to Whack Fracking

Ever hear of a technology and just think to yourself: “that can’t be good”?  When I heard of hydraulic fracturing (‘fracking) to extract oil and gas I had just one of those moments.  Water and solvent chemicals are pumped into the bed rock under such high pressure that it fractures the rock and the solvents release natural gas and oil. 

This is the subject of the documentary “Gasland”:

In short, “Gasland” is a documentary about landowners all over New York State being offered sums of money to allow mining companies to perform fracking on their properties.  Health and environmental issues result: duh.  Again, this is one of those technologies that just can’t be good for anything.  Go ahead and watch the trailer to see flaming water taps and a whole host of sick people, dirty water and lying politicians and executives.

Vermont had the good sense to ban the practice.  I hope Vermont’s wisdom spreads to the rest of the US States because they’re migrating further and further north in New York State coming closer and closer to my dear home, Toronto, Ontario.