Georgian College – January 8, 1016
In the Spotlight
Barb Stuhlemmer, faculty member
Automotive Business School of Canada | Business and Management
How long have you worked at Georgian? I’ve been an instructor at Georgian since 2011. I teach Introduction to Entrepreneurship. But my relationship with the college began a few years before that. Initially, I came to get my Teaching and Training Adults certificate. I kept meeting more people and offering my help. I was on the International Business Program Advisory Committee for five years as a member and then chair. Currently, I’m chair of the Entrepreneurship Program Advisory Committee.
Tell us about BLITZ Business Success. I focus on supporting small business owners so they can move from being a startup to achieving the level of success they desire. I find the areas in which they can leverage more growth and create a plan to put the strategies we develop in place. That might mean looking at product and service pricing and strategies, sales streams, brand integration, team development or CEO awareness. How much I help depends on the fundamentals of operations including systems management, training and leadership.
Have you always owned your own business? Over the course of my career, and before I started BLITZ Business Success, I had more than 23 job titles. I actually stopped counting. I’ve been blessed with a diverse background from medical research to customer support. I’ve worked in retail, catering, manufacturing and other industries. And in almost all my positions, I’ve worked for a small business owner. I’ve seen their books, celebrated great wins, done the mundane day-to-day, watched as tough times forced some to close, taken part in succession plans, worked on growth…and more. I was blessed with the full inside view of all aspects of a small business before I opened my own. I then spent six years learning about business so I could focus on helping other small business owners avoid the traps and pitfalls I experienced.
We understand you’ll be speaking at the Women’s Economic Forum in May. Tell us about this opportunity. Like every great opportunity, it came about because of the relationships I’ve built over the years and the amazing people I’m blessed to have in my life. Over a gala dinner, I connected for the first time with someone I’d known for about two years online. We were definitely in-line with our goals and focus – and she loved what I was doing. Fortunately for me, as managing director for the Canadian chapter of the ALL Ladies League, she was looking for speakers and thought I would be a good fit for the forum.
It’s expected the forum will bring together close to 1,400 women from more than 75 countries. It will be held in New Delhi, India, and cover everything from philanthropy and personal leadership, to business and globalization. As the world’s largest congregation of women, it’s an excellent chance to learn, create partnerships across borders, promote business interests and create lasting relationships. I’m very excited to go. I’ll be talking about entrepreneurship, including youth and education.
Have you travelled much before? I’ve been fortunate to travel quite a bit in my life, but one place I’ve not been is Europe. I would like to experience 50 more sunrises on different beaches/shores around the world, including the European countries.
When I graduated college for the first time, I decided I wanted to work in another country and travel. I spent four months working and living in Australia. It was my first time flying anywhere and I selected a destination that took 32 hours in transit. It was worth every minute and I would highly recommend this life-changing and maturing experience to any student fresh out of teenage life and living at home. It started a life of love for other cultures, a curiosity for what was possible, and a feeling of belonging in the world, not just in a job. It made my definition of the word ‘family’ much broader.
What are your thoughts on Georgian’s focus on internationalization? Internationalization is not something we can choose to have or ignore; it simply exists. With seven billion+ people living on the planet and fewer borders like the internet to keep us separated, we’re like a large family living in the same house – we know what each other is doing (when it happens), we know what bad habits we have, and what great things we want to provide. We will, in the future, have fewer differences between our cultures and have more in common with each other because we will know more about one another. This scares and excites people differently.
What does it mean for business? For business, it means we have to be willing to understand what it takes to communicate in a way our clients, suppliers, investors, partners, etc., who are no longer living just down the street, will want to interact with us. We have to understand different laws and customs, traditions and habits.
Think about it. If you only had 0.001 per cent of the total global population as clients, you would have over 70,000 clients. Is that enough to run a successful business? The challenge is that businesses have to know the entire global population is not likely their market so they must be able to find the people who are. Finding these target prospects in a sea of unknown and not clearly understood customs of another culture can make it difficult.
Internationalization is the way we can start to understand and feel comfortable with the places we can serve best – where our products and services will be needed or wanted most.
And with a successful business, we have the chance to help many get out of poverty. If those who have little or nothing have a way to create wealth inside their home, for their families and communities, it will spread to stronger economic structures in all countries. It will make it possible to take part in the global economy even if our businesses only sell locally. It is an opportunity for the world to heal its inequities between those who can afford to have and those who cannot.
What makes you feel alive? Seeing someone I’ve helped find their own path and be successful.
What advice might you give a graduating Georgian student? College is only the start of your learning. Make learning an expected part of your daily experience and you will always have something to work toward. Otherwise, you have nothing but the day-to-day and that gets old quick – and so will you.
What’s your favourite book and why? I don’t have a favourite book but I’d recommend two for graduating students. These two books focus on the way you experience life – how you think – and that can change what you’re able to do:
• The Success Principles – Jack Canfield (re-issued and updated 2015)
• Think and Grow Rich – Napolean Hill (1937)
Georgian Alumni can read this the Georgian website at http://my.georgiancollege.ca/Pages/default.aspx
Canadian Business Magazine – January 2016
“The biggest challenge about growth is actually knowing how to handle growth.” Go to Canadian Business to get the full article.
January 2016 issue – page 11
The Start Something Show – with Tina Dietz
Transitioning Business Leaders – Episode #33
Barb comes on the show today to talk about her work with business leaders and how she helps grow their business.
Listen online bit.ly/SSShow33