Becoming a Director at BCLC – "You can NEVER stop learning"

Interviewed by: Carol Chan 

Recently, one of our advisors, Abby, got promoted to Director, Financial Planning and Analysis at the BC Lottery Corporation (BCLC), which ranked #18 on the 2015 list of Top 100 Companies in B.C. (as ranked by BC Business). To learn more about her experience and about how she advanced to her current position, we interviewed her! We hope that you’ll feel as inspired and invigorated as we did after hearing about her journey.

 

Can you provide me with a quick background about your position at work and what you do?

At BCLC, I am the Director of Financial Planning and Analysis. I am responsible for revenue and net income forecasting, budgeting, and financial analysis for business initiatives. To help me do this, I have a team of over 20 designated professionals. I couldn’t do my job without them!

 

How have your experiences in the 180th Pacific Coast Scout Group helped you in your career?

I previously worked at KPMG LLP, one of the largest professional accounting firms in Canada. In a professional accounting firm, the work is very project-based, task-focused, and results-driven.  KPMG LLP was the first company I worked at following university graduation, and I spent almost seven years there, starting at a staff level, and advancing to a senior manager level. As a result, I was able to build a strong reputation within the firm since I was a staff. In contrast, at BCLC, I was hired at a manager level to support an operational business unit, and needed to build a positive reputation for myself from Day One if I was going to be able to succeed in my role in providing financial analysis for business initiatives. I had solid technical skills, but the extent of skills I needed in building relationships, communicating with the Executive level, and managing change came as a bit of a surprise to me. Fortunately, being a Rover, and then an Advisor, in the 180th Pacific Coast Scout Group has taught me how to manage, lead, and communicate effectively with many different types of people. I was able to adapt to the shift in management styles by applying what I learnt from my years in Scouting.

 

Do you have any tips for current Rovers when talking to interviewers about Scouting? How can you impress interviewers with what you’ve done in the 180th Pacific Coast Scout Group?

I would start with what Scouting means to you and why you’re involved. A lot of organizations are now looking for personalities and values that fit with the culture in their company, and the focus that the 180th Pacific Coast Scout Group (and Scouting in general) has on continuous personal development, learning, and contributing to the community are areas that are common to many companies out there. Then, draw examples from what you’ve done in the 180th Pacific Coast Scout Group and link them to the responsibilities and skillsets required in the role you are applying for. The 180th Pacific Coast Scout Group offers many opportunities for youth aged 18-26 to be project managers and people managers at a far earlier age than typical in an organization. Take advantage of these opportunities, learn from them, and then show the interviewers how you are able to take these skillsets that you have learned and apply them in the workplace.

 

Were there any times when you felt lost in your career? How did you find your direction again?

Yes, definitely – and it’s totally normal! I have been very fortunate to advance as far as I have in my career. I never thought that at age 30, I would be contributing as part of the senior leadership team in one of BC’s top 20 companies. When I first started university, I wanted to be a commercial lawyer! Somehow I found my way into accounting and finance, and earning a CPA, CA, and CFA designations.  Along the way, I often asked myself, “Am I headed in the right direction in my career? Is this my passion?” I found my direction in taking chances – taking opportunities, continually learning, and seeking my own personal development. I don’t know where this will all lead me, but I do know that I am still learning and still challenged, and just those two facts will open up more opportunities down the road.

For all the Rovers in the 180th Pacific Coast Scout Group, my advice would be to adopt a learning behavior. The key is to want to learn and incrementally improve upon yourself to become a better writer, speaker, presenter, or whatever it is that you want to get better at! Feeling lost in your career direction is something that a lot of people face, but if you focus on wanting to learn and improve, and take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves, whether in Scouting or elsewhere, then eventually you’ll find your way again.

 

What is some advice you can give to Rovers who are still trying to find their sweet spot in the 180th Pacific Coast Scout Group?

Put yourself out there a little bit to learn more. Challenge yourself to find something that you’re interested in. The great thing about Scouting, and the 180th Pacific Coast Scout Group in particular, is that you can create your own opportunities. If you don’t find something you’re interested in, then identify what it is that you’d like to learn, and chart your own learning path! As long as it is within the vision, mission, and strategic plan of the Group, Scouting is all about learning by doing. All Rovers need to take responsibility for their own learning. Explore a bit and find different paths. You might find something you didn’t know you wanted to learn, and end up pursuing it. As long as you’re learning and having fun, you’re getting something valuable out of your time with the 180th Pacific Coast Scout Group.

 

If you look back to the person you were when you first joined the 180th Pacific Coast Scout Group, what do you see? What things do you do now that you would’ve never done then?

When I joined the 180th Pacific Coast Scout Group back in 2011, there were approximately 50 Rovers, and we were structured quite differently then than we are now, with 150 Rovers. The opportunities now for Rovers to take on project manager and people manager roles are incredible, and there’s something for everyone, as long as you want it. Through the experiences that I’ve had in Scouting, I’ve become a more confident leader with the understanding that there’s still so much more to learn. Even as an advisor, I’m constantly learning, and the friendships and experiences that I gain help shape who I am personally and professionally.

 

What are the most valuable lesson(s) that Scouting has taught you? How do these lessons change your perspective on the world?

The most valuable lesson that Scouting has taught me is: You can never stop learning –

Even when you’re old like Scouter John [laughs]. He’s still learning even though he’s retired. Professionally, he was a vice-president for an international consulting company, but now? He’s our head advisor. And he admits he’s still learning, which goes to show that you’re never done with personal development.

Perhaps when you’re a young Rover, you feel like you can do it all. You’re always in a rush to get to the next stage. However, it’s important to take a step back, and take a look at where you’ve come from, and what else you need to get to the next stage – and not only get there, but be successful there! I realized that it doesn’t matter how old I am or how far I am in my career – There are always opportunities to improve upon myself. Actually, I think Scouter John’s famous quote about membership also applies to personal development: If you don’t keep growing, you start dying.

 

If you were to re-do your years in the crew as a Rover, is there anything you would have done differently?

I joined the 180th Pacific Coast Scout Group when I was 26, so I only had one year as a Rover in the program. If I had the opportunity, I would’ve joined when I was younger, to have more years as a Rover. The people who are joining now at the 19-20 age range have so many opportunities. While it may feel like a long time to be a Rover, it’s about finding new ways to challenge yourself to conquer your fears and improve upon your weaknesses. The 180th Pacific Scout Group offers many doors – each door you open can lead to something great if you commit to learning  and putting the effort into it.

Carol Chan

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