Meet Ernest, a Mentor at The Commons and Head of BizOps at GlossGenius.
To summarize Ernest's career path in one line: University of Western Ontario BioMed Sciences -> Ivey HBA -> Institutional Client Advisory Analyst @ J.P. Morgan Asset Management (got good at selling ideas) -> R&D Analyst @ a non-profit microfinance firm in rural South Africa (super scrappy environment + had a lot of personal growth) -> Portfolio Management Associate @ J.P. Morgan (sharpened my detail orientation because 1 trading mistake = millions of dollars 😬) -> Equity Research Associate @ J.P. Morgan (really internalized strategy and understanding financial levers that make a company tick) -> Head of Biz Ops @ GlossGenius (learned how to be an operator and BUILD!)
Describe yourself with three emojis
💡 Learning is what drives my career. ABL - always be learning!
🎬 I am a firm believer that actions speak louder than words
✈️ I love to see the world + experience new cultures (I've been lucky enough to go to 50 countries so far!)
Current role & location?
📍Head of BizOps @ GlossGenius in Toronto.
What prompted you to transition careers?
I wanted to apply all my skills in finance and strategy into an executional role! I felt that the financial services industry had too much of a 10,000 ft view for me, and was ready to dive into something on the ground. I also wanted to take on a lot more ownership in an environment that was more ambiguous and creative.
How did you narrow down what types of roles you wanted to shift to?
I identified my T-Shape, and found roles where I could lean into those skills. I also identified the type of environment that I wanted to be in, and it was clear to me an early stage scrappier startup was more exciting to me!
How did you find the role?
I was connected to the founders through my network, so I had plenty of opportunity to vet the company.
When pivoting into tech, what were some of the biggest changes that you noticed?
How much more ownership I got to take. It was so exciting and I thrived in it!
We're so happy you're part of The Commons! What have been your favourite parts about being a mentor?
- Getting to meet a ton of other smart, motivated people in the tech industry
- I love working through the case! It’s so realistic and I think it's the best way to learn the practical skills it takes to thrive in a Biz Ops role.
Has there been anything unexpected that you've got out of participating with The Commons?
I think it’s incredible how active and supportive the community at The Commons is! Everyone is always willing to help and there are a ton of amazing resources and experts to help build your network.
Tell us more about your role at GlossGenius! What do you do there?
I'm the head of Biz Ops at GlossGenius, and responsible for scaling the data & analytics at the company, our marketing tech stack as well as scaling our payment processing business.
What has been one of your favourite projects?
- Project Objective: Launching GlossGenius’ first hardware product - our card reader
- Project Overview: I was responsible for the go-to-market strategy and execution for our customized card readers, from building the supply chain end-to-end, to the product management, pricing and marketing
- Your Role: I was the project lead on it, along with an amazing team that consisted of an Ops Associate + Senior Marketing Manager
- What made it so interesting? We serve a community of small business owners, so it felt so rewarding to own the launch of a product that was going to have a real impact on their business. They’re also a very engaged community, so it was INCREDIBLE seeing how excited they were all over social media. On launch date, I couldn’t stop checking Instagram Stories!
Any advice for people looking to make a similar career move?
Take your time to vet for culture - it’s not an imaginary thing! Not only is it influential in the company’s success, but it will be in yours as well. Look for a company who shares the same principles and values as you, and who wants to invest in you as much as you invest in them.
What's an unpopular belief you hold about careers?
There are few “wrong choices” in your career - it’s just as helpful to learn what you don’t want to do in life by going through the experience/job as it is to learn what you do like doing in the “perfect job”.
And now, a few fun tidbits about you!
Tell us some of your favourites:
🎙 Podcast: The a16z podcast, Freakonomics, BBC Global News Podcast
📚 Book: No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention
🌟 A CEO or leader you admire: Bob Iger
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