Jason Chong, BCom 2008
What is your current job title and what are your responsibilities?
I’m a Category Development Manager at Energizer Canada. I lead the category and customer insights piece across multiple Canadian retailers. In addition, I manage our Canadian space planning solution to standardize Energizer’s category learnings across a retailer’s shelf space and also lead the Canadian team’s university recruitment strategy to source university talent for the organization.
What motivated you to work in your field?
I’m a firm believer in working in a field that I truly enjoy and can relate to. Having worked in technology earlier, I’ve decided that wasn’t something I could be passionate about. In Consumer Goods, there are many touch points for the product where I can personally relate to. It’s something that still fascinates me and something that I can be passionate about.
What do you enjoy about living in Toronto?
Like Vancouver, Toronto is a multicultural city so there’s much to explore and see. I personally enjoy the fast-paced lifestyle that exists here. I’m also a big basketball fan so being in the city where we (still) have a basketball team gives me multiple opportunities to watch the Raptors play up close and personal.
What are your interests outside of work?
I’m kind of like the Energizer bunny that keeps on going. I manage a beverage blog inspired from my earlier days working at Coca-Cola. I also write for the Canadian Grocer periodically, about beverages and their business impact in the Canadian retail landscape. When I’m not working or blogging, I’m mentoring Sauder students. I volunteer through the Brand Management Mentorship Program, where mentors share their experiences and provide insights on particular career paths in consumer goods marketing.
What inspires you most at work and in your personal life?
I’m inspired by two quotes that steer both my work and personal lives. One is “Keep Moving Forward”. The other is “Some people make it happen, some people watch it happen, and the rest ask ‘What happened?’”. I’m inspired by the intelligent individuals that work around me and keep me on top of my game, they challenge me to keep working to improve myself. I’m also a keen observer where I try to internalize the successful traits that I notice in others to smooth over my rough edges.
What book have you recently read that you found compelling?
I’m currently reading Mitch Joel’s “Ctrl+Alt+Del” and there are many great lessons in that book. One of the most important lessons is that it’s no longer about work-life balance – it’s more about work-life blend. The environment where individuals work is no longer 100% work-based. An individual may also check out Facebook, YouTube videos and sports sites while they’re at work. When they are at home, they are also not exclusively enjoying life. The blurred line implies that a work-life blend means that where you work is where you play, and where you play is also where you work.
What’s your daily “must-visit” blog or website?
Hootsuite. People that see my browser’s bookmarks notice that I don’t have just one blog or website that I visit. I tend to read a lot to understand my industry and current events, so I aggregate all these through Twitter and use Hootsuite to get it all at my fingertips. I follow AdAge, brandchannel, Canadian Grocer, Daily Muse, Marketing Magazine, and The Globe and Mail (among many others).
What’s playing on your iPod?
It’s a long drive to work but I currently have Bruno Mars and John Legend on heavy rotation.
How would you describe your experience as a Sauder grad?
A lot of my closest friends are those that I met during my time at Sauder and I’ve kept these friendships post-graduation despite transplanting myself to Toronto. Even then, I still find a way to connect with Sauder grads. As a Sauder student, your support network is all around you on campus. As a Sauder grad, your support network is certainly much deeper since the relationships you maintain are the ones that you treasure the most.
What advice do you have for recent Sauder graduates?
There’s a lot I’d like to say to recent grads but I believe the most important thing I can say is “never stop learning”. Once you graduate, it’s your personal choice to continually learn and improve yourself. No one is in charge of your personal development except yourself. If you get comfortable where you are and become complacent, it’s to your own detriment in both work and personal settings.