I have a lot to celebrate this week friends. I’m starting a brand new job today and I’m very excited about it.
Maybe you’ve long wondered how I spend my days; you’ve pictured me slaving over a hot stove all day, shaking up craft cocktails before noon and endlessly antiquing in search of the perfect crystal-cut coupe glass. But no, those are activities I limit to evenings and weekends.
I am now the Business Development Manager at a public opinion and market research consultancy. Like many of you, my career has been pretty non-linear. I studied journalism at Carleton with a double major in women’s and gender studies. Worked as a radio journalist in Kigali, Rwanda and then pursued a master’s degree in women’s and gender studies at the University of Toronto.
When I started my graduate degree, I had two things in mind, 1) I didn’t want to jump into a terrible job market in an industry that was flailing to acclimate to the smartphone era (journalism), and, 2) maybe there would be a future for me in academia, if I chose to pursue a doctorate after my master’s.
Well, by the time I submitted my thesis, academia had lost its lustre and I moved back to Ottawa in search of a job. When I was a student at Carleton, I had worked in the Student Experience Office. Upon my return, I reconnected with my old boss and he asked me what I was doing in September. I said, “Looking for a job.” To which he replied, “I think I can help you with that.”
In all, I worked at Carleton for six years, between the Student Experience Office and Alumni Relations. During my time in Alumni Relations, I developed a mentorship program that paired established alumni with upper-year undergraduates and recent grads. The program was tremendously successful. The part of the work I enjoyed most was getting to know the alumni volunteers and student participants. The program allowed me to build relationships with movers and shakers across industry, business, government and politics in Ottawa.
When I left Carleton, many of the alumni who I’d connected with were keen to help me take the next step in my career journey. Through networking, I landed a job as an account manager at a local tile store. I was eager to dip my toe into the private sector and see if the skills I’d developed in relationship management would serve me well in this new context in a whole new industry.
It was a steep learning curve at first, I now know more about tile than I ever thought possible, but once I settled into the role and the new work environment, I started to make some real headway. It was a tremendous growth opportunity for me, both personally and professionally.
Ultimately, my new gig presented itself thanks to a connection I’d made during my time in Alumni Relations at Carleton. I’m deeply passionate about the nature of work I’ll be doing and the core mandate of my new firm – we help businesses and organizations adapt to the unprecedented challenge of generational change and technological disruption.
Whenever new grads ask me how to get a job in their desired field, or a job at all, the first piece of advice I give is to network, network, network. I cannot overstate the value of getting to know people – attend events, connect on LinkedIn and reach out directly to anyone you look up to and ask them for coffee.
I went to Gezellig for lunch with my Dad last week to celebrate my new job. I was served by Sarah, who I think is one of the absolute best servers in Ottawa and beyond. My friend Julia and I used to lunch at Gezellig regularly when we worked together in 2013/14 and got to know Sarah well.
I told her my news of my new job and some other exciting developments I’ll share with all of you soon. As I was preparing to leave, Sarah presented me with this beautiful bottle of Blanc de Beckta sparkling wine to toast my recent success. They signed the label, “Congratulations! From your friends at Gezellig.”
I’d just like to say that Sarah and the whole team at Gezellig and the other restaurants in the Beckta family, have a firm grasp on what hospitality looks like. This gesture meant so much to me and made me feel truly cared for.
Another example of their unparalleled service came when I went to to Play for Mother’s Day. My parents and I all ordered the steak frites. We had an early 5:30 reservation and ordered promptly upon arrival (mainly because I was feeling HANGRY). In spite of being some of the only guests in the restaurant at that hour, our steaks took about 15 minutes longer to arrive than we would have liked. Without prompting, upon dropping the steaks at our table our server apologized and told us she would be taking the steaks off the bill – ALL OF THEM! That is truly phenomenal service and far surpassed our expectations, ensuring that we will continue to be regulars at the Beckta family of restaurants.
So, I’ve used the Blanc de Beckta in this Apple Sparkler cocktail and would like to raise a glass to Sarah and the whole team at Gezellig and the other members of the Beckta group of restaurants who go above and beyond. This sparkling wine cocktail celebrates the first taste of fall with apple cider, Calvados, brandy and a touch of vanilla in the form of Galliano. It has a beautiful nose and pleasant apple flavour. The garnish will put your apple-picking haul to good use – watch this YouTube instructional video if you want to recreate this leaf-like topper.
- 1 oz apple cider
- ½ oz Calvados
- ¼ oz brandy
- ¼ oz Galliano vanilla liqueur
- sparkling wine
In a glass, mix apple cider, Calvados, brandy and Galliano.
Pour into a champagne flute and top with sparkling wine.
Garnish with an apple slice.