Education is a lifelong journey and some people don’t want to stay still. At Centennial College, we set our alumni up with transferable skills that let them move around, if that’s what they wish to do. That was the case with Jim Pagiamtzis, who graduated from Business Management in 1994 and moved on to varied successful careers in areas as diverse as marketing, public speaking and even acting. He used his business knowledge as a platform to pursue a variety of interests on his long, colourful journey and regularly uses his skills to give back to Centennial College, the school that help set him up. Here’s his story.
Coming to Centennial
“I go to my guidance councillor and say, I want to become a scientist. She says scientist? Science doesn’t pay.” Jim says about his unusual path into Centennial College. He’d eventually come and take Business Management at our Progress Campus, something he calls “a logical choice.”
“It was a cool program because of how I’d go to school and learn on the go, at that time Centennial College was one of the first schools where a new co-operative was being tested.” He’d take part in two co-op placements, working in the field while he took classes.
“I went to school, and I worked for a company called Oshawa Foods,” he explains “I go to work for four months there, and made some really good money, so I did two co-op work terms.”
“I had to compete with other students to get into the program,” he continues, discussing how in-demand the position was.” Three people interview me for Oshawa Food position! There a lot of competition. I’m grateful that I had that choice, because it helped me later on to understand the world of business, and it allowed me come out of college with no debt!”
“My work ethic definitely improved from being in business, understanding numbers and accounting.” He says, reflecting on what he learned that would later benefit his career. “My accountants loved me, Understanding numbers, expenses and investments helped me.”
“Later on , I realized working independently and working with a team were two of the greatest assets.” He adds “When you don’t have a strong team, things can fall apart.”
A varied career
“I just started working with Digital Marketing here in early June.” Jim says, before that though, he had a long varied career, always trying his hand at new things. From the conventional to the unusual, all grounded in what he’d learned in Business Management at Centennial College.
“After Centennial for ten years, I worked as shipper/ receiver for a couple of computer stores.” He says “Then from 2003 to 2011 I worked in the logistic industry for FedEx Freight, and at that time, I started to get mentored that had a big impact on me personally and professionally, and then in 2007/8 I wrote 3 articles for the Toronto Public Library on mentorship, marketing and volunteering.”
Jim’s passion was always in public speaking, though he’d finally get to do in 2012, after leaving the logistic industry.
“I go hired by social media company Constant Contact.” he continues, “I spoke on email marketing, in that industry for about two years in Toronto, which was my dream to speak full-time and get paid to do it.”
His love of public speaking would also motivate him to bring the Public Speakers Association to Toronto in 2013 which he calls ‘another adventure into itself” The organization currently has chapters in Niagara falls, Calgary and throughout the United States. “It let me do something bigger than me, by giving me speakers to learn from and community they could learn and make impact” he says.
“In 2016 some great thing happened.” He adds, “I taught at a private school in Richmond Hill, ONT teaching the future leaders between the ages of 8 and 13 the power of presentations skills through speaking, It was an awesome experience!”
“After that in May I got back into the acting industry.” He says, surprisingly he did background acting and appeared in few documentaries, even got a small supporting role in “A Girl without a song” in September 2014. It later premiered in Asian Film Festival in October 2015 in Toronto. Then in May he got speaking role in Matt Damon movie Downsizing which will debut in theatre December 2017. “ I got to go behind the scenes, and see how things work in big budget movies.” He says “ I have goal in directing my own movie in the near-future.”
“Then I got hired by digital marketing in June.” He says, closing the loop. “and it’s be a great experience to come in every day and enjoy what I do. The stuff I do doesn’t take a lot of my time, but all things I’m passionate about!”
“People want to succeed, but you have to listen and learn.” He says his advice to anyone looking to pursue a similar path. “My three area of what I live for is Learn, Speak & Socialize leads to monetize $, I’m constantly learning, always reading, I read multiple books every month. Being a great communicator and ability to socialize and network effective with professionals. Try to understand social media. We didn’t have LinkedIn or Facebook in 1994! There were only phones and McDonalds! We didn’t have this social connection. That’s the biggest difference I share from stage. Now there are some many different types of medium to connect and share.”
The Medium is the Message - Marshall McLuhan
Giving back to the college
“I’ve done a lot of great with Centennial College over the years.” Jim says. “I constantly run into alumni on my journey, and I continue to look for opportunities to give back to Centennial College.”
“I’m grateful to go back and do what I do.” He explains, “I encourage others to do the same, It’s the least you can do to help your fellow alumni.”
“In 2008 I reached out to Centennial College Alumni Association and I did a couple of articles for Centennial’s Ascent Magazine for the Athletic Wellness Centre that was being built from the blueprints!” he says explaining some of the things he’s done. “I have spoken to a few classes on social media and networking and participated in Speakers Event in 2011, I went to Family Day and I have met Centennial College Grad in my networking journey over the years.”
Philosophy on success
“I was working evening shift at FedEx Freight, during that day I had nothing to do, so I made myself do something.” He says explaining why he was involved in so many ventures. There more to it than that, though.
“It’s all about making the time.” He says “It sounds like a lot, but it happens over the years, It didn’t happen all this year, it didn’t happen all last year, it happened over time. You got to make time to do things, and I’m glad I did make the time, It allows me to empower others and share the vision of what Centennial college is doing now.”
“We all go on a journey, and we make decisions, and I happened to go on a journey that set me on a extraordinary path, but there’s nothing wrong with a regular path.” He says. Life can’t be exciting every day, but I try to make it as fun as can.”
Jim Pagiamtzis is Author, Speak and Trainer. Part-time actor Check out www.jimpagiamtzis.ca to learn more about him.
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