Olympic Sized Persistence Pays Off

Olympic Sized Persistence Pays Off

By: Dionne Liu, Career Peer Educator
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Editor's note: This article was originally published on March 15, 2011, and is being featured as part of a series of posts leading up to this year's Indigenous Peoples' Career Stories event on March 27, 2012.

If there’s someone who knows about the terrifying journey that is the work search, it is Marissa Nahanee. Marissa was a panellist at the Indigenous Peoples Career Stories event on March 3, 2011.  Marissa has worked on many world class events, including the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Torch relay and visits by Princes Charles and Edward.  This is quite an impressive resume for someone still in their twenties. But Marissa’s job did not just happen to her - she had to work for it.

When Marissa started her event planning classes, she told people that her goal was to work for the Olympics, and then manage her own company.  Everyone told her she was crazy, especially because she wanted to coordinate First Nations events specifically.

After graduating, Marissa attended networking event after networking event, pitching her ideas and showing her passion to recruiters.  Months later, she received a Facebook message from an employer asking if she would like to work for the Four Host Nations to plan Olympic events!  Amazing!  But let’s rewind.  How did this happen?

The employer had been using a recruiting agency and had gone through application after application, not finding what he wanted.  That’s when the recruiting agency remembered Marissa, the girl who never submitted her resume but was persistent in networking and her sales pitch!  The agency gave the employer Marissa’s name and the employer did a Facebook search. Lo and behold, the employer found her.  While there was a bit of luck involved with this, it was mostly the product of Marissa’s persistence.

A wise man once said that the brick walls in life are there to show you how badly you want something.  He’s right.  If you want something, keep at it and don’t give up, regardless of the odds or what others are telling you.  So it’s okay to dream big.  Big dreams are good.  As long as you’re willing to persist and pick yourself up when the times are tough, big dreams can be realized.

Article by Dionne Liu, Career Peer

Photo of Marissa via the Knowledgable Aboriginal Youth Association.

Posted on March 20, 2012