Students and grads today are so much more than 9 to 5 workers. They’re socially aware, looking for opportunities to make a positive impact on their communities. Employers are taking notice of this trend – and Bell is a great example. Their employees have amazing opportunities to participate in their national campaigns.
As part of her Graduate Leadership Program, Olivia Stille took part in Clara’s Big Ride – a highlight event of Bell’s Let’s Talk campaign for mental health awareness. In the spring of 2014, she joined a team that followed six-time Olympic medalist Clara Hughes across Canada for 110 days, working behind the scenes to ensure the journey went off without a hitch.
A once-in-a-lifetime experience
Like many fresh graduates, Olivia was looking for a career opportunity that would help her with her professional development. When she applied for the Graduate Leadership Program, she already knew about Bell’s Let’s Talk program, but she had no way of knowing that she’d be involved with one of the campaign’s biggest undertakings.
“I thought it was awesome how they highlighted the Let’s Talk program as part of their campus promotion,” says Olivia. “But Clara’s Big Ride was a one-time thing. I ended up applying for my third rotation because I was drawn to the unique opportunity.”
After completing her first two business rotations, Olivia boarded a bus along with her colleagues and began touring across the country. During her experience, she was responsible for creating their route and dealing with the logistics. With the help of her teammates, she managed relationships with many different stakeholders, from mental health organizations to youth groups in the different cities and towns they stopped in.
“On the road, everyone on our team did a bit of everything,” says Olivia. “Everyone thought it was fantastic – the feedback I got from my grad cohorts while I was involved has been really positive.”
Olivia says that mental health has been a fantastic cause to champion, and she is proud that she is part of an organization that is willing to take this issue on and spread the word.
“Even my grandparents know about Let’s Talk day,” says Olivia. “I think we’ve made an impact on people, helping them recognize if they need help or making them more comfortable talking about their problems.”
Bell’s open culture
As one might expect, Bell’s initiatives have a huge impact on the company’s work culture. In order to find success in this company, Olivia says there are several qualities that students and grads need to have in addition to the proper skill-sets.
“Being humble and genuine is very important. You need to understand and accept all different kinds of folks,” says Olivia. “Leadership is also a big one – you can’t be afraid to stimulate change!”
Let’s Talk day is only one of many ways Bell employees can get involved! If you’re looking to make the most of your Bell career, here’s what you can look forward to:
- Mental Health Week events. Bell’s Let’s Talk supports this annual campaign, and team members are invited to participate in activities such as seminars on active living, stress-buster workshops, webinars, and more!
- Volunteer. Employees are encouraged to find an organization that supports mental health in their community and volunteer together to support those causes. It’s a great way to show initiative and make a difference with your colleagues!
- Community events. Bell provides a running list of one-time awareness or fundraising events that employees can register for.
While Bell’s Let’s Talk day is an annual event, there are opportunities for employees to support this mental-health awareness initiative all year round. There are a number of different opportunities to pursue, and it’s a great way to give back to your community with your colleagues.
The company’s focus on mental health has also had a positive impact on their training processes. Bell’s managers receive additional mental health training so they can be aware of how to support their teams in a positive and effective manner. In addition, employees receive health coverage for mental health specific services.
“There’s an understanding that it’s okay to talk about having a mental illness,” says Olivia. “It’s had a huge impact.”
Olivia has come a long way since her Graduate Leadership Program days. After her experience on Clara’s Big Ride, she completed several more business rotations and eventually landed her current position as a Product Manager on Bell’s Mobile Devices team.
It’s been a little over 3 years since she began her career here, but her unique experiences have helped shape her as a professional in the business. Even today, she still gets feedback from the communities and organizations she worked with during the event.
“I hear from them about how they’re still being positively affected by Clara coming to town,” says Olivia. “The momentum that we built continued even after we left, which was what we set out to accomplish.”
Bell is one of the biggest and most prominent businesses in Canada, and it’s natural for most students and grads to view them as a corporate giant. But Olivia says that through working with the company, she’s enjoyed seeing their lighter and kinder side.
“We’re a huge organization in Canada and we’re lucky to have a lot of dollars to put behind something like this,” she says. “We’re interested in more than just our bottom line – there’s so much more to us than that.”