When Sauder alumnus Jim Atamba attended an event co-hosted by Sauder and Hootsuite, he was hoping to expand his network but ended up changing the course of his career.

“Hootsuite is the perfect place for me,” says UBC Sauder School of Business alum Jim Atamba. And yet, Atamba wasn’t even looking for a job at the Vancouver-based company when he attended a networking event co-hosted by Sauder and the social media platform.

At the time, Atamba was working in business analysis and project management at the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA). Yet since graduating from Sauder with a Bachelor of Commerce in 2009, Atamba has made a point of constantly expanding his Sauder network – whether as a mentor, mentee or event attendee. So it was in that spirit that he RSVP’d to a special event hosted by Sauder’s Alumni Career Services and Hootsuite’s finance leadership team.

Face time

The event was only open to Sauder alumni like Jim, so he had the opportunity to speak directly with senior Hootsuite staff, which isn’t usually easy to do - especially when compared to events like Hootsuite’s semi-annual #HootHire job fair, which attracts thousands of eager candidates.

“At any other event I would have been lucky to get face time with a Hootsuite representative, let alone a senior executive” says Atamba. But the Sauder event gave Atamba the unprecedented opportunity to speak one-on-one with Danica Hendry, accounts receivable manager, Miranda Lam, director of finance and James Rumble, CFO at Hootsuite.

“I remember discussing KPIs, currency and payment solutions with Miranda and Danica for a good 10 minutes,” says Atamba, a Business Technology Management grad, who is currently pursuing his Chartered Professional Accountants (CPA) designation. Atamba’s interest in finance is rivaled only by his interest in tech, a passion he fuels by devouring industry and business news.

“I had a great time sharing Hootsuite’s story and culture at the Sauder alumni event,” says Hendry. “It was a wonderful opportunity to chat with a room full of bright, engaging and motivated folks. I had a chance to speak with Jim and knew right away he’d go far. Lucky for us he didn’t go too far!”

Top of mind

Atamba so impressed Hootsuite’s team that when they were building a financial planning and analysis department a few months after the networking event, Atamba was one of the first people they contacted. In November of 2014, Atamba joined that department where he is now a finance business partner, advising different business units.

“It was clear to me that Jim is a charismatic yet calm individual who really left a strong impression at the event,” says Lam, director of finance. “In fact, it was such a strong impression that I kept his contact information on hand for the next three months until we created a new role on the finance team that I knew would suit his skill set. I was excited to encourage Jim to apply for the job.”

“The Sauder alumni event was a great opportunity for Hootsuite to build relationships with experienced finance professionals in Vancouver, and to meet future hires like Jim,” says Alexandra Bowden, talent acquisition associate.

“They say the best things come when you least expect it,” Atamba says. “That’s definitely true in this case. I love the industry, the team and the work I’m doing at Hootsuite and am thrilled to be a part of a company that is growing at breakneck speed.”

Staying connected

Atamba attributes this success to his willingness to embrace opportunities presented by his alma mater.

“Long after you graduate, Sauder is there for you with free resources and events,” he says. “When you know what you’re looking for and come ready to share your insights and opinions, there’s no telling where they can take you.”