Today’s Notable Young Professional is Erica Adelson, who’s found the perfect position that aligns her personal values with her professional skills working public relations for Contiki. It goes without saying that she loves to travel and is a ‘big picture thinker’ when it comes to both work and play…
Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
I do public relations for Contiki. I help generate brand awareness, work with media to create amazing stories about our trips, and plan events to connect travellers. It’s an incredible job.
Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
Simple: I love travelling. It’s the best way to gain perspective and connect with people around the world. I saw Contiki was looking for someone with PR and digital media experience, and once I read the brand’s core values (which have a striking similarly to my own), I was sold. Seems the feeling was mutual because I landed the job shortly after.
What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
The best part of my job is that I’m always working on something incredible – whether it’s a media program, big event, or launching a new trip. This past fall, we hosted parties for our past travellers across the country, hosted the ‘Most #epicbucketlist Contest Ever!’ and added Japan, Portugal and Morocco to our roster of destinations for 2015.
The most challenging part is multitasking all of these amazing projects while staying focused on hitting our KPIs. I’ve become a good planner, which helps me stay on top of my work.
What is one sign that you’ve seen over the years to suggest that your work/life balance is off?
If I’m not getting enough sleep or exercise, my balance is off. I learned pretty quickly that I work better when I’m energized and rested, so I work out daily. Our office has a gym and a group of us have started doing P90X in the afternoons. Even if it’s a busy day or a snowstorm hits, I have no excuse not to exercise.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Still at Contiki! There is so much I want to accomplish that it will take a lifetime to work through my to-do list.
What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
I like to call myself a ‘big picture thinker’ rather than naturally detail-oriented. But in business, you really need to be both. I had an incredible manager at my previous agency who made me aware of my weaknesses and helped me to improve. I now keep very detailed notes, make lengthy lists, and feel a much deeper connection to the work I do – all of which has helped improve the quality of my work.
What does success look like to you? Does Money = Happiness?
Good question. Money provides the financial freedom to do the things that bring you happiness. Many of the things that bring me happiness, like travelling and fitness classes, require money.
Young professionals need to be realistic about their ‘baseline happiness needs’ and pursue a career that can support their desired lifestyle. Some ‘happiness needs’ are more expensive than others, so recognizing them is key to feeling happy and fulfilled with whatever you choose.
What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
Heading off to Paris this summer to oversee the ‘European Tech-Free Tour’. We took two young Canadians on a Contiki trip – no phones, iPads or computers allowed – and documented their experiences on Global’s The Morning Show. Watch a clip!
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Keep your receipts, stay healthy, and find a mentor. I have had the same mentor since I started my career and he’s great for bouncing ideas off and boosting my confidence.
Where is your favourite place to wine/ dine in your city and why?
Pizzeria Libretto, hands down. I’ll split the Rocco salad and a pizza with my boyfriend, and a little Chianti, too.
When you’re not working how do you love to spend your “Me” time?
Nothing clears my head like a day of fresh air and exercise. So if it’s nice outside, I’ll go for a bike ride or long walks with friends and family. Otherwise I take dance and HIIT classes. I also love a good massage.
Where is your favourite place to travel? Why?
Anywhere I haven’t been before. Right now, I’m trying to get 20 friends to come with me on a Contiki trip to Asia or South America. Hopefully Colombia!
If you had to choose a theme song, what would it be?
Miami by Will Smith. It’s just a classic party anthem, and one everyone seems to know the words to. Plus, Miami is an amazing vacation spot. I was there over Christmas.
If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you be doing?
A mystery shopper. I think good customer service is crucial.
Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
Yes. From the time I was very young, my parents insisted that I give a portion of my earnings (ahem, babysitting money) to charity and volunteer my free to time to help a cause I believed in. I’m a big supporter of the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto. In high school, I volunteered at UJA’s subsidized second-hand shop. The customers were mostly new immigrants who needed to furnish their new homes with very little money. Now that I’m earning a bit more than I did during my babysitting days, I never turn down a request for charity, especially if a friend close to me takes the time to do a run, walk, bike ride. Charity is a ‘mitzvah.’
What to you is notable?
Kindness. Saying thank you, offering to help, anything that pulls at your heart strings.
Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
iPhone all the way.
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