Sometimes, taking the positions that may not necessarily be the right fit can result in leading to the correct path of something even better.
One individual this is infinitely true for is Bailey Parnell, founder of SkillsCamp, a company that focuses on teaching the skills that typically characterize our relationships with other people, and how we approach work and life.
We sat down with Bailey to discuss ambition, determination, and the critical lessons that can arise from potential failure.
The best piece of advice that I have received is…
Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.
Someone I look up to is…
My mom. She is really sick. She has no reason to be as kind and open-hearted as she is, yet she has created four powerful, independent women. I have no excuses.
Favourite Instagram account to follow is…
My girlfriend, @pauleannareid, she is a mentor, motivator, and speaker. She has a very straightforward and has a no bullshit attitude.
The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is…
Make my bed!
I couldn’t do what I do without…
Asana, Google Suite, and QuickBooks.
What is SkillsCamp?
SkillsCamp Soft Skills Training is a soft skill training company. We work with businesses, non-profits, educational institutions, and governments, to build soft skills such as emotional intelligence, stress management, productivity, and more.
How did you get started?
SkillsCamp started when I was working full time at Ryerson in the Student Affairs Department, the department responsible for services outside the classroom such as career centres, health and wellness departments, etc. At that time, there was research coming out from the government that suggested that the top skills that employers were looking for were soft skills, but they were not being taught in schools. I also saw that the students who used the Students Affairs resources were much more successful, but that most weren’t. At the same time, there was also employer research claiming that they were looking for these skills. So it all came together at the right time, presenting a problem that I thought I would be best to solve given my background in marketing and sales, but also my work in education and that side of things.
What type of Notable are you? Are you a creator, an entrepreneur, or a professional?
Now, I consider myself an entrepreneur as well as an educator.
Why do you love your job? What sort of cool things do you get to do?
I love my job because it is the perfect combination of what I like, what I am good at, what I think the world will pay for, as well as what the world needs more of. I can travel all over because companies that need these soft skills training are not only in Toronto. I get to go all over the world. I get to work with companies as big as Fortune 500s as well as non-profits. I get to work with the government and schools at every level as well as across all industries. I feel like I have been able to gain this incredible insight into things that are more vulnerable about people, their self-awareness and resilience. I feel that I have gained a good grasp of people’s experiences, especially in the workplace.
What do you want to be known for?
I want to be known as someone who built a strong and healthy business, but that the SkillsCamp business that helps people become successful personally and professionally. I also want to be known for my research on social media’s impact on mental health.
What does ambition mean to you?
Ambition is being able to see the long-term goal, and it comes from the internal intrinsic sense of motivation to reach it.
Looking back, are there moments that clearly stand out in your life as defining moments that have led you to this point?
Between my first and second year of university, I got a full-time job at Ryerson in event planning. Of course, I didn’t want to be an event planner, and I still don’t. However, I took the opportunity anyway, and that’s where I met everyone that I still work with. My career snow-balled from accepting that role that I didn’t think was related to me.
What would you consider your biggest accomplishment to date?
In 2016, I was named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women. I was able to bring my mum to the ceremony. In that same year, I also gave my first Ted Talk on my research, which I recently presented at the World Youth Forum in Egypt. A lot of my accomplishments now can be traced back to those two pivotal moments.
What is an important business lesson that you have learned along the way?
Always get everything in writing, and make sure you take yourself as seriously and believe in yourself as much as, everyone else does.
What are some pivotal mentorship moments for you?
Before I made the jump from Ryerson to full-time at SkillsCamp, I was naturally nervous about money. I had one mentor walk me through what failure would actually look like. It was difficult for someone like me who was a perfectionist and always did well in school. I never really had any dramatic failures. That’s what was holding me back. Once he walked me through what failure would actually look like, for example, not being able to pay rent and having to move back in with my parents in Brampton, he made me realize that I would not be on the streets. I would have a roof over my head and food to eat. I would be able to find a job and be okay. That moment for me was very liberating and what caused me to jump into it full time.
What parts of your personality, skills, or approach have helped your career?
I believe resilience is essential for any entrepreneur, the ability to bounce back and ultimately thrive in the face of stress and hardship. As well, having an open-minded obsession with learning. I want to know everything, but I am also open to being proven wrong. I also fixate on time management and the usage of my calendar.
What is one piece of advice that changed everything for you?
You are very employable. You can always go and get another job.
What’s the next challenge or project you’re tackling?
Right now, my biggest challenge is figuring out how to take SkillsCamp as a successful skills training company, to a more scalable learning and development company.
Do you have any hidden talents or secret passions?
I love wine, I love food, and I love good TV. In terms of hidden talents, I did judo for a very long time.
Where can we learn more about you and connect with you?
You can follow me, @baileyparnell, on everything!