by: Fred Guanlao - Manager, Business Analysis, Virox Inc.
- Former Sheridan student -
"Being completely genuine and being true to yourself; I think that’s the most important thing."
"I don’t think anybody necessarily grows up... I don't really believe in “growing up” per say. I don’t think that there’s some magical switch that turns on when you graduate or when you enter the workforce that says, 'well, I’m an adult now.' I think that experience and how you carry yourself, and the different challenges you face is what 'adulting' is. I think no matter what position I move into - whether its promotions or furthering my career growth - I always want to stay true to who I am. For some people they may call that immature or that I’m still stuck in some kind of a certain state of mind - I can’t agree with them because being who I am is what got me to where I am now, and I’m not going to change that.
I think there is a time and a place for being “professional” and a time and a place where people can see who you are as a person. Being completely genuine and being true to yourself; I think that’s the most important thing.
I was in the Business Administration program specializing in accounting, however, I didn’t pursue a heavy accounting field. I chose accounting over the other programs because I felt that accounting gave me the requisite knowledge and skills needed to understand the inner workings of a business. If you can understand how a business works, then you are well fit to handle numerous challenges that you could be faced. I wanted to get the education and see what doors were available at the time. So when I started working at Virox, I actually started as an accounting clerk.
Eventually, there was an opening in our supply chain department. I got hired there, which helped me progress to an Operations Analyst Position. Over the course of time, there was a need to build a business intelligence unit. I was a part of that formation, and here I am now… three years later, managing that department.
If I ever went back and time and had a chance to pick a different program, I think I would’ve chosen a more computer science background. Having said that, that’s only because the field that I am in currently is really in the push for data analysis and insights. That’s the direction that a lot of businesses are moving towards, so I feel that that skill set would help me immensely. On the contrary, I wouldn’t have the same business acumen that I would have now if I hadn’t taken accounting. So, I am currently in the pursuit of furthering my education with computer science/coding, to supplement my business education.
Education to me right now is equipping me with the tools to further my career. It is to identify where my shortcomings are and what I can supplement what I currently have, in order to adapt and be an even more valuable contributor to my current company.
"If you believe you can make something happen, chances are you probably can."
Graduating from high school, I didn't see myself working in the business world. That’s not to say that I’m not thrilled with where I’m at, but I think life has a certain way of pulling you in different directions. You have to navigate through those curves and bounce back where you need to. If you believe you can make something happen, chances are you probably can. If you see yourself thriving in a certain role or a certain environment, if you believe you have a certain skill set that can take you to a certain direction and certain point in your career, there’s really nothing stopping you other than yourself.
As someone who is looking for good team members, I’ve been conducting interviews lately and want whoever gets the position to take the ball and run with it. I believe that building a strong team is a two-way street - I manage this department, but I want to learn from you and teach you things as well. This is because I’m not happy with being stagnant as an individual or as a department. We need to elevate each other for the entire department and for the company.
I personally don't like hearing, “that's the way we’ve always done things.” Virox has a culture that encourages honest contention, even if it's not from your area of work. If you notice something from a different department you can chime in and ask questions. No one’s going to take it personally because it makes everyone better.
"My next step is to further my education."
I am very happy at Virox. I am extremely happy. My next step is to further my education. Whether that’s taking continuing education courses or whether that’s doing executive education or completing my MBA. I want to maximize my potential as a professional and maximize my value my company. I see myself as a young individual and I still have a lot more to learn and a lot more growth. I think that one thing I value in others is the willingness to grow and to learn; that natural curiosity that leads one to never be satisfied with what you know. I think that's aided me in my growth. Even if learning something won’t help me in the immediate future, who knows if that knowledge will help me down the road. There is no harm in knowing something extra.
If I could give one advice to any student at Sheridan College, it would be to never be satisfied with just what you know. The thing is, we live in an age where we have every bit of knowledge at our fingertips. We would be doing ourselves a disservice if we are not constantly and actively trying to seek out more knowledge. It's a luxury the previous generations did not have; we have the answers to most of life's questions at our fingertips. "