Leadership in the community
For this leadership project I got the opportunity to interview Alexi Zawadzki. Alexi is an entrepreneur currently employed as the VP Business Development for Pure Energy Minerals. He studied Water Resources at Wilfrid Laurier University. Alexi has started his own company called Swift Power Corp. It focused on creating a more environmentally friendly alternative to hydroelectricity in BC. Two years later he sold the company for approximately 5 times the amount invested. Alexi’s life has been very heavily focused on making the place he lives a better place, that doesn’t stop at his career.
Outside of work Alexi has been a very strong advocate for biking in the Tri Cities, he was involved with a committee called the Vancouver Cycling Coalition or VACC (Also known as HUB). As Alexi has a strong passion for biking he has dedicated time to making biking a more feasible alternative to driving in the tri cities. Alexi has played a key role in helping the city of Coquitlam improve their cycling infrastructure over the last ten years.
Alexi has also been a soccer coach for the last 7 years for his kid’s teams for ‘Coquitlam Metro Ford Soccer Club’ coaching his son and daughter for last few years. As well as founding a biking club at his sons school, Ranch Park Elementary. All in all Alexi has done his fair share of giving back to the community in several ways making him an impactful leader in the community.
I really enjoyed talking to Alexi, it was interesting to hear about the volunteer work he has done in the community, what I think I took the most out of was his motivation for wanting to help others. While he was talking to me about coaching his soccer teams and working towards setting up the bike routes, it was clear that it was not a chore or task that he had to complete. It was a passion and an activity that he took part in because he enjoyed it.
That idea is something that I try to incorporate into my daily life and I think the community as a whole would benefit from doing the same. Volunteering and helping other people can be super intriguing as long as you do it in an area that you are passionate about. For me that’s cooking, volunteering my time in the cafeteria at lunch. Or the time I spent the last few summers at Pedalheads, teaching kids how to bike. Those are good uses of my free time because I am doing things that interest me, they are things I enjoy doing.
I think there is a looming shadow being cast on volunteer work by people who think that they have to take time out of their day to do things that don’t interest them to help other people. But in fact there will always be something you can find that interests you and plays to your personal strengths and passions.
Another thing that I took out of the interview process with Alexi, as this was the first time I have taken part in an interview, where I was the ‘interviewer’. That was a completely different experience then being the ‘interviewee’ and I felt kind of shaky and awkward in the first couple minutes, blanking out on the questions I was going to ask and not speaking as clearly as I normally do. But I felt myself get more comfortable as the interview went on, I still don’t think I would be totally ready to conduct an interview in a real job situation but at least now I have realised that.
To set up this interview I reached Alexi by phone and he agreed to meet with me, then I googled his name and got a sense of some of the things that I could ask him about. I looked through his linked-in profile that shed some light on the biking component. So I googled his name again with the word “biking” in the search and I found lots of articles where he had been mentioned, as well as lots of information about his role with the VACC. Such as this one.
I am glad I got to shed some light on this community leader and learn a few things about myself throughout this project. Interviewing Alexi was really interesting as he is someone I can relate to as we have some similar interests through biking and soccer. Alexi is also an entrepreneur so that was also really interesting to learn about. Overall I think this was a project that I took something out of as well as getting to know a leader in my community.
Here is a the full interview