Meet Leila Stevens:
Leila Stevens is a Marketing Management Co-op student and is expecting to graduate in 2022. She is currently completing a work term as part of the Business Development team at Siemens Canada, where she assists with a unique internship experience, recruiting engineers and technologists across Canada. Leila shares more about her role at Siemens, her experiences in the workplace so far, and her advice for anyone considering co-op. She also tells us about the lessons she has learned, and strengths she has gained from co-running a business of her own.
Tell us about your co-op work term at Siemens. What is your role?
“At Siemens Canada, I am currently working as the SCETA Co-ordinator Co-op student as a part of the Business Development team. In my role, I support the promotion, recruitment efforts, and execution of their prestigious Siemens Canada Engineering and Technology Academy (SCETA) program. It is a unique internship experience for engineers and technologists across Canada who are looking to kick-start their careers at Siemens. The academy consists of two consecutive Summer Co-op work terms, followed by a minimum of two years of full-time work for Siemens; it is an excellent ‘launchpad’ into a career for students interested in mechanical and electrical engineering, or the trades.”
Can you expand on one or two projects you've worked on for Siemens?
“As a part of the recruitment efforts for Siemens, I was responsible for vetting hundreds of applicants through our HR portal which meant screening resumes, cover letters, and transcripts. Through this work, I have bolstered my ability to assess a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses promptly after viewing their files. Afterward, I invited folks to interview with us through on-demand videos, or in a live Microsoft Teams call. As a result of this work, I have become a stronger judge of character and can pick out a solid applicant amongst a field of many.”
What is your favourite part of the job?
“My favourite part about working for Siemens is the fantastic corporate culture we have. Despite my work being remote—I’ll touch on that shortly—it has been a delight to work alongside my teammates, notably, my supervisors Dr. Henry Vandelinde and Ms. Bev Alger. In a dynamic hiring environment, having these individuals as career mentors and colleagues has been invaluable to my learning. We have developed a tight-knit team that thrives on respectful and concise communication.”
What has your experience been like working remotely?
“Even though my home is located 15 minutes from the Siemens head office in Oakville, I have worked remotely for the duration of my co-op so far, only going into the office to pick up my work laptop and for technical support. I am extremely grateful to have an office space in my home that is relatively clear of distractions, and to live with parents who are respectful and cognizant of my workspace.”
What is your favourite part of co-op in general?
“To high school students approaching the University of Guelph, I always recommend the co-op option. Working your job-application and interview muscles regularly is an excellent way to practice and improve; the co-op cycles and co-operative education support staff help you get into the groove of job-hunting season, and there are many excellent resources available to you as a student. Additionally, I love gaining hands-on experience simultaneous to earning my degree while also gaining meaningful professional connections along the way. Having over a year of full-time work experience prior to graduation is an incredible asset.”
What's your advice to anyone considering co-op?
“Apply for co-op and you will not regret it. On top of practicing your application/interview skills, you can get a better idea for what you want from your career. I had no idea which path I wanted to take when I graduated from high school, but my four unique co-op experiences have helped me paint a better picture of what I do (and do not) want to pursue in future. Even if the programs that offer co-op are slightly different from the exact program you’d like to pursue, it is likely that there will be job offerings available that cater to your interests. Lastly, co-op is a great way to support yourself financially while earning your degree and it gives you an opportunity to “take breaks” between academic semesters. Yes—during work terms you work a nine-to-five, but your evenings and weekends are open for you to enjoy at your leisure.”
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
“I’ll try to keep this brief with 4 points and a personal plug:
- Remember that 99% of the time, individuals do not pursue jobs that directly align with their degrees. The world is your oyster… go get it!
- The day of your interview is a special day—it’s game day! Eat a hearty breakfast, dress snazzy (even if it’s a phone interview), and go through any motivational rituals that help you get in the zone. Breathe deeply… you’ve got this.
- Create a LinkedIn account, spruce up your profile, and engage on it as much as you do other social media platforms; you’ll learn a lot from both personal and professional connections while building your brand. You can check mine out here.
- If you are like me and you want to be informed on business topics but do not want to turn on the news or sift through biased newspapers, I recommend subscribing to American company, Morning Brew for a daily newsletter oriented toward young business professionals.
“Lastly, if you or the STEM-lover in your life is looking for a cute, knitted science buddy, my sister Brenna Stevens—also a proud Gryphon—and I have got you covered. Check out our Etsy shop here and get yourself a knitted flask/beaker/coronavirus today!”
“Through running our business, my sister and I have learned the importance of doing your research. As a STEM student, Brenna found tons of articles online with great advice on how to start the business. Remember—you don’t have to be a business student to start your own company. Just be sure that you are fiercely passionate about your offerings. I’ve learned how to define a target market and brand strategy, and have strengthened my creativity skills by coming up with fun new posts for our Instagram account. I have always enjoyed promoting goods and services online, so when my sister asked if I could be her Marketing Consultant, I was more than happy to work this exciting project with her."