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Meet Agatha Starczyk

Building a dynamic workforce for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games

Agatha Starczyk admits she was “a little nervous” leaving her life in Calgary to join the group of Deloitte secondees to the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) in July 2009. Now that’s she’s done it, she says “I love what I do!”

She quickly caught the spirit in the VANOC offices and today waxes poetic about her life-changing experience: “Take Deloitte’s 150-year history in Canada and all the people who have passed through our offices, working together on projects and meeting the needs of our clients. Now pack all of that into five years and one common goal, and you get VANOC.”

Staffing up for February 2010

As a recruitment specialist, Agatha spends her day trying to fill VANOC’s offices with other secondees from the B.C. Public Service, various provincial and municipal organizations, and local businesses. Having worked for Deloitte in a similar role, she’s well suited to the task. Only now she is working with a bigger team and dealing with a much larger hiring volume.

One of the positives is meeting candidates and making offers to the “lucky incumbents” ─ lucky because working for VANOC means working with passionate people, says Agatha. “It’s a very unique organization; it overcomes challenges, brings people together, and delivers a global experience for the world to share. In many ways, it’s a lot like Deloitte.”

“I get to tell people to leave their suits at home,” says Agatha, because the culture at VANOC is casual and friendly. Logos for VANOC and the Olympic Winter Games are everywhere ─ even more so since a recent sample sale of clothing. Now Agatha and other staff are outfitted and increasingly enthusiastic as they get closer to their end goal.

What it takes to be a secondee

It’s not all fun and games, cautions Agatha. “Things can change on a dime and processes get created where they didn’t exist before, so flexibility is key.” But one of the key opportunities of being a secondee is having “a chance to bring your existing skills to a new environment and harness the knowledge and best practices gained from new experiences.” Someone who is able to bring that kind of perspective to VANOC — and then take those lessons back to their home organization — is the kind of person who makes a great VANOC secondee.

Not only does Agatha seek these qualities in the candidates she interviews; she herself strives to bring her newfound perspectives to her own work. She’s particularly interested in sustainability, a key component of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games, and how she can contribute to similar initiatives within Deloitte. But come February, you’ll find Agatha cheering on mascots Quatchi and Miga, and paying close attention to events like downhill skiing and figuring skating.