Success in Failure

Success in Failure

By: Janilaine Tsui | Communication Co-op Student
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Working for the Surrey Marathon Society during my second co-op work term was one of the most challenging experiences of my life so far. Although I worked on the organization’s inaugural event during my first co-op term, I had no idea what fate had in store for me this time around.

When my manager, Bonnie Burnside, asked me to return to work on a new event hosted by the Surrey Marathon Society, I knew right away this was going to be a great learning opportunity. Bonnie was a great mentor who always helped her co-op students get the most out of their experiences. This time would be no different. When I returned as the Public Relations Assistant for the next four months, Bonnie tasked me with helping bring to life this new Surrey Marathon Society event.

On the first day, I was brought into the Board of Director’s meeting to brainstorm a name for the event. Given our time restraint, we had to come up with the event’s name and concept within the hour-long meeting. That was how Beats on the Streets: Surrey 10K was born.

In the following four months, I created the branding and marketing, sought out sponsors, helped with public outreach, and completed many other random tasks that were put on my plate. The experience was nothing short of extraordinary as I learned how to build a brand from scratch while working with my colleagues and fellow co-op students. The entire project was a whirlwind of ups and downs.

In the end, Beats on the Streets was cancelled.

At first, the news was so devastating and heartbreaking – I had just spent my entire co-op term planning this event, and I felt so passionate about it! But through the heartbreak I needed to stay professional; I understood the reasons behind the event’s cancellation, and I knew it was best for everyone. Still, all I felt in the moment was that I had failed.

Truth is: this event was actually one of my biggest successes. The opportunity that I had to take on a big project, and plan and facilitate my vision for it, was irreplaceable. I’m so glad that I was able to work with my colleagues to create this event and to learn so much from it.

And despite the fate of Beats on the Streets, I was able to utilize the skills I developed in my next project, The Long, Long Table: A Community Affair. The Long Table event was a huge success, bringing together 200+ community members together for a beautiful dinner outside of Surrey's City Hall Plaza.

So what really happened, in the end, was that I was able to build up my portfolio, develop skills I didn’t think I was capable of, and create even more events to be proud of. I can’t wait to carry on the skills I gained from this experience into my future projects.
 

Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it’s the
courage to carry on that counts.

– Winston Churchill


Beyond the Article:

  • Connect with Janilaine on LinkedIn.
     
  • Be brave! Jason gives advice on how to treat failure positively and productively.
     
  • Feeling down on yourself about past disappointments? Read Career Advisor David Lindskoog's entry in his 'Diary' series on how he grappled with the "The F Word" and the surprising effect it's had on his self-confidence.
     
  • Read more student reflections on what they learned from their unique co-op experience.
Posted on October 17, 2014