Millennials Meet Executives: Focus on the Journey Rather than the Destination
For the past three years, BWT has hosted its annual event, Millennials Meet Executives (MME). This event allows successful leaders to share their career journeys and learning outcomes to new professionals looking to start their careers. This year, BWT’s third annual MME event was hosted at BC Hydro in Vancouver. With our largest audience turnout to date, attendees filled the venue from SFU, UBC, BCIT, BC Hydro, SAP, TELUS, Vancity, and McCarthy Tetrault.
As everyone settled into their seats, a sense of eagerness filled the air. Stephanie Redivo, the MC, entered the stage and introduced this year’s panelists which included Brad Bushell from SAP, Debra Finlay from McCarthy Tetrault, Kirsten Peck from BC Hydro, and Wade Domries from TELUS.
The first keynote speaker to take the stage was Brad Bushell, VP of SAP Hybris Expert Services—Americas at SAP Hybrids. Brad has had a diverse career journey. After obtaining an English Degree, Brad moved from pursuing exploration mining, to working in a restaurant that was illegally laundering money, and now to succeeding in the tech industry. How did an English degree student end up in such different career industries?
This leads to Brad’s main takeaway message, which is that your university degree does not define you but rather teaches you to learn. Do not let your field of expertise define your career path. Instead, Brad urges everyone to embrace change within your career journey.
The next keynote speaker was Debra Finlay, Partner LLP at McCarthy Tetrault. Debra emphasized the importance of mentorship and sponsorship. Recollecting on her career path, Debra largely attributes her career success to her mentors and sponsors. Building a trusted network of advisees will provide you with effective feedback and in turn help you become more self-aware. By being more self-aware, Debra learned to leverage her strengths, which has overall led to her career success.
Another key factor that led to Debra’s success was gaining a thorough understanding of her company. Once you can fully understand your business’ objectives, then you can recognize how you can be an asset by aligning your skills to the company’s objectives.
Kirsten Peck, the General Manager of Engineering at BC Hydro, was the next keynote speaker to share her inspiring career journey. Often, we associate leaders as being extroverted. However, Kirsten dissolved this common belief by talking about her leadership journey as an introvert.
As an introvert, Kirsten never imagined possessing leadership skills. However, after undergoing a new career path and personal experiences, Kirsten discovered that she had the skillset to be a leader. Kirsten’s advice to millennials is to let nature run its course. It is impossible to fully plan your career path. Instead of focusing on a linear career path, you should embrace new and diverse opportunities. These diverse opportunities can help you discover new skills in which will naturally help guide your career journey.
Wade Domries, the VP of Total Rewards at TELUS, was the last speaker to take the stage. Wade had an interesting career journey as he joined TELUS before mobile phones were mainstream. This experience resulted in Wade learning that it is critical to take risks. Taking risks can be quite scary, which is why Wade recommends also establishing a network. By developing a network, you can rely on these trusted advisees as a resource for guidance and decision-making.
Once the panelists finished sharing their incredible career journeys, the MC Stephanie turned to the audience for questions. During the question period, a variety of topics were covered such as developing self-awareness, gaining technical and non-technical skills, and building a network.
Towards the end of the Q&A period, one of the most memorable parts of the night occurred. This is when Brad Bushell shared his last piece of advice. Brad stated that we should not solely focus on where we are heading, but rather on our surroundings and what those surroundings can offer us. This quote perfectly summarizes the overarching theme of the night, which was focus on the journey rather than the destination.
As the night ended, the venue was still filled with chatter and laughter. People were enjoying each other’s company as they networked and munched on delicious snacks.
Lastly, this event could not have been a success without the support of the panelists, attendees, and volunteers. We look forward to hosting next year’s Millennials Meet Executives!
We would like to thank all of you who have made this event a success.