21 Questions

for 2021

London Farris

Virtual Success Coach

Virtual Success Coach

1. What are three words that you would use to describe yourself?  

Confident, Happy, Authentic

3. What is your educational background? 

HBA in Dimensions of Leadership with a Minor in Dance, Human Resources Graduate Certificate and Honours MS in Organizational Leadership with a Concentration in Student Success and Development.

4. Can you speak about the current projects you are working on? 

I am currently working on the end of the Pivot 2020 project which involves curriculum development, coaching, facilitation, and development of new content for the youth we currently have. I am also involved in the redesign of how we can restructure CCYP's services to the Youth (ie. What do they want/need and how we can serve them?).

 5. Why do you think this is important in the Canadian context?  

I believe it is important in many capacities. First, a program such as Pivot provides Youth an opportunity to gain employment skills (both hard and soft) that can help assist them in their personal and work development. Second, I believe that the Coaches and Workforces Strategists can provide individualized, holistic coaching, facilitation, and development/career opportunities for the youth's growth as a person and employee. I lastly believe that this type of program can assist Canada as a community as these youth, and our team can foster growth, development, and learnings that hopefully will not only serve themselves but also positively impact their community and all they touch (like a ripple effect).

6. What does equal opportunity look like in youth workforce development? 

Equal opportunity in workforce development looks like the ability to empower youth, no matter what their background/age/ability/etc, is to transform their lives, the community, and those they touch for the better.

7. What made you want to get involved in youth workforce development/employment?

I’ve always worked with youth in NGOs, international organizations and in the corporate world. Youth are growing up in unstable environments and lack the mentorship to properly guide them. They are also largely influenced by the media and peers and I've always had this inner desire to protect but also help them find their wings. 

I’ve always said I would be the adult I needed when I was younger. This is what I needed.

8. What do you hope to bring to the youth workforce development/employment sector? How do you hope to move the needle in your work? 

I have always enjoyed working with youth through teaching/leadership. I believe that I have been called to teach/lead as well.  I was drawn to this opportunity as I saw it as the ability to not only utilize my education, post-graduation in August 2020 but also be a part of something bigger than myself. I was drawn to CCYP as a whole because of its values, mission, and beliefs.  This opportunity struck me as it was and has been everything I wanted out of my job (based on my goals, values, teaching, and leadership philosophy) and more. This opportunity has allowed me to provide my leadership in a teaching capacity to youth, to serve, empower, and develop them. I hope that it has made the youth greater than they or I imagined through our facilitation and coaching. I have learned, developed, and grown quite a bit from my team, CCYP, and the youth we serve.

Secondly, when using a virtual platform, the coach must become more aware than with in-person coaching. The coach must observe cues that the mentee is giving off based on verbal and non-verbal communication. For instance, if a mentee has their screen off during a coaching session, the coach has to note and observe this pattern moving forward. This could be due to a personal issue the mentee is having. The noted non-verbal communication may have to be investigated further if the coach believes something is wrong.

Lastly, I believe the platform of coaching (in-person vs. virtual) is a large difference. I believe that virtual coaching provides an incredible opportunity for the coach and mentee to communicate in the comfort of their homes/comfort zone. This approach could allow for both parties to be more open, confident, and comfortable if the individuals enjoy this aspect of life. For myself, for example, I am much more comfortable, happy, and confident with virtual coaching than in person. This comes out within my work/coaching. In contrast, if a mentee and/or coach is more comfortable with in-person coaching and is forced to do virtual (or vice versa), the coaching session or information may not be as well-received, or cannot provide a workable solution based on the comfort level of the delivery method.  I believe both are exceptionally viable, and an incredible provision to develop a coaching relationship, however, the coach and mentee need to be able to be comfortable, confident, and adaptable for each method.

12. What jobs are most in-demand at this moment in time? How can youth prepare for these  job opportunities? 

At this time, I believe jobs within the policy and procedure, social justice, community development, and social development fields are more in demand. I believe this as most youth I speak to, are looking to get into this field. Though there may not be as many positions available at this time (offered by organizations), I believe the youth will either create their jobs and/or organizations will develop roles that align themselves with these fields. 

13. Can you share with us an organization or program that you think youth should be made  aware of when looking for employment?

At this time, I believe a program/organization that youth should be made aware of when looking for employment is Coursera. As Coursera provides micro- certification and education in specific and relatable fields, youth could enhance their knowledge/skills with these short training/education programs. These opportunities could provide youth, and the general public, the ability to set themselves apart from their competition by having a "leg up" on the required credentials needed by completing one, or many micro-education certified programs. 

14. What does impact mean to you? 

To me, impact means making a difference in the process, development, state, and/or being of a person or situation. The impact can be seen in many different ways and can be positive or negative. An impact, however, is something that can change the course of a plan/state with a single movement/statement/motion. I lead and serve those around me through an approach to make a positive impact within their life, journey, and community through our interactions. 

15. Which of your previous work/volunteer experiences have had the most impact on your  work today? 

I believe all of my previous work/volunteer experiences have had a significant impact on my work today. Each opportunity I have had has allowed me to develop concrete hard and soft skills that I have brought into my work today. For me, each experience is a learning platform, where I can build and develop myself, my skills, and my understanding of personal development and career growth. I believe my roles as a Dance Instructor/Choreographer, Leadership Development Planner for Student/Organizational Success and Teachers Assistant (for college-level online classes) have signification solidified my passion and calling for teaching, facilitating, coaching, and leading youth and children in both hard and soft skills for their personal, educational and career development. Each of these opportunities has provided me a foundation to develop my teaching, leadership, coaching, and facilitation for my leadership and teaching philosophy as well as growing my understanding/knowledge/ability for these roles. These 3 roles also significantly impacted my passion for leadership/teaching/coaching for holistic and individualized student success, development, advocacy, growth, implementation, and learning to become better than they or I could have imagined.

9. Given the impact of the pandemic on the job market, what are some helpful techniques  you can share with youth who are looking for work? 

I continue to hope that I bring my leadership philosophy to the youth workforce development/employment sector; “As an instructor and teacher in any capacity, I want to empower, promote, excel and lead students to be the best they can be. I also want to promote them to be greater than they believe they could ever become. I was provided a positive, holistic, unique, transformative, authentic experience through the service given by my community. I wish to be the best person and leader I can, motivated by being the best person and leader I can be. I am also motivated to provide my followers with unique, positive, and dynamic leadership experiences. I also want to lead using the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) guiding principles of integrity, innovation, inclusion, and inquiry. I focus myself on leading, developing, encouraging, serving, and empowering students and my followers to be the best they can be.

 

I serve others within an educational setting to provide them the opportunity to thrive greater than they imagined. I transform my follower/student's educational experience through the community building within our class and our relationship. I am treated and treat others as unique, individual who is a critical and valued member of the community (a puzzle piece), and is their authentic self; I do not want to be treated or treat others within my leadership or work as a number!" I have chosen to bring this to the youth development sector as I believe this is not only needed in the workforce but also in life. Throughout my life, work, and education, I received holistic, individualized empowerment that pushed me to be greater than I imagined. I had quite a few special people in my life that provided me with this. I hope to do and be the same for those whom I lead through coaching/teaching.

10. What are some of the major differences between coaching and mentoring in a virtual  setting versus in-person? 

  1. Do not give up! Nothing happens in an instant, therefore be patient. Learn from each experience, and use this information to grow yourself, your job search, and your abilities. 

  2. Be open to hearing, applying, and performing constructive feedback within your job search and application process; it is there to help you develop, grow, and learn. 

  3. Don’t be afraid to take on outside of your comfort zone as you may end up loving it!

  4. Know your skills, abilities, knowledge, values, missions, goals, etc, and stick to them!

  5. Do what makes you happy and serves you; there is only 1 you, therefore take care of yourself!

  6. Be confident in yourself; you can do all things!

  7. Know your techniques, and resources and use them; such as Resume/Cover Letter CAR/STAR Method, the "What's in it for them approach" to writing statements, market yourself as a problem solver, understand the importance of knowing and telling your authentic story, know your worth, including industry and job-specific key terms and properly implement them into your CL/Resume, the ability to reframe your job search (ie. Don’t only search 1 key term in a job search – use synonyms as the employer may have stated the job as something other than what you were thinking), and be prepared (for both the job and interview through research, practice and understanding).

16. What previous work/volunteer experience have had the greatest impact on your work  here with CCYP Success Team? 

I again believe that all of my work/volunteer experience has had a significant impact on my work with the CCYP Success Team. Throughout my career, I have worked with various teams and individuals who have prepared me for a team setting. I believe that my roles as a Sales Floor Leader within a retail space, Teaching Assistant, and Dance Instructor have provided me with incredible opportunities to see, understand, develop and provide team leadership, and followership. Each of these roles has allowed me to develop my team-building skills, leadership skills as well as coaching (individual and 1 on 1). I have learned and developed transferable skills within each of these roles that significantly impact my ability to work effectively, efficiently, and respectfully on a team. These roles also taught me what I like, and do not like within a team/leadership, and I can apply it to how I continue to orient, learn from, grow, present, and develop myself with the CCYP Team. 

17. Recognizing the importance of building a community network, how has mentorship  supported you throughout your own professional development thus far?  

My mentors within CCYP (core Success Team members, and others within the organization) and beyond (ie. Master's program professors, parents, friends, past employers) have helped build a community through and for my professional development. Through each interaction/relationship, I have fostered the ability to not only learn and grow but implement their strategies or statements into my work, for what best reflects me/my life. Each person I have had a mentorship relationship with within my life has taught me something different, which I can apply in a way that best reflects, serves, and grows my outlook, process, and development in life/career. I am extremely blessed to have the opportunities and relationships I have/continue to have with my community, and hope to do the same for the youth I serve. 

18. Who is an individual/figure that you look up to?  

My mom has been an incredible individual whom I look up to. She is not only is an incredible person and mom but also is an incredible teacher. My mom has taught me from a young age to be confident in my authentic self, and provide my talents/gifts/abilities to the world. My mom instilled in me that I am unique while teaching me to love, respect, and help others. My mom continues to provide so much of herself to me, and others she teaches leads, and encounters. I am extremely blessed to have her as my mom, my friend, and someone I look up to. 

19. What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? 

Be confident in the process of development; everything happens for a reason but it is up to you how you use each moment of learning going forward. 

11. What are some of the implications (positive or negative) you think this will have on youth  workforce development/employment moving forward? 

I believe there are 3 major differences between in-person and virtual coaching/mentoring. The first major difference would be through the platform/method provided and the ability to engage the mentee. Within digital coaching, it may be harder to engage the mentee for the coach as there is no physical interaction. This suggests that the coach must present themselves as a "performer", to engage the audience. Performing does not suggest that they put on a "show" or act differently than their authentic self, rather think of ways/methods that capture attention and keep the engagement of the mentee. Each will be unique to the coach/mentee.


 

20. Can you share three fun facts about yourself?

  • I have a dog (Yorkie Maltese Mix) named Laylah who loves to show up now and again in videos/team meetings

  •  I love all things Disney and Musicals (bonus points if they are together in the same movie or show)

  • I love to travel, especially to warm places with a beach!

21. Can you share a goal you have for 2021? 

To be happy, to enjoy my life, and learn/grow/develop myself so I can continue to become the person I was created to be. 

416-989-6278

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Box 40010

Whitby, ON L1R 3J0

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1527 Victoria Park Ave 2nd Fl Hub/CCYP, Toronto, ON, M1L 2T3

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