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“You have to slow down enough in the world to figure out your passion, and then when you find it, everything will fall into place.
My passion is ‘paying it forward’ and helping others the way I was helped. You can’t always do everything you want, but you can learn what is most important.
What I learned from my sales job was two fold: I learned how to listen better to be more responsive to others and I learned that I need to ‘do good’ in my work. I learned that I need that feeling of being able to help someone where they are. I didn’t get that feeling in sales; in sales I felt I was being judged by the product I sold.”
“I didn’t know I wasn’t going back. I didn’t plan it. I just walked out the door. It wasn’t until I got to the corner of Market and Beale Streets in San Francisco that I realized I had my briefcase with me. It was filled with probably ten pounds of memos, meeting minutes, various reports, and proposals. It was typical of the weight that I would carry with me every time I left the office.
I looked down at the briefcase in my hand, and saw that I was still literally attached to everything all those years in corporate America represented. I knew that I had to get rid of the briefcase. I’m not proud of what I did in terms of the environment, but in the moment, it was the most magnificent of feelings.
I whirled the briefcase out of my hands and watched as it spun away like a discus. I remember seeing it arc up in what seemed like slow motion over the near lanes of Beale Street, over rushing traffic, over parked cars on the other side. I remember seeing it hit the ground and slide on the pebble-textured sidewalk. Those pebbles acted more like ball bearings than little pieces of gravel and they just kept the briefcase moving. It slid on and on, all the way to the waterfall at 77 Beale Street, the home of Pacific Gas & Electric. The second that the case hit the base of the waterfall, its lid sprang wide open and ten pounds of paper got caught in an updraft.
I watched the paper fly up and up and up dispersing in every direction imaginable. I just stood there watching. To me, it seemed like there were doves, white doves, flying out of my battered old briefcase. And then I heard a honking horn, turned, and saw my wife drive up; I got in the car, and never went back.”
401 Bay Centre
Years back, Marnie Walker had children, a mortgage, no savings, and no extra income stream. She knew she couldn’t quit her job. But she believed in the possibility of having her own company and began thinking two to three years out. As far as she was concerned, it was only a matter of waiting for the right time and opportunity to come along. Meanwhile, she worked hard at her “day job” and became very involved in the community, volunteering her time and actively networking.
When people she knew on school boards mentioned that they were constantly having problems transporting special needs children, she paid attention—and she offered to solve the problem.
From the outside, starting up a bus company might seem like a major leap. But from Marnie’s point of view, it really wasn’t. By starting and running Student Express she filled a huge need. What’s more, she fulfilled her dream of starting a business in which people would be thrilled to be a part of the team. By the time she sold the business she’d started on a shoestring, it was generating over $10 million in revenues.
Marnie Walker is the owner of 401 Bay Centre, a managed office centre located in downtown Toronto. It offers furnished offices, meeting rooms, phone, mail and office services. www.401bay.com.
She teaches Entrepreneurship at the Schulich School of Business, is a Founding Board member of Maple Leaf Angels investment group and sits on boards of several high growth entrepreneurial companies.
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Technologies of Consciousness
Could Marti Spiegelman have predicted her current profession when she started out? Maybe not, but she now sees that every piece of her “zigzag career” was important; each change along the way had a purpose that has contributed to where she is now. As Marti puts it, she’s using her experience and awareness to help people understand that their significant life experiences—often what we think of as “cliffs”—are really part of people’s initiation into the future, into new levels of consciousness. She teaches people the power of their innate creative force and how to access it; she teaches them how to “weave the known and the unknown and release into what can be” without fear.
Marti Spiegelman is a training professional, mentor, speaker, and founder of Awakening Value™: Technologies of Consciousness. Through Awakening Value™ Marti offers an advanced methodology for mastery in awakened leadership, conscious entrepreneurship and value creation, and organizational intelligence.
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Vicki Willock has explored and ventured into new territories throughout her life. The stories of what she has done, the barriers she has broken through over her career, could be a chapter, if not a book, unto themselves.
In short, at a turning point in her career, Vicki made time for self-reflection and exploration—and she stuck with it. She made a list of everything she “had ever thought about or wanted to do with my life in work.” The list ranged across fifteen disparate career possibilities. Ultimately, Vicki realized what she loved and what she didn’t. What did she do? She hung out her shingle in San Francisco and started her own one-woman business, Willock Partners, and is happy as can be. She feels strongly that “you can be anything at all you want to be.” As she put it, “The process works. Believe it. Focusing time and attention on discovering who you really are works—full time or part-time.”
Vicki Willock enjoys working with the owners of private held, lower middle market companies that need assistance with a merger or acquisition opportunity, or need help arranging debt financing. Having worked in corporate America for more than 20 years for nationally regarded corporations, she started her own company in 1997 and has never looked back.