Business View asked a handful of executives, “What piece of advice would you give a person just starting out in a new career today?”

October 3, 2021

Charlene Brophy, President & CEO of Fonemed, St. John’s, Newfoundland

“I would say, not to get so caught up in whether you’re making the right decision or the fear of failing. Because there’s not one business owner or entrepreneur out there who has not failed. And it’s ok… every time you fall down you learn a lesson and you become stronger and more resilient as you build yourself back up. A lot of young entrepreneurs that I talk to, or even start-ups that are middle-aged – and I find even older individuals are getting into this now as well – I tell them not to be afraid to fail and not to be afraid to reach out for help.

“As women entrepreneurs, in particular, we try to do too much ourselves and are afraid if we ask for help or advice that it’s a show of weakness in some way. And that’s not the case at all. We need to get that message out there that if there’s somebody in your community or somebody in the country that you’re connected with, you should reach out and ask, “Can I just pick your brain on an idea?” I’ve had some great, supportive mentors over the years and I’ve learned so much. I’m still to this day so proud when someone reaches out to me to run an idea by me. I wish I’d had the guts early on to do that instead of trying to learn it all myself and being afraid to ask”

Steve Smith, Executive Director of McKellar-Sipes Regional Airport, Jackson, Tennessee:

“Don’t be afraid of work, and get to understand what a hard day’s work means, whether it is selling widgets or jet fuel. Be ready to have this instilled in yourself, that it’s worth working for. As an employer, I have the responsibility that I need to pay staff a living wage. But it’s all about caring for your people. In government establishments this can be hard to achieve but I am extremely lucky in Jackson, as we have the best mayoral appointed board who surprise me every month.”

Grant Clayton, Owner/President of 1 Percent Lists, Covington, Louisiana:

“Pick something you love. If you don’t love what you’re doing, you won’t be very good at it. So, if you’re starting a new career, you can always take what you love and find a way to make it profitable. But it’s hard to take something you hate and find a way to make yourself love it.”

Josino Ferreira, CEO of All States M.E.D, Miami Lakes, Florida:

“The one piece of advice I’d like to offer is to always believe in yourself and in a higher power. I’m a big believer that we can do all things through Christ, who strengthens us. Be persistent with your dreams and always dream big!”

Tiffany Sears, Owner/President of The Sears Group, Charlotte, North Carolina:

“Give yourself some grace. It’s not going to happen overnight. And even if it does – are you ready for it? So don’t beat yourself up with wanting success to happen faster than it is. Just understand it’s a process, and give yourself some grace.”

Brandon Gottsacker, CEO of Superior Fresh, Northfield, Wisconsin:

“No matter what you choose to do, be the best at it. And the only way you can be the best at anything is if you surround yourself with people who are smarter than you are. That’s what I attribute my success to – hard work and finding the right people to help make this business go.”

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