2013: Year in Review

Now that a year is complete and lay in the past, it’s time to reflect upon the highlights, the best and most meaningful moments of 2013.

Highlights of 2013

This past year I was President of Nspire Innovation Network, a student-run non-profit dedicated to building leaders in the business and technology space. In January we launched a 1st ever business pitch competition, called Idea Ignition Weekend. We had over 45+ students come out, form teams, and build and pitch their potential business ideas to a panel of judge entrepreneurs. It was insane! We had no previous experience with this type of event, but we delivered a kick-ass experience. Goes to show what we’re capable of accomplishing when we strive to raise the bar and add more value to our delegates. Overall, we had 45+ students and 10+ mentors for a 2 day entrepreneurial weekend. Not bad for a team of 3 and a couple weeks of ruthless execution.

Next highlight of 2013 was the National Business and Technology Conference 2013. Incredible experience! Layan Kutob and her team took the conference experience to a whole new level, hosting over 25+ speakers, a 45+ startup career fair, panels, competition and keynotes. It was the first time we had a Startup Career Fair, first time we had 8 Startup Talks, and first time we interviewed and filmed every speaker and session session. Layan and her team singlehandedly pulled off the conference planning and execution; proof that high-potential individuals will become rockstars when given autonomy, ownership, and an opportunity to innovate. Very proud of the NBTC 2013 team and their accomplishments.

The next major highlight of 2013 was completing my co-op term at P&G. On an inventory reduction project, I leveraged the collective power of my team and achieved a $4MM inventory reduction by FYE. Very impressive results. I also launched a first ever “Roundtable Recruitment Session” as part of our targeted recruitment efforts. The event was such a success that 2014’s recruitment efforts will build upon the strategies and traction established by this event. My success at P&G was in large part a result of the ruthless coaching and support of my peers. With their help, I was able to power forward through challenges, deliver exceptional results and earn a full-time job offer upon completion of my term.

I went to Panama for the last 2 months of summer. Had the opportunity to work as a Product Manager along some of the brightest and most ambitious people at Ubiqua. The experience was amazing. I was given the task to pursue an unexplored opportunity, and define Ubiqua’s next product. In a matter of weeks,  I learned and executed through the stages of the product development cycle. Empathy with the user was critical in building valuable user-centric product experiences. Also, when faced with uncertainty, I learnt it’s important to quickly make effective decisions, in order to carry the project forward.

I’ll be returning to Ubiqua upon graduation. I’m very excited to join the team, learn from them, and be a part of growing a business aimed at revolutionizing the use of technology in Latin America.

Chris Benedict came to Panama for a week to visit. Had an incredible week. We partied it up on the beach, on the islands and downtown. Everybody loved him. “Chris from Canada” was his party name. Ja! Great times.

I competed again at the Wharton Undergrad Consulting Conference 2013. Went down to UPenn with the dream team Kazem, Layan and Tarek to show those guys what we’re made of. After an all-nighter and multiple work-sleep sessions, we were ready to kick-butt. We weren’t able to rehearse our presentation, and weren’t even sure of each other’s content, but we were confident in everyone’s ability to deliver a kick-ass presentation. After 4 hours of competition, 2 rounds of pitches, and judges deliberation, the winners were decided. We totally killed it and placed 2nd in the competition! Huge accomplishment that we are all very proud of. I contribute our success to our strong team chemistry.  It allowed us to trust in each’s judgement and quickly align towards common goals.

This year was my first participation in Movember. I grew my own Mo and was part of 2 different amigo’s sales and awareness campaign. It was great to see the effort and value that came from their volunteer campaigns. Together they raised over $3,000+ in donations and a ton of awareness for a great cause.

To close the year off, a Nicaraguan New Years Paradise Trip! Tekin, Connor, Gavin, Zoe, Gmo and I hit up Nicaragua for the break and had an amazing time visiting volcanoes, lagunas, partying at the beach and being our silly dumb selves. Yes, we got drunk a bit too much. Yes, we partied like rockstars. And yes, we created a ton of ridiculous memories. Definitely one of those trips to remember.

Couldn’t imagine any better way to close 2013, great times with my best friends.

Key Lessons of 2013

1. Friendships are investments.

Good friends are tough to find, and enduring friendships are even tougher to build. They take huge investments of time and energy. But in the end, these are the friendships that are kept over a lifetime.

2. Make quick and calculated decisions.

Decision making is one of the most critical skills for highly effective leadership. When faced with complex situations and uncertain outcomes, we must quickly make decisions and continue forward with projects. Trust that not all decisions will be right, but that you’ll be able to adapt and resolve later on.

3. Stay hungry.

Often at times it becomes easy to conform simply do what we’re supposed to do. Breakthrough results only occur when we aggressively pursue ambitious and risky goals; when we strive to innovate and deliver above and beyond the expectations of our role.

Time to Appreciate

I am incredibly grateful to all those who made for such an incredible year. My colleagues at P&G, Nspire and Ubiqua challenged me to grow and pushed me outside of my comfort zone. I caught up with a lot of old friends this year, great people who have played a meaningful role in helping me become the person I am today. Most importantly, I am grateful for the unconditional love and support of my family. They’ve believed in me every step of the way and encouraged me to pursue my passions and take on even greater challenges. I’m very fortunate to have such amazing people in my life.

And that’s the wrap to an incredible 2013! Looking forward to the success, hardships, and lessons to come in 2014!

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