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For Jay Wong, a motivational speaker, life coach and professional trainer, it has always been about dreaming big and trying to make the world a better place through ideas, products and frameworks. Now, as a Telfer School of Management graduate (Honours BCom in Marketing), Jay is pursuing his own dreams by being a self-starter and providing life coaching and training sessions to successful entrepreneurs and young professionals. He knew that Telfer would be a prodigious stepping stone to success.
At the time, the school was slowly growing into prominence across the world, and Jay wanted to be a part of the growth story. New accreditations, a new building and a new future meant great opportunities and a good fit in his eyes.
Jay made the most of his student experience at Telfer by being heavily involved in CASCO, a student-run charity organization providing support for the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. “Everything about CASCO made sense beyond just being involved to be involved.” Wong says, “The charity component of giving back to CHEO, infused with the freedom of dance and creative expression is what drew me in.” To this day, he is humbled by the fact that he was able to be a part of three different productions raising thousands of dollars for charity as well as connecting like-minded individuals in the Ottawa community.
Additionally, Jay cultivated his creative side by taking part in the Michel Cloutier Marketing Competition, which would eventually turn into one of his greatest memories from his time at Telfer. Thinking back on that experience, he says that although winning the competition was a great bonus, the two key things that stuck with him the most were the teamwork and grit that went into the project. The bonds and relationships he formed during the course were life changing. “We learned how to leverage each other’s strengths and weaknesses, but more importantly, we were there for each other,” he says. He described his team as a “weird family with the same goal in mind.” Courage and bravery also contributed to his team’s win. The night before the preliminary presentation, he and his teammates trusted their gut and reworked everything that they had put together in the past month. “We stayed up all night, practiced it once or twice, and ran with our intuition”, states Wong. Their devotion paid off, as he and his team won the 26th edition of the Michel Cloutier Competition, and Jay was awarded with the Marc Roy Fund for the student with the best presentation.
Now Jay can say that he’s had the opportunity to speak internationally - from Lisbon, Shanghai and Toronto - on the importance of stepping out of the norm, overcoming one’s fears and embracing failures. His audience ordinarily consists of ambitious students, aspiring trailblazers and future change makers. Jay also provides one on one coaching for these young professionals. He says, having worked for a company in the past which offered professional guidance to an older clientele, that he had noticed a gap in the market for providing these services to younger entrepreneurs. Therefore he decided to take his side project by the horns and set out to fill that gap. Jay now regularly gives motivational presentations at university conferences and high schools and encourages youth to take that elusive “leap of faith” to achieve their dreams.
It took a lot of work and networking to get where he is, but he says that Telfer taught him what it meant to build true relationships in one’s network. He says that in every scenario of life and business, “who you know” can make a world of difference, and that through the classes, professors and friends he made along the way, he was able to recognize his strengths and have been building on that same foundation ever since.
What type of advice is Jay offering to other students who are forging their own paths after graduation? There are six things to keep in mind, he says: 1) Have the courage to dream big. 2) Reverse engineer from your big dream. Ask yourself: “What do I need to learn and accomplish in next 90 days for this dream to become a reality?” 3) Jump in the deep end and don’t look back. 4) Have faith and bet on your skills and capabilities. 5) Make adjustments accordingly and ask for help whenever possible. 6) Repeat process until you get close to achieving your dream and then make an even bigger dream. It was these exact things which helped him rise to every occasion that presented itself to him.
Jay believes that it is important to honor one’s learning journey as well as one’s past. Whether it is mentorship or guest speaking, he says that it is important to attempt to instruct and inspire students to go beyond what their initial limits are and for them to choose their own path in life and in business. He trusts that mentorship and perspective is vital for success. “Telfer has helped me connect with numerous mentors that have been able to offer me guidance and perspective. I would not have gotten this far without the invaluable knowledge of my mentors,” he says.
Today, Jay has released his firste-book entitled: “Become Fearless - How to overcome fear and start living your dream TODAY!” and hopes to continue to inspire people to dream without limits every day. He lives by one of Steve Jobs’s quote: “…because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
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