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Career Crossroads

Author: Jonathan Collaton

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Getting to where you want to be in your career is not always as linear as we might think. On Career Crossroads, host Jonathan Collaton talks to one guest each week about the expected and unexpected choices they have made to get where they are in their career today. Starting with the question of 'what did you want to be when you grew up?", they discuss all the jobs they have had, the people that influenced them, and the decisions that led them to their present career. They reflect on how sometimes we have these 'crossroads' moments where we have to pick one thing over another. The episodes are about the guests and their stories.
41 Episodes
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#40 – As a teenager, Moe Abbas was a vastly different person than he is today. Unmotivated by school, it took getting beat up by some pot dealers at 16 for Moe to make the decision to improve his life. The change wasn’t immediate, but as he began to focus on improving his physical health, his education, and his relationships, opportunities began to present themselves to himThe first opportunity was as an Assistant Phone Line Repair Technician, which allowed him to leave his hometown of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada to work in Kamloops, British Columbia, and then Miami, Florida. Upon returning home, at the suggestion of his brother, Moe began working at a landscaping company where he was able to make a good wage. It didn’t take long for Moe to realize he didn’t like taking orders from someone else so he quit to found his own landscaping company.After two seasons of success, Moe decided to move on from landscaping and sold his business. A friend approached him with a commercial construction opportunity and despite no experience in the field, Moe jumped in feet first and took on a $500,000 renovation project himself. As he gained skills and experience, he was able to grow his business significantly until it spanned 4 offices across Canada.Despite all that success, Moe was not totally satisfied. He had conquered construction but it wasn’t’ a career he had chosen; he sort of just fell into it. As he began to wonder what he should do next, he focused on the legacy he wanted to leave behind and his mind wandered to a new area of interest: technology. After a false start with his first tech start-up, Moe and his business partner pivoted to create Acadium, a platform that connects those looking for work experience in marketing with mentors who will train them.With Acadium still on the rise, Moe is 100% committed to its success and believes he can impact the financial mobility of countless people who don’t have access to other forms of education.Find Acadium and Moe at the following locationsWebsite: acadium.comSocial Media: @acadiumFind Moe: @realmoeabbas______________________You can find Career Crossroads at careercrossroadspodcast.com or follow us on social mediaInstagram: @career_crossroadsLinkedIn: Career Crossroads PodcastFacebook: Career Crossroads PodcastTwitter: @jcollatonTikTok: @jonathancollaton
#39 - Welcome to Career Crossroads very first update episode! This week, I decided not to release an interview as there have been some changes (all positive) in my life that I wanted to talk about. Instead, I recorded a 16-minute episode where I discuss my career and the future of the podcast.Firstly, last week I began a new job. Given the nature of the podcast and why I started it, I felt it was important to talk about why I shifted roles at this point in time.  I provide some insight into why I made the switch and what I'll be doing in the new gig. As for the future of the podcast, don't worry, it's not going anywhere. In fact, my belief in what this podcast can accomplish has only been strengthened with the growth I've seen over the last few months. I'd like to take that growth and use it as a springboard to get this podcast into the ears of those who might benefit from it. Listen in to hear some of my plans for the future of Career Crossroads.______________________You can find Career Crossroads at careercrossroadspodcast.com or follow us on social mediaInstagram: @career_crossroadsLinkedIn: Career Crossroads PodcastFacebook: Career Crossroads PodcastTwitter: @jcollatonTikTok: @jonathancollaton
#38 - For Josh Zettel going to university was an obvious step, but what to do after graduating with a degree in Psychology and Philosophy was less obvious. As he was considering social work, he got a job working at House of Friendship, a non-profit homeless shelter that also provided other programming for the local community. This role helped him realize that while he wanted to help people and be able to connect, social work was not the right path and he ended up leaving House of Friendship after feeling burned out. This was when Josh became lost. What should he do? How could he find a stable career that would allow him to connect with other people? As he struggled to find his path, he decided he should relax and enjoy life a bit, so he headed to Whistler, got a job as a night clerk at a hotel, and spent his days snowboarding. It was during that experience when he reflected back on what he enjoyed during his university undergrad and realized that sports psychology has always been an interest of his. While he hadn't seen it as a viable career path back then, times were changing so he began to look into how he could turn that interest into a career. From that point on, Josh has been very intentional about all his decisions. His journey takes him from Kitchener, Ontario, to Adler University in Chicago, Illinois, and on to Kingston, Ontario where he now works at Queens University. Listen to his interview to hear how his passion for sports psychology has evolved and how he is able to utilize that skill set both in his 9-5, as well as in his side career.   You can connect with Josh on LinkedIn______________________You can find Career Crossroads at careercrossroadspodcast.com or follow us on social mediaInstagram: @career_crossroadsLinkedIn: Career Crossroads PodcastTwitter: @jcollaton
#37 - Today on career Crossroads I talk to Jason Yap, a professional dancer from Malaysia who is currently living and working in Banská Bystrica, Slovakia. As a teenager, Jason had aspirations to become a basketball coach but realized quickly that was not a path likely to lead to success in Malaysia. As he decided to call quits on his basketball career, a new passion emerged: dance. With his athletic ability and competitive nature, he was drawn to the sport as it relied solely on his hard work and skills and not on the success of a team. Having stared at such a late age, dance wasn’t likely to be a career option when he was done high school so instead, he looked at what options would make his parents proud. After settling on psychology, Jason began a university degree while continuing to dance on the side. Upon graduating, Jason had a choice to make. Should he continue down the path to become a clinical psychologist? Or should he work towards a career as a performer where he had a 95% chance of being unemployed after going back to school for a dance program?  Jason just couldn't shake the feeling that dance was where he belonged, and during a heart-to-heart with his parents, he explained that he just needed to know if he could make it as a professional dancer. Jason's parents were supportive and told him to pursue his dream.After obtaining a scholarship to the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, off Jason went for another round of post-secondary education. Now, two years after graduating, Jason is a performing dancer for Divadlo Studio Tanca in Slovakia. During his interview Jason tells me about his journey to overcome imposter syndrome, the value of mentorship, and why he decided to pursue his passion after picking up dance at a later age than most.You can find Jason in the following locations:Instagram: @jasonlielLinkedIn: Jason YapPersonal Website: Artist WebsitePodcast: The Background DancerDance Company: Divadlo Studio Tanca______________________You can find Career Crossroads at careercrossroadspodcast.com or follow us on social mediaInstagram: @career_crossroadsLinkedIn: Career Crossroads PodcastTwitter: @jcollaton
#36 – Growing up in New Delhi in her native India, Shelly’s family had a lot of say in the career path she chose. Despite that, Shelly was committed to working in the hospitality industry and pushed back against her family’s concerns. When she was accepted into the Institute of Hotel Management in Gangtok, her father relented, and off she went. An internship at the Taj Mahal Hotel led to a career in the Food and Beverage department at other luxury hotels like The Imperial, serving clients like Angelina Jolie and Bill Clinton. Then, when her father’s business was struggling, Shelly made the choice to take a job through a J-1 visa in the United States, but it ended up not being the financial success she was hoping for. Back in India, she began to shift towards working with more mid-range hotels until she was offered an opportunity to work for a hotel brand that spun off from Taj Hotel brand where she got her start. By then, Shelly had worked her way up to the role of Director of Sales and Marketing and was expanding her skillset far beyond making a mean martini.When her work environment started to shift, which began to affect her health and social life, Shelly began to consider what the future of her career would look like. Reflecting back on a plan she had if money wasn't an issue, she began to be interested in teaching Sales and Marketing to others. Knowing that would be a difficult path to forge in India, and having a younger sibling attending post-secondary education in Canada, a move overseas seemed like the right choice. Needing to renew some education before applying for Master’s programs, Shelly enrolled at Seneca College and it was there where she found a whole new passion; a passion that is now leading her down a different career path.What is she doing now? Listen in to find out!Connect with Shelly through LinkedIn ______________________________________You can find Career Crossroads at careercrossroadspodcast.com or follow us on social mediaInstagram: @career_crossroadsLinkedIn: Career Crossroads PodcastTwitter: @jcollato on
#35 – Matt Sonnenberg is a man who isn’t afraid to try things. He tries something new, learns a valuable lesson, and then moves onto something else. This is a pattern that started with his childhood paper route but and continues with the multiple revenue streams he manages today.His journey takes us through two different attempts at post-secondary education; a path that eventually led him to specialize in brass instrument repair. After a failed solo repair business, Matt ended up at a larger music store but quickly realized that the industry would take a significant amount of time to break into. Leaving there to deliver pizzas, he learned that he enjoyed working for himself where he didn’t have to rely on a schedule made by someone else, and that was enough to push him towards another entrepreneurial venture. His first website, a place to assist those purchasing a home, taught him how online advertising worked, and his second website was where he found his niche; the toys-to-life video game genre. He got in early enough during the Skylanders crazy that his website generated $35,000 per year from advertising and affiliate marketing, but eventually the bubble had to burst. Realizing the value of getting in on the ground floor, he switched to the world of card games and started the first direct sales website in North American for the Lightseekers franchise.While all this was going on, Matt had become a regular guest on a few podcasts that specialized in video games due to his expertise in the toys-to-life genre. His positive guest experiences led him to start a podcast of his own with some friends, and when it began to pay for itself through Patreon subscribers, his entrepreneurial side took over once again. Now, Matt splits his time between running his websites, creating Skylanders Youtube content, and working as a podcast advisor and consultant helping others get their ideas off the ground.Matt's projects can be found at the following links:Skylanders WebsiteSkylanders Youtube ChannelLightseekers PodcastPodcast ConsultingPodcast Better_______________________You can find Career Crossroads at careercrossroadspodcast.com or follow us on social mediaInstagram: @career_crossroadsLinkedIn: Career Crossroads PodcastTwitter: @jcollaton
#34 -Steve Tyson (a.k.a Tyson) has had something like 27 different jobs in his life. From selling peanut butter cups when he was 10 so he could buy a Nintendo Gamecube, to founding Karbon Brewing Company in 2020, Tyson has often had a motivation behind each job he’s worked beyond just making money. After a number of paths through post-secondary education and a number of jobs working in stadium events management, Tyson moved into the hospitality industry where he saw a number of issues with the sex, drugs and rock and roll lifestyle lived by many who worked within the industry. He worked his way up the restaurant/bar management ladder trying to influence change from the inside until he realized he could help impact change on a larger scale if he wasn’t tied to just a few locations. That’s when he and his business partner founded their own consulting company, Take Action Consulting.As Covid-19 devastated their target market, Steve and his partner found themselves with fewer and fewer clients, but it only takes one client to change things. While consulting with a resort on Wolfe Island, they were made aware of a failed brewery on the island, and that lit a spark for Tyson. What if they opened a brewery that would not only make great beer but help combat climate change and raise awareness of social justice issues? That’s how he became one of the Founder of Karbon Brewing Company, a brewery that aims to become Canada’s first carbon-negative brewery. Listen to Tyson’s interview to hear the whole story.______________________________________You can find Career Crossroads at careercrossroadspodcast.com or follow us on social mediaInstagram: @career_crossroadsLinkedIn: Career Crossroads PodcastTwitter: @jcollaton
#33 – How does someone with no university degree become an executive at Facebook? That’s the story of Victoria Graham’s career over the last 20+ years. Without a clear idea of her future during post-secondary education, Victoria drifted from one university to another and eventually found herself dropping classes for lack of interest. What was holding her interest? The candle store she was working at, where she was eventually promoted to manage one of their locations. The candle store led to a job at Pottery Barn but a chance meeting set Victoria on an entirely different path. While at a party with her copywriter boyfriend, Victoria was introduced to one of his colleagues. Months later that same person called Victoria with a job offer which launched her long career in advertising and digital marketing. Utilizing the skills she’d picked up running the candle store, Victoria thrived and spent a number of 2-year stints at a variety of companies. She was beginning to make a name for herself and that was the point when the recruiters started calling. The first recruiter brought her to California, and not long after that, she began working with Andrea Cunningham, the woman Steve Jobs had entrusted with launching the Macintosh computer in the 1980s. The next recruiter brought her to lead a team embedded at Google and shortly after that, she was approached by Facebook where she’s been ever since.That could be where the story ends, but it’s not. Recently, Victoria had to work her way through the biggest challenge of her career when she realized she needed to make a more drastic change.  Luckily, with a company like Facebook there is plenty of room for internal shifts so once Victoria figured out what she values in a career, an opportunity clicked into place. What led Victoria to transition into the role of Onboarding Experience Lead within Learning and Development? You’ll have to listen to her journey to find out. ______________________________________You can find Career Crossroads at careercrossroadspodcast.com or follow us on social mediaInstagram: @career_crossroadsLinkedIn: Career Crossroads PodcastTwitter: @jcollaton
#32 – Having literally circled the globe during the course of his career, and living in 8 countries along the way, Zach Desson would probably describe himself not as a nomad but as someone open to new experiences. Leaving his home town when he was 18 to volunteer in Peru is where his journey began before he headed back to Canada to start university as a political science student at Wilfrid Laurier University. After graduating, he spent some time working for the Red Cross but continued to look for his next big adventure. After considering becoming a fighter pilot, he decided he wanted the experience of being a paramedic, so he started school once again, this time at Centennial College. After graduating and working for years in the heart of downtown Toronto, Zach began to feel the burnout that so many of us experience at some point in our careers. As he pondered what to do next, he realized that his recent experience had opened his eyes to some of the gaps in the healthcare system so Zach set out to impact change on a greater level. Looking to further his education once again, he looked overseas as his French passport allowed him the privilege of studying in a variety of European locations. After settling on a European Master in Health Economics and Management from Erasmus University Rotterdam, Zach dealt with the same instability that we all did – the Covid-19 pandemic. Now, he’s found himself a job in his field located in Brussels, where he gets to work on healthcare policy.______________________________________You can find Career Crossroads at careercrossroadspodcast.com or follow us on social mediaInstagram: @career_crossroadsLinkedIn: Career Crossroads PodcastTwitter: @jcollaton
#31 – Hailing from the Cayman Islands, Lisa Hylton has always had a career where she crunched numbers, although who she was crunching numbers for has changed dramatically over time. After doing part of her university degree in Cayman, and then transferring to the University of Georgia to complete it, Lisa began her career in accounting with Pricewaterhouse Cooper. After establishing herself at home, she then sought to take her talents abroad via a PwC exchange program. After considering New York and Toronto, Lisa eventually decided on Boston and packed up to move countries once again. It was in there, in Boston, where she really began to shine in her field, but with all this success came sacrifice. Vacations were sparse, so after years of hard work, Lisa finally took an extended tried to the west coast and upon returning, decided that a move was in order. She packed up and transferred to the PwC offices in Los Angeles and continued with the same work ethic she has exhibited in Boston. Years later, Lisa began to wonder what she would command if she tried looking for work outside of her company. This search led to her first major pivot as she became the controller of a real estate investing company. It was while working there that she began to understand the value of real estate and she started doing some research. Now, 2 years later, Lisa is on Career Crossroads to tell her story and make a big announcement about the future of her career path.Lisa can be found at the following locationsWebsite: lisahylton.comInstagram: @lisahylPodcast: The Level Up REIYou can find Career Crossroads at careercrossroadspodcast.com or follow us on social mediaInstagram: @career_crossroadsLinkedIn: Career Crossroads PodcastTwitter: @jcollaton
#30 – Helen Hanison has lived a life of two careers. After stumbling a little as a teenager, she attended university at the age of 21 to get a degree in Media and Communications and after spending a term during her degree working at a high-profile Public Relations firm, she was hooked. This experience led to a long career working in PR in increasingly difficult positions, in multiple cities in her native England. Despite her success in the industry, it wasn’t an entirely smooth road. The fast-paced field created a lot of turnover and she had to navigate new supervisors and new firms along the way. Children and a move to New York City put a pause on that career but upon returning to England, she headed back to the frontlines of Public Relations. When things just seemed to not fit anymore, she headed back to school as a mature student to get a Bachelor of Psychology, as it was always the relationships with co-workers and clients that interested her about PR. Now, Helen is a successful Leadership Coach, helping people take the skills they currently have and find a new direction in which they can utilize them to their fullest potential.Helen's Contact InformationWebsite: helenhanison.comSocial Media: @HHanisonHelen’s Complimentary Career Framework:  click here
#29 - James Cridland knew from the time he was a teenager that radio and technology were two of his biggest passions. Given that, he had a fairly easy time deciding where to try and get hired after high school; a radio station. In a weird twist, early on in his career he was fired and rehired by the same person, but he realized that being the on-air talent full time didn’t allow him the creativity he desired. Using his other skillsets, over the next number of years he ran a radio station website, created a media directory, and was involved in the world’s first phone app for a radio station. Then a head-hunter approached him about a job with the BBC and while he took it, it proved to be a terrible decision. Since leaving, James has found his place consulting for radio stations around the world and ventured into the world of podcasting where he now runs Podnews, a daily newsletter and podcast that allows him to utilize both of his passions in tandem. You can find James at the following websites and social media accounts:Podnews Website: podnews.net Personal Website: james.cridland.netTwitter: @JamesCridland
#28 – Jessica Bondy has always been a natural leader and from a young age she developed a passion for helping others. Towards the end of high school, as she tried to figure out what career path to go down, she flipped open a book about careers and landed on recreation therapist. Everything about the job seemed right so she set off to the University of Waterloo to begin her education. While excelling academically in her undergraduate degrees (she did two of them simultaneously), Jessica became heavily involved in student life, specifically in the area of housing. While she had plans to pursue a full-time Master’s degree once she graduated, a full-time job popped up in Campus Housing and Jessica jumped at the opportunity, thus beginning her career in Student Affairs.  Years later while on maternity leave from another role at the university, Jessica began to feel like she needed to make a change. After testing out many options, she realized that if she wanted to ensure happiness in her future career she needed to get back to her roots and help those in need. As she began to explore the non-profit sector, a crazy turn of events led her to become the Housing Director at House a Friendship in the Waterloo Region of Ontario, Canada; a role she is still in today.Social Links for House of FriendshipWebsite: https://www.houseoffriendship.org/Twitter: @hofwatregFacebook: @houseoffriendshipwr  
#27 – Kristy Bernardo is the woman behind the wildly successful blog The Wicked Noodle, however, being a professional foodie wasn’t always in her future. Growing up in small town Wisconsin, Kristy didn’t have s strong sense of what she should pursue after high school although it didn’t take long for her to find out that she excelled in retail. After 5 promotions in 5 months, she was managing her own store in another state by the age of 20! Next came a move to Southern California where she lived for 16 years as she advanced her career through various companies from Payroll Specialist all the way up to Vice President of Human Resources for Wahoo’s Fish Taco. Upon having children, Kristy became a stay-at-home mom who had to learn how to cook, so she thought she might as well blog about it and this, The Wicked Noodle was born. Despite her low expectations, the blog gained a following quickly and within 6 months she was working with advertisers and opportunities were presenting themselves. Now, 12 years later, food blogging has taken Kristy farther than she ever imagined. She’s been a national spokesperson for major brands, worked with famous chefs, hosted TV shows and publish 5 cookbooks – all from a little hobby blog. Listen to her Career Crossroads interview to hear the whole story.Kristy can be found at the following links:Website: www.thewickednoodle.comSocial Media: @thewickednoodleOr look for any of Kristy's cookbooks on Amazon or wherever you buy books:The Big Book of Instant Pot Recipes: 240 Must-Try Dishes for your Multi-Function CookerWeeknight Keto: 75 East and Quick Recipes for Delicious Low-Carb MealsCooking from Frozen in Your Instant Pot: 100 Foolproof Recipes with No ThawingWeeknight Cooking with Your Instant Pot: Simple Family-Friendly Meals Made Better in Half the Time Easy Cooking with Your Ninja Foodi: 75 Recipes for Incredible One-Pot Meals in Half the Time 
#26 – Christine Dainard is in a vastly different place now than she was when she left high school in her teens. After not getting her diploma, she became a top 10 salesperson, nationwide, for a Canadian exercise equipment retailer. It wasn’t because she was really good at convincing people to buy things - Christine was just really good at understanding people’s needs and with her friendly and energetic personality, she was able to find solutions to their problems. After having a child and going through a divorce, Christine was looking for a change and upon evaluating her interests, decided that Public Relations was what she would pursue. After getting a college diploma, Christine put in the work to get a full-time government job that would provide her with the stability she wanted for her and her son, but after many years of hard work, the pressure of the job began to take its toll. As she struggled with what to do about a career she wasn’t happy with, a friend brought Christine to a winery in Norfolk County in Ontario for a relaxing weekend. Christine was awestruck by the tranquility of the area and literally couldn’t stop the words from coming out of her mouth – she was going to start a winery tour business. Five years later, Buzz Tour Company is Christine’s full-time career and she wouldn’t have it any other way.Listen to Christine’s career journey today!Christine's Website: buzztourcompany.caChristine's Social Media: @buzztourco
#25 - Composer, voice actor, sound designer, host. These are some of the words you can use to describe what Lindsay Graham does in his current career as a full-time podcast creator. He's the man behind American History Tellers, American Scandal, Business Movers, and many other hit podcasts that are part of the Wondery network, however, podcasting has really only comprised the last handful of years of Lindsay's career. Prior to that, he worked in insurance sales, marketing, accounting, and a variety of other roles that are not directly related to what he does today. So did he go from those jobs to podcaster? You’ll have to check out his Career Crossroads interview to find out.
#24 – Early in her professional career in India, Priyanka Ojha has moved around a lot. It started when she got her degree in mechanical engineering and was quickly recruited by Bosch to work in their diesel engine pump division. But one year into that career, Priyanka decided to expand her professional credentials and began a Masters of Business Administration in Finance. That led her to jobs in business development and employee engagement before she packed up to move again – this time to Germany where her husband’s career was located. Now working in software consulting for Deloitte, Priyanka has come a long way from where she started her career. Listen to episode 24 of Career Crossroads to hear Priyanka reflet on the career path she has chosen.Social Links for PriyankaPodcast: https://peoplesstories.podbean.com/ Social Media: @peoplesstoriespod
#23 – Ivan Lu was driven by respect and competition to follow in his brother’s footsteps in a corporate career. To make that dream a reality he decided to get a degree in Commerce, something that would provide him with a variety of opportunities when he graduated. While in university, his internships/co-op experiences helped him realize that some of what he was studying was just not that interesting. He did not want to sit in a room and crunch numbers so upon graduating he tried to find a job with more of a client-facing role. Bouncing between a couple of jobs, Ivan found himself spending more and more time on one of his hobbies, singing, and soon realized he needed to set off down a totally different career path than the one he initially intended.  Now, two and a half years later Ivan has his own vocal coaching business and is thriving.Website and Podcast: singingsimply.comInstagram: @singingwithivan
#22 – Chris Johnson has an idyllic life working at his own skate shop, Passion Board Shop, in Eau Claire Wisconsin. But when he was 18, life didn’t look like it was heading in that direction. With an interest in sales, Chris decided to study business at the University of Minnesota Duluth but quickly decided the degree was unnecessary. As he had learned working at a Zoomies store in his teens, you just had to be a good salesperson to succeed in sales, and that is what he wanted to do. Chris set out to begin climbing the corporate ladder at Kay Jewellers, Helzberg Diamonds, and eventually landed at Verizon Wireless as an Assistant Manager. Then one day, he looked around and realized he didn’t like the person he was becoming and decide to make a change. How does that lead to opening a skate shop?  Listen to Chris’s interview to find out.Find Chris at the links belowInstagram: @passionpodPodcast/Business Website: https://www.passionboardshop.com/ 
#21 – Raised in rural Kansas, Scott Mason would look up at the stars at night and dream of two things – disco and the big city! After finishing his undergraduate degree in Minneapolis, Scott was accepted into Columbia Law School and was quickly trying to find his place in New York. Upon realizing that his passion lay more in advocacy work, and not in litigation, he began working for the City of New York. During his 20-year career there he was involved in numerous projects and initiatives that he can be proud of but something wasn’t sitting right, and one day Scott decided to leave his job for the great unknown. While trying to figure out what was next, he began working as a small business consultant which opened up a world of opportunities that directly influence the work he does today. Listen to Scott's interview to hear his entire career journey.Scott’s Websites: scottmasonllc.com and speakerscott.comScott’s Podcast: Purpose HighwayScott’s social media:  @s.scott_mason
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