Career Pathways: Cranking Your Startup Skills Into High Gear with Patricia Dominguez

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The startup life isn’t easy, but it can be very rewarding. It takes long nights and extensive collaboration to create a product that resonates with users. This week, we sat down with Patricia Dominguez, a savvy entrepreneur from Toronto and a recent graduate of our Accelerate Newmarket Schulich Mini-MBA: Essentials of Management, to talk about her experiences running a new startup. This program was run in partnership with Treefrog Accelerator

Career Pathways is Schulich ExecEd’s ongoing series that showcases some of our talented alumni. Everyone has something interesting and insightful to share, from independent business owners to corporate managers. 

 

Below, you’ll learn more about how Patricia leveraged the leadership and team collaboration skills from her course experiences to help bolster her startup’s path to success. 

 

Welcome, Patricia! Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us. We know you’re very busy running a startup. Can you tell us a little about that? 

 

Sure. Right now, my main focus is Scissor Cuts, a mobile application connecting beauty professionals within the home beauty sector with people at home. 

 

Since the pandemic, we’ve been focusing on making a lot of changes, such as adding a B2B feature with salons. So if someone wanted to get a trim, they could have the option of choosing an at-home in-salon experience. 

 

That sounds like a fascinating product. What drove you to upgrade your skills?

 

My company was lucky enough to get support — a benefit of the accelerator we joined. Entrepreneurs running businesses were allowed to take an accelerator program, and they offered scholarships. The Treefrog Accelerator program gives startups the tools and knowledge they need to scale their business. 

 

It offers practical workshop learning along with personalized mentorship matching and pitching skill development. The program culminates in an Open House and start-ups get a chance to meet with investors, thought leaders, government and other stakeholders to showcase their business. 

 

Once an individual enters and completes the Treefrog Accelerator, they can take the Accelerate Newmarket Schulich Mini-MBA: Essentials of Management program. 

 

I applied and, well, we got funding! The program gave me a lot of updated data to make impactful changes and better run the business. 

“I took the Accelerate Newmarket Schulich Mini-MBA: Essentials of Management, which was actually amazing. Seriously, I loved it.”

 

How did you find the Accelerate Newmarket Schulich Mini-MBA: Essentials of Management instructors?

 

They were great – very knowledgeable!  They practiced what they preached, meaning they were both teachers and working professionals. Some were entrepreneurs; they all were leaders in their field.

 

I learned things that I didn’t know before. I have a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a diploma in finance. Neither of them really taught me about managing your own company. The Mini-MBA did that for me – and a lot more. 

 

Were there any opportunities to network? 

 

Although it was digital, there were some opportunities. We had the same group for break out rooms, and we presented a project together. It went very well, better than expected. 

 

That’s great to hear. So how did the program material help with your own career? 

 

I think the two central areas it helps were leadership and strategy – how strategy is really the most important part of a business. Also, the module on mental toughness and emotion helped me a lot. 

 

I work with different contractors and it’s just trying to keep them knowing what they’re all doing and being able to have that emotional intelligence. All these elements that go into learning how to manage teams helped with my startup. 

“I loved the strategic elements of the course subjects. So that was the one that I got the most. And I met great people.”

Do you have any advice for people looking to level up their career skills?

 

Oh, I 100% recommend the Mini-MBA to people leading a startup. Especially in that initial or first stage. Because when you are deep in you won’t have the time. Early on is the perfect opportunity to grasp foundational management skills.

 

That’s really good advice. Thank you Patricia for taking the time to speak with us today.  

 

Thank you!

 

 

We want to thank Patricia again for taking the time to chat with us for the Career Pathways series. If you’re interested in learning more about the Schulich Mini-MBA: Essentials of Management Program, click here. Also, check out the Accelerate Newmarket program details here to scale your startup from the ground up. 

 

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