My name is Devin Golets and I am the founder of Team Tailwind. I am passionate about supporting students and recent graduates. Team Tailwind creates online guidance counselling programs that help students make a strong transition into post secondary education and maximize their return on investment. We provide users with 24/7 access to guidance counselling and integrate methods for them to share how they’re feeling about their journey, so that we know what to build next and how best to support them.
What prompted you to leap into this?
I have always been involved in leadership and mentorship. Since all the way back when I was in elementary school, I have always found myself in positions that focused on mentoring and guiding others into becoming the best version of themselves.
After my undergraduate program at Western University, I began my career as a student recruiter. I spoke to hundreds of students and learned a ton about what they go through at each stage of their journey. After four and a half years at Western, I decided to leave for a new challenge and opportunity to work for an EdTech company in Toronto called Top Hat. Top Hat became the perfect place for me to learn a ton and work with a lot of bright people.
As much fun as it was, my heart really missed connecting with students. Top Hat taught me enough to give me confidence that I could go out and start my own thing, marrying my love for counselling with the cool scalability that tech allows for. So I decided to leave for Vancouver and I started my business from there.
When I was at Western, students would often say “you seem like you really love doing this,” and they were right. The moment I started Team Tailwind, I felt that internal validation again, that this was the right thing to do. I saw Team Tailwind as an incredible opportunity to help students, but also be the next best opportunity for me to grow in my own career.
What does social impact mean to you?
I think social impact is about taking a risk to make change that you want to see. Sometimes, taking that risk means you might be judged by others. But at the end of the day, if you want to make an impact, you have to take action and execute.
That’s why I feel fulfilled and incredibly grateful for the opportunity I have with my venture. I know how meaningful support is to students, and how much positive change is possible through what we’re doing.
What does being a leader mean to you?
I’ve learned that being a leader means you really have to get to know yourself first. When I used to play hockey, sometimes the team captain was the quietest guy in the room. He simply led by example. Whereas in university, a lot of orientation leaders were loud and enthusiastic.
It’s important that you reflect on your values and get to know what leadership style feels comfortable for you.
What's been the biggest lesson you've learned so far as a leader?
I learned that leadership is not about you; it’s about others! Over time, I’ve learned that the gratification of leading comes from serving and supporting others. It’s not necessarily about your accomplishments. It’s about coaching and helping others accomplish. As a leader, I come to the table with ideas and experience. It’s my job to find the right people and resources, and then coach and help others accomplish and feel good about their contributions and strides.
Tell us a story. Have you had an experience that’s defined you or made you a better leader? Who is a leader that inspires you?
I spent 9 years at Western and the moment that stood out to me the most happened when I was a student. A woman I knew told me how she had been sexually assaulted. She opened up to me about how she was taken advantage of by someone in her life. Her story shook me up and made me realize how much privilege I grew up with. I was really upset about it and didn’t really know what to do at first. I didn’t want to make a Facebook post or something like that, especially because it wasn’t my story to tell. So I decided I was going to take action another way.
I got involved with the community, and volunteered with the Sexual Assault Centre of London (now known as Anova). I went through 8 weeks of training and I learned a lot just by listening and checking my ego at the door.
I ultimately went on to co-facilitate multiple cohorts of the Man Made program - a discussion group for men who want to become better leaders when it comes to navigating masculinity and promoting things like consent. I met some amazing people and that’s the work I’m most proud of during my time in London. This experience taught me that you really can make a difference in society, just go out there and do it.
What is one piece of advice you’d give to your younger self?
You have so much more time than you think! As a student, I felt like if I didn’t travel by age 23, I would never get to travel. In high school, I wanted to pursue a career in hockey, but once again, I felt if I didn’t go to University right away, I would miss out on all the fun and socializing.
I would also tell my younger self to embrace the journey. My ultimate goal as a young hockey player was to win the Stanley cup, and I thought I would only celebrate if I achieved that. One of my coaches reminded me to celebrate the small wins, and life becomes a lot more fun when you allow yourself to celebrate getting a good mark on a test or anything like that.
What is a mantra you live by?
Live in the stretch zone. In my opinion, the comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there. If you leave a goldfish in a fishbowl, it will always be safe, but it will never grow. If you see a goldfish in the wild, it grows much bigger - to the size of its environment.
This is how I choose to live my life. I get to define where my comfort zone ends, and I get to push myself into uncomfortable situations to grow from them.
Where can others find you?
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