Read Part 1: Alison Spitzer, CA, Makes Consumers Into World Changers
How did you get the job at Me to We?
volunteered at We Day in 2010 with KPMG! I was volunteering on-site with the Director of HR for Free the Children and Me to We and before the event started she took the opportunity to have “a conversation” or informal interview. I believe that everything can be an interview and you need to be ready to market yourself at any time. I actually did some preparation beforehand so that if the opportunity came around, I was going to be ready.
I believe that everything can be an interview and you need to be ready to market yourself at any time.
How does your current job challenge you?
The pace is the biggest challenge. There is no time to stop and collect yourself when it is growing this quickly – the excitement is there and the challenge is keeping up. I would also say that I have had to learn a lot about new subjects like “student group travel.”
What was the most surprising thing about working for Me to We?
There are a number of things that surprise me about working for Me to We. I am at nearly the one year mark and I love going to work – that surprises me. Who loves going to work?! The speed at which the organization moves and innovates never ceases to amaze me. I have never seen anything like this and it feels like a start-up technology firm. The people are impressive. The other employees at Me to We are very strong, very smart and they are so capable for their age level and experience. I think they are why I love coming to work so much. Fundamentally, the business sense is there and everyone intrinsically wants to do well at the team and organization level. You cannot thrive as an island – the name of the game is collaboration.
Who loves going to work?! The speed at which the organization moves and innovates never ceases to amaze me. I have never seen anything like this and it feels like a start-up technology firm.
You seem to be transitioning away from finance and accounting – what do you think of the move you’ve made?
There is a huge myth that CA’s are meant to move into something like financial reporting or internal auditing. The reality is that I use my training to do something broader – I help manage and aggressively grow a fantastic business. I document our procedures, think about financial controls and then I turn around and step into a negotiation with some of our strategic partners. One great thing that KPMG and the CA designation gave me is the awareness that comes with developing and understanding the numbers behind the decision. I think that is a skill that I employ every day when I am doing any analysis. When I first started reporting to my boss she was taken aback with the depth of the analysis I was developing and I wouldn’t have that skill without my auditing days.
One great thing that KPMG and the CA designation gave me is the awareness that comes with developing and understanding the numbers behind the decision.
What 3 things should people think about before taking a job in social enterprise?
a) Make sure you have an understanding of the culture you work best in. Some organizations have a reputation for being slow moving and not challenging and I would say that is not always necessarily the case, so clearly define what culture you want for yourself.
b) Obviously the pay can be considerably less although some organizations pay well. You need to make sure that you don’t expect to walk into a high paying job. I took a pay cut and I made sure that I took the necessary steps to prepare myself for that.
c) Believe that your dream job is attainable and be prepared to work hard and fight for it. So many people exist in jobs that make them unhappy, but pay them well. Identify where you want to be and how to get there.
Any recommended reading?
There’s a book called |Now What?: The young persons guide to choosing the perfect career” by Nicholas Lorne that inspired me. It speaks to people who have come out of school, taken their first job and are still looking for something more. I was that person and it empowered me to embrace the challenge of chasing my dream job.
So are you going to grow your team this year?
Absolutely, we are hiring right now and are always looking for incredible people.
I have to confess that I found talking to Alison Spitzer energizing and inspiring. She understands her core values, and has taken some time to define what it is she wants. It is not that things have come easily to her. On the contrary, Alison pursues her goals relentlessly and so far has been successful in channelling that drive and determination into shaping a fulfilling and rewarding life