JULY 12, 2021
Growing up in Kelowna was a carefree time in Garrett Jones‘ life. But when high school ended, and the need for a paycheque arose, his free-wheeling ways and thirst for independence became the fuel for career experimentation.
Garrett was a ski bum for a year at Big White, worked at a concrete factory in the Lower Mainland for a few years and then took a year off to travel and spend time in Southeast Asia and Australia. For five months in the major metropolises he visited, he donned the bright yellow vests of the clipboard-holding canvassers to work at signing people up for annual charitable donations. On these busy Melbourne street corners, while melting in 40-degree summer heat, Garrett discovered that he had a knack and passion for sales. His 30-second pitch became the next twist in his career path.
Upon arriving back in Canada, Garrett moved to Alberta and worked in insurance for many years, which opened many more doors – including joining First West’s Valley First division and leading commercial insurance. In recent years, his trajectory has become more linear, now leading the regional commercial banking team.
“It seemed like a natural progression for me, but I’ll be honest it was a big challenge. I felt like I was running a million miles per hour in commercial insurance—I knew the products, I knew the team and had some solid experience under my belt. Then I made the change and it was like hitting a brick wall. It challenged my resiliency and ability to adapt.” The trick to trying something new, Garrett shares, is to be curious and ask questions. It will look far sillier if you pretend to know the answers when you don’t. Use those first few months of on-boarding to learn and absorb everything you can.
Though Garrett’s career still moves at a rapid pace, he also enjoys the stability of building a longer-term career at First West. Being part of a community-focused financial institution fulfills another important objective: putting purpose and profit on the same playing field. Being active in the community was part of Garrett’s family life from a young age, “I remember my mom being heavily involved in the BC Children’s Hospital telethon,” he recalls, “…as a kid, you’d find little Garrett Jones with a beautiful, full mullet on television as my mom talked about the event with her family on camera. I’m amazed that hair modelling scouts didn’t try and track me down afterward.”
Today, Garrett includes a passion for sustainability in his efforts to do good. As part of the First West Young Leaders employee resource group, he leads an ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) project at First West to further understand the impact we’re having and find ways to be positive corporate citizens. That’s one more factor keeping Garrett on track – working for an organization where employees have the support and autonomy to drive meaningful change.