This week on the blog, I sat down to play 21 Questions with Terresa, Bluetrain’s latest team member and account manager.
Learn about Terresa’s reasons for moving to the U.K. when she was just 17 years old, about her fascinating experiences working in contextual advertising in London, New York, and Singapore, and why, after all that travelling, did she decide to come home to her Canadian roots.
DG: So, I understand you’ve lived in a lot of places, but you grew up in Edmonton, didn’t you?
DG: Which neighborhood?
TS: I grew up in the Northside.
DG: What did you love most about growing up in Edmonton?
TS: I loved that all my friends were in the same neighborhood. We would play until sunset or until my mom would do her signature whistle, our sign to go home.
DG: What words does your family usually use describe you?
TS: When I was a kid, they would call me “princess”, “stubborn”, “adventurous”, “brave”, “smart”. I was the family super geek.
DG: (Laughs) How so?
TS: Well, instead of asking for normal toys I would ask for these math sets and I would “play” school. My mom even got me a little desk so that I could make-believe I was at school.
DG: (Laughs) Wow, well that is pretty different!
DG: What did you want to be when you were a kid?
TS: I think I wanted to be either a doctor or a flight attendant. I always wanted to travel but I also really liked science and math.
DG: Good for you! Simple math still eludes me.
DG: In your bio you say that you moved to the U.K when you were only 17! What made you decide to make such a bold move at such a young age?
TS: I got my dual citizenship as soon as I graduated high school and left Canada when I was 17. It was a completely self-funded move as my mum was having a hard time letting go, but I guess I went because I wanted to get to know my family in England better. When I got there, I lived with my Uncle Richard in Bedford and we became very close. We would go to the pub together all the time and keep each other out of trouble. I also got to know my Granny really well which I feel very fortunate to be able to have done. She taught me how to bake scones from scratch and also the ‘proper way’ to drink tea.
DG: What is the English side of your family like?
TS: My family are very independent and brilliant people. They lead fairly separate lives, but they are incredibly loyal to one another and all extremely intelligent. My Uncle Richard is an agriculture importer/exporter who loves geeking out over things like potatoes and onions while my grandparents are traditional English farmers. They even have a border collie and hunting dogs.
DG: What do you love most about the U.K culture?
TS: I love how the English embrace the good things in life and how social they are; you would always meet your friends at the pub after work for a drink, it was just part of your daily routine. I liked that.
DG: From London, you went on to live and work in New York, Singapore and even Japan for a time,, is there anything specific that you learned about living and working abroad?
TS: Every culture, country, and continent has its own unique identity, and this identity inevitably trickles down into the business culture. So, I suppose I learned a lot about how to adapt to new cultures and new business customs. I also learned how to be respectful of these customs and not impose “my way” of doing things on my international co-workers.
DG: The amount of work experience you’ve amassed is impressive for someone so young. Are there any common themes or lessons that you’ve managed to take away from each job?
TS: I worked very hard and had a lot of drive to do my best in whatever role I took on, however, I would say my career progressed rapidly because of the amazing people who helped me along the way. England also helped me come outside my comfort zone and the nurturing environment I found with my family and early work experiences also helped me grow even further.
DG: So, what made you decide to come back to Edmonton and apply to Bluetrain?
TS: After MediaMath, I took a year off to travel and decompress. The truth is, my intention was to only stay in Canada for a few months to get some quality with family but then I ended up meeting a guy and falling in love—classic story, I know. I knew I wanted to continue working in media and so I applied to Bluetrain because it seemed to be the environment I was looking for: warm and supportive and yet challenging enough to keep growing.
DG: Random and obligatory question: do you play volleyball or squash? (Bryan is always looking for teammates.)
TS: I’m actually so bad at both. The games usually end with an injury or bruised ego.
DG: Do you have any bucket-list items or aspirations that you would be willing to share with us?
TS: My goal for my 30th birthday is to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. We’ve already started training and it’s over a year away. I also need to stop ignoring my Japanese lesson books. I would say my long term goal would be to start a family with Nick, not too soon! We will probably get a dog first. (Laughs)
DG: When you’re not working or solving math problems, what do you like to do in your spare time?
TS: I’m not really a homebody, so I tend to always be running around or visiting with friends or family. I used to do dragon boating in Singapore, which I loved. I’d love to find a team sport here to get involved with.
DG: What are your views on mushrooms and olives? (Our office is very divided on these two foods.)
TS: I love both of them!
DG: Darn, less for me…
DG: And if you had to choose between cupcakes and cookies, what would you choose? (Knowledge of these preferences is very important to us for birthday planning purposes.)
TS: I like cupcakes but not chocolate flavoured; nothing too exotic. I prefer vanilla or carrotcake.
DG: (Laughs) Chocolate is exotic? Okay, noted!
DG: Are there any office-related pet peeves we should know about?
TS: None! I’m pretty easy going.
DG: And lastly, if you could book a plane ticket to anywhere in the world today, where would you go?
TS: England, for sure!