afterwords: Sonja Nordman
Launching in celebration of UBC Okanagan’s 15th anniversary in 2020, alumni UBC’s afterwords is a digital conversation series that shares the stories of some of UBC Okanagan’s extraordinary alumni in 15 questions.
1. What is your name?
2. What education did you receive at UBC?
3. Why did you choose to study at UBC?
Because of UBC’s incredible reputation, the ability to study in a smaller school environment at the Okanagan campus, and it’s the perfect distance from my hometown of Vancouver.
4. If you could start University again, would you do anything differently?
If anything it would be to have taken so more technical courses at the end of my degree but I look back at my university years so fondly still so I wouldn’t change much!
5. What was your first official job after graduation?
Sales Representative at PepsiCo
6. What is your current profession?
Sales Analyst at PepsiCo
7. What is the best part of your job?
Getting to think critically, working with people who have so much for me to learn from, and constantly being provided opportunities build my professional skillset.
8. What are some of the challenges you have faced in your career?
Making choices about where to live based on different career opportunities, working through difficult tasks or jobs in order to build up my resume to reach my goals, and understanding how to work with people with different strengths and perspectives than you.
9. What would you like to share with current students who will be graduating in the coming years who have concerns with the current work climate?
Know where you want to go in your career and what you’re willing to do to get there! A lot of jobs coming out of school aren’t going to be your dream job but grinding while you can and showcasing your efforts and desire to learn and grow is what’s going to get you closer to your dream roles and experiences. And also be willing to try new things and challenge yourself, you never know what you’re going to end up learning about yourself along the way.
10. What’s the best advice you can give to help plan a career?
Diversify your experience early so you don’t corner yourself later in your career for not having the right skill sets. Take on roles and projects that test you in different ways, like leadership, people management, analytical skills, negotiation tactics, or presentation skills.
11. Do you have a mentor? How have they influenced you?
Yes! It’s a source of comfort knowing that I have people I can talk to and get advice from that don’t have a direct managerial role over myself. Someone that is indirectly invested in helping my career grow that I can openly talk to about how I can improve it or who has my own aspirations in mind as opposed to my work.
12. How and where do you find inspiration?
I have worked very hard to find a circle of friends in my life who have similar aspirations as me that I can lean on for advice and be each other’s cheerleaders. I gain inspiration from these people when I come to them in a rut for guidance in confidence or when they tell me about something amazing that they’ve done that I can implement into my own life.
13. How do you balance your work and home life?
I’ve learned how to leave work at the door. For me this looks like having lots of friends and family outside of work who I can disengage at the end of the day with. Even when I’ve moved cities or found myself living by myself away from friends, I make a point of communicating with people I care about consistently. And on another note, make personal fitness fun and a habit!
14. Do you have any books that you would suggest are a must read?
The Defining Decade by Meg Jay!! This book is a must read for any 20-something to explain why this decade of life is so important and the different things you can do to make it worthwhile in your career, love life, and brain.
15. Who is one UBC Okanagan alum you would like to nominate for the 15 Questions series?
Scott Courtney, BMgmt’14