By Lori Berkey, Contributing Writer
Region – After 20 years of success in the financial services field, Westborough resident Colin Lake felt moved to help young professionals and ex-military personnel build skills and land rewarding jobs in the industry. In 2016, he founded Developing the Next Leaders, a nonprofit organization focused on that mission, while also filling the growing void of next generation leaders in the profession.
Developing the Next Leaders provides direction and support to program participants from start to finish. Specifically, the enrollees are guided on everything from how to prepare and dress for an interview to being provided with mentorship post-job placement.
As a national speaker who has worked extensively helping business owners develop improved work-life balances while striving for goals they once believed were impossible, Lake is well-suited for leading his nonprofit’s cause. As an avid triathlete who competes in several endurance events each year, Lake models both life-balance and goal seeking.
The industry itself is something Lake is passionate about preserving, and by preparing and training men and women who served the country to be future leaders in the field, he is poised to help both the industry and ex-military personnel.
Lake’s energy toward making a difference stems from his concern for the future.
“The importance of financial services cannot be overstated,” he said. “The reduction of future social security benefits and elimination of pensions makes for a challenging environment for the next 30 to 100 years.”
To address the concern, Lake has established a solid plan for program participants at the Developing the Next Leader’s facility in Marlborough.
“We put our recipients through a four- to six-week rigorous curriculum to understand the terminology, the landscape and the systems they face, so when they land that job, they hit the ground running – fast,” Lake said.
Although the organization has an emphasis on helping retired and inactive military personnel, its doors are open to men and women outside the service who are entering the industry.
“I’m often saying, ‘We’ll work with anyone who has a Ph.D., poor, hungry and driven,’” Lake said.
The organization helps support the participants’ concrete needs as well.
“We accept clothing donations, helping these folks as sometimes they don’t have the resources to buy the right clothes for the interview, let alone the job,” he said. “We helped build a wardrobe for these folks, giving them greater confidence and removing a burden they perceive of an ‘office job.’”
Lake is quite pleased about what the organization is accomplishing.
“Not to be overdramatic,” he said, “but I believe the work we do here changes the lives of millions of Americans, the folks who come through the program, the firms they go on to work for and the hundreds of thousands those firms positively impact.”
Questioned about what keeps him involved in the venture, Lake said: “People helping people.”
To donate gently used clothing or accessories, contact Developing the Next Leaders at 508-630-0319. For more information about the organization, visit www.developingthenextleaders.com.