Episode 023: SJ Barakony: The Importance of Soft Skills to Prepare for the Future

SJ is a CMA (Consultant, Mentor, & Advisor), as well as the founder + C.E.O. (Chief Encouragement Officer) of SBSL, an Educational Solutions Provider.

He is 41 years old and has been an entrepreneur in the education field for 5 years as of the fall of 2016. His business model includes designing &/or implementing customizable solutions for business owners to address three deep, fundamental problems with the traditional approach to the K-12, college/university, & also graduate tracks of education in America.

He is presently involved (or has been actively involved) in the following mentorship and/or advising programs / organizations:

YEA ( Young Entrepreneurs Academy )

Teen Entrepreneurial Camp


OWU’s EMF ( Econ Mgmt Fellows )

Sundown Group’s ‘Ask an Expert’ Program

HECOA’s special events ( Sept 2015; April 2016; Sept 2016 )

ECDI ‘s Professional Advisory Network (PAN)

He is a National Steering Committee member. He serves his alma mater, Ohio Wesleyan (OWU) on the Central Ohio Alumni Leadership Board & is also an active member of a non profit board (ChefVet).

His favorite pastimes are traveling; reading ( 220+ paper & audio books in the past six+ years’ time ); listening & watching inspirational content; connecting people who may not otherwise have met in the course of time; and being a futurist/visionary when it comes to organically transforming the education system for the Gig Economy age/era in which we now find ourselves.


Soft skills, including empathy, people skills, emotional intelligence among others, lend to our ability to adapt to new situations, to cope with change, and to innovate.

7 Tips for encouraging soft skills:

  1. “Drip approach”: small doses, consistency, over a long time frame (six-nine months).
  2. Keep a score card.  Anything you want to work on needs to be tracked.
  3. Disconnect as much as you can from mass media.  Why?  Listen and find out.
  4. Distinguish between leisure-centric, and pleasure-centric activities.
  5. Be Accountable.  Build a tribe.
  6. Focus on one skill per month per family member.
  7. Be aware of what schooling and education are, and aren’t. C.A.R.: Compliment,


Mentioned in this episode (contains affiliate links):

SJ’s presentations on HECOA (membership required)
Learn more about what a gig economy and a digital era economy are, and what they mean for the future.

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Personality Plus: How to Understand Others by Understanding Yourself by Florence Littauer




About the author, Jodi

I live in Richmond, Virginia with my husband, Michael, and our four young kids. We homeschool, and work remotely, so I guess we may take this on the road some day! I have a bachelor's degree from George Mason University in Health Promotion Studies, but I attended five different universities before finally finishing while I was expecting my third baby! I'm a returned missionary from the Hawaii Honolulu Mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I'm sort of a jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none, but I do enjoy reading personal development and parenting books, finding new ways to enjoy exercising, and learning more about being an entrepreneur.

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