Of all decisions we make at Sustainable Waterloo Region, hiring full-time staff is – without a doubt – the most important one. This probably wouldn’t even conjure up much debate amongst local entrepreneurs, and the reason is a no-brainer:  organizations are the people that contribute to them.

When you do a good job hiring superstars, it’s these people that then make all sorts of other wonderful decisions in their time with the organization. Similar to the advice I’ve heard time and again over the years: the most important element in any start-up is bringing on the right people. And conversely, when you do a poor job hiring staff, it’s then these people that will inevitably be at the root of so many headaches over the years.

At the heart of it, my stance is this: by getting hiring decisions right, an organization sets itself up for success.

Well over the past few months, the Sustainable Waterloo Region team has been in the midst of hiring a Development Manager (thanks to funding from the City of Kitchener’s LEAF program). And as with previous hires, this process carried quite a bit of weight around here and was once again difficult. Particularly for me, an analytical thinker (my favourite subject in grade school was of course math), the process is never easy. No matter how many people you involve in the selection, or how many rounds of interviews you conduct, or what sort of insightful questions you decide to ask, you’re ultimately making an incredibly important decision with limited information.

This hiring process was also our first that used our newly developed core competencies as a guide, and I’m thrilled that we selected someone that exceeded our expectations in every area: Cam Scott. Cam is now our fifth full-time staff member, and he comes to us following a distinguished several years at Mosaic Counselling in a number of roles related to their Pathways to Education program, on the heels of having recently completed his Masters at Western, while all the while instructing part-time at Appleby College. And his roots are in Waterloo Region, having completed his undergrad at UW (in History) before moving onto Lakehead for his BEd.

Cam went through three rounds of interviews with us, the final one involving his participation in a meeting with a prospective Regional Carbon Initiative member organization. Throughout, he demonstrated all the traits we were looking for: leadership, intrinsic motivation, conscientiousness, willingness to take on big challenges, a drive for self improvement, the list goes on. He shares our vision of business development– that being focused on intentional, genuine relationship-building. But most importantly, the community-facing nature of this role demands someone who is at ease outside their comfort zone, someone with a sincerity that comes from a real passion for local sustainability, and someone that exudes an outward demeanour that is both warm and credible. Cam is all of these things.

Though his official start date isn’t until July 11th, we’ve been lucky to have Cam attending a number of meetings with all of our functional areas over the past several weeks, not to mention many community events this past month. If you haven’t had the opportunity to meet him yet, I really hope you do soon, and with any luck I will have the pleasure of introducing him to you. You’ll quickly see why our whole team is so excited about having him on-board. In the meantime, Cam can be reached by email at: cameron.scott@sustainablewr.ca. And I expect it won’t be long before he is blogging in this space as well!