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Sales, Business and Life Lessons: My Takeaways from Dannielle Sakher's Lecture

Updated: Jul 19, 2021

Hi everyone! My name is Naveena and I am a Grade 11 student at Lester B. Pearson CI. On Monday July 12 I had the pleasure to attend Illuminate Leadership Academy Lecturer Dannielle Sakher's presentation. Here are my key takeaways from her time with us.

Personally, I really enjoyed Dannielle’s presentation because it was like none I have seen before; normally, when someone is coming into our class to speak to us, we would call it a “lecture”, and the person who hosted the lecture would be known as the “lecturer”. Dannielle’s presentation felt nothing like a lecture. It was fun, engaging and informative. She talked about things such as:

  1. Her experience in the business field, University, and high school

  2. Post-secondary

  3. Leadership lessons

As high school students, we are very curious and anxious about post-secondary. Dannielle, spoke about the extracurriculars she took part in during her time in high school. She also explained how it helped her in post-secondary, her career field and more. She said that she took part in a Junior Achievement program which was mainly based on entrepreneurship. The program would get a group of students together for 20 weeks, which gave them the opportunity to do some networking between themselves. She kept up with her mentors, and by doing so, she was able to land her first internship at Shopify. She said that her experiences helped her discover what she wanted to do in university and her career.

When Dannielle spoke about post-secondary, she go did not go overboard on things that we should know. Instead she told us her experiences, which we could learn from. She said when she was going to university she was in an all girls campus, but when she went into Ivy there were plenty of males; so the male dominance was a big shocker. However, that was not the only surprise she came across. Dannielle said that she came from a family that was not from a business background. So the biggest surprise for her was all the students who had a different set of knowledge in business because of their families.

Not only did Dannielle work at Shopify, but she also worked and is working at Zapier. Now before Dannielle’s talk with us, I had no idea what Zapier was. She clarified that Zapier was a software automation company that helps businesses run between all their apps, as a result, the business that uses their software would be more productive which would help its performance and income overall. She highlighted Zapier’s slogan which was, “Zapier makes you happier”. To be honest, that was one of the best slogans I have heard in a while.

5 Leadership Lessons

  1. Most people know better than you so ask them for help: Dannielle explained that there are many people in life who have been across the same bridge you have, so they would have the experience to advise you. Before jumping into a decision that you are not sure about, it is best to ask someone for help, or advice in order to make the right decision.

  2. Make the most out of mentorships: Mentors are here to help. They do what they do because they want to see their Mentee succeed. Dannielle told us that we should make the most out of our mentors, take advantage of their service, and communicate with them. She told us that we should share our goals with our mentors, since they can expose us to new opportunities which will benefit us in both the short and long term.

  3. Be ready to enter an open door: The moments when challenge and change occur are when you are not ready for them. When these events take place you would need to make a last minute decision. The decision you make, be it bad or good, will 100% affect you and/or the people around you; do what you need to do to make that decision.

  4. You will not know something until you try it: Try things more so than reading about different topics, actually try different things because you may have a passion for it later on.

Lesson number four kind of reminds me of when I was younger and my parents would try to get me to eat new foods. I would refuse, and keep my mind straight, doing everything in my power to make sure that food does not touch my taste buds. My parents, like many others, would say, “how would you know if you don’t try it?” When I finally did try the food I liked it, but that was not always the case. So I knew what kind of things I liked and disliked. Similarly to activities, or things related to business; pretty much anything in general. Even if you think you might not like something, give it a try anyways. If your suspicion was right, then congrats, you know your likes and dislikes, and any other feelings you may have towards the thing you tried or things related to it.

5. Sales are a highly transferable skill: We are all salespeople at heart. Whether you want to sell a product, influence people, or apply for a job. Sales skills are really helpful in the business world, and are probably the first word that comes to mind when you think of “business.” It is really helpful with communication, and leadership. Dannielle said that she learned a lot about herself while doing sales management.

Aside from the informative pieces of her presentation, Dannielle Sakher prepared an activity for us to do. We were to choose a random object in our house and pitch it to everyone in the meeting. I did a lot of free speech in my business class, so I was pretty confident given that I have loads of experience in speaking. The object that I chose to pitch was a fly zapper. Here’s how my pitch went:

Buzz, Buzz... *fly noises*

That sounds familiar, no?

Of Course it does, it is an annoying pest, also known as the fly.

Naturally, you would get a fly swatter and “SWAT!” the fly away, but oops, you missed and the fly does not buzz off into the afterlife as expected.

Now you’re stuck with that annoying pest right?


Introducing the fly zapper!

An electric fly swatter that zaps em away.

Just swing at a target and “ZAP!” Gone!

You don’t even have to wait for the fly to sit.

The fly zapper is $25including batteries, or you can get the rechargeable version for $30 which is more environmentally friendly.

Well what are you waiting for?

Head on down to your local store and get your fly zapper now.

And “ZAP!” em pests away!

I felt really good about my pitch, but I was nervous, so I ended up making little to no eye contact with my audience. For improvement, I was told to make more eye contact with the person or people I am speaking to, and to be more confident.

Overall, I really enjoyed Dannielle’s presentation. It was informative and interactive which made it all that much better. I would like to thank Illuminate Universe Leadership Academy for giving me the opportunity to attend this lecture, and I look forward to the other upcoming lessons/presentations.


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