College Pro sits down with Vitaly Ishin now General Manager in Winnipeg for College Pro Window Cleaning was once a franchisee for College Pro Painters.
Name: Vitaly Ishin
Current Position: General Manager – Window Cleaning
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba
When did you start working for College Pro and in what role?
I signed up to run a College Pro Painting Franchise in the fall of 2005 and ran my painting franchise for the first time in the summer of 2006.
What were your prior job experiences?
Prior to College Pro, I had a variety of jobs in the restaurant industry; they were my high school jobs. After getting involved with College Pro, I ended up running my own franchise for four years and then, upon graduation from University, I worked as an account executive for a sign manufacturing firm. Then I returned to College Pro, this time on the full-time level.
What is the most important lesson you have learned with College Pro?
The most important lesson I have learned with College Pro is that nothing worth working for is ever easy. If you put your mind to something and work through the obstacles, however, then success feels so much sweeter. I’ve learned that development is continuous, not instantaneous, and once you have reached a plateau then it is time to get out of your comfort zone and strive for more.
What do you find most rewarding about your current role?
I find the opportunity to create my own division very rewarding. It gives me the autonomy and freedom along with the support I need. This is the environment in which I strive. I also find it very rewarding to take people who have never operated a business before and provide them with an opportunity to run a successful business in the summer.
What is a typical job day like for you?
All days are different. Some days consist of me coaching my franchisees all day long and helping them move their businesses forward. Some days I am meeting with potential candidates for the Franchise Manager role, other days I work on training sessions for franchisees, other days I meet with university groups to see if there is a way we can help each other by working together.
What skills are most necessary to succeed in your position?
Ability to work through obstacles, tenacity, problem solving, ability to make decisions; whether right or wrong, you need to be able to make decisions and move forward. It also is important to be able to look back at your mistakes and learn from them, and to be able to work independently, because I do not have a boss looking over my shoulder every second to keep pushing me.
Who or what inspires you?
There isn’t a specific person that inspires me, but it is characteristics of some successful entrepreneurs that inspire me. It inspires me to know of entrepreneurs that started with nothing, no financial backing and no real support but themselves, and were able to become successful against the odds. It does not have to be a multi-billionaire; it could be a regular, successful entrepreneur who achieved his/her goals and lives the life style that they want, whether it is spending quality time with loved ones while running a successful business or building a huge empire.
What advice would you give to someone hoping to work for College Pro?
Look at College Pro as one of the greatest learning and development opportunities in your life. When times get tough, stick through it and get advice from the network of people around you instead of giving up. The success and learning that come at the finish line far outweigh the challenges and speed bumps along the way.
What is your best memory related to College Pro?
My best memory with College Pro so far is my achievement of $1 Million in career sales after four years. It meant so much receiving the award at President’s Award because I still remember being at President’s Award after my second year and witnessing the first two people ever getting the $1 Million Career Sales Award. At that point the people accomplished it in six years, and I remember looking over at my friend who was sitting next to me and saying, “We should go for that!” And that moment he and I decided that we will achieve this award in four years — and we both did. When I received the award after four years, it felt like the four years of my career had just flashed in front of my eyes, all the fun and challenging moments.
In your opinion, why is College Pro a great place to work?
College Pro is a great place to work because it is one of the only places that provides capable people an opportunity to really grow and develop. College Pro takes people who might not be fully qualified for a position and teaches them how to become excellent at it. Once a person has over-grown that role, College Pro quickly tries to move that person into a different role with even higher learning potential. It is truly a company that is in the people development business, first and foremost.
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