I am leaving my meaningful, well-paying, fun, job here at Ryerson University to go to my business, SkillsCamp, full-time.
For some of you, this is old news. For some, it’s unsurprising news. And some people, not here of course, didn’t even know that I worked at Ryerson because they’ve ONLY ever interfaced with me through SkillsCamp. But, it’s true — I’m making the leap. My last official day at Ryerson is July 12th (the night I leave for a vacation to Amsterdam!)
This is a huge moment for me.
Running TO, Not FROM
Often when people leave a job, it’s because they’re moving AWAY from something (people, location, culture, title, etc.), but I can tell you that’s not the case here. I grew up at Ryerson (well, since I was 17). My first role was full-time events lead on the Orientation team between my first and second year. Fast forward through years at RU Student Life, my particular role in Ryerson Student Affairs at the intersection of creative storytelling and student development/education is a role I quite literally helped develop. The work we’ve done has changed the lives of many, including myself. It’s perfect for me. The culture in RyersonSA is supportive, inclusive, and creative. My students give me life and energy. The pay and benefits are pretty great too! I’m not moving AWAY from something, but rather TOWARDS an even greater love: SkillsCamp.
I’m moving towards my own business, a soft skills training company. It’s a move that lets me narrow in on the stuff I loved most in these past few years. It enables me to bring that life-changing work happening in Student Affairs offices around the continent to a broader corporate audience and other educational institutions. Let me tell you, Ryerson is unique. I have now worked with universities and colleges all over the continent (particularly in Ontario) and they are ever-surprised by what’s happening here. I wish every company had a student affairs department for their staff, but unfortunately, they don’t. [Enter SkillsCamp]
We has started recruiting for my position (which closed as of June 11th) and am confident we will find someone more than capable of carrying on this role. Honestly, I’m hoping to find someone who outshines me tenfold. I want them to carry on the legacy (and if I’m being frank, I want to look back in 2 years and be proud to have helped build it!).
Why Didn’t I Do This Earlier?
The entrepreneurial journey looks different for everyone.
I once heard people use the term “wantrepreneur” to negatively describe someone who had a full-time job working for someone else while also building their business. At first, I thought, “alright, I guess that’s something I should be ashamed of.” Then I realized how stupid that was…
1. Small Business is the Oldest Profession
Right now, entrepreneurship is having its moment in the sun. The media depicts it as shiny tech startups, massive angel investments, and billion-dollar valuations. But small business is the oldest profession, and many, many, MANY people have found many, many, MANY different routes to getting there.
2. We Don’t All Have The Privilege of Failure
This whole “fail fast, fail early!” / “invest everything you’ve got!” culture is privileged, in my opinion. It’s easier to risk everything you have when you know you have a family or trust fund ready to catch you when you fail. Not so easy when failing might mean you can’t pay rent or buy groceries.
So, I’m leaping when it’s best for me — personally and financially.
There are a lot of emotions in a transition like this. At times, I’m sad to leave my team and students at Ryerson, but I know it feels like the right time. Sometimes I’m nervous because of course, I don’t want to fail. But mostly, I’m excited for what the next year will bring, and I hope you’ll be right there with me.
The truth is, the world needs more soft skills. In fact, I wrote a whole other blog about why I started SkillsCamp if you’re interested in learning more. Skills like teamwork, communication, productivity, or intergenerational understanding are the most important to employers when hiring, engaging, and retaining good people. Skills like empathy, stress management, and resilience are critical for how you manage yourself and understand the world around you. Yet, development in these areas takes a back seat and is missing outside of student affairs. We want to help fix that.
I believe in the mission of SkillsCamp, and I have faith that we’re going to help a lot of people develop the skills necessary to succeed in their personal, professional, and academic lives. We work with other businesses and educational institutions to do this. If you’re interested in working with us or just wish to follow along, we hope you’ll reach out.
If you want to learn more about SkillsCamp, you can watch our intro video below or check out the website at: https://skillscamp.co.