It has been a lot of fun sharing the AlphaKORian' story with high school students these past couple of weeks. We had General Amherst High School and Kingsville District High School in for tours at AlphaKOR. Last week, I had the opportunity to be a judge and the keynote speaker for Youthrive Enactus for their event called YouthX at the Odette School of Business, University of Windsor. There were many local high schools in the region being represented.
During the first round of business presentations by the students, it was interesting to hear about their ideas, how they worked together, how they did marketing, how they were very resourceful in creating their product and selling their products to turn a profit. It was inspiring to see such great talent and business sense.
During the dinner break, the judges were discussing some of the good ideas they had seen. It was during this break I was debating whether or not to change my prepared speech for this large group of high school students. They had good presentation skills and represented their business very well. My goal was to further inspire and invigorate them to become some of our future entrepreneurs.
As I walked into the room, it was a full-house and there was lots of positive energy in the room. Everyone was waiting to find out who the finalists would be for the final round. The video team put together on the fly a wonderful recap of the event so far - very impressive!
After the video, Dean Gilliam & Joey Corio, Co-Project Managers of Youthrive thanked everyone, the sponsors and the judges. Then it was time to introduce the keynote speaker, yours truly! Dean and Joey did a fantastic job introducing me by highlighting some of mine and AlphaKOR' accolades. They called me up to present as the "Networking King" which the audience responded with a very loud and warm welcome.
If you have never experienced this, I highly recommend it For me, it is always a thrill and of course nerve-racking because it is "show-time" and you have to deliver and exceed the expectations of the intro!
As I shook their hands and said thanks (and to buy time to breathe and embrace the crowd) I placed my speech on the podium. I always look at the audience first. While taking in the large crowd of young brilliant minds, it was clear: give them a heartfelt presentation of what it's like being an entrepreneur. I usually don't read my presentations and use them as a guideline to help keep me on track but for these students I knew they wanted more than staying on track. Besides, there were only 10 minutes to tell my story! It was cut to the chase and deliver it with lots of passion, successes, failures and challenges by being real and from the heart.
Some of the nuggets shared included to bring your passion, be real, lead, coach, mentor and really show everyone as an entrepreneur how much you do care. Admit when you make mistakes and correct them by taking ownership. It is OK to ask for help. Build your network and ask for help, ask for connections and ask to open doors. Of course I shared all about the nay-sayers, how you will feel alone and most people do not understand you...and that is OK. You need to stay focused to keep moving ahead and you are the best person to motivate yourself.
Sometimes your family and friends will not support you or they will not understand what you do and that is OK. It is OK for those close to you not to support or throw challenges in your way. You are an entrepreneur and it is not easy, so you just do it. I shared how my parents do not even understand what I do.....and that is OK.
Your support as an entrepreneur can come from anywhere. There are so many resources, organizations and mentors in our community all willing to help you, our future entrepreneurs to succeed! As entrepreneurs you will also give back to the community and help make a difference.
The common theme was to persevere, pursue your passion, your dreams and your ideas. They already demonstrated how brilliant they are with their teamwork and business presentations. One student did this project all by herself, now that's an entrepreneur!