2017 was a hard year for me, my career as an athlete, and my ability to belief in myself. Through it all, I found the courage to separate myself from my expectations and ambitions of becoming a decorated kayak paddler on the international stage. My story as an athlete was not one of world records and Olympic rings, but that’s OK.
Through Game Plan, I saw an opportunity at the LinkedIn office in Toronto. With the help of Rolf Wagschal, I updated my resume, wrote a cover letter, and applied. I realized quickly that being a part of Gameplan is not a consolation prize, but about learning to redirect my talents as an athlete into the workplace. In the interview, I met Perry Monaco, Marie-Anne LaPlante and Amanda Irwin, members of the customer success team I would be shadowing. They asked about my greatest successes as an athlete, how I overcame obstacles in the past, and what my favourite movie is. I guess they must have liked Walle as much as me because a couple weeks later I received a call from Perry with some good news.
On my first day, I met the rest of the customer success team and I quickly learned that there isn’t a “one size fits all” atmosphere in the technology industry. Perry gave me an hour of his time to explain the products that LinkedIn offers and the role of customer success in preventing “Churn”. In short, Perry and his team “coach” companies to achieve their hiring and marketing goals with LinkedIn products. Companies that meet their goals are more likely to renew and grow their subscriptions. Over the next month, I would observe team meetings, 1-on-1’s with managers, and interactions with clients. All of it changed my perception of working at a social network and opened my eyes to a variety of potential roles I could see myself fitting into.
In regard to the catered lunches, they are fantastic. LinkedIn goes above and beyond to cater to the inner foodie of its employees. The athlete in me didn’t stand a chance. I learned the hard way that you shouldn’t eat an entire turkey leg for lunch and expect to stay awake.
I’d like to thank Marie-Anne, Amanda, Jon, Andrea, Ismaëll, and Perry for making this experience possible. My transition from sport to the real world will not be the end of ambitiously pursuing goals. I will carry this experience forwards as I pursue my dream job, whatever and wherever it may be. If there are any athletes, at any level, that want to know more about my experience, feel free to reach out to me. We’re all on the same team.