Each month we interview inspiring individuals who epitomize what it’s meant to be a “Standout Grad” . Congratulations to February’s Standout Grad of the month:

Nate Delapaz
School: University of Ontario Institute of Technology
Program: Honours BA in Crimionology and Justice
Graduation Year: 2013

1. What is your current occupation? What is the best part about what you do?
I currently work as a Financial Advisor with Sun Life Financial. This is the only job in the world that gives me the opportunity to make sure that families will be completely taken care of in the occasion that a member of their family becomes critically ill, or dies prematurely.

2. What led you into the field of work you are currently in?
I’ve always wanted to run my own business. From selling t-shirts, baseball caps, and dog-tags—in elementary school, to high-end kitchen knives in high school. Becoming a financial advisor not only fulfilled my thirst for entrepreneurship, but further magnified my passion for helping people achieve peace of mind and a sense of security.

3. What is the most important trait for a recent graduate entering your field to have?
Honestly, stickability. I attended a Napoleon Hill seminar when I first started this career, and the biggest take-away for me personally, was the importance of perseverance. Being self-employed will take you on an emotional roller coaster, and it’s easy to just walk away when it gets tough. Ensuring that you stick to it is half the battle—as cliche as it may sound.

4. What was the biggest challenge in your career since graduating? How did you overcome it?
In an industry where you are managing people’s hard-earned cash, trust plays a crucial role in determining your success. If people don’t trust you, why would they give you their money? Starting this career at the age of 21, I expected people to judge and perceive me as being “too young” for such a career. I knew that I had to establish as much credibility as I could, as fast as I could or I would struggle. Amplifying my professionalism—from the way I interacted with friends and family, to how I dressed—helped build my credibility.

5. What is your proudest achievement since graduation?
At the end of my third month as an advisor, I ranked in the Top 20 Sun Life Advisors (under 5 years of experience) and I placed 12 out of roughly 1100 in Ontario. Not bad. The same month (January), I was recognized as the ‘Advisor of the Week’ at the beginning and end in terms of productivity and sales.

6. What do you want to be most known for? What do you want to achieve next?
I want to be the person people come to for help—whether you need help paying off a student loan, saving for a car, a down-payment on a house, planning your retirement, or simply just want to save money. By the end of 2014, I want to attain ‘Elite Advisor’ status with Sun Life, a level only the top 3% of advisors attain. Oh, and you also get gold business cards.

7. What advice would you give to recent graduates who aspire to become successful in their career?
Do what you enjoy. Its simple. If you truly enjoy what you’re doing, your passion will outweigh the fact that it’s a job, and it’ll further keep you motivated. The more you enjoy your career, the easier it will be to put in work, and the results will just flow from it.

8. If you could share one learning experience/ great lesson with recent graduates entering the job market, what would it be?
For anyone wanting to become an entrepreneur, or run their own business, know full well that it isn’t a job. It isn’t a nine-to-five job where you punch out in the afternoon and don’t have to think about work until the following morning—it’s a lifestyle. You eat, sleep, and breath your company—your brand. You want to be successful? You better expect to pay for it, financially, but more importantly with your time. One of my all-time favourite quotes reads “Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t, so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.”

9. Just for fun: if you were an animal, what animal would you be?
A lion, they’re the king of the jungle.

Nate’s Sunlife Profile:
Nate’s LinkedIn Profile:
Nate’s Facebook Page: