"For me, core values are the DNA of a company"
In her home country of Cameroon, Gilberte Nouwezem was in the oil and gas sector handling projects in the millions of dollars for her company.
Today, as an Internal Sales Coordinator with Avenue Living Communities, she has brought her business expertise to the real estate and rental industry combining that with a passion of helping people and a philosophy aligned with her company's core values.
"What inspires me in life has always been a job well done. The desire to do as Michelangelo – to create something from nothing. And this goes a long way with Avenue Living Communities' core value – Entrepreneurial Spirit," says Nouwezen, who started her career with Avenue in September 2017.
"I am fascinated by our core values. They are the DNA of Avenue Living and I breathe them. They should not only underpin how we do business but they should also shape the decisions made by each and every employee on a day-to-day basis. For me, core values are the DNA of a company. It defines a company and what a company should be going by. I strongly believe in core values. With my previous company I was a champion in terms of core values. They define how we do business. How we shape our everyday decisions."
The core values for Avenue Living include: Duty of Care; Entrepreneurial Spirit; Integrity; Honest Communication; and In it Together.
Nouwezem's journey to reach her current position with Avenue Living began when she and her husband decided to move to Canada in 2014 to provide a better future for their three children – two boys who are now aged 21 and 19 and a 16-year-old girl.
Having experience in the oil and gas industry in Cameroon, she thought Calgary would present a great opportunity for her. But she came to the city at the worst time as the industry was just starting to feel the impact of the oil price collapse which began in the latter half of 2014. In her first few years in Calgary, she took to volunteering and helped out in various ways at the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society and the Calgary Immigrant Women's Association.
Nouwezem, who is bilingual speaking both English and French, has a multidisciplinary background in human resources, administration, management and sales. She also studied law then joined a business school where she did an MBA in Human Resources Management. She is also a Registered Professional Recruiter in Canada.
"I have a multi-disciplinary background. I have a lot of transferable skills. One of the things I brought to my new job (at Avenue Living) was my administration skills and I also brought a bit of diversity," she says. "The fact that I managed a team of 60 people back home gives me the opportunity to lead without being the official leader."
Within Avenue Living, she is responsible for auditing lease documents and reconciling reports for payments; running daily reports for Avenue Living's C Suite and Directors; operating data entry into the internal system; performing the financial adjustments; preparing renewals, non-renewals and notices to vacate; qualifying prospects; and providing support to the field teams as needed.
When asked about her goals with the company, she quips: "Be the next CEO of Avenue Living Communities. Anthony (Giuffre the current CEO) needs to keep up the excellent job, as there is a challenger. More seriously, my goal is to be managing a team within ALC. I was the Country Manager for my previous company (in Cameroon) so I definitely have the skill set and the experience."
Her philosophy is simple.
"Do not shrink from anything. Do not underestimate yourself. I am proud to be who I am and it is a privilege. My instinct guides me and my courage sustains me. To all: stay diehard."