Emily James: The Givex Globetrotter
May 2023 marked 14 years (split over two periods) for me working for Givex. My tenure with Givex has involved me taking on roles in multiple departments, managing teams, working on my own, and living on four different continents.
I started working at Givex HQ in Toronto in 2006, a couple of years after I graduated from university. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do at the time and I had lots of sales experience from working in retail to pay for my education. A recruiter found my CV online and I was hired as a Business Development Manager, my first real corporate job. There were approximately 50 people working for Givex at the time.
In my BDM role, I wasn’t very skilled at finding new clients and selling our products to them. I was better at working with and upselling to our existing clients, so after a short time of working in sales, I was moved to a Client Relations Manager role. I was working with some of our biggest clients in Canada on their gift card projects, promotions, and card production orders. This role allowed me to expand my project management, time management and client relations skills. I also quickly learned how to work with the different departments within Givex – from Implementations to R&D to QA to Media – and I was learning new things every day about how the Givex system functions. It was exciting working with recognizable clients and seeing the tangible results of my efforts.
In 2008, I was asked to switch roles and build a new team in a new department – Program Administration & Control. This was one of my biggest challenges – I was managing a team in a corporate environment for the first time and starting a new department with new processes from scratch. It was a tough journey and I worked lots of extra hours as I needed to understand how our system works in order to support the clients and my team. I managed this team for about a year before I made yet another move – this time to Hong Kong.
I opened the Givex Hong Kong office in 2009 as a Regional Operations Director. I had never been to Hong Kong before but was excited at the change. Givex had acquired a local company and it was my job to incorporate the team members into the Givex culture and train them on our systems. I mostly worked on implementations of clients in Australia, as at the time we did not have any implementation team members outside of Toronto and the UK. It was just me doing regular conference calls at night with our implementation team members in Toronto when I needed help.
In 2010, our Australia operations were expanding quickly and there was a need for local support. I moved from Hong Kong in late 2010 to work from our office in Sydney. I was there for eight months but decided to move on from Givex and moved back to Hong Kong in 2011.
Fast forward to January 2015, and I came back to Givex in Hong Kong as a Project Manager. I got back into the Givex groove quite quickly and was very happy to have our proprietary task management tools back in my life. Our client base in Asia and Hong Kong had grown in the four years I was gone from Givex and I started working on implementations for well-known brands in Asia Pacific. I even went back to Sydney for three months in 2017 to work on a big migration project for our largest client in Australia.
In August of 2023, I made yet another move to another country for Givex – to the UK, where I will be leading another new team and department. This new role will see me managing our internal documentation and information management processes, which will touch every team within the company.
My journey with Givex is not a typical one, but it shows what can happen when you work hard, have an open mind, strive for success and have supportive teams behind you. I have been able to see different parts of the world and work with clients of all shapes and sizes in my various roles, and I look forward to continuing on this path with Givex.