james

Q1. 

What program were you in?

I was in the Computer Information Systems Co-op Diploma Program.

Q2. 

Where did you have your co-op work placement?

My placement was at Western Economic Diversification Canada, which is a government organization. I was a network administrator from May 1997 to December 1997. It was my first job and I learned a lot about professionalism in the workplace. I also learned a lot about how to communicate and build relationships with colleagues.

Q3. 

What is the biggest takeaway from your co-op experience?
The entire reason I decided to go to Langara was because of co-op. I thought it would be ludacris to complete four years of schooling before working in the field. So, I got myself into the industry as soon as I could, which was after my first two terms. It really opened up a world of opportunities for me. It helped me make important decisions about whether or not I wanted to continue my diploma. Going through co-op, the experience I received, and the people I was able to interact with is what ultimately pushed me to finish my degree. I recognized that just having a diploma wasn’t enough and I really wanted to be at the top. I didn’t just get that through school; I got that through co-op.

Q4. 

What work are you doing now?

I’m the Vice-President of Strategy, Corporate Development, and Software Development at Active Network and have been an employee with the Company since 2002. 

Q5. 

How did your co-op jobs prepare you for the work that you’re doing now?

My co-op placement really taught me about the importance of communicating, being present, and building relationships in your industry.

Q6. 

Looking forward, where would you like your career to go?

I’ve been in the technology field for a number of years and I’ve had a number of senior roles. I enjoy the sport of business. I enjoy leadership and mentoring others. For me it’s not necessarily where I see my career going. It’s more about how I want to spend my day and who I want to spend my day with. I want to work with smart people - inspiring people. I want to be able to create opportunities for the organizations I work with. I want to do something that’s far bigger than a product or a service.

I’m from a generation where the perception was that there’s a formula for success and I believe that we’re seeing a shift away from that with the next generation coming into the workforce. I think it will be critical to harnessing people’s passion and the companies that can do that are going to be the ones that succeed. 

Q7. 

What would you say to someone who asks you about co-op?

Co-op can provide you with a tremendous amount of opportunity including the chance to start working in the real world. This experience is vital in helping you to make better decisions for your career. Especially when you’re starting off in your career and looking at different jobs, I wouldn’t examine the specific job, I would think about the company. Be aggressive, take risks, and know why you’re doing certain things. Be open to mentorship. I was lucky enough to have great mentors throughout my career. Always fight above your rate class and always do more. Always take on more than you think you can do and if more opportunities come your way, take them. The reality is that there are no short cuts and you have to work hard.