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December finds Talent Formula featuring guests who have perfected their own personal formula. Read this month’s posts to learn the insider secrets on developing your own formula.
Perseverance + Boldness
I was fortunate enough to hear Oprah Winfrey speak earlier this year here in Vancouver. In true Oprah style, she captivated the audience but what was remarkable was she started off with a personal story. She said she was a young girl watching her grandmother hang up the wash for her employer. Her grandmother said that someday Oprah would be doing the same thing. and Oprah thought, “No this is not for me!”. That decision helped lead her down a path with ups and downs but ultimately success as one of the most powerful women in the world.
My takeaway from Oprah is that choices lead to paths but sometimes the path chooses a person. No matter how the journey starts, the commonality amongst successful individuals is they made a decision to just go for it!
Early on, it’s the decision and sheer audacity to go boldly forward that makes the difference and creates success.
This month’s theme features people who have inspired us as Talent Formula bloggers. We hope that their personal stories help you learn a little something about building your own personal success story.
Talent Formula Feature: Megan McDonald
“Personal pride and creative license are my biggest motivators.” – Megan McDonald
Grace Lanuza & Megan McDonald:
I met Megan McDonald through the Women In Leadership Vancouver chapter where we are both Mentors. I identified with a lot of parts of Megan’s story. Megan didn’t allow obstacles in her journey to stop her, in fact she was more motivated to succeed!
Megan is the Director of Business Development for MCAP (one of Canada’s leading independent mortgage financing companies), where she facilitates a coaching program for leaders in the sales organization. She has been in the financial industry since she graduated and quickly made a large impact. By the time she was 29, Megan was successfully leading 40 person teams and was rewarded the prestigious MCAP Stars award, which was normally reserved for Vice Presidents!
Megan’s success doesn’t stop in just this one arena, she also sits on the board of the Mortgage Brokers Association of BC (MBABC) where she advocates for the mortgage broker industry through improved government relations and education. Furthermore, she also participates in the community where she mentors young women in leadership and share with them her proven methods for success.
Even though she’s busy with a heavy travel schedule, she graciously carved out some time for me to share her personal formula of success. Here’s what Megan had to say…
What made you choose your line of work/career and how did you get your start in the industry?
“I guess I would say it choose me!
At the age of 16 my father fell ill after suffering from a stroke. In order to create income for my family, my father created a numbered company to invest his earnings. I was named President of that company and was responsible for managing our mortgage portfolio and establishing relationships with business partners.
Arguably, I was not the best student, I even failed grade 9 Math, but I took this role easily and found the relationship building aspect intriguing. After completing my secondary education I attended a networking event in Kelowna hosted by the Mortgage Brokers Association of BC and was quickly scouted and hired by a mortgage lender.”
What is the first moment you would consider a success in your career?
“My first moment came with my first promotion, strangely enough. It was a small promotion with an even smaller pay raise, but it was an accomplishment none the less. I remember the day I was finally presented the new offer and recognized then that this feeling was one I wanted again. The drive to succeed is not won in the war, but every battle along the way.”
What are your biggest success motivators?
“Personal pride and creative license are my biggest motivators.
It’s odd that money ranks at #3 for me as I’m the Director of sales; however, I realized early in my career that if I focused on my achievements, money would soon follow and it did!
I keep a record of my accomplishments like an athlete who wins metals and I look to do things outside the box to push traditional stereotypes. The most important thing in my career now is working for and with people who understand what motivates me to be my best and ultimately my happiest.”
What was the biggest challenge you encountered and how did you overcome it?
“My biggest challenge arguable was my gender and my age. Finance is male dominated, partially at the senior level, and titles were reflective of length of experience.
I was able to overcome these challenges through networking and mentorship. I was very fortunate to have key people in my industry invest in my success. They acted as my sounding boards as well as advocates. Their constant encouragement and influence to be unapologetic about my gender was crucial.
With their support I focused not on my challenges, but on my successes, proven track record, results oriented achievements, and consistent deliverables.”
How do you have a balance/flow/harmony of work and play?
“I must admit in the early stages of my career the word balance did not exist. At the age of 33, I have now incorporated 6am gym visits and evening meditation.
Our careers are not a sprint, they are a long distance race and if we plan on making it to the finish line, we need to play just as hard as we work. I decided to commit to my career, mind, body and spirit and I recommend anyone else to do the same.”
What’s the best advice you have ever heard and how did you put it to practice?
“The best advice I was ever given was from my teacher at BCIT, who said “The fish stinks from the head down!”
The advice illustrates that accountability and responsibly starts with ME. Also, that leadership, not management, is key to the success of any company.”
What are the top 3 take aways / advice you have for a student or a recent grad that’s just starting out in their career path?
1. Treat searching for a job, like a full time job.
2. Don’t be afraid to start at the bottom
3. Build a network early and never stop investing in relationships.
What are your favourite business reads?
“My favorite personal and business book of all time is, The Compound Effect, by Darren Hardy. It is a quick and simple read outlining the important and critical impact of everyday decisions.
Another book I recommend is, Blue Ocean Strategy, by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne. They stress the important of not following the crowd into the red sea of competition, but trail blazing into new blue waters. Both books are practical and inspiring”
What’s next for Megan McDonald?
“Well, good question. My desires include earning a VP position at MCAP responsible for sales and marketing, designing an executive coaching campaign within MCAP, and continued mentorship and speaking engagements to share my story.
Finally, I hope to write a book to illustrate my tools for success and coaching. In the middle of all this, I look forward to travel and adventure with my partner who is a daily inspiration.”
My Take-Away: It’s a Journey not a Race
When I was asked in Kindergarten what I had wanted to be when I grew up, I said, “Cosmetic Surgeon.” Now ok, that was totally a little bit of a Toddlers & Tiaras moment for me!
The answer then evolved into (back then) “Stewardess” which in reflecting back now, that definitely is not for me as I don’t like plane bathrooms and flight delays (who does?!), then there was that time when I had wanted to be a “Broadcast Journalist” which again no thanks not for me.
Fast forward to today and here we are…. is my journey complete? Have I found the right formula? My answer will be very “in the now” and say for now it’s a work in progress. I firmly believe that we all continue to learn and evolve, taking our careers to bigger and better levels what ever it is one chooses to do. I bet my girl Oprah would say exactly the same thing.
Thank you to Megan for sharing her story with me and allowing me to share it with you. By continuing to set new goals and share with others what she has learned, she is helping refine her own success formula and help others discover their own. Now that’s inspirational!
Megan can be found on Twitter @MMSalesCoach and on her Facebook page Megan McDonald Sales Coach
We’d Love To Know…
Have you found your own success formula? If you can have any career you want, what would it be and why?