People of Georgian: Changemaker carves her own path out of corporate world
September 11, 2020

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Our Georgian College community is full of unique, inspiring perspectives, and we’re sharing different ones each week.

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‘How do I want to contribute to the world?’

I’ve always felt out of step with who I was and what I was trying to do. I’ve spent about 20 years fumbling through and deprogramming what I was always told to do, and trying to follow my heart.

When I came to Georgian, it was the start of a journey where I could finally put a stake in the ground and say, “How do I want to contribute to the world?”

What I’ve come to recognize is all that stuff I did before in the corporate world helps me now because I know how that world works.

I can teach people how to look at the world and see the leverage points and envision the future we want.

Now when I think about the work we do at Georgian, I think about our young students and ask myself what I needed at that age to make decisions that would be authentic to me, personally and professionally.

Who did I need? And that’s the person I’ll be.

Nicole Norris, Manager of the Centre for Changemaking and Social Innovation. Georgian is the only designated changemaker college in Canada.

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People of Georgian: Meet Nicole Norris

My family thought I should either be a lawyer or in business, so I had some pretty narrow choices.

If I had some different guidance in life, I would’ve maybe tried to steer away from the corporate world. I never really liked it or fit into it.

But it was what I grew up with and what I was told that’s where you end up. I probably didn’t have enough guts to break out of that.

I actually ended up at a small distribution company doing packaging designs, and I later owned three design companies.

The pinnacle of the worst was standing in the middle of Bristol Motor Speedway in the U.S., getting rubber dust on me and watching this whole theatre of the absurd go on with NASCAR and realizing, “Wow, this is this is what I’m using my talents for.”

I also worked for a pizza company for a while, and that was also the worst, realizing I was using all of my powers for good to make people eat pizza. It was soul crushing.

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Want to share your story? Please contact socialmedia@georgiancollege.ca. To read previous People of Georgian stories, please visit our website, Instagram or Facebook.