YPDaily: Dallas Gislason

Dallas Gislason has made it his life mission to help people making big changes in their lives receive the education and coaching necessary to fulfill their dreams. The 29-year-old has already started two businesses and is currently working as a Project Manager with the Pacific Instutute. Find out more in today\’s YPDaily… 

Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
As a Project Director with The Pacific Institute I lead projects across Canada with youth, young professionals, and young entrepreneurs aged 18-25 who are either making some sort of major life change (graduating, starting a business, training for the Olympics, etc.) or they’re part of a team or school looking to improve performance or solve a problem. We deliver education curricula and follow-up coaching that seems to work quite well. Plus we measure results, so we can see the transformations that take place.

Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
I was first exposed to The Pacific Institute in 2008. It was life-changing for me and really aligned with my values of making the world a better place to be and spreading that to others. I had been working with youth and young adults for years at that point; I just didn’t have a “language” with which to coach them. The Pacific Institute gave me a proven platform to do that.

What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
The cool thing about our approach is that it can be applied in so many different ways. Michael Phelps and his teammates used our curricula as part of their training for the Beijing Olympics (and are using it to prepare for 2012 in London), but at the same time we’re in Compton, Los Angeles working with youth who are at-risk of joining or being affected by gang activity. I’m in northern Saskatchewan right now arming a new generation of young people with cognitive tools that they can use to turn their own communities into places of hope and prosperity despite geographic isolation and the effects of historical events and racism.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I’d like to engage young leaders from across Canada in a coaching network for up-and-comers who’ve been through our education. My vision is to change Canada forever, but on the other hand, free up my time to take my kids overseas for a year or two to experience the “school of life” outside of our wonderful safe haven of Canada.

What does success look like to you?
Success for me is totally defined by my impact on the world around me. If something really cool is written on my gravestone like ‘He changed the lives of countless others’, I’ll be happy.

What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
Being a keynote at the inaugural symposium for the International Council on National Youth Policy in Goa, India was pretty cool. Besides that, taking the leap to start my own company is a milestone that most never get to.

Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
If you’re thinking of taking a leap of some kind but you’re not sure: Just do it. Even if you fail, you’ll have learned enough to leap further next time.

Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
I love supporting organizations that resonate with me. I’ve donated years of my time to Junior Achievement because I feel that financial competency is an essential life skill that gets left out of core schooling. I’m also in the process of starting a project through A Better World, the foundation that The Pacific Institute donates to for special social projects. Its focus will be reduction of hate crimes amongst youth in British Columbia.

What to you is notable? 
A social entrepreneur. A risk-taker who sticks their neck out for the greater good of society.

Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
A moleskin notebook. You never know when you’ll be inspired to write an idea down – though I have emailed myself ideas with the ol’ Blackberry a number of times!