Mentorability Experience Stories: Jonathan
As a tool for career exploration, MentorAbility hit the mark for Jonathan. His experience with Sarah and Louis at D2L (Desire2Learn) helped him to narrow his focus on future opportunities. It also gave him a deeper understanding how his current efforts can equip him for the realities of his future long-term role in the workforce. And he wasn’t the only one to benefit, Jonathan’s mentors at D2L walked away feeling more confident in their own roles. Here’s what happened:
Jonathan is someone who doesn’t miss an opportunity to connect, learn, and explore career paths for his future. After starting his undergraduate degree in business, he heard about the chance to participate in MentorAbility as a career exploration tool. With his university education already underway, Jonathan had some idea that he was interested in sales roles. He signed up for MentorAbility as a way to have an inside look to see what daily life in these jobs is like, and if could he see himself in that kind of role long-term.
A local company was willing to provide this very experience. MentorAbility partners at March of Dimes Canada reached out to Desire2Learn, or D2L for short, and were greeted with a warm welcome. D2L is a global software company headquartered in Kitchener, Ontario, and specializes in educational technology. D2L is committed to transforming the way the world learns and believes that learning should be accessible and engaging. D2L identified two Business Development Representatives, Sarah and Louis, who both saw hosting a protégé from MentorAbility as a great opportunity to contribute to D2L, and a chance to share their own personal insights about their roles and how they got there.
The Day Of
Before his visit to D2L, Jonathan already knew a fair amount about sales from his university classes, but he recognized that there were many aspects of a career in sales he didn’t know – things that he couldn’t just search online or be taught in class. Jonathan knew that to discover whether a career in sales was something he wanted to pursue, he needed to know what it’s actually like to be in that career. And ideally, he’d like to figure this out before he invested more time and effort into preparing for such a career. On the morning of the day he spent with Sarah and Louis, Jonathan came with a main question: what does a day as a Business Development Specialist at D2L look like?
Spending time with each Business Development Representative in turn, Jonathan observed and discussed the tasks, tools, and processes that made up their days. In addition to the practical components of their workday, Sarah and Louis shared their own experiences of how they came to be in their roles, and their own reflections on their work. Playing to each other’s strengths and interests, Sarah and Louis invited Jonathan into a day of practical and personal insight. Jonathan joined Sarah to discuss the daily tasks she performed, and the tools and processes she used to do so. As Sarah shared these components of her day with Jonathan, she offered her own reflections on her work journey coming to D2L. Later on, Jonathan discussed sales philosophies with Louis and joined him for a meeting with members of D2L’s Marketing department. This gave Jonathan the chance to see first-hand how closely the two departments work together, and how important teamwork is to the Business Development Representative role, even though much of the work is done independently.
When reflecting on the day, what stands out to Jonathan is how genuine and honest Sarah and Louis were in the time he spent with them. Sarah and Louis each had their own take-aways from the day as well. Through the process of reflection, Sarah could see her own professional growth over her time at D2L, and the opportunity to discuss different sales approaches with Jonathan offered Louis the chance to gain another perspective on his work. The process of reflecting and communicating the specifics about their roles to Jonathan, gave each mentor greater confidence in performing those very roles. For Jonathan, the chance to observe the tasks and processes, as well as hear Sarah and Louis’ own personal reflections about what they had learned in their roles, gave him what he needed: a look into a day in the life of a Business Development Representative at D2L.