International Volunteer Day 2017: Meet business mentor John Vogiatzis

As today marks International Volunteer Day, we’re celebrating the work of volunteers across the country and at The Learning Partnership, who have generously offered their time and passion to advance public education in Canada and empower our students.

John Vogiatzis is a financial analyst in Toronto, who volunteers his time supporting student entrepreneurs at Donwood Park Public School as a business mentor with The Learning Partnership’s Entrepreneurial Adventure program. We spoke to John about his role as a business mentor and what he has gotten out of it.

Q. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

My academic background is in English literature. However, I taught myself about the fundamentals of stocks and the stock market during my spare time. My first job in finance was as a call centre representative. From there I moved on to Computershare Investor Services where I continued my studies of stock markets. After a few years, I ventured out and started managing my own personal portfolio.

Q. What is your role like as an EA business mentor?

I first got involved with the EA program in 2016. As a business mentor, I like to think that my first job is to create a safe space where the students feel comfortable to express and share their every idea.  After all, as many publicly traded companies, like Apple, Google and Amazon have shown, often the most revolutionary of products and services come from the “zaniest” of ideas. I feel my role as a business mentor is not only to prepare the students for potential challenges but also to teach them to view these challenges as opportunities.

Q. What motivated you to get involved?

I was looking for an opportunity to volunteer at my children’s school when, as fortune would have it, I received a phone call from the school’s principal asking me to fill in as an EA business mentor. I happily jumped at the opportunity and was assigned to work with the school’s Kindergarten students. It was a lot of fun and I was really happy that The Learning Partnership asked me to participate again this year.

Q. What have you gotten out of it?

It’s so much fun working with students! Their enthusiasm and fresh view of the world is infectious. As much as you think you are being a net benefit to the students, I think the students are just as much being a net benefit to you. It’s hard to work with a group of kids and not leave with a sense that the future is bright.

Do you volunteer? Let us know in the comments how you make a difference! Happy International Volunteer Day!

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