BABE #172: JAMIE BAY, Manager of Cause Marketing and Social Impact, ATB Financial
Jamie works as a manager of cause marketing at ATB: an Alberta-based financial institution (with an office culture more companies should implement, in our humble opinion). She leads philanthropic storytelling and cause-marketing campaigns, with tasks ranging from event planning to nonprofit partner relationships and leading diversity and inclusion initiatives. Her humanitarian heart extends far beyond the office, and into her seat as chairman for a Canadian organization fighting to end the stigma around mental health. She's passionate, she's driven, and she gets down to the nitty gritty in today's interview.
Babe you admire and why?
Michelle Obama. I had the chance to see her speak in Edmonton and was completely blown away by her ability to be so genuine, intellectual and funny at the same time. I’ve never been that in awe by someone’s words. I think her passion for giving back to the community and choosing to commit herself to improving the lives of others is what I admire most.
How do you spend your free time?
Drinking wine, sweating through a hot yoga class, playing tennis with my beau, hiking, meditating and snuggling our sweet puppy. Is it bad that wine was truly the first thing that came to mind?
[Editor’s note: If it’s wrong, we don’t want to be right.]
Favorite app, website or blog?
Books have actually always been my go-to (self-help books, specifically). Brené Brown, Gretchen Rubin, Robin Sharma and Arianna Huffington are a few of my favorite authors. It’s not that every self-help book provides me with a new revelation, but every time I pick one up, I feel more motivated to hustle and enhance my wellbeing in some way. Current read: “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” by Marie Kondo.
Favorite fictional female character?
Peggy Olson - Mad Men. She became a boss babe before being a boss babe was even a thing women could aspire to be. Her confidence and courage in a male-dominated industry in the 60s is kickass.
If you could have coffee with anyone in the world, who would it be?
Do they have to be alive? If alive, the Dalai Lama. If dead, Rumi. I’m in love with all things spirituality and being connected to something higher than ourselves. Both of these incredible humans would be a dream to have coffee with.
Tell us about your hustle, providing an overview of your job and roles.
I work as a manager of cause marketing and social impact at ATB (a financial institution in Alberta). Our mandate is to create happiness in the lives of others, and the work we get to do to because of that is so gratifying. As part of my role, I have the opportunity of leading philanthropic storytelling and various cause-marketing campaigns for our organization. I am also the board chairman for Momentum Walk-In Counselling, as well as co-chairing Edmonton (and Momentum’s) very first Mental Health Awards. I also volunteer as a content writer for the Advertising Club of Edmonton and as a mentor with the International Association of Business Professionals (IABC) mentorship program. Helping young marketing professionals is something very important to me, as I understand the challenges of having your opinions and voice heard at a young age.
What does your typical workday look like?
My role is quite diverse. We have the unique opportunity to lend our voice to those who may not have one, and with that, our overarching goal is always to create happiness in people’s lives. Some “hats” I wear include managing two of our company-wide corporate social responsibility programs, maintaining relationships with our nonprofit partners, event planning, leading our external diversity and inclusion initiatives and spearheading cause-marketing campaigns alongside our talented internal ad agency. That’s what I love most about my role at ATB. It’s incredibly rewarding, and no day is ever the same. I love using my skills as a marketer in a way that I feel is truly making a difference.
What’s your office culture like?
We’re really lucky to have one of the highest-rated work cultures in the country. I can’t say enough about it. ATB encourages us to manage our own workdays, meaning we don’t have set start times and can work from home or at the office. Our leaders trust their employees, and that’s why they’re rewarded with such great results. Having this type of freedom over my life makes me want to do my best work and allows me to get things done in a way that’s productive for me. Personally, I like to work from home about once a week, and enjoy spending most time in the office working alongside some very brilliant, very creative marketing gurus I can brainstorm with and bounce ideas off of.
Tell us about your role with Momentum Walk-In Counseling Society.
I’ve recently taken on the role of chairman of the board at Momentum and am also managing Edmonton’s (and Momentum’s) very first Mental Health Awards. Our goal with the awards is to celebrate local changemakers who are making an impact in our city’s mental health initiatives and helping end the stigma around mental health. Momentum is an incredible organization that works to break barriers surrounding the traditional health care system, so people can seek professional help immediately (without having to wait months) and pay a price that’s affordable to them. It’s pretty incredible. I actually became involved because I wanted to give back to a cause that’s deeply rooted in who I am, as someone who struggles with anxiety. It’s something not a lot of people know about me, and lots of people are surprised by. I’ve been told more than once that I seem so “put together” and that I “have everything figured out.” Boring. Behind all the filtered photos and perfect Instagram captions, we’re all struggling with something. One of the biggest goals I have for myself is to become more transparent and real with others. I read a quote in Sophia Amoruso’s book, #GIRLBOSS, that really stuck with me and is something I try to live by each day: “I want to be as vulnerable and raw as possible, so others feel less alone.” Those words are music to my ears.
What can each of us do to help transform the conversation on mental illness?
Although I do believe we’re making great strides towards ending the stigma by talking about mental health more openly, there is still definitely lots of work to be done. One in five Canadians will experience anxiety or depression at some point in their lives. That means everyone is impacted in one way or another, so we need to continue to work to change these negative perceptions. I think one of the best ways to end the stigma is to start having more of these vulnerable conversations. Ask for help, give help. We are all humans, and our shared experiences are what allow us to connect to one another on a deeper level. Let’s stop making it a taboo subject, and talk about it when we can (and when it feels right to share).
How have your past educational and professional experiences prepared you for the work you do today?
I’m thankful to have pushed myself to take on several internships throughout my degree. Each of them taught me new things about marketing and communications—everything from the areas I found of most interest, to the type of company (and people) I eventually wanted to work for. The connections I made ultimately lead me to my role at ATB, and it’s an organization I absolutely adore.
What’s been your biggest career milestone?
Becoming a cause-marketing manager. It was a big jump from my previous role as a coordinator, and the first time I felt really confident in the work I was doing. It gave me the courage to pursue things like providing strategic advice on a board of directors and taking on more pro-bono work for nonprofit organizations.
How has being a woman affected your professional experience?
I think being a woman has brought a lot of emotion into my professional life, which I perceive to be an asset. Bringing emotion into my career is what motivates me to pursue things I love and put passion into everything I do. I’m fortunate to work for a company that constantly works towards creating equal opportunities for women, but I think it’s still important to recognize that inequality in the workplace continues to exist today.
What advice would you give to a babe trying to break into your industry?
Network, network, network. I know it sounds cliché, but get out there and run from comfort! Volunteer. Offer your help to a cause you care about (even if you haven’t been asked). Grab a coffee with a babe you admire. Ask that babe to connect you with another babe. Going for coffee is my favorite thing to do with fellow babes who hustle. It keeps me on my toes and gets me thinking about new ideas or ways to improve myself. I think my biggest piece of advice is to step far out of your comfort zone and opportunities will come.
What motivates and inspires you?
I want to make a difference in the areas I’m passionate about, using the skills I have. This is why I choose to give back to causes like mental health, and mentoring young business professionals. I know how tricky it can be to break into the marketing industry and have your voice heard at a young age, so I try to offer advice and opportunities whenever I can. When I first took on the role of leading our awards fundraiser, I reached out to several young marketers to make up our two working committees. The great thing about young business professionals is they’re always eager and have some of the very best ideas. It’s inspiring, and important that they’re provided with equal opportunities to make a big impact.
What helps you wind down and manage stress?
For me, meditation grounds me into the present moment and reminds me that we have such limited time on earth. ...It honestly only takes 10 minutes out of your day. (Am I sounding like an infomercial? I hope so). If you’re looking to get into meditation, I highly suggest the Headspace app.
Career and/or life advice for other babes?
Try to refrain from setting specific expectations of where you want to be at some future point in time. If I’ve learned anything from my most admired leaders, it’s to always be open to opportunities as they arise. That means trying not to have too much of a plan and learning to let things come to you. If you’re mind is so focused on a certain direction or goal, you’re much more likely to miss out on opportunities that may just take you to the most incredible places.
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