Connect Series: Meet Operations Manager Casey Dickinson!

Casey grew up in Kingston, Ontario, and attended the University of Guelph. In 2010 Casey made the move from Ontario to Whistler, where she started as a team lead for the guest services department at Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort. From there Casey progressed through the company, working for the food and beverage department and the sales and marketing department, and she eventually moved back to guest services as the assistant manager. In 2018 Casey took a leave of absence to travel to New Zealand and Australia, which led to her moving to Auckland, New Zealand. Casey worked on the community engagement and insights team for the Auckland City Council before returning to Canada.  Casey is fluent in French and is an avid sailor, hiker and snowboarder. She loves travelling, reading and drinking wine (preferably all three at once). A fun fact about Casey is that she has an identical twin, who also lives on the west coast!

Not only are you the operations manager for all three locations of Reportex (HQ, All-Star and Island), but you are a busy bee with a lot of amazing hobbies. Now living in Vancouver, you probably get the most out of all your hobbies. What is some advice you can give about not giving up on your hobbies during the pandemic?

This is a fantastic question, and one I am sure has come up for a lot of people recently. Keeping up with my hobbies has been challenging, especially considering I returned to Canada and moved to Vancouver in the middle of the pandemic, so finding my groove took slightly longer than it usually does when I move to a new place. I love hiking, biking, boating and snowboarding, so I am lucky that the North Shore is a short drive away, but it can still be a challenge to find the motivation to get out there these days. I would say I have a few pieces of advice to give:

  • Plan. A lot of activities or outdoor areas require reservations these days (even though they didn’t in the past), so do your research and see what their COVID protocols are.
  • Be patient with yourself. Don’t expect the same results that you would have a year ago. We have all been through a lot, and our minds, bodies and souls are trying to recover in different ways.
  • Recognize and appreciate the benefits. One of the motivators for me getting out and doing the things I love is remembering how happy and healthy they make me feel. While it can be a challenge to get out of the house and make the moves, the reward is so worth it! Whether it is a hike through the fresh mountain air or giving yourself a few quiet, uninterrupted hours to be creative, it pays off, and you will always feel better for it.

You are overseeing Reportex’s headquarters expansion. What are you most excited to showcase to all of our clients in our new space?

There are so many things about this expansion that have me excited. This is a new space with 20,000 square feet of new custom-designed boardrooms, lounges, serveries and offices. The team has worked incredibly hard to consider every little detail, with a goal of offering our clients the highest quality of service. Christy and the design team have done a wonderful job with the space, and I think it will be quite clear how every minor detail was considered in the design process. From the extra soundproofing of meeting rooms to our showpiece boardroom (completely kitted out with leading-edge videoconferencing technology) to the state of the art kitchen from which we plan to provide a new and exciting food and beverage program — there was no piece left unconsidered.

As someone who comes from an artistic family, I am also excited to see Shari’s custom artwork displayed throughout our spaces. Shari has put a lot of thought, heart and effort into designing pieces that will fit well and really lend themselves to the space.

This year has been unexpected, to say the least, but Reportex has been blessed to go forward with our expansion this spring. What do you feel was the main focus to keep business going during this pandemic?

This is an enormous accomplishment in normal times, but to have been able to continue with this expansion through the pandemic is something I feel we should all take pride in. It has been an incredibly challenging year, yet there has been such strong commitment and drive to reach our end goal, and for that I think this whole team should be incredibly proud. And of course we owe a lot of thanks to Christy for being our fearless, driven, dedicated leader through it all.

I think the focus since the start of this pandemic has been to continue to operate in a safe, respectful and innovative way. At Reportex I feel we are some of the lucky ones who were able to adapt and redirect very quickly to ensure our clients and staff were supported in all aspects. While there have undoubtedly been hurdles and challenges throughout the entire process, the goal has always been to continue to provide the excellent and professional service that we have become so well known for over the years and to ensure our team members are supported, comfortable and provided with the flexibility everyone needs right now.

At Reportex our core values of team, mentorship, equality, community and industry are central to what we do. Which of these values resonates most strongly with you and why?

I feel as though the value that resonates most with me changes depending on what projects I am working on and what my current focus is. For example, I just came out of a heavy eight months of learning the ropes and trying to understand the wild world of Reportex, so during that time I was really dedicated to mentorship and appreciating that process.

Now that I have a clear understanding of what is required of me and my role, I have shifted to focus on the value “team.” In the past when I was training new groups at Whistler Blackcomb, there is a quote from Henry Ford that I used:

“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”

What I think is interesting about this quote is that it points out that teamwork is a journey, not something you can just instantly shift into. To work well on a team and to be truly successful, you need to understand and respect the communication and working styles of everyone in the group — these are things that need to be learned over time. This is not instant, and it is important to respect this when working on a new team.

We have been talking a bit about wellness on the blog and through our Slack channels. Do you have a favourite way to recharge or any tips for staying well?

Right now I am trying to be very easy on myself. These are hard times, and it does not take a lot to hit capacity, whether it be physically or mentally. I know that for myself the most important thing right now is to ensure I am balancing my screen time. It is easy to spend a whole day at work looking at my computer screen to then go home and spend all night looking at the TV screen; however, I am trying to be extremely mindful of this.

Julia Chalifoux, Reportex’s project manager, started a walking challenge in February, and it has been so incredibly helpful with getting me into a good routine. I have been much better about getting out for walks after work, and with longer days ahead I am hoping to keep up with this. An hour of fresh air and no screen is an excellent way to decompress and regroup. I have also started leaving my phone at home during these walks (my housemate was passionately against this idea until I promised to carry a whistle with me, which I now do) as I was finding that I would pull out my phone and get distracted by something on yet another screen.

I think the most important thing for everyone right now is to listen to your mind and body. While it is very easy to say this, the action is much harder. An hour of quiet time a day gives me the opportunity to check in with myself and determine what I need, but maybe for someone else it’s an hour of blaring music and dancing like nobody’s watching — whatever works!