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Posts from the ‘Way to Work’ Category

A CEO is Many Things…

By CEO for One Month, Alana Couvrette

Okay I’ll admit it… Before I started my CEO for One Month journey, when I heard the word “CEO” I thought: fancy cars, private jets, exclusive access to exclusive events and, overall, someone who has the world at their fingertips.

But, in reality, a CEO is so much more than what is portrayed in the movies. I wanted to take a moment and reflect on the role of a CEO, based on my experiences as Adecco Canada’s CEO for One Month. A CEO is:


… a mediator
Being a CEO isn’t always glamorous. CEOs are often caught in the middle of the toughest situations and must find a way to reconcile opposing views and help parties come to an agreement. CEOs have a knack for creating the right conditions for an agreement.

… the ultimate problem solver
CEOs face the thorniest of problems. By that I mean the unresolved issues that go through multiple levels of governance before landing on their desk. They not only solve problems, but also strategically create them. Challenges help people and companies grow, and a CEO knows exactly when it’s time to push and when it’s time to heed.

… a jack of all trades and a master of them all
CEOs know their business inside out. They’re expert generalists. They navigate vastly different areas of their business with ease and confidence. They have no problem jumping from one subject area to another and they do so at a pace that is dizzying for most!

… a story teller
A CEO’s got a story for everything. Their stories serve to illustrate, engage, inspire and motivate those around them. They’ve got “past lives” that can’t quite stay in the past and they’ve worn many hats throughout their careers. CEOs entice and engage their peers with their stories, telling them how they started their businesses, what they stand for and where they’re headed.

… the boss, but not necessarily the one you’re thinking of
A CEO doesn’t have to be unapproachable or someone who makes you hold your breath when they walk by. Leadership styles can vary and no one style is better than another. Each CEO-man or woman- brings something unique to the table. This is especially important to remember for anyone thinking of taking up a leadership position: You don’t have to “be like the last CEO” to be a successful CEO.

… a mentor and is mentored
CEOs know that mentoring employees is empowering them to succeed which, in turn, makes the organization succeed. However, just because they are at the “top” doesn’t mean that CEOs do not look up to someone or something. They’re all chasing some type of “hero”.

As I pass the half way mark as Adecco Canada’s CEO for One Month, I’ll make it my goal to bear the above characteristics in mind.
The best CEO is one that carves their own path. The best CEO is your own, authentic, self.




My First Week as Adecco Canada’s First CEO1Month

By Alana Couvrette

If you have 30 seconds….

During my first week as Adecco Canada’s CEO for One Month, I:
1. Visited Adecco’s Laval and Montreal branch
2. Networked with clients during the Lead breakfast
3. Asked the President of Adecco Canada probably over 100 questions
4. Filmed a 24 hour in my life video
5. Saw Cirque du Soleil’s Volta
6. And, spent half of my Sunday in an elevator (I am claustrophobic…details to come)

If you have five minutes…

Students, like myself, are well accustomed to seeing the workplace from the “bottoms up” point of view. Interaction with senior management is, to put it frankly, a rarity. During my past co-op terms, I remember vividly asking myself “Who’s up there” and “What do they do exactly”? Ultimately, it was my curiosity that led me to apply for the CEO for One Month contest.

On my first day, I learned that the new Canadian President had set himself an ambitious task: to visit all of Adecco’s branches in Canada during his first few months. So, naturally, I had to follow suit. I visited both the Laval and Montreal branches and met with the staff, who engage with associates on a day to day basis. These meetings proved to be fruitful, as I left with a greater understanding of what Adecco does at the ground level “the foundation of its business”. This was nicely complemented by the Lēad breakfast, where I got to network with some of our clients and got a feel for the HR Industry.

After our branch visits, I had the opportunity to see Cirque du Soleil’s (one of our largest clients) Volta performance. The things that the human body can do baffles me! I can’t even touch my toes and here I was watching people put their feet behind their heads. After this performance, I realized that I must find a way to squeeze in some exercise in my CEO schedule. I did, however, find the time to strap on a GoPro to my head, in the hopes of filming a “24 hours in my day” video. Stay tuned for the result!

Of course, I also spent a lot of time with Gilbert Boileau, Adecco Canada President. From the moment, I stepped into his office, I found myself already working on a project. My intuition told me, right then and there, that a great month was to come. I sat in on phone calls, attended meetings and traveled with Gilbert. However, what I enjoyed the most was the time we had in between meetings and phone calls. Coming from a public administration and political science background, some business terms were unfamiliar and Gilbert kindly took the time to explain them to me. We also took part in engaging discussions (is it fair to say debates) on the talent industry, the job market and even politics.

As you may or may not know, although I have been selected as the 2017 Adecco Canada CEO for One Month, I am also in the running towards becoming the Adecco Groups’ Global Leadership CEO for One Month. The Adecco Group revealed we would participate in challenges for this role. The first challenge to all 48 CEOs for One Month was announced mid-way through my first week, an “elevator pitch” in an elevator. Did I mention that I am both claustrophobic and have a fear of elevators?

Week one went by in a flash but I did make sure to capture some moments through photos.










If you have more than five minutes…

Follow me on Twitter @alana_couvrette, Instagram @alana.couvrette, Facebook- or follow my hashtag #AlanaC1M for daily content.

Vote for who you think deserves a spot at the Global Leadership Bootcamp But, before you do, be sure to check out my elevator pitch on Youtube. I’ll let you do the judging…

Week Two: bring it on!

One Young World Summit 2016: Young Leaders Committed to Making Change

Last week, our Director of Strategic Partnership Accounts—Rezowana Islam—got the opportunity to attend the world’s premier young leaders forum: the One Young World Summit, held this year in our nation’s capital. As an Adecco Delegate, Rezowana was amongst 1,300 attendees from 190 countries. She got to brush shoulders and hear inspiring speeches from other young leaders, Presidents, Nobel Prize Winners, Global business leaders and extraordinary humanitarians. Among those addressing the themes of Environment, Education, Human Rights, Peace & Security, Global Business and Mental Health were Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, former Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan, actor and Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women Emma Watson, Cher, Sir Bob Geldof (the founder of Live Aid), Former Irish President Mary Robinson and Nobel Peace Prize winner Professor Muhammad Yunus. Below are Rezowana’s reflections on her stirring experience and the role that young people have to play in implementing solutions to the world’s most pressing problems.

rezowana-islamTo say that the One Young World 2016 summit in Ottawa was invigorating, inspiring and encouraging would not suffice. I don’t even know where to begin describing the myriad emotions that ebbed and flowed through me in those 3.5 days at the conference. The Summit took place on the cusp of summer transitioning into fall, and I couldn’t help notice the parallel to the transformation taking place within me.

Prisoners of Hope

The idea behind One Young World is to gather together young people aged 18-30 from all around the world to learn, listen and share their experiences with each other. Co-founded by UK-based Kate Robertson and David Jones, the goal is to make the world a little bit better than it was yesterday, or even a few hours ago. Archbishop Desmond Tutu has referred to himself as a “prisoner of hope” and I think the term is fitting for David and Kate as well.  They truly believe in young people and their ability to make positive changes—and felt compelled to do something about it.

Close to Home

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressing the crowd

This year, Ottawa played host city to the annual Summit and I got the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend as an Adecco Delegate. I was among thousands of young Delegates, Counselors and speakers from the worlds of business, politics, entertainment and non-profits. We each came from different walks of life and with different creeds, cultures and languages but all shared the same desire: to make this world a better place today—both for us and for our future generations. At a time when the world appears to be on the brink of catastrophe and hope is desolate, the Summit restored my faith in humanity and lit a torch with a flame that will burn eternally. This Summit made me believe that not only can we create the change we want to see in the world but we can be the change we want to see!

Sages on Stages

The 3.5 days were jam packed with information, talks, breakout sessions and networking opportunities; it felt like the days were never-ending. But the paradox is that our time together was still too short. We listened to stories of ordinary individuals making extraordinary changes and fighting for things they believe in—from climate change to gender equality and fighting extremism. The line of Counselors who took the stage (and in some cases—dedicated one-on-one time) to share their wisdom, encouragement and just to listen to us was nothing short of astounding. Some of this year’s Counselors included Kofi Annan, Sir Bob Geldof, Muhammad Yunis, Mary Robinson, Thuli Medonsela and Emma Watson—to name a few.

(L) Public Protector of South Africa,Thuli Madonsela | (M) Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women Emma Watson discussing the HeForShe Campaign | (R) Former Bolivian President Carlos Mesa

(L) Former Public Protector of South Africa Thuli Madonsela | (M) Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women Emma Watson discussing the HeForShe Campaign | (R) Former Bolivian President Carlos Mesa

The stage was filled with amazing individuals who had the courage to share their stories, trials and tribulations with all of us. I have even started to view the word “courage” differently. To me, courage is no longer about being fearless; it is about feeling scared to death of something but doing it anyway. It’s when you feel that your heart is beating so fast, your throat is closing in and a part of you is saying that you can’t do it—but there is another part with a voice just a little stronger that whispers “you can and you will!”  That is courage!

A Look to the Future

I formed some friendships that will last forever and some connections that will bind us to work together for the causes we hold dear to our hearts. I have reached out to some of the attendees from different countries and time zones to start brainstorming ideas on how we can work to counter extremism—a personal initiative we felt passionate about. I will also be connecting with Adecco’s global HQ in Zurich in the hopes of sharing some ideas that came out of the conference and implementing them into our extensive Corporate Social Responsibilities for all Adecco Colleagues around the world.

Rezowana (middle) with other global Delegates

The ultimate challenge I walked away with is one I want to extend to all Colleagues, Associates, clients and readers: stand for whatever you believe in and work to make the change you want to see. To those who have not found your cause—I urge and encourage you to find what it is and stand for it because “if you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything”.

Going Back to School with Work Experience: Lessons from a Summer Intern

Summer is drawing to a close which means cooler temperatures, earlier sunsets, and ‘back to school’ for students. And our very own summer intern—Oliver Dubois du Bellay—is among them. As part of Adecco’s Way to Work program (which gives deserving young students and graduates a paid opportunity to intern at Adecco or with our clients), Oliver landed the opportunity and was a tremendous help to our Marketing and HR departments, even gaining his own hashtag: #OliverTheIntern.  After an exciting and informative three months at Adecco Canada’s HQ in Toronto, Oliver is taking what he’s learned back to McGill University in Montreal, where he is studying International Development, East Asian Language & Literature and Anthropology. But before he does, we asked him to share his experience with our Lead Blog readers.

Tell us a little about yourself, what you’re studying and how you came to Adecco for your internship. How can other young business-minded leaders land similar opportunities?

Hi, everyone! I went to school at the Lycee Francais in Sydney, Chicago and Toronto and am currently attending McGill. I hope to complete an MBA from ISEAD and become an International Business consultant.Oliver the Intern

Networking is my number one piece of advice for other young students and professionals. I actually learned about this internship through my mother, and while it was important to me and her to make my own destiny, it made sense to embrace her recommendation. As many of you know, the hardest part of getting hired is simply getting a callback, and that’s why it helps to turn to your contacts and ask around for opportunities. You never know what they may find or who they know; it may be a perfect match for your goals! And remember to return the favour when your connections come to you for help or networking support.

What do you think made you successful in the application process?

The advice I gave myself when applying for summer internships was not to be shy with applications. I sent in a huge amount of résumés and applications to various jobs until I found the right one.

I would also advise adapting your resume and cover letters to each position to show that you’re determined. If you do get lucky enough to get an interview, you must research the company. Knowing the company is the best way to show your interviewer that you are interested and engaged.

You also must be able to explain everything on your resume and know it inside and out. Know your strengths and weaknesses thoroughly and adapt them to the role in question. I would also recommend having a few anecdotes about past experience that you think could help you secure the position—stories about your leadership skills, your attention to detail and how you have overcome challenges/setbacks. These are usually the most important to showcase.

For any application process, you just have to be yourself and try your best to seem confident. Confidence is most definitely key in that sort of situation.

What projects have you been able to contribute to throughout your Adecco internship?

The project I participated in the most was the 2016 Win4Youth Solidarity Day event. I helped to organize the Canada-wide event in which Adecco staff accumulated kilometers for a group donation to foundations that support underprivileged children and their families around the world.

Another interesting aspect of my position was when I helped to market and recruit temporary staff for an exciting show that was coming to Toronto. It taught me the ins and outs of the process and I got to come up with creative strategies to reach the talent out there.

What sort of training have you received while you’ve been at Adecco?

As mentioned, when I was asked to help with recruiting I learned a lot about the process, including confidentiality protocols and how barrier-free screening is performed. A lot goes into the preliminary rounds of finding and assessing candidates. This was especially interesting for me as I will be re-entering the workforce permanently after I finish my degree and this has given me an inside view on what people look for during interviews, how to wow the interviewer and what successful candidates do to stand out.

What would you say you learned most in your Marketing role? How about in your HR role?

In my Marketing role, I played a part in the social media management of the various accounts representing Adecco Canada. That taught me a great deal about how a major multinational organization expresses itself on social media and how respectful, considerate interactions are essential when communicating with clients, candidates and the public—in any forum.

In my HR role, I learned about the back-end of the company and how employees felt about their work and day-to-day experiences. I made surveys and analyzed the results relating to training and development, which was incredibly interesting. It gave me a look into the bigger picture of what the HR department does for a company that has multiple offices and branches across the country.

What’s the single best piece of advice you’ve received this summer?

It would have to do with the formatting of my resume as well as the general attitude to take when in an interview. Again, I have to stress the benefits that came from having the opportunity of completing a summer internship at the world’s largest staffing firm. I have learned what interviewers look for in candidates and how important the formatting and content of your resume really is.

Has anything inspired you while you’ve been here?

The most inspiring aspect to me is when you place someone in a job that you know is the perfect fit for them. That’s what Adecco is all about; creating a database of individuals with various qualifications and aspirations and pairing them with clients in a way that makes work fun yet productive for both sides.

What is something you learned about this industry that you didn’t anticipate coming in?

I’ve learned that there are many jobs on the market that people aren’t necessarily aware of. I know that people my age (“Millennials” if you will) are under the impression that there is a lack of employment opportunities because of what we are constantly told. This position has shown me that there is a lot of demand but also a lot of supply; you just have to know where to look and know how to sell yourself in an application and interview.

Did anything surprise you about working at a global corporation?

Oliver the intern celebrating birthday with Adecco coworkersWhat was surprising about working in Adecco Canada’s Head Office was that it didn’t feel like a global corporation, in the best of ways. Everyone was so warm and friendly, and even with the thousands of people placed by the company, everyone is treated like family and the colleagues do their absolute best to place people in the most fitting jobs.

What has this experience taught you about leadership, management and teamwork?

This experience has taught me that when organizing an event for a nation-wide company, it is imperative that you prepare for every scenario and make sure everything is well planned and clearly explained. The most important thing about being a leader is to put yourself into other people’s shoes to understand how they would perceive instructions; that makes everything and everyone more successful.

What has been the single best/most valuable experience you’ve had while here?

The Win4Youth Solidarity Day was incredible. All the planning leading up to it really made it an exceptional day and it was all for a great cause. It provided me with great hands-on experience with event planning in such a large organization.

What’s next for you after this?

After the summer, I am going back to school to finish my degree. Once I’m done, I’m looking forward to getting more work experience to build my resume. When I feel confident enough with what I have accomplished, I will hopefully go back to school for my MBA. Of course, this is all subject to change as I experience more and truly understand what it is I want to do.

Has this experience helped solidify what you what you want to do in the future? How will this opportunity help with that?

This internship has been very useful for me. Although my current goal of becoming an International Business Consultant does differ from the internship, it has given me a new perspective on marketing. I have realized that I can use my social studies background to my advantage when targeting a specific audience. Marketing may even be the path I take in the future! What is great about internships is that they give you an opportunity to try it out, which I believe is the most important thing—especially when you’re young.

Would you recommend an internship experience to other students/graduates?

I would absolutely recommend an internship experience to anyone who is considering it. It is a great way to really understand the position you are interested in and it gives you valuable work experience. Plus, if you do a good job, you may even be asked to take on a permanent position within the company.

We wish Oliver the best of luck in the coming school year! Adecco thanks him and all the interns out there for their hard work over the summer. We know it will pay off when it’s time to enter the workforce full-time, and we look forward to seeing all you will achieve. Oliver can be found on LinkedIn.

Get Your Applications In: Words of Wisdom from Last Year’s Canadian CEO for One Month

Students, young adults, recent grads– have you applied to Adecco’s 2016 CEO for One Month opportunity yet? This highly-coveted experience could grant you a paid summer internship shadowing Adecco’s North American CEO, Bob Crouch. You’ll get to see how a Global 500 company is run from the inside, undertake real-world business assignments, meet other brilliant young candidates, and learn directly from Adecco’s senior leadership. And the good news is that there’s still time to get your applications in by the April 15th deadline!

To help with your submission, we sat down with last year’s Canadian ambassador Terry Zhang to discuss what he’s taken away from his experience and share his successful application advice. Take it away, Terry…

Why you should apply

CEO for One Month has led to so much for me. To this day, I talk about my experience on my resume and LinkedIn profile. I even secured a summer internship from it. It was a gift that keeps on giving.

Seeing how a Fortune 500 runs on the inside at age 19 was pretty wild. Not just seeing it, but being able to talk to presidents, vice presidents, and executives! This really helped me to form my own goals and visions for my future career. It made me want to start my own company.

“There’s a difference between being a boss and being a leader.”

The experience made me realize that being a leader isn’t at all how it’s portrayed on television shows like House of Cards or Suits. I learned that leadership is about working with the people around you, not telling them what to do.

I’ve also applied what I learned to my personal leadership style since I’ve been back. The experience taught me a lot about my soft skills and how to use those effectively in the workplace. It armed me with the ability to talk to people from different walks of life. I can now communicate effectively with people who need guidance as well as those who are much more experienced and accomplished. That is invaluable when you’re just starting out. In fact, I’m applying those very skills during the student elections I’m currently running in.

Simply put, being an effective leader will take you further in life. No matter what you chose to do with your life—whatever level or industry—having leaderships skills and being able to talk to your co-workers respectfully will take you far and let you get things done! You’ll be able to get people on your side because they’ll want to be.

The CEO for One Month experience wasn’t only about serious business learning. There was a fair bit of fun and goofing around as well—making videos, participating in icebreaker challenges and having down time with accomplished young people from across North America. Leadership is a balancing act.

Along with leadership guidance, I also got to talk to top candidates from across the region and hear about their individual experiences— their lives, their leadership approaches, what helped them rise to the top and brought them to the competition. We all learned from one another.

The Submission

Terry’s exciting and invaluable journey started with his application. Below are his insider tips for all you CEO for One Month hopefuls—both for the application process and beyond:

Do research Adecco. Find out what they’re looking for and how they work. Learn their culture, values and mission. If you’re going to help run the company, you’re going to want to know as much as you can.

Do make your application representative of who you are. Include your passions, causes, and the activities you like to do. Do bring up examples from your real life. Talk about achievements and experiences you’ve had at school or elsewhere and how they’ll serve you to be a great representative for Canada. This includes your involvement in university, conferences, extra-curricular activities and sports.

Do make sure to mention opportunities you’ve had to communicate with people. For example, I spoke about getting to represent my school at an engineering conference. Show similarities between the opportunities you’ve had and the CEO for One Month experience—especially ones from outside the classroom.

Do be professional. That means dressing the part. Leave the sweatpants, jeans, and running shoes for when you’re not in front of business personnel.

Do use your social media to promote yourself! Showcase your supporters and cheerleaders. And let your followers track your application process through your LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and blog. Be constantly engaged with your audience and show off your passion for this experience.

Do clean up your social media before applying! Take anything out that doesn’t represent who you are as a person and professional. You can still have fun online but always keep it appropriate and considerate.

Do not read off a script or rely on stock business verbiage. Bring out your own personality and reflect who you are in real life. Be authentic and try your best to seem natural. Speak from the heart.

Do close the books and get out there. Talk to people. Get involved in university life. It’s an asset everybody should have. The skills you learn will take you miles beyond what you learn in university.

Do not focus on “winning”. Go into this eager for what you’ll get to learn. You’ll embark on a journey that will be so useful for your life! Soak it up. This was the advice my parents gave me, and it really worked.

“Leadership is something you can step into and nurture.”

Remember you don’t need to see yourself as a leader to apply. Leadership is something you can step into and nurture. If you’re able to understand other people’s perspectives, you’re already on your way to becoming a better team member and leader.

Good luck to all the future leaders out there! Applications are open until April 15th and can be accessed here.