Georgette Stubbs

In 2011, Georgette (Jette) Stubbs BMOS’11, found herself facing a big challenge: she had 90 days to either find a job or leave Canada.  

Since then, Stubbs has helped people in more than 40 industries in multiple countries find their own jobs as an entrepreneur who provides career and business coaching through her own business and podcast, Happy Career Formula.  

“It was very, very daunting,” said Stubbs, who came to Canada an international student from The Bahamas. “I had graduated from Western and I had to get a job, or I had to leave. I knew I had skills, but I had no idea how to sell myself with confidence. So, I was sending out hundreds of job applications and getting nowhere.” 

That’s when Stubbs realized she needed to change her approach. Instead of wasting valuable time applying for every position she came across, she focused on roles that aligned well with her skills and life goals, and where she could also provide value to the organization.  

“I ended up sending out 10 applications using that system and it resulted in seven interviews. The Happy Career Formula is basically the process I used to figure out what I wanted to do in Canada and how I wanted to build my life here if I was going to stay,” said Stubbs, who work remotely and usually splits her time between Toronto and The Bahamas.    

“I mapped out what I wanted my life to look like and then took into account the skills I had and the skills I wanted to gain. Then, I added to that the market demand. Finally, I asked myself, ‘Can I combine these three things into a career?’ And that's how I landed my first job. And then my second job. I learned how to sell myself more effectively. And now, I've been teaching that process to other people.”   

Stubbs realized she was interested in providing support and mentorship while she was at Western, applying in her second year to be an international peer guide, hoping to provide those things and friendship to other newcomers to Canada.  

“I wanted to help improve the experience for international students. My first term at Western was rough in a number of ways. I had food allergies that made me sick. I also had some people make some references to me about things like ‘being like fresh off the boat,’” she said. “I had some people who were very supportive. I was always invited someplace for Thanksgiving and Christmas. But, there were also a lot of obstacles. I cried a lot during my first semester.” 

Stubbs, the first in her family to attend university, had never been any place as big as Western’s campus before and was also looking to make connections and build a community for herself, as well.  

“Navigating university was very overwhelming. I thought maybe other people were experiencing similar challenges and could relate. I wasn’t sure I could provide support for other students but [staff] were very supportive and encouraged me to join the program,” she said.  

Working closely with staff members coordinating the Peer Guide program also gave Stubbs an inside view of international education and motivated her to pursue a position at the University of Toronto when she graduated. It was there that she realized she wanted to start her own business. 

“International students would come to me and ask me for advice and insight. At the time I was only 22, and I was in a university environment, working and eventually taking on leadership roles. I ended up being a role model for international students there trying to figure out their career trajectory,” said Stubbs.  

When people she was helping started offering to pay her, Stubbs knew she had an opportunity and began to offer paid career coaching. Later, she added business coaching to her services, providing assistance and insight to people struggling in their careers.  

“The Peer Guide program had a significant impact on my career. It taught me skills around program design, how to support people coming from all over the world and adjusting to a new place, how to build a community and manage projects, and how to help others who may not even know the questions that they should be asking in a situation,” she said.  

“My favorite part about my career now is the same thing that I loved about being a peer guide: I get to see the transformation in people's lives. You go from being scared and in a new country and not knowing how anything works, to being confident navigating it and feeling like you've got a community and feeling less stress. You can physically see the shift in people's faces when they go from stress to happy.”