Absolutely. I began my career working as a political advisor for the federal Minister of Finance in Canada. I loved that first job for the same reason that I loved my time at BCG afterward. I was doing strategic and impactful work that was top of mind for key constituents; first, for the general Canadian population, and second, for BCG’s top financial sector clients in Canada.
These initial roles taught me the importance of conducting thorough analysis, generating actionable insights, keeping the big picture in mind, and communicating succinctly and clearly with a broad set of stakeholders.
The foundational skill set that I developed while at BCG was instrumental to my career success afterward. It also gave me the desire to keep seeking roles where I could adopt a global perspective and have a meaningful impact.
When I joined BCG in 2010 at age 27, it was the first time in my life that I chose to be openly out as a gay man in the workplace, thanks to wonderful colleagues, a truly inclusive culture, and the company’s LGBT Network (now Pride@BCG).
One of my first questions when I joined Manulife in 2012 was, “Where can I find the gay group?” It turns out the company didn’t have one, and I decided that had to change. I spoke with a few other guys, created a slide deck, and asked for a meeting with the global CEO at the time, Donald Guloien, who turned out to be our biggest advocate. Everything snowballed from there, and in retrospect, I believe that it marked the start of a broader multi-year culture change in the company that resulted in less stigma, more openness, greater engagement, and heightened inclusion. It just became a happier place overall.
In the decade to come, my sincere hope is that Western-based multinational corporations take on a more active role in creating equally inclusive work environments across their entire global footprint, even when there is a risk that it may negatively impact the business in certain countries. By doing so, they will help create safe spaces for so many people who live in societies that may otherwise be hostile to who they are.
Consciously or unconsciously, most of us make a trade-off between time and money. We give up free time by working so that we can earn income and pay for our lives. But are we giving up too much time? Do we need as much money? It is a tricky trade-off to make because valuing time in dollar terms is a hard, subjective task. I decided to experience what it would be like to trade in some of that hard-earned money in exchange for time! I used the time to travel across ten countries in Asia and Europe, read a lot of books, and caught up with family and friends (old and new!) along the way.
There is stigma around sabbatical breaks, so it required some courage, but it was a really positive experience. I will never regret the decision. When it was time to come back to work a few months ago, I was filled with fun memories, as well as renewed energy and new perspectives. And by then, I had had all the time off I wanted, and I was eager to be busy again!
Purpose. It’s all about purpose. Yes, I have a deep interest in the asset management space and I am excited to work for one of the world’s largest institutional asset managers based right here in Canada. But the reason I chose this organization specifically is because our single purpose is essentially to help secure sustainable, basic retirement income for generations of Canadians. It feels nice to work toward something that helps others.