Our virtual Brown Bag Lunches (BBL) are hosted weekly on Thursdays. This newsletter is sent out every Friday and summarizes the key takeaways from the latest BBL.

The Big Picture

In a time of pandemics, lockdowns and isolation, it’s easy to forget that we humans are social beings who thrive through cooperation. There is always the capacity for self-growth if we open ourselves up and seek support, advice and wisdom from those around us. 

This week’s BBL, expertly hosted by League of Innovators’ Labs Director Annika Lui, explored the idea of how building and nurturing your own supportive personal advisory board can fuel your success and help you grow.

This week’s 600-word BBL briefer is a 2-minute read. Enjoy!



So, what exactly is a personal advisory board?

It’s essentially a holistic community that comes to the table for you. You could see it as your sphere of influence, circle of love, squad or support system. Importantly, rarely can a single individual be the perfect advisory board by themselves. Rather, a support network of multiple people from different backgrounds is needed to to fill the gaps in your experience.

Different members of your advisory board can provide different kinds of support when needed. For example, most of you will have access to family and friends whom you’ll often seek out for emotional or personal advice. 

Other supports can include:

  • Mentor: Someone who has achieved milestones that you aspire to. These folks can help guide you on your journey based on advice from their lived experience. 
  • Advisor: Someone with deep expertise in a particular area who can offer practical advice. 
  • Coach: Someone who asks you thoughtful questions to help you figure out your goals, purpose, needs etc. (Check out our Impact Hub Ottawa Coaches here!)
  • Investor: Someone who has invested money into your startup/project and can offer strategic connections and insights for your startup.
  • Board Member: Someone with valuable experience and networks to help guide the strategic direction of your startup/project.

Let your advisory board be fluid:

Life is a process of development, and as we evolve as individuals, so should our advisory boards. Think about ways you could bring new people into your support network as you seek to grow or face new challenges. As you stretch your goals, so should you stretch your network.



How do you know which skill sets you need?

Understand your priorities. Is there timely advice you could benefit from right now? Analyze your strengths and weaknesses to find gaps you can fill with wisdom. Finally, what areas are most crucial for your definition of success?

How to make connections and find support?

There is never a time better than now to do something you know can help you. Look around your network, browse LinkedIn, and make a list of people to reach out to. While in-person meetings are not possible at the moment, there is a great opportunity to connect virtually. Most people are more receptive to having a friendly chat and escaping isolation, and the normalization of zoom calls means you can easily reach out to people outside your region. 

Managing your network

There is no set way to communicate and manage these relationships, so go with your instincts and tailor your conversations based on what you seek to get out of them. Are these meetings going to be formal or informal, free-flowing or aligned to an agenda, and will there be follow-ups? People love to be approached with a plan, but also think about how you can provide value to the conversation. 



Final thoughts

This Brown Bag Lunch presentation was very eye-opening to me. We can all relate to making a plan to reach out to someone and not following through. As much as going at it alone feels like the brave thing to do, there is great reward in building a personal advisory and allowing your journey in life to be guided by the wisdom of your peers, mentors, friends and family.


Look out for next week’s BBL Briefer on The Psychology of Well-Being!

**Please note, this briefer will become a member-exclusive at the end of January. Consider signing up for a virtual membership to re-connect and level up in 2021.

See you next Friday!