Celebration of Women // Eastwood meets Mare O’Connor

  • In honour of International Women’s Day, we’re highlighting an amazing group of strong, incredible women who inspire us daily.

    Next in the series is Mare O’Connor, founder of The Academy of Career Skills.

    –       What made you interested in education + working with the next generation of leaders?
    I love learning, I love helping others learn, and I love seeing others succeed as a result of the learning I’ve provided. While working for Lululemon and Aritiza, creating and delivering training programs, I observed that there are key skills that should be taught in school (secondary and/or post-secondary) because they would support people in exceling at their career, more quickly.


    –       Why did you decide to launch The Academy of Career Skills?

    I was fortunate enough to have access to many years of education, world-class corporate training, self-development programs, and mentorships. I realized that although I was lucky enough to experience these learning opportunities, most people do not, and I wanted to do something to help change that. I saw a gap in our education system and set out to help bridge that gap through training key skills that support youth in growing their careers.


    –       How did you go about building your team of leaders + educators?
    It’s been said many times before, but I will say it again – relationships are crucial in business. Staying connected with peers, leaders, and mentors is what allowed me to build a team of influential leaders that contribute to The Academy of Career Skills content. I am immensely grateful for these relationships.


    –       If you could give your teenage-self one piece of advice what would it be?
    I was given this advice by an executive at Lululemon – “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.” If you limit yourself to staying within your comfort zone, you won’t learn and grow.


    –       What’s the first thing you read each morning?
    I’m ashamed to say it, but, I check my phone.
    To make up for that answer, I’ll share this: I found myself going to bed working on my laptop or on my phone every night and I wanted to change that. I recently made a commitment with a friend that we would read portions of a business book by a specific date and then meet to discuss our learnings. Now, I try to read that book before bed (We are currently reading “Radical Candor” by Kim Scott).



    –       Fave Vancouver eatery

    Restaurant: Giardino  
    Café/Coffee Shop: Butter Bakery (I have a major sweet tooth and this place satisfies it on all levels)

    –       Fave place to hike

    East Sooke Park (Vancouver Island)

    –       Fave local brands

    Eastwood X, Kits Kitchen, Vitruvi, The Collective You, Aritzia, Lululemon

    –       Fave Vancouver neighbourhood

    Southlands – I love the country feel and I’ve always wanted a property there so I could have tons of animals (several Old English Sheepdogs and horses).

    –       Feminine Hero

    My Nana
    –       AM or PM workouts   

    –       Dream vacation spot

    Hotel Du Cap-Eden Roc

    –       Can’t live without item

    Does my dog count? He may not be an item, but I can’t live without Oggy.


    Check out Mare’s new venture, The Academy of Career Skills here.