YPDaily: Alix Williams

Alix Williams has two very different jobs; for one, she works with the Missing Children’s Society of Canada. She also does social media management for small to very small businesses. Find out how she maintains a work/life balance and why she says philanthropy is integral in today’s YPDaily…

Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
Yikes – well, I have two jobs. One, I work with the Missing Children’s Society of Canada, where we work with law enforcement to bring missing kids home to their parents. Incredible. Second, I do social media management for small to very small businesses. 

Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
I started with Missing Children about two years ago – I was headhunted and brought on by a friend and it’s become a total passion project. Our team is lean and insanely successful – we close 2 to 3 missing children files per week. We’re bringing babies home!

I started my small business about two and a half years ago, and I can’t believe how much I’ve taught myself in that time. It started from nothing – I volunteered to do social media for a Stampede Committee and then committee members with their businesses started asking me if I would do it for them. So it was kind the business started and then I realized it was a business. It’s grown like crazy since then. 

What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
For Missing Children, the best part is when you can successfully make a connection. People are so fascinated by what we do – and surprised by the number of children that go missing every year (in 2011, 46,000 children were reported missing). So what starts off as a casual “What do you do?” conversation and turns into a conversation where people want to help – that’s the best part.

For my small business, the best part is digging up content. I read so much online every day that I feel like I am bursting with conversation topics all the time. It’s probably kind of annoying. The most challenging is when I find something that I think is really interesting and spinning the headline to make it relevant to a client’s audience. When I do that, and it gets tons of positive response and feedback, I give myself a congratulatory smirk.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Who even knows. I look back at just the last three years of my life – I met my husband, started my business, moved into my dream home – I cannot possibly predict the future. But for me, that’s half the fun, not having a plan! I feel like if you have a plan, you run the risk of closing your mind to possibilities and opportunities. My plan of not having a plan is so far, a great plan. 

What does success look like to you?
A full night’s sleep (which I get surprisingly regularly). When there is nothing on your mind when you go to bed because you did the best you could all day and communicated well.

What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
In 2010, I had the opportunity to take on a contract as the Exhibit Manager of Body Worlds Calgary when it came through town. One the one hand, it was a straightforward contract for me – reporting financials, upholding contractual agreements, etc. But on the other hand, it was my responsibility to care for the artifacts when meant handling and cleaning them. I got to get to know and work with a team from the Institute of Plastination in Germany. For a little redhead with a BFA, it felt amazing to be at the heart of an incredible and scientific exhibit. 

Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
You don’t have to be a cutthroat asshole to succeed. Those people who you’re a jerk too will be your peers and possibly your bosses in the future; don’t shoot yourself in the foot in your twenties. Learn to work with people.

Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
Well, I support my own, naturally. I try to make a point of supporting any friends or colleagues who are doing individual fundraising for a cause that’s near and dear to them. Fundraising is really hard – putting yourself out there and asking for money is really hard. Our generation seems to have skipped that day at school where we talked about philanthropy and supporting charities.

You see all these young couples driving $60,000 SUVs and yet they openly admit they donate to no charities, and aren’t sure why they are supposed to? I’m not saying donate to every charity – but I’m saying pick a charity with a cause you’re passionate about (animals, healthcare, the arts) and kick them $50 a month. It’s not going to kill your finances. And if you don’t, you better pray that those charities are still around to serve you and your family should you ever need them 

What to you is notable?
A charming conversationalist.

Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
Yikes! iPhone, but I have a soft spot in my heart for my BlackBerry Pearl from 5 years ago.