With change comes opportunity, Noelle Younes, Director of Inside Sales at Indeed.com, made a change in her life six years ago, sparking off her own unique global experience leaving Sydney for Toronto.
If living and working abroad gives us to the impression of how ‘amazing’ the experience would be, then Noelle’s illustration can offer us relevance – that the incredible experience doesn’t always happen with a eureka revelation.
“It was hard at first to find my bearings in a new city and a new country and break into well-established groups of friends,”she says. Adapting to a new environment, social circle and different climate are things that everyone who moves overseas will need to get through including Noelle. But these are also the necessary components that add to the energy and empower her to embrace an astonishing journey ahead.
To thrive in the HR industry where change is constant – as it moves and develops with the times and technological advances – would require agility, and challenges and obstacle are all a necessary part of any success – as the old saying goes. Noelle who is a strong believer in pursuing professional and personal growth by taking on new challenges, has always been positive to learn from mistakes and never give up until she reaches her goals.
Working with a team who are committed to the same mission – a desire to help people land the right job – Noelle has found her rhythm in Toronto and she’s having a blast becoming a Torontonian.
She spoke to Advance to share her story.
Interview by Tammy Lee, Marketing & Communications & Digital Manager, Advance.
What was the impetus for you to relocate to Toronto? How was the experience?
After eight years in recruitment, my employer at the time offered me a chance to live and work in Canada. This was a great opportunity not only to move onward and upward in my career, but to indulge my love of travelling.
Just a few weeks after I arrived in Toronto, the city had its coldest day in 40 years, with temperatures hitting around -45C. The power lines had frozen over which caused an outage in the city, including the heat in my apartment. This was something I had never experienced in sunny Sydney, and I learned very quickly that my trusted Aussie winter coat is actually considered a spring coat here! Needless to say, I knew what my first pay cheque was being spent on.
After three years in Toronto I joined global job site Indeed, excited about being able to not only help people get jobs, but to guide a team of people dedicated to that same mission.
Being from Sydney, I’m used to working at a fast pace and found Toronto to be a completely different environment. I’ve found the Canadian culture to be positive, polite and humble. It’s allowed me to slow down and really appreciate my new home.
What does ‘Inside Sales’ entail?
Inside sales is one of the primary revenue drivers of Indeed and deals with the highest volume of daily interactions helping clients to advertise their job opportunities. Our role is to understand what the customer wants, assess this against their needs and present relevant solutions to get the best results.
In short, we help people get jobs – which is the most satisfying experience.
What were the biggest challenges you faced when you moved to a new city?
The biggest challenge was related to my social network. It was hard at first to find my bearings in a new city and a new country and break into well-established groups of friends. Just like a student moving to a new school, I had to work out who I could trust and to trust my instincts. At the same time, it was a challenge to find my niche in my work life.
To be a Torontonian is to be accepting and proud of who you are, with a willingness to share this with others. Once I embraced this, I quickly became a social butterfly!
A challenge I’m still working on is finding a replacement for Vegemite. Until then, I’ll stick to having it internationally delivered.
What’s the most exciting part of your job?
I love that my role has a consistent baseline yet every day I am presented with different challenges. I draw energy from this and find it really rewarding. It gives me the opportunity to use both my creativity and strategic focus to tackle any obstacles that arise.
Another exciting aspect is being part of a great team. Much like the city of Toronto, my team is diverse. They embrace me as family, allowing for open and honest relationships and making each day more fun than the last.
How would you describe your leadership style?
My leadership style is first and foremost based on trust and positivity. I believe that I can only control my mindset and my reactions. So, I try to remain optimistic and open-minded. I encourage acceptance and diversity, as we all need to learn from each other.
I believe I am collaborative and pragmatic. I try to be as engaging as possible, and I always hold my team, but more importantly myself, accountable.
What do you miss most about Australia?
Growing up in Sydney, I was your typical Aussie teen – playing competitive netball every Saturday, followed by Sunday Rugby League and a barbeque with my family while cheering on our favourite team, the Parramatta Eels (Up Parra!)
While Australia is well known for its sun, sand, and surf, the warmth of my home country doesn’t just come from the weather. It comes from the roots of my family and the community that raised me. So, most of all, I miss my family.
On the plus side, being in Toronto means I can travel to various destinations much more quickly than I could from Sydney (I’ve now been to 35 countries). So, while I miss it a lot, being able to continue exploring the world more easily means I get to tick more off my bucket list than I ever could have before!
Plus, the local New Zealand/Australian Pub, Hemingways, serve a good old-fashioned pavlova. Even in Canada, the friendly debate on whether pav is really an Australian or New Zealand dessert continues and although it’s not quite as heated as it would be at my family’s Sunday BBQ’s, it makes me feel right at home!
What was the most valuable thing that you’ve learnt in your career?
I’ve had great wins in my career as well as great challenges and it’s through those challenges that I have learned to not fear mistakes, failures or simply the challenge itself. In fact, I actually believe in the power of failure and choose to embrace it as my chance to learn and grow. Along the way, I remind myself to be positive and keep trying, knowing that with every try I’m that much closer to reaching my goals!
What’s your favourite thing about living in Toronto?
My favourite thing about Toronto is the multiculturalism, as it’s comparable to Sydney which makes me feel at home. I appreciate the stories that the city’s architecture tells and its unique neighbourhoods, such as Kensington Market, which I find myself exploring quite often.
Toronto is a winter wonderland when covered in snow and the summer months are best spent on a patio, by the lake or on the Toronto Islands. I love the city’s many libraries and parks, both of which I use as much as I can. Most of all, I love overlooking the city lights from my balcony at night, enjoying the breeze, and sipping on a good Australian red wine.
What would you recommend for a visitor?
Toronto has so much to offer! I recommend anyone visiting to check out Kensington Market, it’s a vibrant and diverse neighbourhood with an array of unique shops and tons of restaurant options. The Distillery District is a must-see, especially in the winter when it hosts the Toronto Christmas Market. In the summer, I recommend taking the ferry out to the Toronto Islands, which offer beaches, canoeing and endless hours of exploring – plus the view of the Toronto skyline from the ferry can’t be beat.