Associate Account Manager: Tanner Fryfogel’s WorkStory

By Erica Pulling, WorkStory Ambassador  at Western University

Tanner Fryfogel.jpg

Tanner Fryfogel is an associate account manager in commercial banking at RBC.  He is responsible for maintaining positive relationships with business owners, and introducing them to other bank employees to help with their specific needs.  In addition to working with existing customers, he also tries to meet new clients and bring them over to RBC. 

Tanner completed a two-year diploma at Fanshawe College in Business, followed by an advanced diploma in leadership and management.  During his time at Fanshawe, he realised that getting a university degree would open more doors in the field he was interested in, so he decided to use the credits he had already earned towards a degree at Nipissing University.  With those, he studied another one year and a semester to complete a Bachelor of Business Administration degree.

While completing his last semester of university, Tanner learned about The RBC Career LaunchTM Program offered through RBC.  Each year, this program hires 100 recent graduates from around Canada for a one-year contract.  Because of his interest in commercial banking, Tanner felt this program would be a good fit for him.  Initially, he applied for the program online.  He was then contacted for a phone interview, followed by a Skype interview.  After successfully completing the first three steps, Tanner was brought to Guelph for a panel interview with other applicants from the area.  During the interview, applicants were put through a variety of tasks designed to test how well they could think on their feet.  After successfully completing this interview, Tanner was accepted into the program. 

In late January, Tanner and the other new employees in the program were brought to Toronto for a three-day conference.  During these three days they were given the opportunity to hear a number of speakers and get to know the other members of the program.  After the conference, Tanner returned to London, where he completed the program.  The first six months of the program were spent working in a branch.  During this time, he spent four days a week working as a bank teller, helping clients, and doing tasks around the branch.  The fifth day was spent on training and personal development, where he was able to develop skills like communication, teamwork, and critical thinking. 

Next, Tanner spent three months working at Youth Opportunities Unlimited (YOU). YOU is a not-for-profit organization located in London, Ontario dedicated to helping youth in the community by providing them with the skills, confidence, and independence they need to succeed.  During these three months, Tanner was responsible for helping with business development.  This involved taking care of marketing activities, selling products created by young people in the program, creating and pricing gift baskets, and helping in any other way he could. 

After his time at YOU, Tanner spent the remaining three months working at a regional branch in commercial banking services. He was put in charge of a special project investigating how best the branch could open up communications and get better wealth management referrals.  RBC noticed that clients who used RBC for their business banking often used a different bank for their personal investments, and Tanner was responsible for investigating why this disconnect existed, and how they might be able to solve the problem.  According to Tanner, this was a great opportunity to learn more about commercial banking, as well as to network and meet people who he may not have otherwise met. 

At the end of the 12 months, Tanner and the other employees were brought back to Toronto for a final conference that signalled the end of the program.  Shortly thereafter, Tanner was called back in for his current position as an associate account manager.  

Tanner’s favourite part of the job is working with a variety of people, and getting to know clients.  Since every business owner is different, he enjoys figuring people out and getting to learn about people. 

When asked his opinion regarding how current students could be successful in finding a job after graduation, Tanner stresses the importance of networking.  He recommends taking the opportunity to get out and meet new people, and to keep in touch with them.  He believes the Career Launch Program was very useful because it allowed him to meet so many people in his field of interest.  According to Tanner, knowing people makes it that much easier to find a job! 

Taking his shot: Simu Liu, HBA’11, brings entrepreneur skills to Hollywood

By Angie Wiseman   

Becoming an actor on a popular new Canadian TV show or a stunt double on a Fall Out Boy music video was not at all on Simu Liu’s radar when he was working as an accountant in Toronto. Until he was laid off – and his world opened up.

“I remember feeling oddly free in that moment. I was without a job, but I thought I can do whatever I want. This is my one chance to really just try something. I owe it to myself to really give it a shot,” said Liu, HBA’11.

This past year, Liu’s acting career has gained momentum, with the success of his roles on CBC’s Kim’s Convenience and NBC’s Taken. Despite his respect for Toronto’s strong film industry, his ultimate goal is to move to Hollywood. On a recent trip there, he met with agents and casting directors in Los Angeles, including doctor-turned actor Ken Jeong (best known for his role in The Hangover) about a possible buddy cop movie that Liu hopes to write.

“I started talking to him (Jeong) on Twitter. When I got to L.A., he said come by the set and we can hang out more. So I ended up spending a lot of time with him. His advice was that you can’t wait. I joked that we should do a buddy cop movie for both of us and he said, ‘If you write it, I’ll be in it,” Liu said.

While there is no formal training to show actors how to network, Liu credits his networking and soft skills courses at Ivey Business School with giving him the tools he needed to push forward in his career and not be afraid to reach out.

“The hard part is to think of it (your career) as a start-up and think of yourself as an entrepreneur rather than an artist that waits for the phone to ring for opportunities,” he said.

“I spent so many years struggling as an actor. Then suddenly, I’m in demand. The only thing actors want to do is work. It was amazing – tiring, brutal and amazing,” he said of his recent schedule shooting two television shows at once.

In a long list of acting credentials Liu also includes stunt man, writer, director and producer – all skills that round out his already full resume.

Following his layoff from his accounting firm, Liu started out by looking at TV and film opportunities on Craigslist. In amongst some of the more unsavory ads was a posting for the movie Pacific Rim by director Guillermo del Toro. The movie was being shot in Toronto and they were looking for extras. The role paid just $10 dollars an hour, but it was the stepping stone Liu needed to start his acting career. As soon as he arrived on set he knew he was home.

“I ended up falling in love with everything I saw. People have careers devoted to the movies. It wasn’t just the actors – the assistant director, the gaffers working the lights – it was everything. It was such a big production.”

While Ivey attracted him to Western, Liu credits one of his first experiences as a frosh with giving him his first taste of fame and one he would reflect on often as he launched his acting career.

“The three sciences do O-Week together. So they had this big talent show where each of the sciences would audition one champion. Then on the final night of O-Week, they compete against each other on stage – and I won,” he said.

Liu used his dance, gymnastics and martial arts skills to put his routine together, all skills he would later draw on to expand his acting offerings.

“I had a very interesting first few months because everyone knew who I was,” he laughed.

While Liu majored in accounting, he was always involved in extracurricular activities that fed his interests and would later act as experience as he built his resume for acting.

“I loved that I could find a group of people that were passionate about the same things as me and when I did graduate and found myself laid off a few months later, it was really great to have those other skills,” he said.

Although he didn’t always recognize acting as his future career, when Liu thinks back to the first spark of interest in acting, he harkens back to his childhood when his parents dropped him off at the movie theatre for the day. “I don’t think I even entertained the thought of bringing that up to them. I was raised by movies, musicals and TV shows. And I loved all of it. Of course, it’s totally natural that I would want to go into that eventually,” Liu said.

Despite his passion for the craft, growing up, Liu didn’t feel comfortable broaching the subject of acting with his parents, Chinese-born immigrants determined to provide the best life for their family in Canada.

“I never really gave myself permission to fully pursue it. For me, my parents, above all else, wanted stability because their life, coming from a different country, had been anything but stable,” he said.

Liu’s drive, determination and his ritual of checking Craigslist every morning enabled him to build his resume and gain experience. Some days he was paid as an extra on a movie or a TV show and some days he worked for free in a music video.

“Looking back through it all, at no point did I say, ‘I’m going to give up or call it quits.’ I was still convinced this was something I loved enough to keep going. It’s not just about getting a degree and conforming to someone else’s idea of success,” he said. “You need to be honest with yourself about what your interests are because if you do have something that you are truly passionate about but don’t pursue then you run the risk of waking up one day and realizing that you don’t actually like your life. Take the time and know yourself.”

This article appeared in the Spring 2017 edition of Western University’s Alumni Gazette. Reprinted with permission.

Life as a Corporate Recruiter: Q & A with Robert Pitman

Robert Pitman is a Corporate Recruiter at Robarts Clinical Trials in London, Canada and is responsible for overseeing all recruitment activities for the London, San Diego, and Amsterdam offices.  Below he shares info about what he does, what he loves about it, and the path he took to get there…and some pro tips!

What’s great about my work?  Being a Recruiter allows me to have conversations with new people every day. From every interview or pre-screen I learn something about other jobs, companies, and so on. Also, being a Recruiter allows me to use my observational and active listening skills to make an assessment of whether an individual will be a good fit for the job and the organization. I feel very lucky to be in a position to help people realize their potential.

A typical day?  Lots happens!  Gathering and sharing information, screening applications received over the last 24 hours.  For the long-listed candidates, pre-screen phone interviews are scheduled.  Usually, I conduct 1-3 interviews a day either in person or via Skype.  I send pre-screen interview notes to hiring managers for review, book corresponding future interviews, share job postings on LinkedIn, conduct headhunting activities using LinkedIn and over the phone.  I check industry news sites for any happenings in the world of CROs (Contract Research Organizations). I update recruitment metrics, review the status of current initiatives and perform “after care” – checking in on new employees that recently started in their positions.  And I create a plan for the next day…

An unusual day?   Unusual days might involve one (or several!) of the following:  brainstorming new recruitment initiatives, scouting pipeline candidates for future opportunities, conducting benchmarking or searching for information about competitors, attending a networking event, reviewing employee selection interventions, researching new talent acquisition tactics….there is always something new to learn!

Coolest thing about my job?  Currently, I am responsible for all of our vacancies which span Canada, the US, and the Netherlands. Having global responsibility is quite exciting as it has added a new layer of complexity to the recruitment process. There are nuances to each market and candidates often have different experiences and values. Another great aspect of my role is that I get the opportunities to hear other peoples’ “work stories”!

How did I get here?  During my first year at Western University, I applied for a summer job through the Federal Student Work Experience Program (FSWEPRP).  I was lucky enough to be selected for a position with Human Resources & Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) and I held this position for 3 years, including during the school year. I had various mandates but the general mission involved helping youth (age 15-30) to find employment.  I really enjoyed this and ended up taking a number of classes related to Industrial/ Organizational Psychology at Western. I found Dr. Allen’s class one of the most interesting and practical in my time at Western.

One of the employees I managed while at HRSDC turned out to be a networking guru. We kept in touch over the years and he introduced me to the internal recruiter at Hays Specialist Recruitment in Toronto. I went through a number of interviews- including an Assessment Centre -  and was selected to become an agency Recruitment Consultant for the pharmaceutical industry. Agency recruitment definitely had its challenges, but I managed to build a solid base of clients and worked for three years with Hays, placing over 40 candidates and billing over $650,000.  Contingency recruitment – as this is called – can be very unpredictable.  In addition, as a consultant you can feel like the work is quite transactional.   

So, after three years, I decided to return to school to complete my Human Resources (HR) Certificate in pursuit of the Canadian Human Resources Professional (CHRP) designation.  After that decision, it made sense to look for opportunities on the corporate side. I am originally from Windsor and have family in London, so when the position with Robarts presented itself, I jumped on it right away. It was definitely the right decision.  I could not be happier!

Some info & advice   Becoming a recruiter typically requires a college or university degree and coursework specialization in HR is helpful.  Increasingly, the CHRP designation is expected and the Certified Recruiter designation is also recognized.  To become a Corporate Recruiter it helps to have prior agency recruitment experience.    

Recruitment isn’t for everyone. Its most challenging aspects involve time management and communication. You deal with a huge number of stakeholders and candidates and it can be difficult to communicate effectively with everyone and on a timely basis.  However, if you are a social individual who enjoys building relationships, applying your observational skills, and you take an interest in I/O psychology, a career in recruitment could be a great fit!

No “Usual Days” for this Publicist: Meghan’s story

By Abigayle Walker, WorkStory Ambassador at University of Ottawa

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   Meghan holding a baby python while hosting a press junket for a show called Python Hunters.      

Meghan holding a baby python while hosting a press junket for a show called Python Hunters.

 

Meghan Hardy works as a publicist at Proper Television, one of Canada’s largest production companies.  Proper Television is responsible for producing numerous television series including Master Chef Canada, Storage Wars Canada, Four Weddings Canada, and Canada’s Worst Driver, to name a few.

For Meghan, no day is a usual day. Every day is different, which is exactly why she says she loves her job. The majority of her days are spent on the sets themselves –taking the press on set visits, facilitating media interviews, overseeing photo shoots, doing media training with the stars and ensuring that shows she is working on are receiving the most and best publicity possible.  When she isn’t on set, Meghan is in the office creating communication and social media plans, writing cast biographies, setting up photo shoots, and pitching interviews to the media. She explains that even though every day is fun, the job can also be also stressful and challenging. It forces her to think quickly on her feet, but she says that it makes her job that much more interesting.  She says she is constantly learning. 

Not only does Meghan love what she does, she also loves the people with whom she works, describing them as “some of the most creative and brilliant people in the entertainment industry”.  Meghan says she looks forward to work every day with people she loves being around.

As awesome as Meghan’s job is, it did not come to her without years of hard work.  Meghan began with an undergraduate degree in Media Studies/Public Relations and a Diploma in Public Relations from University of Guelph-Humber.  After graduating, she accepted an internship at Rogers Media with the publicity team under their television umbrella which includes City, OMNI Television, OLN, and FX Canada. Eventually, Rogers hired her as a public relations coordinator. From there, Meaghan was able to move into her current position at Proper. Meghan says that it was the combination of her 10 years of experience in the entertainment industry, networking, and creating good working relationships that helped land her current role at Proper Television. 

Although Meghan says she learned a lot of fundamentals from her post-secondary education, it was her experience that taught her much of what she knows about public relations. Her advice to others is to network, intern, and volunteer as much as possible!  She also advises those entering the communication industry to try to get a taste of several different sectors (government, entertainment, corporate, non-profit) before deciding which one seems the best fit.

Getting the Right People in the Right Job! Danielle’s Recruiting Story

By Craig Leonard, WorkStory Ambassador at Western University 

Danielle Giannattasio is a Recruiter for Aerotek, a leading company in the recruiting and staffing industry. As a recruiter Danielle’s job is to place suitable candidates in positions assigned to her on a contract basis. She specializes as a Technical Recruiter within Aerotek’s Engineering Services division. Specifically, she pursues engineers –  technologists, mechanical and electrical designers, and a wide range of specialized engineers.

This is far from the typical 9-5 job. Danielle’s schedule is mostly based around that of her clients and contractors. Typically, she begins the day by meeting with the other recruiters in her office to discuss the most urgent positions that they are working on. After prioritizing business, Danielle begins the recruiting process by using job boards and the company’s own database to screen for candidates, depending on the type of position she is trying to fill. Much of the workday is spent interviewing applicants to uncover what they themselves are looking for in a career and what their interests may be. Danielle also coaches selected applicants on their interview skills to help increase their chances of landing jobs.

Danielle thinks of herself as a subject matter expert in the engineering field, and because of this she is able to act as a consultant to her clients. While her primary objective is to provide the most qualified candidates, she also offers business and industry advice based on her daily interactions and findings in the market. Once she is successful in getting a candidate hired, her job is far from done. She continues to work with the contractor throughout their employment to ensure that they are satisfied, and moving towards accomplishing their own goals. When asked what it takes to be successful in recruiting, Danielle says, “A competitive and hardworking attitude…recruiting is about generating results under pressure.”

To get to where she is today, Danielle began by earning an undergraduate degree in Political Science at McMaster University. After completing her degree, she was unsure of what direction to head. She knew that she enjoyed working with people and had always excelled at sales, which fueled her decision to enroll in a Human Resource Management Post-Graduate program at Humber College. Danielle loved the one-year program but was not convinced by the end of it that she wanted to pursue a career in human resources. A requirement of her program was to complete an internship and she began inquiring about various companies and sections of human resources that she wanted to work in. She begun looking into recruiting companies and realized that given her interpersonal skills and passion for sales recruiting was a unique field that she could see herself working in. She then reached out to a number of individuals who were working as recruiters to learn more about what the staffing industry is like.

Funnily enough, after speaking with a number of recruiters she was approached by a recruiter at Aerotek for an opportunity to work in the company. The interview process for Aerotek is unique. It involves a 3-step interview, followed by a “half day”, during which the interviewees work at an Aerotek office for a half of a day to fully submerge themselves in the Aerotek way of life. After successfully completing this rigorous process Danielle was hired in June 2015. Although Danielle entered the staffing industry in order to complete a program requirement, she is fiercely passionate about her job and continues to love it and excel at it. When asked whether she would take the same educational path to her career in recruiting Danielle says, “Absolutely. While I don’t think that a background in human resources is necessary to do my job, I’m not sure that I would have ever entered the staffing industry and come across Aerotek if I didn’t get into it.”

What Danielle loves most about about her job is the fact that she is doing something different and learning something new, every single day. Although she was initially nervous to enter the engineering field without any prior knowledge of the industry, Danielle, as a naturally curious person, didn’t have a hard time networking with industry experts to gain some insight. “During any given week, I talk to at least 100 engineers, all from different backgrounds, with different educations and experiences.” One encounter Danielle remembers fondly is when she met one of the men who took part in designing the Mars Rover!

“Working in engineering has opened my eyes to so many things that I wouldn’t have paid attention to before. You wouldn’t believe how much you can learn from simply listening to other people’s stories.”

Danielle explains that the most satisfying part of her job is hearing that a client is pleased with their employee. “People rely on employment for their livelihood and it feels good being a part of that for someone.” Staffing is a competitive industry, and Danielle loves the competition involved in hiring the best people to the best companies, along with the challenge that comes with the pressure to make deadlines. She states that staffing is a unique industry; “You are dealing with the most unpredictable product – people.”

Danielle’s advice for people searching for employment? “Recruiters look for people that know what they want from a job or an opportunity. Although this may be difficult with the vast number of opportunities out there, it is important that you begin with an end goal in mind.”

 

Making Connections! Erika Faust’s Communication Story

By Erin Annis, WorkStory Ambassador at University of Guelph

One of the most inspiring quotes I have heard in regards to careers is “You’re most powerful where your passion is.” Erika Faust has followed this guiding light to grasp her personal career success.

Erika is currently the Corporate and Internal Communications Assistant at Toronto Community Housing.  She is also a freelance writer and editor.  The path to follow her dreams began with her love for reading and writing.  Throughout school – at the University of Guelph-Humber – she had recognized her passion for writing and began editing her friend’s papers (even later on, editing her friend’s university thesis!).   Recognizing her love for editing, Erika became the go-to editor for her friends and family for whom she reviewed reports, resumes and more.

Her writing and editing skills became a key part of Erika’s career journey during her fourth year at Guelph-Humber, where she took Media Studies. During that year, she landed an internship in the Advertising department of her hometown newspaper, the London Free Press.  Her boss recognized such talent in Erika that when she left to start her own communications firm, she hired Erika right away to do freelance writing and editing for her (and has been doing so ever since!)

Prior to working at Toronto Community Housing, Erika worked both as a staff writer for the Fanshawe College newspaper “Interrobang” as well as an Internal Communications Coordinator at Goodlife Fitness.  These roles gave her integral skills pertaining to her career.  Her job as a staff writer allowed her to gain management experience once she was promoted to editor, managing a team of 20 students.  Her experience at Goodlife was a refreshing change as it involved duties such as administering the intranet site and even some event planning. 

The game changer for Erika was the big move from London to Toronto after her husband found employment there.  Although this involved “abandoning” the place she grew up in and jumping into a situation of uncertainty, Erika viewed this experience as a “big adventure”.  During this time, she didn’t lose sight of her passion and continued to do freelance writing as she searched for a new job. 

Periods of unemployment are a major struggle for young people.  As Erika put it “It’s scary not knowing if you’re going to be able to find a job, and it can be really disheartening.”  Here is what she focused on to combat this period of unemployment:

• Networking with people with interesting jobs. “I set up informational interviews to get advice from different people. We chatted about my options and they told me what they thought I could do to shine as a job seeker.”

• Continuing education. “I tried to use the Duolingo app to learn French – I didn’t get very far with it, but I did practice every day during the summer! I also attended several communications-focused webinars and took an online class in WordPress through Udemy.”

• Doing some freelance and part-time work. “It kept my skills sharp, expanded my writing portfolio and gave me something to talk about in interviews.”

• Volunteering. “I signed up to help out at some local events, and I became a regular volunteer at a local museum. Volunteering helped me get acquainted with my new city, and I got to meet lots of like-minded people – people who just like to help out and get involved.”

Starting September 2015, Erika began her current communications role with Toronto Community Housing.  One of the most rewarding parts of her job is the non-profit environment.  “Toronto Community Housing serves about 6 percent of the population in Toronto.  I really like knowing I am part of an organization that helps so many people.”

Erika’s key to success?  Making connections!

“My boss during my London Free Press internship gave me my first paid writing and editing gig. Connections I made while working at Fanshawe College have hooked me up with freelance work. A reporter I met while attending an event in 2013 eventually became a managing editor at Metro newspaper in Toronto and gave me a part-time copy editor job. My mom – who is truly a master networker – has introduced me to some really fabulous people who gave me a ton of insight and helped prepare me for future job interviews.”

Reaching out can be the most difficult, yet beneficial, move that you can make to enhance your career- but it is 100% recommended.

“If you see someone on LinkedIn who works at a company you admire in a role you’d love, reach out to them! It may seem a little awkward at first, but I promise, it gets easier every time you do it. People are usually flattered when you ask them for advice, and they often want to help you out – maybe their company isn’t hiring, but maybe they know another great place that needs someone with your exact skill set. Even if the connection doesn’t help you find a job, it can be a really valuable learning opportunity.”

The ability to put yourself out there is integral for making the best out of your career journey.  Erika is an exemplary model having followed her passion, staying open minded and continually making important career connections. 

Amanda Stark is The Friendly Visitor

By Emma Kushnir, WorkStory Ambassador at Western University

Amanda Stark has worked for her own self-started business The Friendly Visitor, in London, for fourteen months. After attending Emmanuel Bible College in Kitchener, she realized there was a lack of support for those with Parkinson’s Disease and other seniors’ needs. As The Friendly Visitor, she provides companionship, helping-hand services, and life-skills coaching, in order to facilitate clients’ independence at home and to connect them with other resources.  Her goal is to help her clients live as well, and as independently, as possible.  

As the owner of The Friendly Visitor, Amanda manages all of the administrative tasks, and all marketing initiatives, including advertising, social media, community networking and the website. She first became interested in this type of work when she was living with her uncle who has Parkinson’s Disease.  Amanda used to help him around the house, drive him to appointments, and go on weekly movie dates. This, as well as her experience and visits with her grandmother, inspired Amanda to venture into this line of work.

Amanda has a counselling degree from Emmanuel Bible College, and many years of administrative assistant and customer service work. In addition to these skills, she explains that “this job takes a certain personality to connect with clients and to build rapport.”  The job also involves conflict management, facilitating group discussion and awareness of mental health concerns. She notes that “given the general nature of the helping hands component, it also requires a willingness to get our hands dirty and do whatever is needed. In some cases the skill of resourcefulness has been my best asset, by helping with pets, making meals, and doing laundry, among other things.”  Also important for anyone who is self-employed are time management skills -- knowing how to prioritize tasks and optimize time in the schedule.   Having a general knowledge of the operational side of business, Amanda also knows where she should hire out, so she can focus on the things she’s good at.  For example?  “I enjoy coordinating and customer service, but I am not great with numbers so that’s why I have a bookkeeper. Networking is another strength that fits well with running a business. Making connections in the business community as well as in the public is what goes the extra mile to spread the word about a small business.”

When asked why she loves her work, Amanda has a long list!  “I love my clients – I think my seniors are my favorites. I don’t have any grandparents, so I love hearing their stories and getting their advice on life. It’s the relationships in general that are my favorite – whether learning from other business owners, connecting with people in the community, or staying in touch with the families of the people I serve. I also love the variety, the fact one day I’m gardening, the next day I’m moving furniture and the next I’m having a conversation about life skills.” Speaking of a particular 93-year-old client, Amanda loves hearing her old stories about London many years ago, and that she considers Amanda family. Similarly, she enjoyed working with an 83-year old client who shared many stories about growing up in Greece, moving to Canada and making a life there.

Making the decision to go into business for herself was the biggest decision that Amanda has ever made. She could have worked for someone else, but because of a physical injury she also needs specific prioritizing. So working for herself seemed best.  Another hard decision involved whether to follow the advice of others or do what she felt was right. Amanda explains that “many well-meaning people had advice about the different aspects of getting started, but not all advice was helpful or fruitful. Along with that, knowing who I could trust was a big challenge.” Her branding was also critically important, so she did a lot of research before her business name and logo were created.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the biggest challenge Amanda faced was finances. It was difficult starting a business when there wasn’t much money coming in at the beginning. She was lucky enough to go through the Ontario Self-Employment Benefit program before its recent cancellation.  Getting attention for her business was also challenging since her advertising budget was focused on word-of-mouth marketing.   Amanda acknowledges that she had her moments of doubt wondering if this was “the right path” for her, but quickly adds that “I absolutely know 100% that it is…no good thing is accomplished without a little struggle.”

Amanda’s advice for others?  “Be honest with yourself. If you are not a self-starter, you probably shouldn’t start your own business!  But trust yourself. You know what you know – be confident in that. Reflect on what you’re good at and choose a career that focuses on your strengths. Don’t just go where someone tells you to go – if I had done that, I would still be sitting at a receptionist desk somewhere.”

Find out more at The Friendly Visitor website: http://www.thefriendlyvisitor.ca

 

Marketing Assistant Makes it in Music Industry

By Annette Dawm, WorkStory Ambassador

Kendra Sauder is a Marketing Assistant for Audio Blood, an artist and brand development company based out of Toronto, Ontario. With the Audio Blood team, Kendra is able to work in her “dream field”, which is the Music Industry. Kendra has worked very hard to be where she is today. Coming from the small town of St. Jacobs, she moved to the big city of London, Ontario where she spent seven years. She currently lives in St. Catharine’s and commutes to the even bigger city of Toronto. She says it’s been difficult, but “hands down, [it was] worth it!” Something that has helped Kendra on her journey is the support she receives from the people she works with:

“My co-workers and the Audio Blood team are all amazing individuals and work together amazingly! They are always supportive of each other and willing to help anyone else out on the team in any way they can. I love that the Audio Blood team is more like a family!” (She even has a furry co-worker, “Dug the Pug” and he gives out advice to bands on the Audio Blood blog!)

Sauder is not only enthusiastic about her immediate “family” of co-workers, but she also loves helping the entertainers that Audio Blood promotes: “I get to work with artists and musicians and help them accomplish their goals.”  Kendra is also “making it easier and more accessible for music fans to reach amazing artists like HIGHS, Amos the Transparent, Royal Tusk and Jeremy Fisher (just to name a few.)” Audio Blood has also worked with Pat Maloney as well as big-name brands/events like The Juno Awards.

It’s clear that Kendra loves her team but she also loves the job itself: “I love so many things about my job! It’s hard to fit it all into one answer…. I also love the fact that my job is different every day, and that no matter what I am working on, I’m contributing to a larger goal and bigger picture. No two days are the same, and I am constantly learning. It keeps me on my toes and I couldn’t be happier about it.”

Kendra Sauder’s path to the music industry began at Fanshawe College in London, where she was enrolled in the Music Industry Arts Program. While she was in school, she was heavily involved in Student Government and event planning, among other things in order to succeed in her career: “I took part in as many music, branding and industry conferences as I could (which is where I first heard about Audio Blood) and was constantly trying to improve my craft while at school. I took time to learn about different companies and positions within the music industry to hone my skills.”

Once she graduated from the program, Kendra had planned to start her own company with some friends in St. Catharine’s, however she was offered a position with Audio Blood and she “couldn’t turn it down!” Sauder was able to assist them with their work at the events for Canadian Music Week. This opportunity proved to be valuable work experience for Kendra as it lead her to her current position as a Marketing Assistant for the company: “During my one-month contract, I pushed myself to go in early, stay late and do whatever was needed to get the job done. After my contract was up, I was asked to stay on. I guess the short version is, ‘I fought for it.’”

Finally, when asked what advice she had for those interested in working in this field, Kendra Sauder answered, “Play hard. Work harder! The music industry is an amazing place, but it takes determination, drive and a lot of gusto to make it. Work your connections, and fight for your goals.”

If you would like to learn more about Audio Blood, you can visit their website at www.audioblood.com    

For a student of history, it doesn’t get much better….

By Marcus Kaulback

So you think you can dance? No, me neither. And so I’m not a dancer. Instead, I have the privilege to call myself a historian.

I got a job four months ago with a research management company in Ottawa. Clients come to us for a slew of reasons, but most of our work includes providing specialized research services, whether for litigation support, community development, or a person’s simple interest in the past. But whatever the reason, we’re the background workers giving our clients the information they need to succeed in their projects. We try to make hindsight even clearer than 20/20.

But enough tooting the company horn…

I’m working now on something called the Unexploded Explosive Ordnance and Legacy Sites Program (we’ll just call it the UXO Project) which is an attempt by the Department of National Defence to clean up all their old military sites, especially as urban centres grow and encroach more and more on previously out-of-the-way training sites. My job is to research the military activity of past DND sites across Canada to help determine the probability of there being unexploded ordnance still in the ground at these places.

My boss, the senior researcher, sends me lists of files that contain information on a specific site. I spend my days, then, after I’ve ordered these files from Library and Archives Canada (big Soviet-style building in downtown Ottawa with itty-bitty windows), sifting through them looking for any and all mention of live firing having taken place there. I’m looking at primary sources, things like Inspection Reports of camps and armouries, War Diaries of specific units, and even personal letters of the soldiers themselves. For a student of history, it doesn’t get much better.

Once we’ve fully looked at a site, we write reports on them and submit those to DND, which help them in turn determine whether or not there’s a point to actually going down to these places and surveying the land to find these bad things that might still lurk under it.

It’s a quiet gig, solitary too, but it satisfies my passion for the past. And really, how many jobs would do that? Like I said, I studied history in university, more specifically military history, so this job ticks a big box. I get paid to handle real-deal documents that speak to our country’s military past, and by doing it contribute to tidying up the sites that played such a huge role in that past, and I’m happy and lucky to do it.

As you can imagine though, I didn’t come roaring out of uni and into the interview. As most of us 21st-century job seekers know, there is rarely such a thing as a conventional path to employment anymore. No longer do we decide in childhood what we want to be, pursue it at some type of finishing school, and get the job right after graduation. As for me, I skipped town after I graduated, went to Asia where I spent nine months slumming around Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, India, and Nepal before landing in Busan, South Korea to teach kindergarteners the Queen’s English for a year. From Korea, not eager to get back home, my girlfriend and I took the long way ’round, travelling overland to England, five of those seven months spent in a 1981 VW campervan crisscrossing Europe.

I got home to Canada, moved to Vancouver, and continued my slumming. I took a few courses, among them editing, worked a few jobs, among them editorial assistant for a couple of magazines, but moved back to Ottawa after three years of overall professional nonfulfillment. Then the scramble for a job really ramped up. Kid on the way, bills to pay, no job to light the way. Six months came and went with no meaningful work, so I went to an alumni function – something I had never done – at the behest of my mum, “to network”, she said. It was here that I met my future boss.

I don’t have a lesson for anyone on how to go about gaining work. I don’t know the answers, obviously. But I guess that’s the point of WorkStory, to share our “journey to the job” and let all of you know that the whole point, when you’re down and nearly out, is to just keep chugging and plugging away. Hell, I’ve emptied ashtrays at a bowling alley and cut grass at a cemetery, but you just keep going. It took me almost seven years to find something worth it, but that’s just it…it was worth it.

For more about Marcus  http://marcuskaulback.tumblr.com/