Alumni in the Lead: Jonathan Tam, BCom 2004
Jon is a proud Telfer School of Management Alumni that is stepping out of the corporate rate race and into the world of non-profit. He is currently the Communications Manager for a small Canadian non-profit called SchoolBOX. The organization builds schools, promotes education, and distributes educational packages in Nicaragua to the poorest communities.
During his tenure at the Telfer School of Management, he was President of CASCO, and participated in a wide variety of student activities. He graduated with a BCom in Marketing and for the last 7 years has studied and worked abroad in Australia, the Netherlands, and Belgium. He most recently held the position of IT Project Manager EMEA at Doosan Inc. in Brussels, Belgium until late 2010.
A meeting with Tom Affleck, President of SchoolBOX Inc in late 2009 changed the course of his career. Tam explains, “I spoke with Tom for about an hour and he outlined the story of a chance meeting with a young girl in Northern Nicaragua. He handed her a pencil and a notebook and her father beamed and said that she would be able to attend school that year.” Jon learned through Tom that the barrier to education in Nicaragua was so low. A few dollars of school supplies can determine whether a child goes to school, or stays home.
Jon decided to take the leap and join SchoolBOX in November of 2010 and is based in Managua, Nicaragua. He manages all communications and marketing initiatives for SchoolBOX within Nicaragua and Canada. In addition to his key role in marketing, Jon helps manage the operations, and the volunteer program that attracts over 100 international volunteers each year to help construct schools in Nicaragua.
“Being involved in a small non-profit organization affords you a lot of freedom in your day to day work. One day I can be running a community meeting in a very rural part of the country, and the next day I can be running a Facebook campaign trying to promote our organization. Each and every day is new and exciting.”, Tam outlined.
Jon plans on helping SchoolBOX expand into other countries such as Honduras, or Peru in the future, but presently his goal is to take SchoolBOX to the next level in Nicaragua.
Jon is happy to receive ongoing support from the Telfer School of Management. In the month of August, the Telfer School of Management hosted an evening with SchoolBOX at the Metropolitan Bar & Grill in Ottawa. Over 50 people attended the evening where representatives from SchoolBOX spoke, and networked with the crowd. In addition to the awareness raised, the evening was a success as over $1800 was donated.
Jon was also invited to be the keynote speaker at the Telfer School of Management MBA year end dinner. He spoke on various subjects to the crowd of students who had just completed their MBA, such as the importance of having a good education, different definitions of success, the transition between corporate and non-profit life, and tidbits regarding living in a developing country and working for SchoolBOX.
Since Jon has joined SchoolBOX, he has seen communities being transformed, and lives changed for the better in Nicaragua. He has also witnessed regular people in Canada being empowered to help others less fortunate.
Jon states, “I am amazed by the support of normal people that just want to help. Their small actions are making large impacts for the poorest of the poor in Nicaragua. I can see their impacts first hand.”
Jon feels that being part of the SchoolBOX team helps quench his thirst for adventure through travel and by doing something different. He strongly believes that one must find a job that they have a lot of passion for in order to be truly happy. He seems to have found his calling.
For more information on SchoolBOX, please visit www.schoolbox.ca
Published: September 20, 2011 | Category: Latest News