As I was applying to jobs in the summer for my first work term, I remember being quite picky and having a few conditions that had to be met. I wanted my job to be exciting, challenging, but mostly, fulfilling. I wanted fulfillment in my job and I wanted to have purpose in what I did. I’ve always been someone who questions what is next and looks for steps I can take to get me to where I want to be. Working for United Way, a not-for-profit organization, has allowed me to really take a step back and become a part of something bigger than myself. While I’m driven by my own achievements and my own goals, I’m also driven by the community and its needs.
Running a Successful Workplace Campaign
United Way raises money to invest back into the community for kids and seniors in need in the Lower Mainland. Most of this money comes from workplace campaigns and employees who donate through their organization. Often times, workplaces will hold special events and fundraising activities to incentive employees to give. As a United Way Representative, it was my job to manage over 140 campaigns by developing and implementing the right strategy. This involved working directly with Campaign Chairs from various organizations planning events, analyzing data, presenting United Way, and much more.
Working closely with a group of 30 other Campaign Associates, I got to know some of my co-workers very well. One thing I’ve learned from working with this amazing group of people is that everyone has their strengths and weaknesses and we can all learn from one another. Most of these Campaign Associates were loaned from different companies from industries ranging from banking to engineering. As one can assume, an Account Manager from TD Canada Trust is going to possess a different skillset than a Foreman from the City of Vancouver. Additionally, a 22-year-old Business Co-op student is going to work at a different pace then a 65 year old social worker. As weeks went by, I asked myself, “what do I bring to my team, my accounts, and to my community?” Even though I may not have had the work experience that some of my colleagues may have had – the nature of my degree, my leadership experience, and my background in sales had prepared me for this role. I taught others, but more importantly, I learned from them – I developed skills and qualities that I will be able to carry with me in my career.
Mentorship From Managers
As mentioned, I got the chance to work closely with team leaders who have years of management and directorial experience. I’ve never been afraid to ask questions and seek clarity on any given topic; in this case, myself. I often asked my managers for feedback, whether negative or positive, because I knew this would help me grow and learn new ways of problem-solving. This helped me step out of my comfort zone and be proactive in my work. Furthermore, they knew I was a student and wanted to do the best they could to advance my career. They set me up for success by introducing me to professionals in my field and allowing me to expand my network. Surrounding myself around smart individuals who saw my passion and eagerness really helped me succeed during my time with United Way.
Jeff is in his last year at SFU studying Business, concentrating in Marketing. He recently completed his first work term at United Way of the Lower Mainland and will be returning to school in the spring. Jeff plans on pursuing a career in Brand Management and Sales upon graduation.