opportunity

We’re 9 days into the new year… and I haven’t blogged! What is wrong with me?!

The good news? I’ve been having some necessary *me* time. I have been getting sleep, going to yoga, and putting some serious thought into what’s in store for 2011.

I was very happy to close the door on 2010 and start a new chapter with the new year.  During the last week of December, my intentions were to reflect on the year, write my new goals, make my dream board, and start the new year organized. Well… that hasn’t exactly happened.

Life has been full tilt. I was given the opportunity to go on a new project at work and started three days before Christmas. With a new role comes a whole load of learning – and it didn’t help matters that I booked off three weeks of vacation within my first month of work! The good news though? I am doing employee engagement every day, all day – and I absolutely love it.

In addition to starting the new role, I’ve got a bit of my social life back. In December I finished 7 years of university. Yes, SEVEN. I have been going to uni full-time nights and weekends; it took a wicked amount of time away from my friends. I’ve been taking the last few weeks to reconnect with friends and meet some fabulous new people. Immersing myself back in the social environment (which is totally my scene), just showed me how much I missed it.

I have met some excellent HR contacts (and friends) over the past few weeks.  They ooze with passion and dedication towards the profession – and two ladies that I couldn’t be more proud of. I also recently tweeted that I was overwhelmed by web design and how to create a website. Well I was blessed to have a friend of a friend respond to my plea for help and he’s supporting me through the process. Hopefully by late Spring I’ll have a new site up!

I feel as though my life has been disorganized for months, if not the whole past year. I spent this past weekend cleaning my house, organizing my life, and trying to get things sorted. I had a massive stack of unread mail, ridiculous amounts of business cards to look through, textbooks to sell, and laundry up the ying. I have been procrastinating so many tasks for months… putting them at the bottom of the list of priorities. Yet, since completing everything I’ve putting off, I feel at peace. Funny how that works. ;)

This week is going to be busy, but I feel prepared to take it on. In four days I leave for Toronto.  KPMG is flying me out east to meet with the CEO’s and Executives from the “Top Employer” competition this Fall.  On January 18th, I’ll be meeting be the CEO/President’s of Starbucks, GAP Adventures, Steamwhistle Brewery, and KPMG (meeting with Rogers CEO is on January 10th via tele-conference). The other days that I am in Toronto will be spent meeting with various Executives at other companies, people I respect & admire, and catching up with a few friends.  I’ll be running from coffee date to meeting to lunch date to meeting to meeting to dinner date to – hopefully, a glass of wine. :)

I then fly from Toronto to Belize for a little more *me* time.  2010 was honestly a very overwhelming year.  There was absolutely great success and massive achievements, but also a few major rock bottom moments. I want to get 2011 started off on the right track. In order to do that, I need some time with my mind. I will be spending 2 weeks in the sunshine – sunbathing, swimming, reading, and living freely. I am looking forward to the opportunity to both disconnect and reflect.

From a blogging standpoint, stay tuned for:

  • My reflection on 2010
  • 2011 goals & dream board
  • “Top Employer” experience
  • Trip to Belize

I’ll leave you with this…

Someone recently asked me what were my expectations of my trip to Toronto and the “Top Employer” experience. All I said was… “opportunity.” I honestly threw together a video, uploaded it onto the Top Employer site, and never thought for a moment that I would win. Yes, I was confident with my response and stood behind it proudly.  To me though, my opinion on the workplace of today  is the same response I’ve had for years. It wasn’t special, unique, or an idea that I had been brewing for months.

Tomorrow is my first “Top Employer” meeting and guess what? I’m nervous. I think I find it odd that these executives would want to meet me and/or have any interest in what I have to say. I mean… I am pretty cool ;) but seriously – why? [Rhetorical]. :P I’m looking forward to participating in this experience. It is absolutely once in a lifetime, and I’m prepared to learn a massive amount.

I hope that you have had a chance to think about how you want your 2011 to look. Always remember – you can achieve anything you set your mind to.

With all my love. xo

PS – A few questions I have recently been asked….

1) Are you going to wear a suit to the CEO meetings? No.

2) Are you going to ask them for a job? No.

3) Are you going to ask them to give me a job? No.

4) Are you going to ask Starbucks about their new “branding” or Rogers about their cellular service? No.

If you have any other questions about the experience or the meetings just let me know. ;)

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:

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:

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

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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. ❤

international travel adventures part 1 – flying

There has been a lot of excitement building up to today…! Today I am en route to JCI World Congress in Osaka, Japan.  Weeeee!! There has been a lot of build up to today – in fact, I have been thinking about today for the past year.  Last year, I attended the JCI World Congress in Tunisia, Africa.  At the conference, I won the Most Outstanding First Timers Award – apparently I displayed superstar performance for the duration of the conference. :) With the award, I won my registration paid for the 2010 conference in Osaka.  The free registration coupled with funding from JCI Calgary made coming to another congress irresistible!

November 2009 - Awards Ceremony

A few weeks ago I booked the last few details and got all sorted to go – AND now… I am soo excited!! We have 9 members coming from JCI Calgary with a total of 23 members from JCI Canada. 12,000+ people are expected at the conference.  I will be gone for a total of 12 days, spending the majority of my time in Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto.

My “day” actually started on Thursday morning at 7am.  I had zero sleep last night as I had so much to do with uni, work, packing, and an early 5am departure to the Calgary airport.

 

12 days: 2 full suitcases, a laptop, and a purse

5:15am to 6:45am – This was definitely the most stressful part of my day… I arrived at the United check-in to be greeted by hundreds of people confused over baggage tags.  The staff were less than helpful while everyone scrambled.  Finally someone said “Anyone on the 7am to SFO”… well lookie, we all were!  We were rushed through baggage (without having our bags weighed please note!!) and into the US customs line.  It’s about 6:20am now and the line is 1.5 hours line.  They make us wait in it for 20 mins before pulling us out and moving us to the front of customs.  We get through customs to wait in the security line – of which, we wait, we wait, we wait, and finally at 6:50am, we arrive at our gate.  5 minutes before the plane pushes back.  They advise the whack of us that our bags might not meet us at our destination.

6:55am – My flight left Calgary for San Francisco – and I slept the entire flight… I was upgraded to an “Economy Plus” due to no availability in Economy… shame. :)

9:30am – I arrived in San Francisco for a three hour layover.  I had scheduled lots of time on my layover knowing that 1) I was flying United, and 2) I wanted my bags to arrive in Tokyo.  The morning was spent using Wi-Fi and working on homework.

12:15pm – I relocate over to my gate to wait for the boarding call… AND then…

12:29pm – I received an email from KPMG indicating that I had won their “What Makes a Top Employer” contest!!! As I’m trying not to shriek in the airport, I’m [kind of] delighted to hear that… [separate blog post to come on Top Employer results] ……………

12:30pm – We get the boarding call for the flight to Tokyo… AND we’re delayed! Typhoon Chaba is roaming on the east coast waters of Japan and for now we’re going no where.  We we’re supposed to depart at 1:10pm, and they have delayed us until at least 3:20pm.

It’s now 2:30pm and United has advise that we should be boarding soon.  I am giddy with excitement over winning the contest and completely distracted from working on my “Strategic Transformation” project for Policy & Strategy class.  Once I get on the plane, the journey to Narita Airport in Tokyo takes about 10 hours.  Erik is supposed to be meeting me around 4:30pm Japan Time… but uh now I’m behind.  Hopefully he waits for me!!

Tonight will be exhausting – but Erik & I plan to meet up with Marta for dinner.  Marta is from JCI Poland and an absolutely fabulous gal I met at JCI World Congress last year.  If all goes as planned, we’re all in Tokyo seeing the sights for the next few days, then will relocate to Osaka on Monday for the conference.

Today’s blog post was rather chronological, but I promise posts to come will be very exciting!

With love, XO.

PS – Eeeeeek I WON!!! :D

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:

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. ❤

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!