In this series, TalentEgg will be exploring the lives of young professionals who have gone off the beaten career path to find success. From artists to entrepreneurs, their stories illustrate the importance of pursuing your passion.
Dr. Rumeet Billan isn’t the type to shy away from a challenge.
During her second year of university, she decided to run her own business while balancing full-time studies. Today, she is the President of Jobs In Education, an education employment website which has become much more than a job board over the past twelve years – it’s making an impact in communities around the world.
“I never thought that I would become an entrepreneur,” says Rumeet. “I never thought that I would do well in that area, but I did want to work with people and work in education, so this really fit what I wanted to do.”
In addition to Jobs in Education, she now also runs Viewpoint Leadership, a training and development platform focused on developing emotional intelligence, and works as a professor at Humber College.
From her list of accomplishments, it’s clear that Rumeet is now well-established in the education sector, but getting to this point was no easy task. At the beginning, when Rumeet was a full-time undergraduate student, she was working nearly 60 hours a week on Jobs in Education. She was also dealing with another big obstacle: a deep-seated fear of failure.
“When you’re in your early twenties, you think sometimes that you might be invincible, and then you decide to run a business,” says Rumeet.
But instead of letting this fear overwhelm her, she faced it head on by channeling it into her business and social endeavours.
“I thought, ‘If my business fails, we want to do something that leaves an impact,’ and that’s when we decided we were going to build a school.” – Dr. Rumeet Billan
To date, Jobs in Education has helped build primary schools in Africa and South America, supported uniforms and textbook programs for orphans, created and built a teacher’s college in Kenya, and contributed to breakfast programs here in Canada. Additionally, these projects allowed her to give back to these communities, as well as expand her business. She quickly realized that employers were very interested in working with a company with a strong social mandate.
“If I didn’t have that fear of failure, we’d just be running as a for profit and that’s it,” says Rumeet. “It was this hesitation and this fear that really changed my business.”
While she considers these social projects some of her biggest career successes, what truly tops her list of accomplishments has been what she calls – ‘getting out of her own way.’ By changing her mindset to accept that life does not always go according to plan, she has been able to pursue a wide range of exciting opportunities, from her journeys abroad, to completing her Ph.D. in Higher Education, and being named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women by the Women’s Executive Network.
In the future, Rumeet hopes to continue to find ways to create change through education, but right now, she’s looking forward to “learning from a different perspective,” as she prepares for the next chapter of her life: motherhood.
“Your career is not going to be a linear path,” says Rumeet. “When we start to think of things as linear, we can miss out on so many opportunities. You can still get to where you want to go, but it may not be the path that you think that you’re going to take, and that’s okay! Because you never know where that could lead to and what can change along the way.”
Rumeet’s career advice
- Challenge your own perspective. “Sometimes, you do things the way that you think is right but if you challenge your own perspective, you might find a faster, better, easier, or more effective way of doing things.”
- Be open to different experiences. Whether it’s working abroad, or exploring a brand-new industry – “try different things and see what’s out there because that’s going to influence what you do.”