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Finding motivation under pressure led electrician to incorporate her own business


era Lozier knew from a young age that she wanted to work with her hands. “When I was a kid, I took apart dif-

ferent electronics because I wanted to see how they worked,” she says. “Looking back, I think this is when I first realized I wanted a hands-on career.” After completing high school, Lozier set

her sights on a career as a veterinarian. But after working part-time as a veterinary technician, she soon concluded it was not the right job for her. Her next choice was kinesiology (the study of how the human body moves). “I thought this would fill my need to work in a hands-on environment,” says Lozier. While waiting for a response from the

university, she stumbled upon an appren- ticeship handbook. “I flipped through the pages and came across the pre-employment Electrical program at Red River College. Tat was when a light bulb went off in my head.” Lozier applied for the program and was

accepted. Te decision proved to be the first step in a 10-year career journey that has led to ownership of a successful business.

Strength under pressure Lozier acknowledges that her chosen path

was not always easy, but it was one she will never regret. “After I completed the pre- employment program, I struggled. It took me five months to find an employer who would hire me as an apprentice.” Eventually, Lozier interviewed with a

small electrical contracting company. Te employer saw her determination and po- tential and, as a result, she was hired on the spot. She says her work experience with her new employer was always positive, but often challenging. She was given a lot of responsibility, from

helping to plan major electrical projects to organizing all the materials needed for each job. “I really felt I had to prove myself – just as any apprentice has to do – and it was hard work. But I used that pressure as my motiva- tion to succeed.” After four levels of technical training,

Lozier completed her apprenticeship with the same company that originally hired her. “I owe a lot to them for giving me a chance,” she observes.

Kera Lozier received Red Seal certification for the trade of Construction Electrician in 2012, and started her own business in July 2014. Supplied photo.

Lozier eventually decided to invest some

time in learning the business side of the electrical trade. “I became interested in compiling estimates and keeping the books,” she remembers. In February 2012, Lozier received Red Seal

certification for the trade of Construction Electrician. Tat summer, she wrote the City of Winnipeg contractor licence exam. After obtaining her contractor’s licence,

she hit a speed bump in her journey. “I moved to a small town in rural Manitoba and worried that the electrical community didn’t take me seriously,” she recalls. “So I took matters into my own hands.” Lozier decided to jump to the next step

and opened her own business. Since July 2014, she has been the owner of an incorpo- rated company. “It’s everything I expected and more,” she says. Lozier is excited to see what the future

holds but at this point is focused on estab- lishing a name for herself and her company. “I truly believe that choosing a trade opens endless doors of opportunity, and I’m excited to find out where the next part of my journey takes me.” To learn more about the apprenticeship

program or opportunities available for journeypersons, visit tradecareers. -Apprenticeship Manitoba

Learn to communicate in your employees’ preferred language of appreciation


here are many useful business books penned by astute individuals on al- most every topic. I came

across one unexpectedly this past year, as the authors typically write about improving personal relationships, but had now made the leap to expand their message to the workplace. Our work relationships, as we

know, are with people that we often spend more time interact- ing with on a daily basis than even our own partners, families and friends. Within the current climate of

multi-generational employees in the workforce; more jobs than there are people to fill them; and a need to retain talent, the more we know about valuing our employees will be key to our success. Te premise of the book, Te 5 Languages

Good Work Lisa Cefali

Some employees want a literal pat on the back or a firm handshake to congratulate them on their hard work. Photo by Flazingo Photos.

of Appreciation in the Workplace: Empower- ing Organizations by Encouraging People by Gary Chapman and Paul White, is that each individual has a primary language in which they wish to be appreciated. If we appreciate them in that primary language, they will respond positively. If we choose to appreciate them in a dif-

ferent language, they will not respond as positively; in fact, they may not respond at all. We all know that the golden rule states:

“Treat others as you would like to be treated.” However, this new concept is a variation on this rule. Rather than treating others in the way you would want to be treated, treat oth- ers as they would like to be treated. If we want an employee to feel valued

enough to continue to be motivated, perform to his/her own best and be committed to the company, we need to understand the lan- guage within which they wish to be valued. Otherwise, organizations can spend a great deal of time and money thinking they are appreciating their employees’ contribution and yet always missing the mark. Te 5 Languages of Appreciation

Words of Affirmation – Use words to communicate a positive message to the

8 Smart Biz

employee. Be as specific as you can. Provid- ing affirmation of one’s character traits, al- though it may be more difficult to determine, is even more powerful. Quality Time – Perhaps after a project

is complete, you often hear an individual say how they think the group should all go out and celebrate. Or maybe you’ve seen the individual who comes to your office, makes themselves comfortable, and asks how things are going or wants to tell you about their day, their weekend, or some life occurrence. Tis is the language of Quality Time be-

ing shown to you! Allowing the individual to spend time with you is how they feel ap- preciated. Often this language is misunderstood in

the workplace. People think the person is trying to be buddy-buddy with the boss so as to gain advantage. It is a genuine desire to share time with their boss and feel appreci- ated. Give the person your focused attention; do not multi-task, do not lose eye contact, and listen attentively – they’re looking for quality time. Acts of Service – Tis language resonates

with people who are of the mentality: “Don’t tell me how much you value me, show me!”

It is about people helping others and doing things for them – whether to assist with the project he/she is working on or to simply help to make his/her day go more smoothly. Tangible Gifts – Tis language is the most

understood and is the one that is most eas- ily used in the workplace. However, if there are five languages, is it possible that you are missing the mark a certain percentage of the time, while spending a great deal of money in the process? For those that have this as their primary language, they feel valued when they receive a gift card, or tickets, or a bonus for a job well done. Te words may be said, but the real proof

is in that gift that they can use, enjoy, and ex- perience. Tis is a very powerful expression of valuing an individual to many; however, it can also have minimal impact and can even turn people off to those whose main language is not Tangible Gifts. Physical Touch – Tis language is one of

the most difficult to translate into the work- ing world, especially since physical touch can be inappropriate in the workplace. Appreci- ating one’s work with a handshake, a high five, or a simple pat on the back demonstrates the use of this language and establishes camaraderie. As long as this language of

appreciation is well-defined as friendly and cordial, it can be used effectively. Does it seem like way too much work to

gain this understanding of individuals versus buying everyone gift cards? Consider this: not investing in understanding how your team would like to be appreciated could cost you more. As employers, we need to know what

actions will hit the mark and effectively communicate appreciation to each team member. True appreciation equals true engagement. With the start of the new year, perfor-

mance reviews are often in full swing or about to begin. How will you show your feedback and appreciation? Perhaps invest- ing in the 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace could be worth a shot. Lisa Cefali is the vice president of executive

search with Legacy Bowes Group, where she uses her many years of business experience, and assessment of emotional intelligence, to uncover organizational insight and those at- tributes that provide the best fit for her clients with their strategic planning needs. Please feel free to contact her at for your executive search, recruitment, coach- ing, and strategic planning needs.

March 2015

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