Mentee Spotlight: Justin St-Louis Wood

learner Story

Meet Justin, a Strategy + Operations Sprint alum at The Commons & member of EventConnect's BizOps team of 1

To summarize Justin’s career path in 1 line: York U Business Finance → Business Analyst at Morphio (bizops & data generalist at an early stage AI startup) → Tech Platform Partnerships @ Clearco (bringing startup optimization platforms to founders we invested in) → Rotational BizOps @ EventConnect (working directly under the CEO across all core functions of the scale-up to help drive business & process improvements)

Read on to learn more about Justin’s experience in the Strategy & Operations Sprint, and his current BizOps role at EventConnect!

Where are you located?

📍 Ottawa, Canada

Describe yourself with 3 emojis & give us a little context on why you chose them!

👷 - The ‘Jack-of-all trades, master of none’ is something I strongly adhere to in my life. Always looking to learn new things and being able to contribute on many different fronts.

🔂 - ‘Discipline creates character’. Both personally & professionally, creating habits over time and seeing progress is addictive. 

🤨 - Possibly the most honest emoji to describe myself. I’m often seen as serious & contemplative by nature, with a deep enjoyment for figuring out ambiguous problems.

Joining The Commons

What was behind your decision to join The Commons?

I joined right after being laid off the summer before. I saw it as an opportunity in between jobs to level up and gain some new analytical skills to break into BizOps early in my career. I came into The Commons with the objective of learning SQL within the context of Business Operations in tech as well as getting better with data visualization through Tableau. 

Overall, the hope in joining The Commons was to better place myself in the competitive field of Business Operations & Strategy roles through real case studies commonly tackled within these role types at tech companies. 

What should someone who’s thinking about joining The Commons know about it?

The technical foundation in SQL, tableau, and tech business models learned through the Strategy & Operations Sprint are only the tip of the iceberg in terms of value. The biggest part of The Commons that you should know about is the deep sense of community it holds. 

It has been the most cohesive network of tech professionals within product and operational roles, with 1,000+ members from different backgrounds, industries, life stages and skill sets. There’s a very strong sense of cohesion with everything that comes with being part of The Commons.

From my experience, The commons has not only helped me gain a solid understanding and working knowledge of BizOps, but also the opportunity to be a part of an impressive community built to help others find jobs, share experiences, career mentorship, and learning sessions with highly valuable webinars from peers. 

Tell us about your role at EventConnect!

What’s the role?

I joined EventConnect, a sports tournament hosting & live hotel blocking platform in January. I am a team of one, working cross-functionally and in tandem with the executive leadership team to run the highest level of analysis for the core units of the company. 

I am primarily responsible for the cross-functional success of Finance, Operations, Product, Marketing, Sales & Partnerships. My focus is to own the business analysis components within the most critical business units through data visualization, process improvement, analytics, and special projects. 

How has the first month and a bit on the job been? 

To date, my early on the job experience has consisted of learning the business and its main drivers within the scope of creating prototype projects for different units. I am often tasked to rotate between different units frequently to ideate and build new methods to further the analysis of all business and revenue drivers.

In my current stage, I am mostly learning over time how the different core functions operate through conversations, an item list of more granular business questions to answer over time, and putting it all together through data analysis projects. 

Overall, working rotationally across its core units as well as reporting directly to the CEO has helped me significantly in sharpening a unique perspective across the company.

Any other words of wisdom or motivating thoughts for people who are looking to make a similar career move? 

4 pieces of advice to give to my former self at the beginning of my job search:

  1. Working Backwards: Most jobs in a specific function (i.e., BizOps) show patterns in skill sets and experiences they generally look for. Solve for this by identifying your own gaps in both technical skills and work experience. 
  2. Get the intro:  If possible, always look to get a warm intro through a mutual connection. If you find yourself ticking most of the boxes in the job description, look to get an idea of the culture and candidate traits they value heavily. Initiate the first conversation to get you going into the interview process. 
  3. Know what they do in the context of the position you're applying to: Get a good working start on the company and what they do. It’s best to tailor your information based on the specific role you’re applying to (ex; if you’re looking to get into RevOps, get a strong knowledge base on revenue and monetization structure of the company through case studies, blog posts, and sometimes founder podcasts).
  4. Know who you're talking to: For example, say through your own research that you’ve found that your potential direct manager was a previous college basketball player in university. When a scenario question on being in a leadership position, try to frame your answer with references or analogies that fit with the other side’s experiences and interest within the game of basketball. 

Something fun to end it off

Tell us some of your favorites:

🎙 - A favorite podcast: The Lex Fridman Podcast, Azeem Azhar’s Exponential View, The All-In Podcast

📚 - A favorite book: Black Swan by Nassim Taleb, Winter is Coming by Garry Kasparov

💻 - A company you think should be on everyone’s radar: Palantir

🎨 - What you're doing outside of work: Weight Training, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Photography, Travel

🌟 - A CEO or leader you admire: Naval Ravikant 

💬 - An inspiring business quote: “All the benefits in life come from compound interest — money, relationships, habits — anything of importance.” - Naval Ravikant

Ready to take the next step in your career? Apply to the Strategy + Operations Sprint to learn valuable skills for operations roles and learn from mentors who are rising stars in tech.

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