Conversations with Leaders
Conversations With Leaders: Gurpreet Jhaj
Through our recruitment practice, we’ve had the privilege of supporting the careers of some truly talented and inspiring leaders.
In our latest blog series, they share reflections about their careers, insights from leaders they’ve worked with, and they offer key lessons you may find helpful in your own career journey.
Gurpreet Jhaj, VP of Consumer Marketing, BCAA
Listen more, love what you do, your best is always good enough
Out of nearly 500 candidates we’ve placed (so far!), Gurpreet Jhaj, VP of Consumer Marketing at one of BC’s top employers, BCAA, certainly stands out. With a robust resume full of varied marketing experience, Gurpreet credits a strong work ethic, willingness to take leaps of faith, and steadfast curiosity for getting her to where she is today. Her passion for people and learning is crystal clear throughout this interview. We’re grateful she was willing to share her wisdom with us!
What has stood out to you about your experience working at BCAA for over six years?
So many things! The people and culture are the reasons why I stay. I work with hugely talented people who are just so lovely to boot. Eric Hopkins, who is now our CEO, interviewed me and promised I would be joining a forward-thinking, innovative company. In my time at BCAA, we have truly shown that by launching new businesses like Evo Car Share and our Auto Service Centres, and embarking on other transformations. I am grateful to work for an organization that cares about people and always strives to accomplish more as a business and within our community.
When you think about the most impactful leaders you’ve worked for, what have you learned from them?
- To listen more than you speak. You learn much more with this simple piece of advice. I recall sitting in our work coffee shop with my then-boss’s boss, Carlos, when he gave me this amazing advice (and otherwise suggestions) that I still use today.
- Making mistakes is okay as long as you learn from them and use those experiences to improve what you are doing.
- My dad taught me lots about work ethic. He always said, “Strive to do your best in everything you do.” It is something I take to heart and hope I have demonstrated throughout my career.
When you reflect on your career (thus far), what advice you would give an earlier career stage self?
Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith! When I moved from the United Kingdom to the USA and then to Canada, I didn’t know exactly how things would go. But each time I moved, I had a great experience and learned so much along the way. Embrace the adventure. It will result in interesting and varied experiences that will stand you in good stead as you develop your career.
What tip you can share with individuals who are interested in pursuing a marketing career?
Try a few different roles in various areas to develop an idea of what you are passionate about. In most cases, if you love what you do, it will show in your work. You will be excited to get up each morning and tackle the day.
The knowledge you gain from one role will help you be better in others. I started working in campaign management and analysis, and moved on to product marketing. From there, I worked in the strategic ventures and innovation space. Now, I am in consumer marketing and supporting business transformation. The time I spent working in each area has made me well rounded and able to apply my knowledge and experience to be more effective across disciplines.
What character traits do you most attribute to your success?
Being naturally curious has helped me in my career and in life. It’s always good to be curious and learn by asking questions, reading lots, and finding people who can help you grow while you also support and help others. I also strive to keep learning every day.
Taking care of yourself is also really important – admittedly, this one I have not always been the best at because when I put my mind to something I really focus and can forget all about self-care. When I do take that time, even if its just 30 mins for yoga or a bike ride after a crazy workday, I find it makes me more centred and able to produce better work.
As a Marketing leader, what are you most excited about for the future?
I love working in a space that allows for innovation. There has been rapid MarTech (Marketing Technology) development over the years that allows for much better customer centricity in our marketing approach and how we serve our members/customers overall. Linking everything together to create amazing customer and employee experiences excites me!
What are you reading these days?
Everything! I love to read and will read almost anything! Currently, my favourite news comes from the BBC. (After all, I am British!) I listened to Trevor Noah’s Born A Crime on Audible and just started How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell. I love the old classics (Shakespeare, Austin, etc.) too.
Is there a quote that motivates or inspires you?
“Do what you can to the best of your abilities. That is all you can ask of yourself.” – My dad
This is something my dad would say to me when I was younger going into exams or a job interview. It seems straightforward, but it is something I have always carried with me since then. I have always felt encouraged and supported because these simple words kept me from worrying about failing. All I needed to do was try my best and whatever results I achieved were enough.
If you find yourself in a season of exploration or transition, we’d love the opportunity to partner with you in your journey. Please reach out to connect at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Conversations With Leaders: How to Build Your Career
Click to read more from our new blog series with industry leading Smart Savvy alum.
Director of Recruitment
Jaylene is our lead recruitment consultant. She forged her experience with 15 years in tech marketing before making the transition to marketing recruitment. Jaylene brings energetic dedication, unstoppable work ethic, and her ability to consistently give 110%, proven by her hundreds of placements and innumerable close relationships with both candidates and clients.
Smart, Savvy + Associates are experts in helping marketing and communications leaders find people and develop teams that thrive and deliver inspiring results. As a people performance company, we specialize in finding marketing and communications talent in the Pacific North West. We also offer training programs for leaders and teams as well as options to become a certified coach or get coached.