Originally posted by Jordan Fujiwara.
This week’s blog is about my buddy Zach Silbernagel, who’s in Ottawa for his 8-month residency. He’d like to introduce himself and explain the picture below, so here he is: “Hello from our Nation’s Capital! My name is Zach, and I am the guy in the far right of the picture below.”
“Why am I standing with two of my classmates beside Stéphane Dion? Well, the short answer would be because of this program. I and my two amazing friends there, James and Dave (guys I met through the program), all got placed in Ottawa for our Corporate Residencies. The excitement of being able to explore an awesome new city was followed immediately by the thought: ‘What kind of trouble can I get into in here?’ Realistically, I knew that I needed to find something to do while in Ottawa that would further my career, make the most of my opportunities, and above all else prove that this program allows you to do things that you would never have thought possible.
So what did I decide I wanted to do? The most logical thing to do while in Ottawa: meet politicians. My thinking was, one of the best ways to become successful in my own career would be to try and meet individuals who were successful in theirs; to gain insight on what it took for these people to get where they are. Who would be in a better position to lend advice on success to me and my friends than the leaders of our country? So, in true Corporate Residency MBA fashion, I got to work. I decided to write letters to politicians who I felt really have contributed to our country and have left their mark on Canada. After many letters and a few interesting responses, I finally received a call from Stéphane Dion’s assistant. The Honourable Mr. Dion extended us the courtesy of welcoming us into his parliamentary office to meet and discuss careers and success. You just never know who would actually be willing to help you out if you ask.
So what does this have to do with the program? Well, had you asked me a year and a half ago if I thought I would be in Ottawa meeting high-profile politicians, I would have suggested you lay off the sauce. The reality is that this program has not only allowed me to see a part of Canada that I always dreamed of seeing, but has also instilled in me the passion, the drive and the confidence to go out in the world and make amazing things happen. That’s what the Corporate Residency MBA is all about.”
Well put, Zach! Along with the tendency to drop all sorts of weird Calgary lingo (did I mention that he’s from out west?), he’s also hilarious and definitely brings a vibrant and refreshing personality to the group. Having a conversation with Zach is a very rewarding experience because he often manages to quite eloquently weave expletives into compelling and thoughtful speech; a style which he claims is “à la mode”.
Currently he’s rocking it out in Ottawa working for the Canada Revenue Agency. He tells me, “I’m working on a high-level project; I’m helping to develop an agency and nation-wide outreach strategy that promotes responsible citizenship behaviour to segments of the population that are at higher risk for tax non-compliance.”
In addition to literally forcing him to develop the initiative it takes to go out in to the world and “get sh*t done,” Zach has been grateful to the program for two other reasons: “All the connections you make with the students. What I think is really cool is you’ve got this group of complete strangers and in six months we’re one of the most cohesive and hilarious groups ever… awesome. I’ve met so many wicked people, it’s like I’ve got 40 new best friends.”
Reason #2: “Had I not been in the program I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to come from Calgary and live in Halifax, then go to live in Ottawa. It’s allowed me to see and fully experience two Canadian cities I’ve never been to before.”
That’s all for now. Look forward to another Twitterview in the coming weeks!