Eli Chan at JDC

Written by Sandra Lee

Scouts do things in the community. Some of these things lie outside of scouting itself. Many of the blog posts that have been written so far generally fall within a similar theme, where experiences you gain from being a Rover Scout can positively affect your personal and professional life. Sometimes, it can be the other way around. When you’ve been in Scouts for long enough, and after you’ve found your place within the Rover Crew, a lot of what happens in other facets of your life will in turn affect how you are as a Rover Scout and how you do Scouting.

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I think Eli, who has been our president for the last year and will continue to be President for the next, is one of those special Rovers in our Rover Crew, It wasn’t just her experiences that helped her win a major competition and secure a job with Mercer, a top HR consulting firm. It was her passion, which she got to know through Scouting, that led her team to win the JDC West Competition, held in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan earlier this year.

Jeux du Commerce West, or JDC West, is an annual business competition featuring the top business schools and students from across Western Canada. It is also the largest undergraduate business competition in this part of the country. Through recommendations given by the co-op faculty at the University of British Columbia, Eli was targeted specifically to compete for her school, the Sauder School of Business. Her team specialized in non-profit business strategies and during the competition, they were given the challenge to create a funding solution for a non-for-profit business organization that provided computing/coding programs for youth with autism.

To sum:

It is common for non-profit startups to have a lack of funding. The CEO in the given business case was looking for a way to create a social enterprise that would allow generated funds to go back into the business. The solution was not to only grow the business, but also to fulfill concerns surrounding social, environmental, and economical aspects. Using their own knowledge and experiences, Eli’s team created a unique solution that was not provided in the case, and separated the team from the other competing business schools. What Eli specifically used was her experience as the president of the Rover Crew to identify challenges in a growing organization, much like the Rover Crew, in order to propose a business strategy in the current environment of advanced technology that maximized the utilization of the business’s limited resources. By setting themselves apart with their solution of an online educational platform that could provide quality services to youth with autism across the country, her team won 3rd place in the non-for-profit discipline of the competition. This helped her school win the most prestigious award – much like the Grammy Award, but in the business world – the School of the Year Cup 2016.  

In an interview I conducted, I asked her to share her experiences in competing at JDC West.

My team consisted of very different personality types and working styles. It took me some time to adapt to how they think, especially when we’re all in such a high stress level. It was challenging to work well right from the beginning during our limited 3-hour period given to analyze and solve the case. It took us a while for us to talk it out and understand how we work.

It takes time for people to accept how quiet Eli can be. Eli likes to think to herself before speaking out to her teammates, and I can speak from personal experience that others can be a bit impatient with our long, but detailed brainstorm.

However, because of how different we are, we were able to offer different perspectives. This eventually became an advantage and allowed us to succeed in analyzing the case on a much deeper level and we were then able to propose an effective and attractive recommendation that considered all these different angles.

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What are some other lessons you can share with our readers?

Despite how difficult and overwhelming something can be from the start, don’t give up no matter what, because it is totally doable. Juggling Scouts, school, my job, and this competition, it reminded me the importance of time management. Otherwise, it would be too easy to get overwhelmed. This is really another lesson on perseverance.

Another lesson I took was that cohesiveness is key. The solution that my competition team proposed was definitely out-of-the-box and risky, and we recognized that we would either lose the competition or blow the competition out of the water. But as a team, we all agreed  with what we came up with and we would 100% support and back our solution on stage in front of the panel of judges, no matter what.

In the Rover Crew, throughout the 6 months that this competition had reserved, my executive team was truly understanding and they supported me. During our executive team meetings, there were times where we struggled as a team with our differences in opinions, but with the respect we have for each other, we have been able to arrive to many executive decisions that positively impacted the Crew at large. The most important takeaway was that these were decisions made by the executive team, and each one of us become advocates of these decisions in front of the Crew. I truly appreciate the support that I have received from my team during the time I was competing, and I am looking forward to bringing my experiences and knowledge gained back to the Rover Crew.

Is this competition related to your mission as President?

Yes. At the end of the day, I want people to feel empowered from doing something meaningful with what can we do for the community either in or outside of Scouting.

I want to help them pave that path towards finding opportunities, not just through me and the executive team. I want Rovers to feel empowered by themselves that they can achieve their own possibilities. I will spend time in the next year to create a program for the Rovers that clearly illustrates their next course of action. This program will help them pave their own paths and get involved in different opportunities within the Rover Crew, but most importantly, get them one step closer to realizing their individual potential.

After some long talks with Eli, I got to know her a little better and see some of the brilliant ideas she has that can definitely benefit and transform our Rover Crew. I think that we’re really lucky to have her as our leader. Know that she is quiet, but she is eager to share her vision with the Rovers’ best interests in mind.

 

Just say hi. She’s such a wonderful person.

Mostafa Nejati

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