unleash the power within

A few months ago a girlfriend approached me asking if I’d be interested in attending a Tony Robbins event, Unleash the Power Within. Not knowing anything about Mr. Robbins, I said “sure, why not.” I absolutely admire so many qualities of this young lady and if she thought to invite me, I better take her up on the offer and challenge myself to learn. I didn’t do the 10 weeks of pre-work, instead the first time I heard an ounce about Tony Robbins was live, from himself directly, on  Thursday, July 14, 2011, in Chicago, Illinois!

For those that know a lot about Tony’s work and know a bit about what I do, it may surprise you that I know nothing about the guy. For those that know a lot about Tony and know how structured I can be, you might wonder why I didn’t research the conference or his style of leadership. I can confidently say that I don’t know why I didn’t google the guy. It may have been a good idea… ha ha. :)

I arrived at the event late overwhelmed.

4 days. 50 hours of learning. 4000 people from over 10 countries.

A brief overview of the days that followed:

Day 1: Turn Fear into Power (10 hours)

  • Intro to psychology
  • Exploring the 6 human needs: certainty, variety, significance, connection, growth, contribution
  • Processing your greatest fear
  • Firewalking exercise

Day 2: Turn Dreams into Reality (14.5 hours)

  • Momentum and drive
  • Exploring your passion
  • Closing your financial gap
  • Importance of peer groups
  • Determining your x-factor

Day 3: Break Through to your New Life (15.5 hours)

  • Evaluating your wheel of life: physical body, emotions & meaning, relationships, time, work/career/mission, finances, celebrate & contribute
  • Key elements of progress
  • Strategies for success
  • Limiting beliefs vs. empowering beliefs
  • Path to mastery

Day 4: Powers of Pure Energy (10 hours)

  • Keys to healthy body/healthy mind
  • 5 sources of disease
  • 12 principles of a vital life
  • Ten day challenge

I can’t begin to sum up what I have learned over the last 4 days.

Partly because I am processing everything still and also because I learned a hell of a lot.

Key concepts from the event:

  • PEAK STATE. You need to find your happy place — and no this does not include mashed potatoes or a glass of wine. ;) For many of the attendees at this event, a bizarre superhero move put them in peak state. Finding state is about finding the place where your strength shines through. The point where you are at your strongest physically, mentally and emotionally is your peak state.
  • BE GRATEFUL. Tony never lost sight of giving more than you take. He continually tied back his content to giving back to the community and being grateful for what life gives you. Appreciate people, situations, moments – the good and the bad. In the words of Tony, “Stop being busy doing stupid shit. Remember what it means to give.”
  • WEALTH. Wealth is not about money! Instead it equals caring and creativity. Being someone who is not money-oriented to start with, I can appreciate a statement like this. ;) You will feel most rich when you give, show love and have the opportunity to be creative. Wealth is about challenging yourself to be your ultimate best self.
  • SHITTY DAYS. Make the worst day of your life, the best day of your life. Enough said.
  • PEER GROUPS. Your friends 100% affect your standards. Tony continually reinforced: “Who you spend your time with is who you become.” He challenges you to accept your family, but pick your friends. You goal should be to surround yourself with people that are equal or better than yourself. Everyone needs to evaluate your current friend circle, discover alignment and then choose to stay or leave. The best team will challenge you — NOT support you. Seems harsh, but ridiculously true.
  • X-FACTOR. How are you different from other people? What value do you add to the lives of others, your organization or the community? By adding intangible value and consistently maintaining it, you are able to master both yourself and your business.
  • RAISE YOUR STANDARDS. Levels of standards are poor, good, excellence and outstanding. The key thing to note though is that standards have changed over time and in today’s society poor = pain, good = poor, excellence = good, outstanding = excellence. A great example that Tony shared was when he was speaking to a man who’s wife recently left him. He said to Tony: “I was a good husband.” Tony says” “That was the problem.” Get it? If you goal is outstanding, yes, you have a lot of work to do, but you will stand out from the rest. For ultimate success, the key is to maintain an outstanding standard in multiple aspects of your life.
  • MASTERY. The key components of mastery are modelling behaviour, immersion and spaced repetition. If your standards are high and you want to try out a new hobby/activity/language/skill etc, you need to give it your all. Modelling is explained through finding someone who has already mastered the game (i.e. find the best of the best) and get them to teach you. Immersion is immersing yourself in the activity or learning (i.e. Do you learn Spanish best while you are in Mexico for 4 weeks or once a week for 10 weeks in your hometown?). Spaced repetition is continually touching back into that hobby/activity/language/skill/etc to keep your fresh, current and engaged. It seems easy eh? Well why does not one do it. :)
  • ENERGY. Health should be measured through energy, instead of skinny/fat, weight in numbers and attitude. Pure energy comes down to vital breathing, live foods, essential oils, alkalinity, aerobic energy, nutrition, structural alignment & strength and a directed mind & heart. If you have constant energy, you are healthy.

Key learnings:

  • MY PRIMAL DRIVERS: Significance and growth. I currently need recognition and acknowledgement of a job well done. as well, I thrive in an environment where I’m constantly learning and challenging myself to be a better person. Tony told us that we needed to determine our current drivers and then decide where I wanted them to be. Tony thinks that everyone should work towards love — it’s always the end goal. I get the reasoning and thought process, but as of right now,  but I choose growth and contribution as my goal. Growth will be even more important as I progress and I intend to raise my degree of contributing to others and giving back to society.
  • MY GREATEST FEAR: Failure. 100%. What’s the benefit of this fear? Well, I’m an overachiever and stride through life not letting myself fail. Good and not good if you know what I mean! A question that I need to constantly ask myself, “If you fail, what is the worst thing that might happen?” Death. No. Learning. Likely. Why did I do the walk across the 12 feet of 2000 degree hot coals during the firewalk on Day 1? Because I couldn’t fail… obviously. ;)
  • MY PASSION: We did an exercise where we needed to reflect on what we love/hate, where are passion lies and what we really want. My list was long for all of them, except passion. My passion came down to education and teaching, writing and giving back. Simple and for whatever reason, I didn’t have that clarity until this weekend.
  • MY WHEEL OF LIFE: There are 7 categories on your wheel of life. My strengths were physical body, emotions and meaning, work/career/mission and celebrate/contribute. My weaknesses were relationships, time and finances. This exercise was extremely reflective for me — not in the sense that it shared something new, more so that it reinforced where I needed to spend my time and how to set goals for the days, months and years to come. I maybe, just maybe, tend to set guys up for failure [run… away… now… ;)], lead a generally all over the place life and have completely disorganized finances. Tons of room for improvement.
  • MY MOST POWERFUL LOCATION: My left ear. Wink wink nudge nudge. If you were wanting to whisper sweet nothings to me, head in the direction of my left ear. ;) Other options were from in front, behind, and right ear.
  • MY HEALTH: I need to get my skinny phat ass back to the gym and keep health top of mind. I’m totally good at all the component of health when I want to be, but it has to be top of mind. The entire 4 days, Tony reinforced the importance of rituals. I somewhat interpret that as routine. With routine, rituals, whatever and a belief in why health is important to your entire being, you make it happen. You just do.

My frustrations with the event:

  • THE ENVIRONMENT. The environment was intense. The only way to define it is ‘rah rah fist pump rah rah.’ A large part of this event was building energy. Rather than processing information in your head, you yell it out to the audience. Rather than smile when you have made progress, you high five. Rather than do team building activities, you have dance parties. Rather than clap in agreement of a powerful statement, you hit your chest and “make your move.” When Tony needs to ensure the participants have understood a concept… he uses a technique called “say… Yes!” and “say… Aye!” The result is chanting in unison. If you were standing at the back of the room or had a birds eye view from above, you would undoubtedly be like “Who the eff are these weird people?” On Day 1, I thought holy shit and participated. By Day 3, I was done. I’ve had enough fist pumping to last a life time. Truly. Lifetime. When I want to center myself, being truly strong to my core and mind, I think of yoga. Calm. Deep Breathing. Reflection.  I found that continually shouting out my degree of awesome was completely illegitimate and distracted me from what we were trying to achieve. The environment worked for some people, it truly did. But for me? It felt cult-ish and crazy.
  • THE FANS. There were groupies. Yes, groupies. Tony has a following of supporters who continually come to the same event to learn more and support him in his mission. The problem is that 1) they were quit odd and 2) they were not making progress. Tony motivates them to make change and they come back to each event making minimal to no change!! Sure this is a generalization, but they took away from the newbie’s experience and were intense as hell. It is not motivating to see people attending this type of event who are not making progress. IMO, attending one of these events – regardless of your issue – should allow you to make progress in some area of your life. If you have come to the event and not learned, you haven’t given it your all.
  • THE SELLING. There was a focus on selling product. I understand that “Tony Robbins” is a corporation, not an educational institution or one-man-show, so absolutely there is a need to sell. Interested in selling to me though? Show me success, results, application and I will come to you on my own. Talking people into trials, deals, discounts, etc does not motivate me to buy. I have even more of an issue with it, because I believe that tons of people get ‘trapped’ into buying product/services all the time. At one point, someone from Tony’s team said just put the down payment on your credit card. FOR REAL? You teach Wealth Mastery and you want someone to put a $2000 down payment on their credit card… having no idea where they will find the next $8000-10,000? Perhaps it motivated some to bust their ass and find some cash, but for others? Total detrimental move.
  • THE LEARNING STYLE. There were numerous times during this event that I tied this experience back to the field of Human Resources and learning styles. Although this event had live speaking, recorded videos, activities, group work and workbooks, I truly believe it catered to one type of learner. One might say, it had to. 4000 people in one room and a lot of content to get through. I learn best in a small, intimate environment, with visual engagement and practical application. Likely why I thrived in college, instead of a university setting. I was most engaged in learning when Tony was speaking to hardcore content, live audience examples and follow-up exercise. Every time that dancing, high fives, fist pumps took place, I was ultimately distracted.

For the most part there were two types of people who attended this event:

  1. Someone with some sort of immediate issue that was taking over their life. For example, smoking, weight loss, job loss, financial issue, etc. They were there to find their passion, get themselves back.
  2. Someone who is Type A, achievement oriented and keen to make themselves a better, more well-rounded, passionate person. Regardless of growth past and present, they need more.

I could think of a hell of a lot of people who would benefit from an event like this… but I don’t believe that everyone is ready. The experience was intense and at times, ridiculous. You will get the most from an event like this when you have an open mind, prepared for growth and committed to having a bit of fun.

So was it worth it?

I spent $500 on the event and 100% received that value back in learning and reflection. I even slacked out on Day 2 and 4, focusing on work for a few hours, but I still got what I needed. Yes there was repeat from other things I have learned and read in life. Yes it was intense at times and seriously thought “WTF.” In reflection, I would say that I needed to attend something like this in mid-2009. At that time, I needed someone to light a fire under my ass. Instead I went to Tunisia, Africa to attend a completely unrelated conference and meet some amazing people who were “my Tony Robbins.” People who inspired me to make change. People who challenged my thought process. People who set my mind up for success. People who told me what books to read. People who taught me that if you bust your balls, opportunities will find you.

“Unleash the Power Within” confirmed that I am headed in the right direction. I am so grateful for everything that has happened in the last few years — the people that I have met, the lessons learned and random things that have tested my values. I am proud to say that I have learned more about myself and my mission in the last 2 years, than in my entire life.

I can confidently say that I am committed to growing and turning life up a notch more.

I need to reflect on all I have learned, get back to goal setting, define my rituals and create a master plan!

Will I attend another event?

I am debating attending Life Mastery and Wealth Mastery in Fiji in 2012 or at some point in the future. Why? Because it is a small setting (60 people – which would be better for my learning style) without the rah rah fist pump rah rah and I truly believe I could get a lot out of it. The concept of peer groups reinforces that in order to excel, you need to surround yourself with people who already have the expertise and are excelling themselves. This event provides one with the opportunity to be connected to expertise in particular fields, but from people that the average individual never would be connected to. If I have a standard of outstanding or exceptional in my life, then why wouldn’t I make every effort to surround myself with best of the best…!

“One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular.” – Tony Robbins

Will I register because of what I heard about the event this weekend? No. I will register because I have researched the event, read reviews, received recommendations and know – know in my heart – that it’s the right decision for me!

Keen to understand a bit more about Tony’s thoughts on life? Check out his TED talk from 2006.

I admire Mr. Robbins. I didn’t watch him on the stage everyday thinking about how fabulously well-rounded he is. I thought… that will be me. No no, not the bizzilionaire with the foundation, million dollar coaching sessions and 19 million companies. The educator. The voice. The passionate, well-spoken person wanting to give back to the world.

Too many people live in that lukewarm shitty place in life.

Make changes. Switch things up. Strive high.

With love from Chicago. ❤

beyond pink 2010

On October 9th, I blogged “Land of Opportunity,” and I announced that I would be speaking at Young Women in Business’ (YWiB) annual “Beyond Pink 2010” conference. The theme “Make your brand, leave your mark.”

So the conference is this upcoming weekend, in fact, it starts in 4 days, and I am NERVOUS.

In the past, when I have presented to colleagues, professionals, management – it has been about the future of work, generations in the workplace, work-life balance, social networking, personal branding, and HR related topics.  Recently I held a breast cancer awareness event, and when I spoke about such a personal topic – I burst into tears.  I don’t usually present to inspire.  I don’t usually present to my exact demographic (young women in business).

I know I am capable of it… I wouldn’t have asked for the opportunity if I didn’t think I could do it. Although not completely finalized, my presentation is well underway, full of great advice for young women.  I know that I will be able to engage my audience, I know that they will laugh, and most importantly I know they will learn.

My workshop is called “Set Yourself Up for Success: Become a Hot Commodity.”

How can you differentiate yourself from your peers? How can you stand out in the workplace or community? Becoming a hot commodity is about being the whole package. Learn more about the importance of being well-rounded, integrating social networking, and real life examples from a young woman who has set a standard for Generation Y’s in Canada.

My major role at the conference will be engaging with young women at the Entre-Carnival, attending the Mentor Dinner (my location is Zachary’s on Robson by the way), and holding two workshops (60 delegates each on Saturday, Nov 20th from 3-4pm and 4-5pm).

Last night, my best friend, the one and only, Haley Lonsdale, announced that she will be attending the conference – ahhh I couldn’t have been more happy. Most of you know that she recently moved from Calgary to Victoria (enrolled in UVic’s management program), so she’s going to head over to Vancouver for 3 days – and it will just add to an already fulfilling weekend.

Back to the conference…

YWiB has quite the event lined up. Blow Me Dry Bar at Four Seasons Vancouver is offering blow-outs at 15% off all day Friday. A fabulous keynote, Michelle Rupp, will open up the conference on Friday afternoon. Various workshops will be offered throughout the day and then the Entre-Carnival begins. They have also organized a Mentors Dinner at 3 locations, an opportunity for the delegates to connect with various speakers and sponsors. Day 1 will conclude with an evening event held at Gossip nightclub, titled “Cause I’m Bossy – Office Party“. Luxe Lashes will even be on site providing free lashes before midnight! Day 2 begins with a session titled “Laughter Yoga” – and an early 8am start! A power couple panel (brilliant idea by YWiB) will comprise of 3 couples sharing the pros and cons of a relationship, balanced with a successful business.  The rest of the day will be spent at a networking brunch, case competitions, various workshops, and the night will conclude with a silent auction and gala!

For a list of the speakers presenting at the conference, please click here.

I’ll be tweeting (and maybe blogging) throughout the conference. Follow #BP2010 on Twitter if you’re interested in staying in the loop.

So yep, I’m still nervous… I’m flying out to Vancouver on Thursday night, so I still have a number of days to get these nerves under control.  I love Vancouver – LOVE LOVE LOVE, so I’m looking forward to getting a bit of relaxation and fun over the weekend as well.

This weekend will truly be a weekend of inspiration.

Now to decide what to wear… :)

what makes a top employer – part 4 (success!)

On October 29th, I received an email from KPMG indicating that I won the national “What Makes a Top Employer” video contest!!! I was on my layover in San Fransisco en route to Tokyo and heard about a minute before I was supposed to board (which as per my previous blog post – fight was delayed a few more hours).  I couldn’t have been more thrilled!  I was absolutely giddy in the SFO airport wishing that I could tell someone (I was on roaming), and unfortunately I couldn’t resist. I likely have a hefty bill from the international texts and calling.

[Disregard the spelling error in KPMG’s tweet ;)]

Representatives from KPMG were completely flexible with the fact that I was on my way to Tokyo and rather unavailable due to the conference I was attending.  We agreed to chat upon my return and finalize all the details.

KPMG recently went live with a summary of the competition:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qw8joRCRMEU]

On November 9th, TalentEgg.ca wrote an article on the competition.

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If you missed seeing my original submission to KPMG’s contest, feel free to view here:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUnj4AzEQNY]

And on October 3rd, I posted an additional video to “engage” ;) the viewers.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bya4wHIrDGM]

—————————————————————————————————————–

I ended up connecting with KPMG late this week and they are currently working on the finding a date for me to connect with the 5 CEO’s.  In the near-ish future, I will have a 1 hour meeting with the following well-respected and successful CEO’s:

  • Bill Thomas, CEO of KPMG Canada, as the sponsoring company
  • Nadir Mohamed, President & CEO of Rogers Communications
  • Cameron Heaps, Co-founder of Steam Whistle Brewing Company
  • Bruce Poon Tip, Founder (AKA “The Captain”) of Gap Adventures
  • Colin Moore, President of Starbucks Coffee Americas

This means a trip out to Toronto and a whole lot of opportunity!

From the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone for your support during this competition.  In 30 days, WE reached 661 votes, and over 2,169 viewings.  In 30 short days, you all listened to what I had to say about the future of work.  In 30 days, I saw the power of social media, with votes, tweets (retweets), facebook posts, and online discussion.  In 30 short days, you gave me opportunity.

Thank you for your continual commitment. Ahh it gives me absolute warm fuzzies to know I have people in my court, rooting for me every ounce of the way. I absolutely have *big* plans for 2011, stay tuned for how the CEO meetings go and for the next steps with my career.

With all my heart. ❤

top employer update

Today I received this:

“I am one of the representatives of the What Makes a Top Employer Contest. I called you this morning to deliver the news that you are one of the 3 finalists for the What Makes a Top Employer contest. You are now in the running with two others to have the chance to win 5, 1 hours meetings with 5 of Canada’s top CEOs.”

These 5 judges will be viewing my video next week:

  • Bill Thomas, CEO of KPMG Canada, as the sponsoring company
  • Nadir Mohamed, President & CEO of Rogers Communications
  • Cameron Heaps, Co-Founder of Steam Whistle Brewing Company
  • Bruce Poon Tip, Founder (AKA “The Captain”) of Gap Adventures
  • Colin Moore, President of Starbucks Coffee Americas

As per a recent KPMG news release:

Two sets of prizes will be awarded to students in appreciation for their time and effort.

The first prize wins an Apple iPad and five individual one-on-one mentoring sessions with the CEOs.  The first prize will go to the student with the best video response—the most insightful, thoughtful, and useful video. The winner will be chosen from a short list of individuals who will be judged by the five CEOs. The second prize winner—the student whose video wins by popular vote—will also receive an Apple iPad.

Fingers crossed everybody!

every vote counts

Today is VOTING DAY!

What does this mean?

1) Today is the last day of KPMG’s What Makes a Top Employer video contest. It has been a month long battle with university students across Canada, but I have attained 2nd place (out of 400+ videos!) and couldn’t be more proud. Contest closes at 11:59pm EST. I would love if you gave me your vote.

2) Today is Calgary’s Municipal Election. Do you research, then head down to the polls and vote for Mayor, Alderman, and School Trustee.  Voting stations will be open from 10am to 8pm. Visit The City of Calgary’s website for more information on locations.

I’m looking forward to life being more calm after October 18th.  Fingers crossed for team J-N-Z (yes that would be Jillian-Nenshi-Zak)!! ;)

With love.  ❤

what makes a top employer – part three and a half

On October 10th, I blogged. It was my third blog post regarding KPMG’s What Makes a Top Employer video contest.  In that post, I said that I would update again once the competition was over.

Tonight, I received a message from Chris, my brother-in-law:

“dear jill… today i haven’t voted for you because you haven’t put any effort into your site lately (blog)… lets see a post.” xxchris

Well… apparently I haven’t been doing a good job.

Chris this is for you.  There has been a lot going on in my world as of late and I apologize for not keeping up with my blog.

The time to vote is now.

Love Jill XO

PS – To the rest of you, the KPMG competition ends tomorrow – yes tomorrow at 11:59pm EST.  If you haven’t voted today, please do! Then tomorrow – again!! Then guess what, we’re finally done.

Thank gosh eh?

PPS – In other news, I went to a birthday party for a 9 year old friend of mine named Paige.  It was intense.  14 girls were in attendance.  Paige asked me to get her a puppy for her birthday… and I didn’t.  Bad me. :)

PPS – Marley, I’m still working on your letter.  My goal is to get it mailed before I leave for Japan. ❤

what makes a top employer – part 3

This blog post will be Part 3 of a series of 4 posts related to KPMG’s competition on “What Makes a Top Employer“.

On September 20th, I blogged about the competition, how to register and vote, and why I wanted to share my voice.  I encouraged you to watch my video (and the others) and decide if I was worthy of your vote.  On September 28th, I blogged because I had hit a milestone, 1000 views!!  I had been asked how I would continue to engage the voters, as 30 days is a heck of a long time to vote daily.  A few days later, I uploaded this video to YouTube:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bya4wHIrDGM]

The video continues to align with my Top Employer vision, but won’t count towards official votes on KPMG’s contest website.  As you can tell, I did the ABC’s of “What Makes a Top Employer” [it’s ok to start laughing now…], I knew creativity and humor would be critical for engagement.

We are now 8 days away from the end of the competition.  I am currently in 3rd place, with 431 votes and 1631 views.  The young woman in 1st place has a 30-day video upload advantage on me; as a result, I’ve decided my goal is to get to 2nd place before the contest ends on October 18th, 2010 at 11:59PM EST.

If you have yet to engage in this competition, I will plead with you to do so.  At the end of the day, this has nothing to do with votes or who is the “winner.”  As I’ve said, I believe this competition is about impact.  The impact that we, as young people, can have on future leaders and potential employers.

If you would like to vote, please visit my video contest entry here:

VOTE HERE

I will update again post-competition with the final tally on votes and views.  The judges are expected to make a decision on the winners by November 5th, 2010.

With all my love. ❤

land of opportunity

So more about this conference I’m speaking at… I have been following Young Women in Business (@YWiB) for the past year or so on Twitter.  They are an amazing organization… AMAZING.

More about YWiB:

“The Young Women in Business [YWiB] network is a non-profit society for emerging female leaders in Western Canada. The network acts as the central forum to connect ambitious, young women from a variety of careers, industries, and backgrounds. YWiB hosts a variety of events that provide our members with opportunities to develop relevant skills and knowledge, so that they have the insight, support, and capability to reach their fullest personal and professional potential.”

The organization truly gives me warm fuzzies. YWiB holds an annual conference called, Beyond Pink.  As per YWiB’s website, “it is a multi-day conference focused on encouraging personal and professional growth through passionate speaker presentations, educational workshops, engaging delegate activities, innovative tradeshow exhibitors, and inspiring networking opportunities.” The theme for the 2010 conference is “Make your brand, leave your mark” and it’s taking place on November 19 & 20, 2010 in Vancouver, BC.  In addition to keynote speakers and a  workshop series, this year’s conference includes:

  • Power Couple Panel & Networking Brunch
  • Case Competition
  • Entre-Carnival
  • Mentor Dinner
  • Silent Auction & Gala

I have been asked to speak at a Workshop Series and participate in the Entre-Carnival.  The Workshop Series will include speaking to approximately 60 delegates, including university students, passionate entrepreneurs, and aspiring professionals.  I have requested to be part of Day 2 – “Leave your mark”… and have BRILLIANT lessons I will share with these young women. [I will absolutely blog about the experience post-conference].  The Entre-Carnival is about celebrating entrepreneurs and inspirational people.  The goal is to share the stories of those that inspire with those who will inspire the future.  Ahh, warms your heart doesn’t it?

After I announced on Facebook that I would be speaking at this event, a friend of mine, Gregg, writes: “I know the previous organizers very well!!! Amazing event! You will fit right in!” When I first heard of Beyond Pink and YWiB, I immediately identified with both the conference and the organization.  I have been looking for a similar organization in Calgary with no success.  At one point I thought being in a different province would keep me from being involved in YWiB; now I know that it’s entirely possible.

I truly believe life is about finding and creating opportunities.  A large part of what I will bring to the Beyond Pink 2010 Conference is what I have accomplished in one year… a single year has defined my future.

Opportunities surround all of us each and every day – but it’s up to each of us to take action and often take a risk.

“Of all the people I have ever known, those who have pursued their dreams and failed have lived a much more fulfilling life than those who have put their dreams on a shelf for fear of failure.” – Unknown

When I think about where I was at a few years ago to where I am now, I reflect on how much I’ve grown.  By no means was I in a bad place, just a different place.  I have learned to expect a lot of myself.  I can see my potential.  I can see the influence and impact I have on others.  Yes, I love to relax and have low-key moments, but I owe it to myself to show the world my capabilities.

Sometimes I get told… “ugh, stop winning things”… “you’ve been given what?”…. “you’re going where?”…. My response?  You have to hold yourself accountable.  At the end of the day, no one is looking for you other than yourself.  If you want the world, GO GET THE WORLD. Your family and friends will always try to make sure you have the basic necessities (food, water, shelter), but will they continually push you to be the best you can be?  I doubt it.  [Shh.. they have their own agenda ;].  But maybe you only want that average job with average responsibility and a whole lot of free time to watch TV and internet roam?  That’s absolutely fine, but you’ve got to stay quiet.  Accept what you’ve dictated your life to be and support others on their quest to great.

 

At the end of the day, we all need to hope for support in whatever paths we choose.  I look for and create opportunities constantly.  My mind is constantly wandering to – what’s next?  No it doesn’t need to be a career move or a relocation… maybe you want to write a book, volunteer for a particular organization, give back, travel, support your family, or learn a new hobby.

This photograph was taken by a brilliant friend of mine, Madigan Reilly.  She instructed me to create a sign that said “She…” and left the rest up to me.  It was taken at about the 6 month mark in my journey, and I’m truly impressed that the first thing I thought of was “She believed in me.”  I have a lot of wonderful women in my life and I’m truly appreciative of each and every one of them.  This charity photo shoot was my way of thanking them for building me into a passionate leader, true friend, and inspirational young woman.  At that point I truly realized how far I had come and how important it was, to not only me, but to all the wonderful people in my life, and of course the community.

I truly believe in the good and brilliance of people.

My role at Beyond Pink 2010 will be to inspire these young women to achieve great, while managing the adversities of life.

I am honored to be included in an event that truly has lasting impact on young professionals in Western Canada. ❤

“Passion and purpose go hand in hand. When you discover your purpose, you will normally find it’s something you’re tremendously passionate about.” – Steve Pavlina

what makes a top employer – part 2

On September 20th, I blogged about KPMG’s “What Makes a Top Employer” video contest.

We are now 8 days into the contest and what I can I say other than… wow!

Today we hit 1000 views and 200 views!! That means for every 5 views, I’m getting a vote – and I’d say that’s awesome odds!!

Here’s the proof:

We now have 20 days to go…  and we need to keep up the momentum.

Yesterday I tweeted that I had finally made it to 3rd place!  Yes went from 120th+ place to 3rd place in 8 days!

Anyways, the response was this:

I recognize the importance of engagement.  I know that people don’t really want to register – let alone vote daily for the next 20 days.  What are the votes I want?  I want votes from people who truly believe I’ve presented the best vision of a top employer.  I want you to engage in the goal of this competition and understand why initiatives like this have potential to change the employee-employer relationship.  I can’t promise a song and dance, but something… enticing ;) … will be posted on YouTube, Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/votejillian) and Twitter within the week.

In the meantime… I need your votes. :)

VOTE HERE

If you’re just getting started, read more about the competition here or follow my instructions on how to register here.

Thank you to all of you who are supporting me in this competition, in my career and in life.  You all mean the world. ❤

what makes a top employer

Let’s talk Twitter… my gosh, Twitter has provided me with so many opportunities since I became active in late Fall 2009.

I’ve been following @KPMG_Canada for a few weeks and on September 18th, they tweeted this:

I was immediately intrigued.  For those of you that don’t know… from January to March 2010, I competed in a national business student competition called “Focus 2040“…. the goal was to predict the future of work in 2040.  It involved various stages and in mid-March, I was invited to Ontario as one of the top 10 finalists in Canada.  Anyways, throughout the process, I did a lot of research on Generation Y and workplaces of the future.

I truly feel like I am a voice for the next generation.  I embody many characteristics of Generation Y, including the ability to thrive in a flexible work environment, a need for feedback and involvement, tech savvy skills, and of course, pro-change.  I have been in the workforce since the ripe ol’ age of 15, but have a solid 8 years of “real” work experience.  I have been working in Human Resources for the last 4 years and I have a true understanding of corporate programs and policies.

When I saw this contest my eyes lit up (as lame as that sounds) and once again I was excited about something in my life… I had found a new purpose (or maybe a distraction… regardless, I was excited!).  KPMG is the sponsor for the 2010 Canada’s Top Employers for Young People award. This year they are asking Canadian university students to share their opinion on what makes a top employer! Within 24 hours, I had my figured out what I wanted to say, created a video (ahh so many takes, a ridiculous amount of takes), edited the video, uploaded the video, and started promoting my “brand.”

From my perspective there are a ton of angles you could take on a question as large as “What makes a top employer?”  I narrowed it down to flexibility, community focused, diversity, and passion.  Flexibility revolves around the need for ‘flexible work options’ in the workplace including personal days, tele-working, and flexible start and stop times.  I discussed the concept of “work to live,” and although I didn’t touch the issue in the video, I do believe employers need to be flexible with many facets of the employee-employer relationship, including dress code and office space.  The next generation understands the importance of community work and giving back.  So many of us are blessed… blessed with family, a support system, good health, food in the fridge, a roof over our bed, and clothes on our back.  We are educated and know that we have the skills to help others.  Employers need to support their employees in giving back.  We thrive in a diverse learning environment.  Whether it be gender, ethnicity, religion, geographical location, or skillset, employees appreciate diversity in organizations.  Passion. As a young employee, I want to truly believe in my organization.  I want to see that my employer is passionate about their business, their employees, and the community.

I would have loved to talk more about management support and the need for mentorship programs, orientation, continual coaching, and performance development plans.  Or maybe the concept of socialization in the workplace and how we need to have fun and laugh.  Or respectful workplace policies and ethical treatment of employees.  At the end of the day, I only had 4 minutes. :)

I chose an angle that was different than most of my competitors.  I truly could not sit here in my living room and say that a top employer has to have competitive pay.  End of story.  That’s not it at all… Top employers have to have the whole package.  Top employers for young people need to have the whole package PLUS understand how the next generation’s needs and wants differ from the past.

Just over 14 hours ago, my submission was “approved” by the video contest representatives and made available on KPMG’s official video contest site.  I have now had 208 views and 28 votes (see note at end of post!).  208 views in one day – ahh so wonderful!!!  In less than a day, I have made it to Top 5 out of approximately 160 videos.

VOTE HERE

What’s important now is momentum… we have 28 days until the contest ends at October 18, 2010 11:59 EST[By the way, 208 views, 28 votes, 28 days… all kinda bizarre…] If 28 people vote once per day for the next 28 days, I would be at 784 votes and in 1st place [assuming everyone else stops voting for the others ;)].  I know…. in fact, I am positive that we can do better than 28 votes per day.

My call to action:

Please learn about the video contest and understand the potential impact this competition could have on your future employer. If you are a Canadian university student and under the age of 28, feel free to submit a video.

Check out my video. Just 4 minutes! It will fly by! ;) If you support my ideas and vision of top employers, please vote. You can vote every day until the contest ends (see note below on registering before your first vote).

Share share share. Please continue to spread the word about this contest and my video.

A few options:

Are you going to forget to vote? [I know… daily is a lot!!]

  • On the Facebook event, at the very bottom of the page, you can click on “export”.  Select the option to export to email.  The event will be sent to your email and you can save it as a calendar item in your Outlook.
  • I will be sending out daily reminders via the Facebook fan page.  Follow the voting progress via your Live Feed or check your fan page “Updates” via your Messages section.
  • I will tweet reminders 2 or 3 times a day on my Twitter stream.  As the Calgary election is also happening during KPMG’s voting period, the Twitter stream is busy busy… follow the hashtag #TopEmployer to catch the tweets.
  • If you want a personal text message reminder every morning. I will do that, just for you.

So why should you help me out?  Well, I can think of a thousand reasons!! :)  I am a voice of the next generation. I have committed my time to thinking about what’s important to Generation Y and making this video.  I have truly thought about what I wanted to say and that it was representative of my peers.

I know that even if I don’t win, I will have impact.  Impact and influence on both KPMG and Canada’s Top Employers.  Regardless of if we believe it or not, people listen.  KPMG created this competition for the young people.  They wanted the young people to have a voice.

This is not about the iPad or the opportunity to meet with top executives across Canada.  This contest is truly about education.  Education of employers, employees, and the community.  Education on needs, wants, and generational differences.

Together, we can all make a difference.

If you have any comments or questions, feel free to comment on this post, get in touch with me through any social networking site, or email me at jill [dot] walker [at] uleth [dot] ca.

With absolutely all my love,

Jillian Walker ❤

Note: Why is there a considerable difference in the number of views versus votes?  I’ll tell ya why… No one wants to register.  I completely understand why they don’t – it’s a pain, it’s too much work, it’s this or that.  Well, guess what? You have to register!  In order for KPMG to ensure the contest is legit, they need you to register… but the good news? You only have to register once!