It’s true that everyone has a story to tell, and the Bluetrain team is no exception. We’ve all worked some incredibly random jobs, but they have prepared us for the digital marketing world in one way or another. Here are our stories:
Bryan Smith, Mobile Trailblazer
I have had many jobs prior to starting Bluetrain, probably a dozen; however, one that stands out is the eight-month internship I did in Bucharest, Romania back in 2002. I was a member of the student organization AIESEC, which facilitated the placement with a mobile text messaging software company named One5 Corporation (no longer exists).
Definitely one of my biggest learnings from working at One5 was the fact that Europe (as well as Asia) was light-years ahead of North America in terms of mobile usage and technology. I really appreciated this quick realization as it made me immediately open to the idea that there are likely many other things that I can learn and take back from my experience.
When I look back now at how that international experience impacted who I am today, I would say the number one takeaway is dealing with “change”. There are not many more disruptive experiences in life than going across the globe to a developing country where you don’t speak the language and working every day in an office with a room full of Romanian programmers. Years later I am driven by change and fully embrace it, which is a great fit for the always evolving field of digital marketing.
Jodie Worobec, Historical Carney
One of my more unique past roles was working as a costumed interpreter at Fort Edmonton Park. In particular, I was stationed on the 1920’s midway so I was essentially a historical carney. Though in that role I got to act as a character with a backstory and a name to go along with my costume, my role was still to interact with the public and ensure they were having a positive experience in the park.
As the Director of Projects and Accounts, one of my key roles is to ensure our clients are having a positive experience with Bluetrain. One of my favourite parts of the job at Fort Edmonton Park was running tours of the hand-carved carousel and explaining the backstory behind each of the horses to guests. When I am dealing with clients at Bluetrain, I feel like I am giving clients tours sharing highlights of their advertising and analytics accounts during their monthly meetings.
Matt Brown, Clay Removal Machine
In a former life I took a crack at working in the construction business – and like most jobs, I started at the bottom. My first week on a condo project in downtown Victoria I was told I had to assist the crew that was clearing out clay in the corners of the hole we were putting the condo building into, in order to prep for the foundation that was going in. The backhoe couldn’t get into the corners very well so I was “put in charge” of the group of us that had to dig out the last of the clay manually. The process quickly uncovered the fact that shovels last all of about 3 or 4 turns when digging out wet clay before they are so filled with the sticky substance that your shovel weighs 100 pounds and no longer shovels either.
We ended up having to create teams that shovelled and teams that cleaned shovels in order to get the job done. What this taught me that applies to my job as Digital Marketing Strategist today is that there is always one tool that is the best tool for getting the job done, but with a little ingenuity you can pretty much make any tool work if you put the effort in, and plan to work smarter rather than work harder.
Terri Carlson, Forest Elf
When I moved home to Canada after 4 years living abroad in New Zealand, my kiwi boyfriend and I decided to take the summer to have a ‘once in a lifetime’ experience. I found a job opening for two backcountry park operators in Bowron Lake Provincial Park, a world-renowned Canoe Circuit that encompasses a 116 km chain of lakes, waterways and connecting portages.
The role itself involved living in a literal cabin in the middle of the woods, a 10 km hike from any civilization with no cell service, internet, or electricity. Needless to say, after 4 years of working in digital marketing, this was so far out of my comfort-zone; every day we were falling trees, building bridges, and fixing water systems – none of which I had any experience with.
Through this job I learnt that I was more than capable of learning and mastering all of these skills that were traditionally ‘male jobs’. I’ve definitely brought that to my role as Digital Marketing Specialist here at Bluetrain: if I don’t understand something at first, that’s fine, because I know that I can learn to master it.
Roxanne Bonilla, Human Flotation Device
In my previous role as a Lifeguard, I had to watch multiple bodies of water, work as a team with fellow lifesavers, rescue drowning patrons, and respond quickly to first aid incidents with a level head. Needless to say, there were often a lot of balls in the air (or water if you will).
This experience gave me many transferable skills for my role as a Digital Marketing Specialist. I work as a team with coworkers, clients, and contractors, and need to keep track of many projects at once while maintaining clear lines of communication with everyone involved. It also taught me how to pivot quickly, put out fires, and bounce back to business as usual.
Kathy Waterman, Word Condenser
Many years ago I worked in an x-ray clinic and hospital as a medical stenographer. Though that was the original position I was hired for, the environment and people I worked for were very encouraging to everyone to keep improving, not only your job skills but your personal self as well.
When I was asked to help out on a cancer research study for one of the physicians, I was very excited as not only did this allow me to be part of something important and to learn some new skills, but it also showed me that learning about new things could be very exciting!
As things change so quickly in the digital marketing field, it’s imperative that embracing new skills and learning the latest strategies is thought of as a positive, and not a negative.
Regan Lavoie, Political Party Planner
My job as a Constituency Manager for an MLA’s office gave me the opportunity to meet some amazing and passionate people. Don’t get me wrong, it also gave me experience in dealing with more difficult people as well. At the end of the day, people just want to be treated with respect and kindness.
I have learned to take the time to listen to people, to build a relationship with them and then discuss what we can do together to achieve their ideal outcome. This is something I not only use as an Account Manager but in all aspects of my life.
Dan Drammis, Adventure Know-It-All
Back in England, I graduated with a degree in Creative Advertising and Marketing and previously worked in a Digital Agency, so I had the skills and knowledge to help me fit straight into Bluetrain.
However, between these times, I travelled for two years around Australia where I worked as an Adventure Travel Specialist. This required interacting with backpackers from all different countries, dealing with the language barriers but in the end, helping to create the travel plan of their dreams.
With so many different moving pieces and locked in tour dates, here is where I truly honed confidence in my communication skills, problem-solving when a customer missed a bus to their next stop, working with unhappy customers to find the best solution for both parties. The way I see it in comparison, bringing those backpacker’s travel-dreams to life is the same as helping my clients navigate the digital landscape and in-turn, reach their marketing/business goals.
Shree Govindarajan, Retail Renegade
When I was 14, I started my very first job – working in retail at a clothing store. I was so proud of myself for making minimum wage (which, at the time, was nowhere near what the minimum is today!) and being able to afford my own clothes and hot chocolates with friends. I quickly realized that the level of work and stress that retail employees experience on a daily basis could be much greater than the reward.
While customers were at times messy and rude, there were also amazing moments where I got to help others pick out their clothes for their first day at a new school, or help find gifts to make customers’ loved ones feel special.
While retail is not a setting I would desire to be in again, it taught me a lot about customer service and the fulfillment I find in helping others. That experience helps me on a daily basis as I navigate how best to help my clients as an Account Manager.
Ciprian Rusu, Digital Wizard
Where should I start? A very long time ago, I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree from the Computer Science Faculty in Bucharest. My final project was based on online DataBases. I started to work in a Web Development department for a national distribution network company. I learnt a lot about FMCG, IT hardware, IT software, and, of course, Web Programming & Development.
Andrei Rusu, Marketing Guru
I’ve had many jobs in my past, but one of the most representative would be the assistant manager for adult professional development programs. This type of work required a lot of hours spent building a portfolio of clients for current personal development courses, as well as for future ones; establishing the online and traditional advertising plan, together with colleagues from the marketing department; sales analysis; working with lecturers of each type of course supported by our company; reservation of hotel rooms at the location where the course was held; and many more.
All of these have improved my work experience, patience, communication with clients and lecturers, performing complex analysis on the courses promoted, budget summaries, attention focused on product and customer, meeting deadlines, and more. My role at Bluetrain and my work experience lead to the accomplishment of my tasks in an efficient way.
Kim Wilson, Oil & Gas Orchestrator
Working in the Oil and Gas industry for 26+ years I wore many hats in the positions I held, including receptionist, estimating & safety secretary, office administrator, and accounting administrator.
One of the companies I worked with sent me into the field to work as a timekeeper/project accountant for shutdowns at Syncrude and Suncor. Working 14 hour days for up to 32 days in a row was tough but money was good and I enjoyed the work and the people. I learnt a lot and was even taken on a plant tour up a coker unit (did not like the temporary elevator and swaying unit due to a fear of heights). I came down from that tour with a lot of respect for those tradespeople.
Working in the oil and gas industry taught me how to handle stressful situations, remain calm, and meet deadlines. This helped me learn how to develop, streamline, and implement office and accounting procedures and policies for a couple of companies that I worked for and have brought this knowledge over to Bluetrain.