Source: Gustavson School of Business
Author: Eve Olynyk
I actually really struggled to write this “day in the life post,” because there are incredibly few “standard” days in my work at VIATEC!
So to break the rules, in true VIATEC fashion, I welcome you to join me in “a week in the life” of an Engagement Concierge.
But first, just what the heck is an Engagement Concierge anyways? Is it French? Does it somehow involve weddings? Not quite. In essence, the Engagement Concierge’s role is to make VIATEC’s Accelerator Programs (think bootcamp for tech startups) run smoothly and carry out the vision of the Program Director.
Mondays are almost always free from meetings, as if there is some kind of unspoken rule between the four Executives in Residence (past-CEOs of multiple successful companies who now mentor companies in the Accelerator). After our team stand-up, I’ll use this day to plan out the rest of the week’s meetings and events, and catch up with emails. If there’s time I’ll work on side projects such as redoing the Accelerator website or updating our resources folder.
Intake Presentation days mean an early 8am start. After making sure agendas are printed, the conference room is ready, and AV is working, I’ll see that the Executives in Residence (EiRs), and external mentors (CEOs, Investors, IRAP reps) are set up with coffee before welcoming the first candidate. Following a pitch and Q&A, the panel considers: whether the company is viable, the founder is coachable, and whether we have the relevant skills to truly help them. One thing I love about Intakes, or Quarterly Reviews (which follow a similar format but are used to assess the progress of companies already in the program), is our tradition of Tacofino for lunch!
Once new companies are onboarded into the program, I’ll schedule their first EiR meetings. In the afternoon I’ll head to our bunker boardrooms where existing companies and their EiRs will tackle unique issues; everything from getting their first customers, creating financial projections, preparing pitch decks for investors, and firing underperforming employees. I have never learned so much about business strategy in all my schooling combined as I do in these meetings. In addition to note-taking, I bring up relevant bits of advice from other EiRs and see if there are any good introductions we can make between companies. Startups fail notoriously frequently, but strong connections and the sharing of talent allows the community to quickly adjust.
Back to back EiR meetings all day can be exhausting, but the networking events, fortside chats, or patio parties that Thursdays often bring make it all worthwhile! I’ve moved chairs from the Bengal Lounge, bartended, and even acted as a bouncer (at 5’1 this was more for show than anything). Beer is a must at VIATEC’s events, so I’ll finish off the night with a cold Phillips in my hand while watching a B2B company’s pitch or learning about a prominent local investor’s favourite spot to go running.
As if working at the VIATEC Awards earlier in the year wasn’t exciting enough, nothing could prepare me for the sheer joy of manning the VIATEC VIP Cabana with the rest of my team at Rock the Shores (shout out to our amazing server Erin; I don’t think I can ever wait in a food or beer lineup again). When I originally mentioned the idea as a joke to my marketing director, I never thought she would make it happen with just a few phone calls but… by the end of the weekend I was throwing several dozen whales off of a crane during Cat Empire! The crowd was screaming, the sun was setting, it was magical.
To conclude, this all sounds pretty freaking amazing right? And it is. However, what I didn’t highlight as much are the slower days without much to do, the lack of sleep that comes with lots of evening and weekend events, or the ambiguity and confusion that comes with such a dynamic company. And here’s why: this role is utterly and completely what you make of it. Good ideas are welcomed and encouraged, and being self-directed isn’t only expected… it’s an absolute must.
Sound like you? Then apply via LIM for Fall 2016!