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Meet Jennifer Yu

Thinking outside the box rings in cash for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games

There’s never a boring day at the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC). For Jennifer Yu, a Deloitte Assurance & advisory senior, each day advances her creative thinking and negotiation skills, making her secondment the “remarkable experience” she was looking for.

“Happy? Thrilled? Excited? All of the above,” says Jennifer, recounting her emotions when she learned she would join the team of Deloitte people seconded to provide professional assistance to VANOC. “I was also a bit anxious because I wasn't really sure what to expect,” she admits. As the official professional services provider to the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, Deloitte is affording its people a unique opportunity to connect with the 2010 Winter Games by working behind the scenes. “It’s an opportunity to part of something big that the whole world will be watching,” enthuses Jennifer.

Stretch and grow

Jennifer describes her role as value-in-kind accountant for VANOC as a “creative stretch” from her former auditing role. Rather than following checklists, referencing prior years’ files, or taking guidance from the CICA handbook, Jennifer finds herself thinking outside the box to complete her daily tasks ─ converting donated goods and services into cash or other types of goods or services that VANOC can use internally.

“Cash is king, and I’ve developed skills to ensure we get something valuable from the donated goods and services.” Whether she’s selling small-value items like gift cards or working on multimillion-dollar contracts, Jennifer believes her new skills are helpful in negotiating contracts and accommodating the needs of each distinct situation. “For each city that hosts the Games, new precedents are created. Sometimes the most effective approach is the more imaginative one.”

Keeping an eye on the clock

Creativity isn’t the only thing she’s learned. Jennifer has gained valuable time management and operational effectiveness skills that she plans to transfer to audit engagements when she returns to Deloitte. Plus, she’ll have career “bragging rights” for having an active role to play in the Games.

With the clock ticking down to the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games, good time management has become critical. “I’ve needed to analyze how things should work and why they aren’t working that way. I’ve had to identify and rectify issues in a timely and efficient manner.” Jennifer’s role at VANOC has taught her how to deal with uncertainties, hedge risks and adapt to unexpected issues. She’s had an inside peek at how directors make strategic management decisions, something to add to her professional toolkit as she works towards a management position at Deloitte.

Come February 2010, Jennifer will be stationed in the heart of the action at the Whistler Olympic Village in Whistler, B.C., where she’ll be working as a rate card analyst. “I am really excited because I’ll be on the floor where all the action is happening.”