Chris Brnjas, The Circle
We can all agree that the current job market is tough for young professionals. But Jonathan Cullar has a trick up his sleeve.
Don’t agree? You should meet him – he might change your mind.
Jonathan ‘Jono’ Cullar loves meeting new people – it’s kind of his jam. He particularly likes interacting with young, like-minded business professionals.
Jono believes that networking makes seemingly impossible things, possible.
“I’ve only ever found jobs through networking,” Jono says, “it’s a fantastic way to open up new possibilities.”
Jono works for a company called Power TakeOff which helps businesses reduce their energy inefficiencies and create a more environmentally sustainable world. You may be wondering; how did he get the opportunity to work with such an amazing company?
“You can make deals anywhere. Third year of university was a year of transition for me. I was in the process of switching from a degree in International Development to Environment & Business. I suddenly found myself having to find my own summer jobs. I knew I wanted to use this opportunity to gain experience in the environment and business field so I began to reach out to my connections. I went to a community event and ‘bumped’ into a particularly well-connected person at the water fountain. We ended up going for coffee and through that I was able to land an internship at Power TakeOff. “
Connected by Chance
In typical-Jono fashion, he’s also got a story about how he first connected with MEDA.
Originally from small-town Ohio, Jono had an opportunity after high school to live in Paraguay. “I got connected to MEDA by chance. I was in Paraguay and with Mennonite Mission’s Radical Journey program (now called Journey International) and as part of that I was connected with an internship program with MEDA. Most of my time was used to translate documents from Spanish to English.”
Jono’s time in Paraguay led to some very interesting experiences; “I also got to visit project sites and even spent one day helping castrate bulls. That was an intense experience and very intimidating.”
Like his professional life, Jono’s relationship with MEDA has constantly evolved. After his internship, he moved to Canada to start at University of Waterloo and live at Conrad Grebel University College, and since then, his relationship with MEDA has grown.
“When I was at Grebel, I became a MEDA ambassador position. Then I got invited into the chapter.” Now Jono is the chair of the board for the Waterloo MEDA network hub (formerly called chapter) – which hosts events and raises money for MEDA’s work around the world.
Given Jono’s love of networking, it’s no surprise that he is excited to come to MEDAx in November and meet other young professionals interested in the intersection of business and justice. He’s excited to “meet other young adults from across North America while also learning more about being a part of this effort in alleviating poverty.”
Beyond networking, the MEDAx theme of Business + Justice = Change captures an aspect of Jono that is core to who he is. “I really like the idea of blending business with justice because it’s more sustainable. I think there are a lot of good non-profits doing a lot of good work, but MEDA has a different approach – one that can be measured and scaled. I like that.”
“Being business-minded is a very productive way to spend your time. If everyone had a business that they could be a part of, be passionate about and make an income from, I truly believe people wouldn’t fight. I know business can be an effective tool for peace because when people are employed they are able to provide for their families and support their communities.”
Come to MEDAx!
So, Jono – after reading this article – how should people respond?
“Invite your friends – come to MEDAx! I would love to meet you and learn why you are passionate about business and justice!”
If you want to come to MEDAx and connect with Jono and other young adults like him – check out our website at www.meda.org/medax, or get in touch with a committee member like Jono by contacting Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org or Vanessa at email@example.com. You can also check out MEDAx on Facebook. Hope to see you out!