Meet CPC Member Maureen McCann

By Cathy Milton.

Maureen McCann is a well-known and very active member of CPC. In this interview, she shares some thoughtful wisdom and insights into her work and personal life.

Tell us a bit about your business.

ProMotion Career Solutions came to be in August of 2007. Being a busy new mom (at the time) and military spouse didn’t keep me from pursuing the launch of my business. In fact, it encouraged me for two reasons:

  • My husband was doing what he was trained to do and enjoyed doing; now it was my turn to do what I most enjoyed doing.
  • I wanted to model the right behavior for my children. I wanted to love the work I did. I was excited to get my business off the ground.

Before starting my own company, I worked in the non-profit sector helping newcomers to Canada and people who faced multiple barriers to employment. I started ProMotion Career Solutions to help job seekers not only successfully navigate the job search process, but break the cycle of “falling” into the work they do by accepting their first job offer.

The goal of my business is to help people find the work they love to do.

What services do you offer?

  • Career assessments – helping clients explore their career history, likes, and dislikes, in order to identify possible future career choices.
  • Executive résumé portfolio writing – researching clients and their target companies, which allows me to articulate the value they offer to their target employer.
  • Job search strategy – partnering with clients to help them pursue their target company and secure networking meetings and/or interviews.
  • Interview coaching – acting as an interviewer to prepare clients for upcoming interviews, and coaching them through feedback.

What was it that initially attracted you to this type of work?

I love helping people and I’ve been some form of teacher all of my life.

Working at a non-profit family support centre in the early 2000s, I found myself in the career resource room on a regular basis. I just loved flipping through books of résumé samples and reading everything I could get my hands-on. I had no idea at the time that this might turn into a career.

It wasn’t until my neighbour, Harry, to whom I had been sending job leads, résumé tips, and interview strategies said: “Ya know, Maureen, you should really think about doing this for a living.” It took a while, but that message finally sunk in. Within a few days, I was volunteering at a local employment centre.

You spent 4 years in Belgium with your family when your husband’s military career took you there. What did you enjoy most about the experience?

We lived in a small farming community called Masnuy-Saint-Jean (this is equivalent to a “hamlet”). Our home was about 10 minutes away from the NATO military base where my husband worked and approximately 1 hour south of Belgium’s capital city, Brussels.

There were many things we enjoyed about this amazing experience. The proximity to other countries allowed us to travel extensively and explore foreign cultures with our children. We loved seeing locations where history took place; being part of a Canadian community of expats; eating chocolate (me) and drinking beer (my husband).

Here is just a sampling of the things we did as a family during our posting:

St. Patrick’s Day Parade 2013, Dublin, Ireland

  • Skied the Swiss Alps for a week.
  • Spent a day on the Rock of Gibraltar.
  • Felt the rain down in Africa!
  • Enjoyed a week in the Scottish Highlands.
  • Celebrated St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin, Ireland.
  • Sipped champagne in Champagne, France.
  • Attended the Remembrance Day Ceremony at Vimy Ridge, France. 

Our posting ran from 2012 to 2016, and we now live and work in beautiful Victoria, British Columbia.

Do you have a memorable client success story that you’d like to share?

I am fortunate that clients put their trust in me – trust me with their careers, their professional stories, their life’s work.

When I work with any client, I try to remind them of what I call their “awesomeness” because sometimes we forgot about the very things that make us awesome. Professionally speaking, we call this a value proposition.

I had one client who was a gentle warrior. Kind and unassuming on the phone, she had done amazing things professionally. She was part of a massive layoff from a position where she shone brightly. When we met, I could tell she felt discouraged. Shortly after receiving the résumé package I did for her she wrote to me:

“You gave me back some things I had lost a long time ago; hope, ambition, confidence, self-esteem, and a belief in myself.”

As if that didn’t tug at my heartstrings enough, within a short time I received a follow-up message:

“I was offered a job by a company and I couldn’t be more thrilled. I am so excited. The compensation is better than I had hoped for. This is my DREAM JOB!”

If it’s possible, I think I was more excited than she. Not only was she a great fit for this position, but she deserved it. She did everything right. She networked, she made it easy for the hiring manager to pick her, and she overcame every obstacle that came between her and her dream job. To this day, I am still so very proud of her!

How did your association with CPC start, and what role(s) do you have in the organization?

I joined CPC in 2005 after doing some research about Canadian career professional organizations. I quickly learned that CPC was the best out there.

Sharon Graham, CPC’s Executive Director, hosted a conference call that I attended. Sharon asked for volunteers to be part of the Communications Team and so began a wonderful mentorship and friendship.

As part of the Communications Team, I was encouraged to share my thoughts with Sharon. From that came the idea of monthly tele-networking sessions. I organized and moderated the calls every month from 2007 through 2012, up until the time I left Canada for Europe.

Other roles I perform with CPC include:

What do you do to keep your skills current? 

Aside from being an assessor for CPC’s CRS, CIS, CCS, and CES certification programs, my clients keep me well informed. I read as much as I can from thought leaders in different areas of business, in positive psychology, etc., and I engage with career professionals from academia, non-profit, and for-profit organizations with the goal of sharing best practices.

Another favourite thing to do is watch TED talks.

Before moving to Belgium, my colleague Wayne Pagani and I used to conduct a lot of workshops together. When I lived in Belgium I offered an annual résumé writing workshop for the trailing spouses. I also submitted career-related articles to the local expat community magazine.

I’m also found at the library at least twice a week picking up a new book or a book on CD.

What is your best advice to new career professionals?

  1. Read everything you can about the industry.
  2. Once you’ve assessed your own knowledge, reach out to the experts in our industry. Get to know them. Learn from them.
  3. Challenge your expertise and your ways of thinking. Be open to new ideas and always be ready to learn from not only experts but clients, job seekers, hiring managers, career professionals, employers, you name it – everyone has something you can learn from them. Find it!
  4. Ask questions.

Any last words of encouragement for our readers?

A TED talk I will never forget is one by author and long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad. It is titled “Never, ever give up”. In it, she says “find a way.” This is a belief I hold.

No matter what you want from life, ”find a way.”

Comments

  1. Thanks for the interview, Cathy. You asked great questions that really got me thinking about the answers. I encourage all CPC members to go through this exercise. It was fun and enlightening.

    • Thank YOU, Maureen. You did all the work. 😉 You were very generous in your responses, giving us a great mix of business wisdom and “behind the scenes” insights into your personal passions.

      I echo Maureen’s invitation. If other CPC members would like to be interviewed, please contact me at cathy@careerprocanada.ca.

  2. Maureen, I loved reading your article. It was inspiring, and confirmed your joy in what you do. It also resonated personally as, although our journeys are very different, the triggers for following an entrepreneurial path have surprising similarities in terms of what we hope to achieve and how we get our motivation. Maybe this year at Cannexus (had to miss last year as we were preparing to move to our new home/offices) we can talk more!

    • Thanks, Iris. It was fun going through the questions; much like the work we do with our clients this was a reflective exercise that reminded me of just that: the things that motivate me to make the career choices I’ve made along the way. Yes, happy to chat next time we see each other. 🙂

  3. Excellent advice on keeping our skills current!

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