Written by Memo Sevilla, November 2016

You have been accepted to work at Gerry Lewis Inc. - was written in that email.

Victory. Adrenalin. Excitement. Dreams coming true. Nerves.

I was feeling a whirlwind of emotions. I guess that is how you feel when you know the biggest and most challenging adventure of your life is about to begin. Out of almost 500 applicants for a job position at Gerry Lewis Inc., I was selected. To me, that meant: new boss, new colleagues, new city, new country, new winter weather… new everything!

You see, I was born in Tabasco, Mexico – yes, like the chili sauce. Besides being the name of a famous sauce, Tabasco is also the name of a small city located in the warm south of Mexico. So, I prepared my winter clothes and bought my airline ticket to meet Gerry Lewis and his team.

During my four-hour flight from Cancun to Toronto, I realized I had so many professional expectations about Gerry.

I landed. It was officially the beginning of a new life. Let’s get it started with the best attitude!

So, 10 days have passed since the first day I met Gerry and the team at our orange and very versatile office based in downtown Toronto, and this is what I’ve learned from them, so far:

Strategic development: I’ve been assigned to work on three projects with all kinds of different consultants and managers, so I would be able to play diverse strategic roles in the business to boost my learning paths. My awareness about how to run a business is growing!

To make decisions quickly, but wisely: during one of my first meetings with the team, I was able to notice how deeply focused the team gets when discussing a client deliverable and how fast and creative they are to find diverse solutions.

To chill: Gerry always finds an opportunity to make the team laugh with a clever and unexpected line during team meetings! He creates a friendly environment in which we can express our "real people" thoughts about things.

When you say something, really mean it: after I presented my first communication campaign to the team, the team expressed some compliments, but what was most important, beyond the words they were saying, was the way they were acting. You can actually feel the gratitude the team felt for the thing you've done. They recognize your effort and that make you feel valuable. It makes you want to go for more and become even better.

To never stop learning: despite his busy schedule, Gerry takes the time to share his experiences with MBA students at Ted Rogers School of Management during his “communication boot camps” at the school. He’s said he will always be a learner and advocate of the art of communicating, since he deeply believes (just as I do), that it is a key skill.

To continue to move forward: the most important part of meetings is to find an opportunity to move forward. Moving forward is an ongoing goal at Gerry Lewis Inc. I have only been in the office for two weeks, and it already feels like we have made huge strides in each project! This strengthens team morale. I'm so proud of what each team member has done.

Customized client communication is key: the team understands and identifies the proper communication channel for each client, and customizes the project updates based on this. This tactic helps clients to engage in the development and improvement purposes of the project, getting participation and excitement from each of them.

To play hard, and work hard: team lunches, mid-day personal life updates, and party planning are important, but when it’s time to get things done, it's time!

I can truly say I’m getting a lot out of this experience at Gerry Lewis Inc. It’s even better than I could have possibly imagined.

Yes, I will get knowledge and international experience, which was my original intention, but somehow that is no longer the most important part of this adventure.

Something changed in the way I see business. The most important thing I learned from Gerry, is not about business, but about people.

Gerry works for and because of others. He always reminds the team how important we are to him, and how we actually make the magic happen together as a team.

He taught me to change “I” to “WE.” And now this is the way I feel.

Thank you Gerry!