Learn to Start is proud to be working with the next generation of lower, middle, and high school students in reimagining what the 21st-century education system should look like. Hear from one of LTS’s incredible alumni, Peter Mitchell, as he shares how LTS has impacted his personal and professional life since graduating from the program.
Learn to Start: How has being in Learn To Start impacted your confidence as a person? LTS was really a gateway in my professional development and helped me learn to get out of my comfort zone. Executive presence is one area in particular that LTS really helped me grow. Public speaking was a large component of the class. Public speaking can be intimidating for many people, so being forced out of our comfort zone was really important. One of the most satisfying moments of my high school experience was when I pitched to multiple angel investors with my team and received feedback that one of them would invest in us if we wanted to continue developing our business. That instilled so much confidence in me, and I truly felt the sky was the limit from that point on.
LTS: How has LTS defined or redefined purpose for you in your personal and professional life? In my personal life, I’d say LTS has really helped me hone in on discipline. In every aspect of life, whether it be personal or professional, there has to be a level of discipline to help hold you accountable. The program definitely posed challenging topics and introduced a lot of new ideas to me, so to truly embrace everything I had to commit myself to learning it. This all entailed maintaining good calendar integrity, strong communication, and focus. I pride myself on staying very busy, and these three components are a crucial part of my life.
LTS: How has LTS defined or redefined preparedness for you in your personal and professional life? During my time in LTS, we did two on-sites with businesses that were facing challenges around driving efficiency and streamlining operations. The ability to get in front of real-world business owners and learn about their challenges was pivotal in my development as a sales representative. In sales, we have to speak with hundreds of people every month, and every day we are faced with helping them solve a wide array of challenges. Additionally, we periodically have to go on-site and visit them at their office. Getting exposure to on-sites in the LTS was truly a great experience.
LTS: What was your knowledge of networking prior to LTS vs after? How has LTS impacted your ability to network? Prior to the LTS program, I didn’t have a strong understanding of networking. My dad had taught me about LinkedIn and the importance of connections, but I didn’t really know how to go about making connections on my own. After LTS, I understood that your network is your net worth. You can only get so far in life without networking and the help of others. LTS impacted my ability to network by instilling confidence in me. As I mentioned earlier, being able to speak with successful investors and earn their praise really inspired me to keep putting myself out there.
How has LTS impacted your ability to receive feedback? What was your experience with feedback prior to the program? My big takeaway from LTS is don’t take things personally, take them professionally. Anyone giving you feedback clearly cares about your development, otherwise, they wouldn’t have much to say. One story I reflect on is one of the first pitches my team and I gave to the class. Quite frankly, we were told the idea wasn’t strong and the presentation lacked direction and vision. We took that feedback and pivoted to a new idea, which ultimately led to a great path in the class.