Bailey Parnell (Founder & CEO of SkillsCamp, named one of Canada's Top 100 Most Powerful Women) took part in the "How to Reach Your Potential" initiative, an interview series featuring leaders who inspire Alex Rascanu and whose insights can help you reach your potential.
Bailey Parnell is the Founder & CEO of SkillsCamp and was recently named one of Canada's Top 100 Most Powerful Women by the Women's Executive Network. SkillsCamp is a soft skills training company that works with businesses and higher education institutions to help their staff and students develop the essential skills needed for success. Bailey is an award-winning digital marketer, TEDx speaker, and businesswoman with a talent for helping people and brands tell better stories. Her work and expertise have been featured on CBC, CTV, Flare Magazine, and more. Bailey holds a master's degree in communications and culture from Ryerson University.
Alex: What is your life’s purpose?
Bailey: I help people tell better stories. I used to use that talent for telling stories about why you should buy this product, watch this TV show, or come to this event. But now, I use that skill to help people present themselves online, better explain why they deserve a job in interviews, or give better presentations.
I’m always on a mission to figure this out, but I think a later purpose in life will be to increase access to the right education.
Alex: What are the three things you’re most passionate about?
- Teaching people the soft skills they need for personal and professional success.
- Good quality education being a basic human right and the answer to most social problems (what you learn, when, how and from whom)
- Promoting gender equity for women.
Alex: How do you stay healthy? What’s your main health-related goal?
Bailey: I have a terrible health regimen - as in no regimen at all… I don’t eat a lot in quantity, but what I do eat is rich and delicious in quality. I could use more vegetables. I try to go to the gym, but I find scheduling difficult. So, I suppose that’s my health-related goal - to schedule the gym in more. For me, physical fitness is something I do more because I don’t want my body to fall apart than because I enjoy it.
Alex: How do you build wealth? What’s your main financial goal?
Bailey: Unless you’re born into it, there’s no cheat code for creating wealth. I believe in putting in the work, so that’s what I’m doing. I work a lot. I’m working to build up SkillsCamp and other investments as a way to increase my wealth.
One strategy I use is not spending what I don’t have. It sounds like such a simple financial concept, but as I got older, I learned that it is actually not that easy for so many! I’ve also never really spent much on material things such as fashion or electronics (it can add up!). I like experiences.
Alex: How do you balance work and family life?
Bailey: I believe it all starts with how you budget your time. If it’s in my calendar, it’s happening. My family and friends used to make fun of me for having Google calendar events for when we hang out, but they know that means they’re a priority for me.
I suppose “balance” is subjective. Other people may feel my scales are tipped significantly in the direction of work and school. I feel balanced though, and my family and friends understand that (that’s why they’re my friends!).
Alex: How do you enjoy spending time with family and friends?
Bailey: I like experiences. My favourite thing to do is go out to eat and drink at new Toronto restaurants. I like going to farmers’ markets, on wine tours, or hosting dinner parties at my condo. But really, I think if you put my friends/family in I in an empty room, we’d still have a good time.
Alex: What has been the most fulfilling role you’ve ever had, or the most fulfilling project you’ve been involved with so far?
Bailey: The most fulfilling role I’ve had so far is being the CEO and an instructor at SkillsCamp, and fortunately, that’s just getting started. For one, SkillsCamp has been a door-opener to meet some incredible people over the last couple years. I’m particularly grateful for all of the successful, intelligent, and passionate women I’ve met. They have become role models, motivation, and inspiration. It is important to see yourself reflected in positions of power, and SkillsCamp has helped me see many more women in those positions. It is also fulfilling to hear you’ve become that inspiration for other women as well.
SkillsCamp has also been the platform on which I am able to give back. We have worked with numerous non-profits over the years giving free workshops to people who may need it, but maybe don’t have access to us through schools or corporations. Most often, we’ve partnered on job search workshops like interviewing, networking, and personal branding. It’s then very fulfilling to hear that what you taught someone worked, and they got a job, improved their relationships, or are a happier person.
Alex: What’s one career planning lesson that has made a significant difference in your life?
Bailey: I’m still young in my career, but so far, expert time management has been crucial to success in work, school, and my personal life. I believe everything starts with setting aside the time. How you budget that time is a reflection of your priorities. To me, not having a calendar is akin to never looking in my bank account and just guessing what is in there.
I book in travel time so I’m never stressing about being late. My partner and I book in date nights because, given how busy we both are, we want to make sure we’ll at least have some dedicated meaningful time together each week. I also book time to actually do the work we talk about in meetings. My high-energy events like public speaking and SkillsCamp workshops are in red. I couldn’t do more than two red events in a day or you wouldn’t get the best version of me.
Expert time management was the reason I was able to work three jobs and excel in my undergrad full time. It was the reason I was able to work full time, grow a business, and get my Masters part time. It’s why through all that, I’ve been able to maintain meaningful relationships with my friends and family. It’s critical to my success.
Alex: What would you like your legacy to be?
Bailey: I want the people I work with to feel their work and lives were improved as a result of working with me. I want to be known as someone who knows a little about a lot and a lot about a little, and when I don’t, that I’m always excited about learning. Because of that, I want people to feel my opinion positively adds to any room. I want people to respect me as a businesswoman and see me as someone working to make people's lives better, but also as someone who is accessible and easy to talk to no matter who they are. I want to contribute to advancing women’s rights, and I want young girls and boys to grow up wanting to be like me because I was empowering, intelligent, successful, and fun. Finally, I want my friends and family to always look forward to seeing me.
Now, I have to go work to make all of that a reality.
Alex: Bailey, thank you so much for taking part in this interview! Thank you for being so open and for sharing your insights!
Did you find one or more of Bailey's thoughts helpful? Are there any ideas or resources that came to mind as you read the interview?
Please share your thoughts and feedback in the comments section below, and consider sharing the interview with a friend via social media or email.
Also, consider checking out the How to Reach Your Potential interviews with Trina Boos, Hamza Khan, James Tjan, Vlad Rascanu, Drew Dudley, Alexandru Holicov, Andrew Mizzoni, Christa Dickenson, Louise Adongo, Sarah Chaudhery, Jake Nicolle, Andy McIlwain, Busola Akin-Olawore, Rebecca Laramée and Richard Obede. Thank you.