By Edward Draycott @StandoutGrads | March 21, 2014 Originally posted at

Last week I had the privilege of attending the kickoff to UOIT’s ‘Distinguished Speaker Series’ and a lot of what keynote speaker; CEO of Porter Airlines’ Robert Deluce said provided those in attendance with a clear flight-plan for career success.

Jet Fuel in Your Veins
Being born into the Deluce family meant that Robert was born into a family that owned and operated “White River Air Services” for more than 50 years. Working with planes at a young age helped Robert develop a passion that proved to be the foundation to the iconic Canadian businessman he has become. It also gave him the drive to keep pushing even when the goings got tough.
Lesson 1: find your passion as it will get you past turbulent times and propel you to unprecedented heights in your career. When you work your passion, work no longer feels like work! What’s your jet fuel?

Prepare for Turbulence in Your Career
In 2006, Porter Airline’s plans to build a bridge from mainland Toronto to the Toronto Island Airport they were located on (now Billy Bishop Airport) were met with strong opposition from Mayor David Miller, essentially stopping these plans before takeoff. This was a big blow to Robert and his team at Porter Airlines however, in anticipation of the possibility; they had developed numerous contingency plans. Robert is quick to point out that you should always fight for your goals but don’t be surprised if you need to slightly switch flight-plans mid career to get around turbulence that may bring you down. Don’t fail because you let pride get in your way, but don’t forget about your goals either. Porter Airline’s plan B was to transfer passengers across the 400ft water gap (mainland Toronto to Toronto Island Airport) using modern-day ferry’s. An amazing thing happened when plan B was finally proposed – they received more funding and even more support than they had for their original plan.
Lesson 2: as the path of least resistance in your career isn’t always reality, you must prepare for an alternative flight-plan so that you can be in a position to successfully navigate around the turbulence in your career. Always be resilient but don’t forget about your goals.

Surround Yourself with Successful Co-Pilots
Throughout his speech, Robert was always quick to deflect the accomplishments towards his employees. Then, when asked a question somewhere along the lines of: ‘what is your number one piece of advice you could give us here tonight’ he said that you should surround yourself with the right people. He is right… No one is superman! Even Michelle Obama reportedly has more than twenty attendants.
Lesson 3: surround yourself with individuals who are positive, successful and share similar morals and beliefs. For example; if you want to be a successful banker, hang out with successful bankers because if you hang out with unsuccessful bankers, you will never learn how the successful bankers live their lives.