STUDENTS OF TODAY, LEADERS OF TOMORROW.

A Superstar Performer’s Key Takeaways from Her Time with Student Works

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Alexandra Gendron has leadership embedded in her DNA.

Alexandra Gendron (Source: LinkedIn)

This superstar performer won Rookie Operator of the Year in her first year with Student Works, and her success has only grown since. 

Serving as one of our first window cleaning District Managers, Alexandra took on the challenge with a positive mindset. And in the spirit of being of service, she’s now a mentor for new Student Works Management Program recruits, in addition to running her own team. 

In a conversation with Chris Thomson on our Leaders of Tomorrow Podcast, Alexandra got candid about her ambitious nature and how it guides her in everything that she does. 

Here are her key business takeaways from her time with us at Student Works:

Focus on the Solution

When it comes to running a business, any C-suite executive will tell you that dwelling on all the problems you need to solve serves only to limit your potential.

“I think top performers really have a solution-oriented mindset. They get thrown a lot of challenges every single day, and instead of dwelling on them and focusing on them, they’re constantly thinking, “how can I actually solve this right now?” Alexandra shared. 

It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on business operations across the globe. Top performers, however, have been able to pivot and adapt to keep things as close to “business as usual” as possible. 

Alexandra is one of them. But at first? She was very resistant to the change. 

After hiring a new team, training them, and booking clients, she couldn’t believe she had to change her approach. However, being the leader that she is, she flipped the script and began viewing the new business landscape as an opportunity for growth.

“[I began asking myself] how is this year going to help us? How are we going to create everything we want? And when you start looking at it as an opportunity, there’s just so much you can discover there,” she explained to Chris.

Her new approach even led to uncovering innovative ways to find business. 

“Last year half the team didn’t even have a Facebook page and this year we were able to book tens of thousands of dollars through Facebook and Instagram … there’s just so many little things that we’ve learned through it,” she beamed. 

Strive for Balance

Running a business requires unwavering dedication and hard work, but it doesn’t have to be an endless grind to the top. 

“It’s great to be hitting all our goals, but at the same time work-life balance is super super important,” she explained. 

Burn out is debilitating, and it’s imperative that leaders understand their limits and replenish their energies wherever they can. This enables them to put their best foot forward each day in all aspects of their lives.

“[I ask my team] what are you doing to have fun this week? When are you taking time off? It’s great you hit that sales goal! How are you going to reward yourself?” she said.

Now that’s the kind of boss every company needs.

Inspiration

“I’m only as successful as the people who are around me,” he remarked.

One of the key pillars of a profitable business is a motivated team.  

“I have had to put [the people I work with] through courses, spend time coaching [them], give them some good guidance, and help them get [going in] the right direction,” he said.

A leader who is generous with his or her time, and provides both detailed feedback and a soundboard to discuss any issues one might have is, simply put, the gold standard. 

Are you a student looking to further your development as a leader and enter the exciting world of entrepreneurship? Check out more stories from Student Works participants and alumni on our Leaders of Tomorrow Podcast!

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The Unique Abilities of Top Performing Executives

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Richard Simtob, like you if you’re reading this article, is not like the rest. 

Richard Simtob (Source: LinkedIn)

A serial entrepreneur with experience across a broad range of industries, Richard hustles hard and his long and fruitful entrepreneurial career is the trophy he has to show for it. 

During his time with Student Works, a period in which he put pedal to the metal 7 days a week, Richard exuded many qualities of a budding top performer. He worked relentlessly, focused on communication, and possessed the fire in his belly that led him to go on to become the powerhouse he is today. 

However, according to Richard, he would’ve never reached the heights he soars at presently without his unique abilities.

In a conversation with Chris Thomson on our Leaders of Tomorrow Podcast, Richard unpacked exactly what he identifies as a ‘unique ability’.

“If i’m doing something and it doesn’t feel like work, and I can’t believe how quickly time flies, that’s probably [my] unique ability,” he detailed. 

So what special skills does Richard have in his arsenal that he defines as his own unique abilities?

Fact Finding

Curiosity may have killed the cat, but historically, it’s left Richard entirely unscathed. 

“I like to uncover underlying issues, so wherever we are, in whatever situation, I like to find out what the core issue is.” he said, when explaining that nipping problems in the bud before they become troublesome has been one of the top strategies that has enabled him to run successful ventures. 

Negotiation

That inquisitive nature? It also acts as a transferable skill that aids Richard in negotiations.

“I have a landlord and I have a tenant and the landlord wants a high rent and the tenant wants to pay a low rent. There’s a number in there that makes sense to both [parties] and I’ve always been able to find that sweet spot,” he explained.

His track record speaks for itself – he’s consistently able to find a mutual way that everyone he works with can negotiate a beneficial deal for themselves. 

Inspiration

“I’m only as successful as the people who are around me,” he remarked.

One of the key pillars of a profitable business is a motivated team.  

“I have had to put [the people I work with] through courses, spend time coaching [them], give them some good guidance, and help them get [going in] the right direction,” he said.

A leader who is generous with his or her time, and provides both detailed feedback and a soundboard to discuss any issues one might have is, simply put, the gold standard. 

Are you a student looking to further your development as a leader and enter the exciting world of entrepreneurship? Check out more stories from Student Works participants and alumni on our Leaders of Tomorrow Podcast!

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MLSE Exec’s Secrets to Success

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Nick Eaves isn’t shy about sharing the secrets to his success.

Nick Eaves (Source: LinkedIn)

But long before he was the Chief Operating Officer at Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, he spent four years with Student Works. 

After hearing all about how his friend found meaning and purpose while running a summer business with us, Nick wanted in.

Since his days as a burgeoning leader, he’s confidently climbed a steady ladder of corporate achievement, and we are so fortunate that we get to tap into his knowledge base!

In a fascinating discussion with Chris Thomson, who was once Nick’s mentor, on our Leaders of Tomorrow Podcast, Nick generously shared his story with the listeners.

If you’re looking to achieve a career arc like his, take note of the powerful insights found within his secrets to success:

Stay Humble

According to Nick, believing that you’re special can come with some damning consequences.

“The reality is that none of us are that important, and as soon as we begin to think we are, then I think we got a problem,” he stated frankly. 

Nick believes he is merely one cog in the machine of his business, and that any leader who thinks they’re more than that is focused on the wrong stuff. 

“Those who are most successful are the ones who have really done everything inside of their business,” he says.

Bosses who are hands on, and prioritize working alongside their team are able to demonstrate that success comes from the efforts of the entire workplace ecosystem, not merely one person.

Stay the Course

Nick credits a large amount of his prosperity to the belief that bigger and better things would continue to come his way.

Instead of waiting blindly for the next opportunity, he “intentionally invested in decisions and behaviours that [he] felt confident would be rewarded.” he reflected. 

The caveat? “I was patient in allowing that reward to come,” he said. Don’t stand down, stay the course, and you’ll get where you’re trying to go. 

Stay Connected

“I’ve never done anything on my own, most people don’t,” he admitted.

If you’re smart, all the people you meet on your professional journey become a valuable network of resources you can tap into throughout your career. Nick urged young leaders to not lose sight of that, and to always remain in touch with their professional contacts in a meaningful, and symbiotic way. 

“Don’t be an inauthentic networker,” he warns. People can see right through it, and using others as pawns in your professional life is not the purpose of maintaining a vibrant community of contacts. 

The real value lies in helping others through obstacles you’ve previously experienced and metabolizing your networks tough lessons as your own so that you can avoid the setbacks they once faced.

Are you a student looking to further your development as a leader and enter the exciting world of entrepreneurship? Check out more stories from Student Works participants and alumni on our Leaders of Tomorrow Podcast!

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How Student Works Prepared Keith Ellis for his Career

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Keith Ellis has had a colourful career that speaks for itself. 

Keith Ellis (Source: LinkedIn)

The hard-working ethos that motivates Keith took hold early. In high school, he was a top-tier competitive gymnastics coach while additionally interning at a real estate firm. It was at the latter that he was offered the opportunity to get involved with Student Works.

That first year with us? He generated over $100,000 in sales. This was, of course, before he received his high school diploma. Yeah, you read that right.

His resume is impressively decorated with roles at Dell Canada, SAAS, EnerNOC, Honeywell, Global Payments Inc; and he currently is Director of Business Development at TransPerfect.

Did his Student Works experience help mould him to be the top performer he is today? Keith spoke to Chris Thomson on our Leaders of Tomorrow Podcast to explain why he thinks that just might be the case:

Confidence

When you’re in highschool, the thought of going out in two feet of snow and knocking on doors to pitch your painting services might sound like a daunting task. If it scared Keith, he didn’t let it get the best of him. In fact, he claims it was valuable training for his future. Nowadays, the thought of cold calling C-level executives doesn’t cause him to bat an eye. 

Oh, and speaking of confidence, Keith never lets a potential client hang up the phone until they have their next meeting in the calendar. You can write that pro-tip down!

Value

When it comes to sales, Keith insists the key to success is selling your potential customer on the value of what you’re offering. 

For most homeowners, their house is their most prized possession, and anyone they allow in to do contract work has got to know what they’re doing. 

“You’re protecting the most important asset someone owns,” said Keith, referring to his time with Student Works.

If you don’t understand your product, service, or customer, you’ll never be able to pitch yourself in a way that resonates and creates value.

Consistency

If you let one bad day on the job shake your confidence in a way that limits you from providing consistently great service, you still have much to learn. 

Keith doesn’t sweat the small stuff. “Student Works separates the boys from men on who’s able to stop and see the bigger picture and understand that there’s wins and there’s losses … I made tremendous profit on three out of five jobs and on some of the others, it’s okay, I kept my painters employed and maybe only made a 10% or 20% margin on some, but that’s the whole point, is that it’s a balance” Keith told Chris. 

We’re inclined to agree.

Are you a student looking to further your development as a leader and enter the exciting world of entrepreneurship? Check out more stories from Student Works participants and alumni on our Leaders of Tomorrow Podcast!

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How Brandon Cornish Broke Records with Student Works

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Brandon Cornish knows how to defy expectations.

Brandon Cornish (Source: LinkedIn)

In his first year with Student Works, he broke the all-time window cleaning rookie record, clocking nearly six figures in sales.

With this in mind, it may surprise you that just one year ago, Brandon never could’ve imagined himself in the position he’s in now. So what changed? 

In a conversation with Chris Thomspon on our Leaders of Tomorrow Podcast, Brandon divulged the secrets to his record-breaking success:

Stay Connected

When you think you’ve got it all figured out, you shut yourself off from learning. Brandon is keenly aware of this pitfall that many professionals succumb to, and credits his habit of staying connected to other top performers as what enables him to be one himself. 

Never be afraid to pick up the phone, call your colleagues, and see how they’re doing. You just might learn something from the bits and pieces of wisdom you learn from their journeys.

Stay Efficient

I strongly believe that all top performers are making the best use of their time … If they have something slotted off, they’re giving 100% effort” said Brandon. 

We can attest: He walks his talk! Though Brandon isn’t studying business and claims he couldn’t see himself in a sales position before Student Works, he credits “putting the time” in as a huge catalyst for his success. The more you sow, the more you reap. 

Stay Motivated

One interesting move from Brandon’s playbook is his habit of setting increasingly difficult goals to achieve, even after he fails to achieve them.

“What you have to do next week is increase the goal and make sure you make up for last week. So really, [you just have to stay] focused and committed to the finished result” said Brandon. 

And the comparison trap we all get sucked into from time to time? Dodge it. Brandon advises that keeping your head down, running at your own rate, and staying focused on and committed to achieving your individual goal is all you need to succeed. 

Stay Inspiring

When you use your voice and power for good, you inspire others to become better versions of themselves. Brandon suggests developing your communication skills and focusing on helping others as an avenue to begin cultivating a strong and passionate team.

Are you a student looking to further your development as a leader and enter the exciting world of entrepreneurship? Check out more stories from Student Works participants and alumni on our Leaders of Tomorrow Podcast!

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How to Have a Successful and Fulfilling Professional Life

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Bryan Kane has a deep understanding of how to enjoy a successful and fulfilling professional life.

Bryan Kane (Source: LinkedIn)

In fact, the President of FCB Canada has a rich history of finding joy in the workplace. 

Before he became a C-level executive, Bryan dove headfirst into the world of leadership by participating in the Student Works Management Program, where he honed his ability to focus and learned to exhibit the discipline necessary to become a top performer.

But how does a leader arrive at their dream job? Bryan sat down with Chris Thomson to talk on the Leaders of Tomorrow podcast where he discussed his professional trajectory and shared what he believes all leaders need to do in order to have a successful and fulfilling professional life. 

Stay Open to Change

For Bryan, the path to his current position as President of FCB Canada was far from straight and narrow. In fact, his professional journey took many twists and turns before he arrived at his current position. While some entrepreneurs may have balked at the idea that their aspirations and reality weren’t aligning, Bryan believed that opportunity could be found everywhere.  

“For people who are really goal-oriented and driven, sometimes the blinders get on and they miss opportunity by not being open to [taking] different paths,” he said.

Being open to redefining what success looks like can be instrumental in making or breaking a career in its early days.  

“Three plus three equals six, but so does seven minus one. If you’re trying to get to six, there are different ways [to get there].” 

Be Ambitious

A job that doesn’t feel like a job? That’s the goal. Bryan credits the strong enjoyment of his career to being one of the most important aspects of his success.

“There are a lot of people I know that are successful, and they ended up on a path that they felt that they needed to be on because their parents told them, [or] society told them. They don’t love [what they do].” 

Bryan believes that if someone else is driving you in your career path, you run the risk of plateauing due to disinterest. 

Exhibit Humility

While confidence is key, Bryan has observed over his many years running a business that great leaders are incredibly humble. When a leader fails to respect the value that different members of his or her team bring to the table, they limit themselves from growing past their own level of expertise. A powerful leader is aware that just because they’re at the top, there will always remain a world of information waiting to be discovered by them.

Be a Team Player

If you study top companies across the globe you’ll notice one thing: Few people are wildly successful without the support of a team. In fact, according to Bryan, the majority of formidable leaders are people who want to build and create teams, and who also recognize the unique role that they play within theirs. We couldn’t agree more! 

Are you a student looking to further your development as a leader and enter the exciting world of entrepreneurship? Check out more stories from Student Works participants and alumni on our Leaders of Tomorrow Podcast!

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The Biggest Takeaways from a Summer as a Student Painter

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Jessica Franzman is a firm believer in expanding your comfort zone.

Jessica Franzman (Source: LinkedIn)

This past year, the Calgary-raised first-year university student and Student Works operator has truly walked her talk. Speaking with her now, you’d never suspect that she once struggled with self-doubt and uncertainty when she began the Student Works Management Program in January.

Jessica sat down with Chris Thomson on our Leaders of Tomorrow podcast to share the biggest takeaways she gathered from her first summer as a student painter. Rich with insights, here’s what she had to say:

Get Outside of your Comfort Zone

Leaving Alberta behind to attend Dalhousie wasn’t an easy choice for Jessica, but she knew it was the correct one. In fact, she felt that if she stayed in her cozy hometown, she’d never grow. 

Jessica’s evolution since joining forces with Student Works has been astronomical. She went from doubting that she could ever run a business, to overcoming her fears and succeeding as a first year operator. 

Her advice for newcomers to the program?

“Do the thing that scares you the most. Step outside of your comfort zone. If something freaks the hell out of you, go and do it. Right? I was scared as all hell to run a business for the first time and I’ve never been more grateful in my life that I took this risk, because honestly, this will set me up for the rest of my life,” she passionately explained to Chris. 

According to Jessica, getting outside of your comfort zone is how you determine how far you can go as a person. If you couldn’t tell already, she wants to succeed.

Develop Trust

In previous jobs, Jessica felt very challenged whenever she was expected to place trust in team members. A former control freak, she couldn’t muster enough belief in her coworkers potential to stop herself from doing their job for them. 

“I didn’t see the value in building trust with my coworkers,” she expressed. 

However, after many talks with her Student Works district manager about the challenges she faced, she learned that to be a leader, she would need to trust her team. 

“Trust is the foundation of every relationship you’ll ever build.” Bingo!

Nowadays, when Jessica checks in with her team, it’s not to micromanage them. She merely keeps lines of communication open so that everyone on her crew understands that she’s a resource to rely on when things get challenging on the job. 

Jessica serves as an excellent example of the not only professional, but personal evolution that Student Works Management Program participants benefit from. In fact, when asked what’s changed in her life since she began working with us, she notes:

“Everything that comes my way, I see as an opportunity now.”

Are you a student looking to further your development as a leader and enter the exciting world of entrepreneurship? Check out more stories from Student Works participants and alumni on our Leaders of Tomorrow Podcast!

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Why the Outcome Economy Inspires People to Work Harder

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Austin Trudeau prefers to work within an outcome economy.

Austin Trudeau (Source: LinkedIn)

In fact, the top-performing Student Works Management Program Operator can’t imagine why anyone would ever choose to dedicate themselves to a stable job over a results-driven independent career path.

Why? In the former, you’re not getting out of your job what you put into it.

Originally a painter for a Student Works Manager, Austin absorbed the ins and outs of what it meant to truly grind hard on a crew. However, it wasn’t long until he worked his way up to become one of our company’s most financially successful operators.

With his crews, there’s one key trait he looks for to determine if his painters have the fire in their belly necessary to advance and become operators themselves: Drive. Therefore, early on in his relationship with his crews, he’ll ask them:

“Would you rather work a job with a steady paycheck every two weeks, or work for yourself and be rewarded financially depending on how hard you work?” Their answers provide interesting insights into the psychology of his team.

“If I can learn a skill well, hone down on it, and really prove to myself that I’m doing it well, I can make and be compensated accordingly and that’s really the goal. It’s an intrinsic and extrinsic motivator.” Austin declared recently on our Leaders of Tomorrow Podcast. 

At Student Works, we’re always looking for young talent that shares this value, as it’s a key indicator of a top performer in the making. 

Another trait that sets top performers apart from the pack, according to Austin? The desire to immediately diffuse any problems that arise. Every business runs into hiccups. Solving them swiftly before they snowball into unrecognizable hurdles is the course of action often employed by the best leaders. 

“There’s the story you hear with an operator who goes “Oh, my team quit”, [and I say] I’m really sorry about that, I just don’t know the context of that and I’m sure that something you did or did not do had something to do with that. Of course that’s not something that’s quite polite to say to somebody, but it’s probably close to the truth, because there’s no way somebody up and quit with zero red flags waving” Austin explained. 

By minimizing the delay between problem and solution, entrepreneurs sidestep bigger issues in the making. When you’re operating in an outcome economy, there’s increased incentive to nip challenges in the bud, because you just might pay for them if you try to sweep them under the rug!

Are you a student looking to further your development as a leader and enter the exciting world of entrepreneurship? Check out more stories from Student Works participants and alumni on our Leaders of Tomorrow Podcast!

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James Svetec’s Key Tips for Success

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James Svetec has the spirit of entrepreneurship in his bones.

James Svetec (Source: LinkedIn)

After spending a year studying business and entrepreneurship he felt lost. Traditional career paths failed to fit within his idea for the type of life he wanted, and the only thing he could envision working for him was to trailblaze a path that allowed him to work for himself. 

Cut to Student Works. It was here that James honed his natural managerial abilities and learned that there was another way towards success that didn’t involve putting in extra hours to make someone else successful.

Since his days in our management training program, James has founded an impressive online training program, BnB Mastery, that teaches individuals how to earn a full-time income by managing other people’s properties on AirBnB. 

Unsurprisingly, James has collected many valuable kernels of wisdom from his days as a business owner. Here are two of his key tips for success:

Creativity & Brilliance Can’t Replace Hard Work

According to James, regardless of how prolific you are as a creator, no amount of creativity and brilliance replace hard work.

“There’s a difference between someone who wants the outcome, wants to be making the money, traveling, and living where they want, versus somebody who actually wants to do the work,” he said in a recent interview with Chris Thomson on our Leaders of Tomorrow Podcast. 

Anyone who has spent time as an entrepreneur knows this to be true. Putting in the hours, making those cold calls, and harnessing the power of persuasion to get new clients are all crucial parts of building a business from the ground up. It’s not the idea that makes the money, it’s the execution of it!

Manage your Mental State

To be successful, James says, you need to learn where you’re at mentally. Getting to the top will only be challenging if you don’t check in with yourself or understand if you even enjoy what you’re working so hard on.

Yes, BnB Mastery has hit it big, but it wasn’t James’s first business. In fact, there was once a time that he had piles of other people’s used furniture crowding up his living room. Why? He had been acquiring the pieces with the sole intention of flipping them on Kijiji.

Then there was his stint working as a contractor for a company, wherein his employer and him parted ways – both relieved to be set free of the other. 

If James hadn’t determined that those hustles weren’t his destiny by managing his mental state and figuring out what didn’t work for him, he wouldn’t have the successful company he does  today. 

A few quick tips to do this from James? Leave work at work & recognize that the customer isn’t a jerk, he’s merely a reflection of how you could be showing up better.

Are you a student looking to further your development as a leader and enter the exciting world of entrepreneurship? Check out more stories from Student Works participants and alumni on our Leaders of Tomorrow Podcast!

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Three Key Attributes of Highly Successful People

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Dustin Taylor has been fully independent since he was 16 years old.

Dustin Taylor (Source: LinkedIn)

Yes, you read that correctly. When his family fell upon hardship in his teen years, they lost their home. However, while Dustin was on his own during this period, he refused to surrender to his circumstances. 

Determined to make something extraordinary out of his life, he threw himself into his studies while bulking up his resume with a host of extracurriculars that helped build him to be the well-rounded and talented individual he is today. 

Dustin’s path to Student Works was decorated with many twists and turns, from the restaurant industry, to studying nutrition, to even a stint in car wax sales. It was through these experiences that he gained the transferable skills he brought to his painting business. Oh, and did we mention he grew that endeavour to 130,000 in his first year?

That’s right. Dustin impresses, and we need leaders like him now more than ever. Here are the three key attributes of highly successful people, according to the formidable Dustin Taylor:

Attitude

One of the first things you notice when you talk to Dustin is his warm and positive disposition. It’s no surprise that he lists having a good attitude as one of the top things that high performers are doing better. 

Having the perspective to spin every obstacle you face into a mountain you can climb, if only you just trained a little harder, is pivotal to lasting success. There’s no escaping the ups and downs of entrepreneurship. But how one overcomes the hurdles is what distinguishes a true leader from their peers.  

Work Ethic

One of Dustin’s favourite quotes comes from the motivational speaker Les Brown, “You must be willing to do things today others won’t do, in order to have the things tomorrow others won’t have.” Truer words!

The leaders who aren’t afraid to take risks, put in the at times grueling hours, and grind hard to make their dreams a reality are the ones we read about in Forbes 30 under 30. 

At the end of the day, nothing meaningful can come without hard work, and if it does, watch out! Dustin warns it’s probably not worth it. 

Willingness to Learn 

A fatal flaw many business owners possess is the false belief that they have it all figured out. If you think you’re the best and you’re holding onto that title in your head, like clockwork, your position in the market will begin to slip.

Knowing that there are always new skills to develop and things to learn is instrumental in separating top performers from others. Dustin refers to this as “The Student Mentality”, claiming that fostering a willingness to learn allows leaders to accept their failures as they come, and view them as merely “the first attempt at learning.” 

Are you a student looking to further your development as a leader and enter the exciting world of entrepreneurship? Check out more stories from Student Works participants and alumni on our Leaders of Tomorrow Podcast!

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