The COVID-19 pandemic has obviously been one of the most challenging times in our lifetime, if not the most challenging. Entrepreneurs, professionals, families and companies alike were forced to change the way they operate at the drop of a hat and navigate this new reality. For some, it has been an opportunity to pivot into a new career, business or industry. For others, it has been simply about surviving.
As we extend our Black History Month series into March, here are four coaches who can help you navigate these challenging times we’re living in.
The COVID-19 pandemic has provided many with the opportunity to launch new ventures and jump into the world of entrepreneurship. One of those entrepreneurs is local business coach and founder of The Boundless Mindset podcast, Mona Abow.
The mother of three was inspired to launch her coaching practice after spending seven years in career development. It was there that she found her passion for supporting women of colour.
“I’ve seen too many brilliant, high achieving women of colour stay in unfulfilling jobs out of fear and desperation”, she explains. “Recognizing our greatness helps us to stand in our power and demand more out of life. This is why I’m passionate about supporting WOC to launch their own lucrative online businesses that are in line with their vision and purpose.”
When the pandemic hit, it provided the perfect opportunity for the former Director of the YMCA Employment Services in the National Capital Region to put her years of career development experience and passion into practice. Aside from running her own practice she also became a mentor with Invest Ottawa’s Starter Company Plus program.
“I loved working with the Invest Ottawa team. They provide valuable service to the entrepreneurs in our community.”
Another career development entrepreneur who launched her business in 2020 is Lissa Appiah, founder of WeApply, a type of personal accountability partner who supports professionals throughout their career journey so they don’t have to do it alone. The firm provides career coaching, resume writing, career development workshops and training, ideal for any professional looking to use the current pandemic as an opportunity to transition into a new career path.
The idea for her business came about after facing her own issues in finding a new job.
“When I joined the public service, I felt very isolated. I did not know anyone”, she explains. “Unlike colleagues in my Master’s program, I didn’t have a family member or friend who worked in a department that could provide advice or help me get ahead.”
The Certified Career & Resume Strategist now helps job seekers and professionals upgrade their career and lifestyle. What makes Lissa stand out from other career development coaches is her first-hand experience navigating the workforce as a person of colour and her ability to relate to the people she serves.
“I am a bilingual second-generation Canadian and I work with an ethnically diverse client base. I have first-hand experience of the challenges people of colour face in the workplace.”
Priscilla Jaboin started her own career development coaching practice as a part-time business back in 2012, but it wasn’t until 2017 that she hit the ground running. Her business was born out of her own career confusion after feeling misplaced as an elementary school teacher.
“Ten years ago, I was in what I consider ‘career hell’ as a school teacher and it was really affecting my health”, she recalls. “I got to the point where I was like, ‘Priscilla, you have a choice to make. It’s either you stay in this career, hold off until retirement and literally destroy yourself, mentally and physically, or you pursue what your heart truly desires.”
After quitting her job, she went back to school completing her Masters in Counselling Psychology and became a trained psychotherapist, focusing on career counselling
“I went in the career counselling path because I really felt like when people are deciding what it is they want to do as a career, they’re deciding how you want to show up in the world and it’s part of your existence, and I wanted to help people connect to what that is for them.”
Priscilla calls herself a “Holistic Counsellor & Career Coach” because she looks at the whole person and balances both counselling, including helping her clients find clarity through deep self-exploration, and once they have that clarity, coaching them towards action and reaching their goals.
For Priscilla, her job is all about transformation and helping her clients who are unhappy in their careers (as she was many years ago) step into a new possibility
“I walk my talk…I’ll never ask a client to do something I haven’t tried myself.”
As we continue to navigate the current pandemic, there are many entrepreneurs, professionals and families experiencing financial difficulties which can not only put a strain on your pocketbook but on your mind. Here enters Jacqueline Richards, also known as the “Wealthy Yogini”, a mortgage professional and champion for financial health with a twist. Her unique coaching practice blends traditional finance and mortgage strategies with spirituality, including yoga and chakra energy, serving her clients “mind, body and Spirit”.
Her clients include everyone from first-time homebuyers to single-parent families to and real estate investors, providing them with the mortgage strategies they need to make important home buying and investment decisions.
Aside from her mortgage business, Jacqueline has spent the past 25 years serving her community as the YMCA-YWCA group fitness instructor, a 200 RYT yoga instructor teaching Hatha Yoga, and Chair Cardio Fit and Chair Yoga for the YMCA-YWCAs Young At Heart Program. She is also passionate about supporting women in business, serving on the Prime Ministers Task Force on Female Entrepreneurs and as past co-chair of Canadian Women in Communication (NCR) now WCT, past Chair of the Eastern Ottawa Chamber of Commerce, and Ottawa Chamber of Commerce Board Director.
All of this led her to not only work with Invest Ottawa as a mentor in the Start Company Plus program but to become an author, releasing her book, ”Yoga For Your Personal Finances, Practical and Spiritual Solutions for Financial Health”, blending yoga, chakras, and wealth solutions to “enrich physical well-being, personal wealth, goals, and dreams”. She also joined 29 other women to co-author, “Ruby Red Shoes-Empowering Stories on Relationships, Intuition and Purpose”.
This article is the first in a special Black History Month series by Invest Ottawa.
About the Author
Kevin Bourne, also known as “KB The Boss” or simply “KB”, is an Ottawa-based media/entertainment entrepreneur, freelance journalist, and media personality.
The former political staffer is quickly becoming a staple in Ottawa and Canada’s cultural landscape as both a commentator and freelancer, appearing nationally on CBC News Network and locally on CTV, CBC Radio, CityNews, and 580 CFRA and having been published in ByBlacks, the Ottawa Citizen and Ottawa Business Journal. Doubling as CEO of the PR and content marketing firm SHIFTER Agency Inc. and editor-in-chief at SHIFTER magazine, Kevin has covered some of Canada’s top red carpet events, from the Juno Awards to the Canadian Screen Awards and has interviewed everyone from Kevin Hart to “Fast and the Furious” star Tyrese Gibson. He is currently co-host of The Morning Shift, Ottawa’s daily hip-hop morning radio show on CHUO 89.1FM.
He is also a board member at the Ottawa Music Industry Coalition and the Ottawa Film Office and was recently named to the TEDx Kanata Leadership Committee and Ottawa Life Magazine’s Best of Ottawa: Activists & Changemakers list for 2020.
To learn more about the Digital Main Street program and how businesses can apply, visit our webpage.
A special thank you to the Government of Canada and specifically FedDev Ontario for making this program possible and enabling the team at Invest Ottawa to provide critical support to main street businesses when it is needed most.