Challenge Cards


July 2017 update: The Challenge Cards are available for purchase on Shopify. Economic, technological, and societal changes are making the concept of job titles obsolete. To prepare young people for the new world of work, parents, teachers and guidance counsellors need to move away from considering only the traditional list of jobs…

Rethinking Career Development for Youth: Article in NCDA’s Career Convergence


This week I published an article in the National Career Development Association's magazine, Career Convergence. The piece describes the important changes happening in the world of work and how academic advisors, guidance counsellors, teachers and parents can help young people prepare extraordinary careers. To learn more, please vi…

SparkPath featured on

Published on, April 24th 2017.

A few weeks ago I was interviewed by Alina Dizik who published an interesting article on about the future of work: The next generation of jobs won't be made up of professions. Several important points for young people were discussed: To prepare for the future, we need to shift from thinking about jobs and careers to…

Why Youth Shouldn’t Focus on Jobs and Careers  


"Don't ask kids what they want to be when they grow up. Ask them what problem they want to solve." -Jaime Casap, Google Global Education Evangelist To prepare our young people for the new world of work, we need to move away from considering only the jobs and careers available to them, and shift our attention to the challeng…

A Year of Entrepreneurship


A little over a year ago, I started my first year as a full-time entrepreneur. I’ve learned a lot and am very grateful to everyone who has helped me in a small or a big way. Please read on for a summary of what I’ve been up to. Professionally, my focus has been on building SparkPath. On the career coaching side, I worked with …

How to Apply for a Job

Startup Stock Photo

If the starting salary for your target position was one million dollars, how would you apply for the job? This question informs the in-depth strategy for applying to a job presented in this post. It also surfaces another question: Are you ready to do the work? In my coaching work, I've helped many clients change their approach f…

What is Your Thread?

Death_to_Stock_Tactile_5 - Copy

Mark Savickas, a thought-leader in career development, recently shared the following poem to encourage individuals to find their "thread". As career development practitioners, we have the ability to help others find their thread in order to for them to find meaning, overcome an obstacle or make a change. What is your thread? Th…

Short-term vs Long-term


A career development program for youth should give them the skills, confidence and experience to transform into proactive career self-developers. This is the long-term term view. Helping them find answers to specific questions about the next two to four years is also important, but this is the short-term view. Short-Term View …

Shifts in Parenting


Through my work with SparkPath, I get to meet many parents of teenagers. I've learned that different parents have different approaches to parenting, which has sparked my interest in the topic. Which approaches to parenting are most effective? Which parenting styles can best prepare students to succeed in their careers? To start to…

SparkPath in HR Update Magazine

Preparing your kids

I've recently updated an article called Preparing Your Kids for Jobs that Don't Exist Yet, and it was published in Ottawa's HR Update Magazine. Take a look on page 7!      …

Summer Opportunities for Teens in Ottawa

Startup Stock Photos

Is your teenager ready to take on new challenges? Are you looking for opportunities for them to grow, learn and develop new skills?  Here are a few local growth experiences that might be just what you’re looking for: Volunteer: Volunteering can help teens develop crucial teamwork and organization skills, all while exposing th…

Who wants to stop you from helping others? Atlas Shrugged book review


Recently, I posted a short YouTube book review for a famous book called Atlas Shrugged. This book has some powerful ideas that have an important impact on the way people perceive altruism. If you know someone who wants to help others during their career, they should know about this book and its ideas. It will help them understand …

SparkPath on Rogers TV


Recently I was invited to a Rogers TV show called Nat En Parle. I was asked to speak about the work I was doing with kids, as well at the importance of developing self-awareness. The show is broadcasted live in French on channel 23, and then segments of the show are posted on YouTube. Check out both of my appearances below: Apri…

SparkPath at St. Pius X High School


Last week, I had the opportunity to speak with a a group of grade 10 students at St-Pius X High School in Ottawa. During my presentation, I spoke with them about the importance of choosing a challenges they want to solve during their careers. What the students enjoyed the most was an interactive activity regarding choosing differ…

Do you think there is still such a thing as a straight career path?

No more straight career path

  Do you think there is still such a thing as a straight career path? In my first SparkPath video, I discuss a popular Maclean's article called: "There’s no such thing as a straight career path anymore" (March 15th, 2016). In my review, I share what I like about the piece, as well as a few points worth challenging.…

Return to Ottawa – A New Chapter

CC Bec Brown

My work at SparkPath has inspired me for years. I have had the unique privilege to help young people reach their potential. Eventually, this work consumed me to a point where I decided I wanted to dedicate myself completely to it. This January, I finally took the plunge! I left my consulting job at DDI in Pittsburgh, and moved back t…

Growth Experiences for Pittsburgh Teens


Is your teenager ready to take on new challenges? Are you looking for opportunities for them to grow, learn and develop new skills?  Here are a few local growth experiences that might be just what you’re looking for: Volunteer: Volunteering can help teens develop crucial teamwork and organization skills, all while exposing them…

80,000 Hours – Your Gateway to a Career with Impact


What is 80,000 Hours? 80,000 Hours is an organization that encourages people to use their careers in an effective way to make the world a better place. It also aims to help its members be more successful in their chosen careers. How can 80,000 Hours help you? The team at 80,000 Hours researches and provides information on w…

Jobs of the Future: Futurist

future 2

What is a futurist? A futurist is a person who studies the future in order to help people understand, anticipate, prepare for and gain advantage from coming changes. Futurists use methods, techniques, and processes to: -make better decisions and assess the long term implications of choices -prepare for change, avoid surprise…

SparkPath at Mexico Meet America


On July 3rd I had the privilege to deliver a workshop to future leaders from Mexico through a program called Meet America. The program, delivered jointly through Global Ties U.S. and Global Pittsburgh, was designed for international students interested in building their networking skills and preparing for the global job market. The c…

Should I be an Engineer?

Photo Credit:

Engineering is a popular field of work that promises a challenging course of study, great job prospects and high starting salaries. But how can you decide if engineering is right for you? This post will provide you with the information you need to make this decision, as well as key questions to answer in order to give you a jump star…

Career Conference Reflections NCDA2015


Last week I attended the National Career Development Association (NCDA) annual conference. It was a valuable learning experience that allowed me to tap into current big ideas in the career industry. Here are my reflections as a first-time attendee of the conference: The need to connect: Conferences are about much more than learni…

National Career Development Association Conference 2015


It's a very exciting week as I am attending the National Career Development Association annual conference being held in Denver, Colorado. The conference attracts more than 1,300 attendees, mostly from the U.S., as well as a few others representing over a dozen countries. My goal at the conference is to meet other career coaches to l…

4 Mistakes Students Make When Picking an Education Program


According to the Pew Research Centre, 29% of american students regret their college major decision. At Penn State, up to 80% of students are unsure of what they will major in when they begin their studies, and nearly half will change majors at least once before graduating. Why the indecision, change and regret? Here are 4 mistakes…

What is University For?

higher math

There are three things that a student should get from their time in university: 1)      Career Jumpstart: Careers are about solving problems and university should prepare students to do just that. Through the acquisition of knowledge, a better understanding of the world around them or by learning the fundamentals of a specifi…

6 Experiences that Make Your Education “Worth It”


How can you make sure that your education is “worth it”? According to the Gallup-Purdue Index, a study of 30,000 college graduates in the U.S., there are six experiences that are linked with long-term career and life success. Graduates who strongly agree that they had the following six elements of emotional support and exper…

South Hills Career Camp 2015


When your child asks: “What should I do when I grow up?” How do you respond? Sign up your high school students for a 1 day workshop to spark a path for their future. This camp covers: How to pick your college major A psychometric assessment tool to uncover strengths and interests How to build a 21st century career with …

“You inspired me to believe that I can change the world”

by Luca Zanon

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to work with the gifted students at Allegheny Intermediate Unit’s (AIU) Apprenticeship Program on International Affairs. Delivered in conjunction with the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh, the program allows a select number of students the opportunity to meet periodically with professi…

Strong Development from the Start: Onboarding Generation-Y


This article originally appeared in the March 2014 issue of HRPA's Up-Date Magazine (Human Resources Professional Association) and is targeted to employers and HR managers.  Congratulations! You’ve hired an infamous Gen-Yer. You’ve got reason to be excited: you know their appetite for impact and thirst for learning has the …

Jump-Start Your Sales Career

Selling is fun

"When I grow up, I want to be in sales!" Not surprisingly, I’ve never heard a high school student say this. In fact, I would venture to say that most parents would be uncomfortable thinking about the hardships their kids would go through in a sales role. Negative stereotypes (aggressive, money hungry, etc.)  and the perception …

How to Prepare Your Kids for Jobs that Don’t Exist Yet

Jobs That Don't Exist Yet

According to Cathy Davidson, 65 percent of today’s kids may end up doing work that hasn’t been invented yet. This begs the question: as a parent, how do you prepare your child for a career that doesn’t exist? By failing to answer this question, your child risks being left behind. Jeffrey Selingo (The Chronicle of Higher Educat…

Career Development Outside the Workplace


Once you land a great first job that meets your criteria, you need to complement what you are getting at work with some additional elements outside of work. Sure, you can land your dream job, but the days of all your needs being met by your employer are over.  It’s up to you to make sure these bases are covered as well: 1. Join…

4 Must-Haves in Your First Job After College


Congrats, college is over! You are ready to get your first job and change the world. What should you look for in that first job?  You need to differentiate between a launching pad to an incredible career and a crap shoot that will make your life miserable. When looking for jobs or comparing different positions, there are several tr…

Solve This Problem: Save the Oceans

Ocean Water

International management of the high seas is a "coordinated catastrophe" and someone needs to change things. Could you be that person? The stakes of this problem are high; our oceans are key to all life on the planet. Unfortunately, they are currently being polluted and overfished, leading to important environmental, economic, and…

SparkPath Contest 2014 – Apply Now!

Yes, I need this!

Would you like to work 1 on 1 with me to prepare your career? Do you know a high school student who needs a spark to find out what they want to do with their life? Here’s your chance. During the month of March, I will be running a contest for three SparkPath Ignition programs. The program is built to help young people discover …

12 Ways That Linchpins are Different + the Linchpin Manifesto


The world of work is changing. Companies are transforming themselves. New skills are required to thrive. How can students prepare themselves for these changes? According to Seth Godin, they should become Linchpins. The marketing guru has coined the term Linchpin to describe somebody in an organization who is indispensable, who can…

Generation Jobless?

Generation Jobless, The Economist, April 27th - May 3rd 2013

When Amanda finished her studies, she was filled with hope and optimism about her future in the job market. “What will I do? Who will I be?” she asked herself. It seemed like there was so much to discover and accomplish. However, several months after graduation, Amanda was still jobless, with no opportunities on the horizon. Her …

The Right Mix – Where Passion Meets Hard Work


This is the third post in a three part series reviewing the book So Good They Can’t Ignore You, by Cal Newport. In his book, Newport shares some exciting ideas about careers, but there are some gaps in his “passionless” career plan. First off, students can’t start in a vacuum and choose a major or a career at random. This…

Use Hard Work to Find Your Career Mission


This is the second post in a three part series reviewing the book So Good They Can’t Ignore You, by Cal Newport. One of the benefits of adopting a craftsman mindset is that it leads to an opportunity to build a career mission. A career mission is a unifying vision and it allows one to seek out a direction with meaning that is wo…

Why You Should Forget About Passion (for a Minute)


This is the first post in a three part series reviewing the book So Good They Can’t Ignore You, by Cal Newport. Is “follow your passion” the right advice for a teenager preparing their career? In his book, So Good They Can’t Ignore You, Cal Newport argues that not only is it bad advice, but for most people, it’s counterp…

Skills for a 21st Century Career

Future of work

Virtual collaboration, trans-disciplinarity, new-media literacy and formatting a floppy disk. Which of these work skills is not like the other? Clearly, the last skill is relic of the past and will not be valued in a 21st century career. The first three, however, are part of a new set of skills that students will need to succeed in t…

Start Here – How to Help Your Kids Choose an Education Program


There are many ways to tackle the discussion on college program research with your kids. Given the importance of this step, it warrants reflection and preparation. Read on for some recommendations and first steps in helping your kids choose their college major and prepare their career. 1. Preparation There are several question…

Working for a 21st Century Company


When preparing for a career, today’s youth need to be aware of the transformational changes that organisations are going through. Gone are last generation’s companies who guaranteed a job for life.  Today’s companies are changing to adapt to the new realities of the 21st century, which includes accommodating to new emplo…

How to Leverage Psychometrics


When Aidan (name changed) was trying to decide what college major he should apply for, he decided to take a psychometric test to help him with his decision. This particular test was based on his interests, and revealed that he had a unique combination of interest in analytical, data driven subjects like science, as well a passion f…

Seize Your Opportunity

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life

Postsecondary studies are a launching pad to do important work. So many of us have been privileged with endless potential, and making the most out of our opportunities is the best way to be grateful for the position we are in. Seth Godin, an author, entrepreneur and marketing guru, summarized this thought quite nicely it the follo…