Thursday, November 29, 2012

Commerce & Business grad takes his training to the bank

By Tamara Letkeman, doug Editor

Jon Adams describes himself as half banker, half entrepreneur.

A graduate of the Douglas College Commerce and Business Administration program, Jon is manager at the new RBC Retail Store in Port Coquitlam’s Fremont Village Shopping Centre.

Not your typical bank, RBC Retail Stores welcome clients and non-clients to drop in, browse and learn about the products RBC offers. It’s a new style of banking that’s a far cry from the transactional model where clients come in and a teller asks, ‘How can I help you?’

“It’s all about the advice we provide,” Jon explains. “We don’t have products on shelves or racks. We incorporate technology – like big screen TVs – into the store that helps illustrate examples of our products or shows you how you can get value from different options and solutions.”

The Port Coquitlam location was a new business start-up, which means on day one the store had zero clients. John has had to draw on his entrepreneurial powers to help it get off the ground.

“We are trying to think creatively, network within the community, and make our business a success. Just like any successful business, it's about getting people through your doors in the early days, so you can show them a great experience and what you have to offer.”

Jon says his education from Douglas gave him the knowledge, skills and tools he needed to kick-start his career in banking.

“It certainly helped me network. It helped in terms of creating that business mindset – I don't think that’s something people are born with – and how to think outside the box when marketing or developing a business opportunity.”

Before Jon came to Douglas, he was a manual labourer at a cabinet manufacturing plant and a shipper-receiver at the now-defunct Eaton’s department store. A people person by nature, Jon hated the work and wanted a change – he just wasn’t sure what.

Then two things happened almost simultaneously: he came to Douglas to study commerce and business, and he got a part-time teller position at RBC, one of Canada’s biggest banks.

“When I came to Douglas, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I knew I wanted to work with people, and for most of those opportunities you need to be educated and you need to explore and develop your skills.

“And when I started at the bank,” he continues, “the last thing I would have said was, ‘Yeah, I want this to be my career.’ But about six months in I realized I really liked it.”

He’s been with RBC ever since, as a teller, salesperson, assistant branch manager, and now as RBC Retail Store branch manager.

He remembers Douglas as a “melting pot” of diverse cultures and ethnicities and of younger and older learners. He says this left a big impression on him as he entered the corporate world.

“Learning about different people and cultures was a huge bonus for me. I know that’s something Douglas embraces, and it’s something I’ve taken with me to RBC, where we also celebrate diversity. Because if we are not reflecting the people in the community, we can’t properly serve them.”

Did you know you can get a Bachelor of Commerce and Business Administration at Douglas? Find out more on our website, or come to an info session Dec. 4 (Coquitlam) or Dec. 5 (New West).