I’m not punching a clock.

That may not be the single best thing about my job at CGI, but it’s high on the list. My work varies day to day. With other employers, before I came to CGI, I often felt that I came in every day to do the same thing as the day before, day after day, working my assigned hours and clocking out. Here I have the opportunity to really showcase myself as a person—and it’s not limited to my job skill set.

Here I get to be myself and bring myself to the projects I support, as opposed to just being a resume of experience and skills. A lot of the opportunities I've gotten at CGI have come because the people involved like to work with me. It doesn’t matter if I was a novice in the work I would be doing; they knew I could learn quickly and they knew that I'd be dedicated to the project. I may not be the expert at it but if I know my resources and I know, for instance, that I can create a Powerpoint presentation, it doesn't matter what the content is. I can put the Powerpoint together and find a resource to help me with curating the content.

Ronetta Walker throwing axes.
Ronetta Walker blows off steam.

There's always an opportunity with CGI to admit that I only have a fraction of the necessary skill set for a project, and then learn as I go, staying dedicated and using my resources. That is one of the things that sets this company apart from others in the same market space.

I found CGI through a family friend who worked for CGI for many years, dating back to the American Management Systems days. She thought it would be a wonderful idea for me to try and join because it's one of those companies where you can build a long career. She referred me and I went in for an interview and I decided I really liked it. I hadn't heard a lot about CGI prior to my interview, but I appreciated that the people I met with were experts who were passionate about their field.

I started as an administrative assistant in Government Solutions. I was there for five or six years, and have been with U.S. Industry Solutions in CGI’s Commercial, State and Local Government strategic business unit, working in operations support since 2018. I’m now the communications lead, and I support the Project Management Assistance team. I've been taking a lot of cool assignments along the way just to get experience and meet new people.

A personal touch

We have a nice mix of expertise and fun in most of our client engagements. I've noticed that in client engagements, our experts are very friendly. They want to smile and ask customers how things have been since their last meeting. And it’s not just about “How's the product treating you,” it's “How's your cat? How was the family vacation?” It's this personal touch that reminds the client that we're still people. We may be experts in our industry, but we go home and have lives outside of CGI.

This personal touch extends to our relationships among colleagues as well. CGI calls us “members,” not “employees.” To me, that means that I'm involved and engaged. It means that whatever I contribute is what I'm going to get out of it. There's a two-way street of collaboration at CGI, and it extends to the personal level. The two-way street enables me to find friends who don’t work on the same project I do, but we can teach each other soft skills. I’m part of a team that is not just about the specific project, it’s all of us at CGI.

A sense of belonging

I feel empowered here. It’s easy when you work for a large company to feel like you’re just a number, but when you get engaged and you get involved with all the wonderful programs here, especially the member resource groups, it's easy to feel like I have something important to say and people actually care about it. I don't have to be an expert on the topic. I don't have to be the best, but I can contribute in a way that's positive.

As an example of that, I’m one of the program coordinators for the Women's Forum mentoring program and that's been a lot of fun. I’ve met a lot of really cool, wonderful women through the program. Drawing from that experience, I and two other colleagues started the Mental Health Matters group in 2019. It was a big undertaking. It started with kind of a dream. We knew that some CGI members might struggle with anxiety, depression, or have had a death in the family or another traumatic event. In our conversations, the three of us developed a plan for a group that would speak specifically to mental health or speaks specifically to how to get through your day. It started as a small idea and grew into something really active within a short time. There are a lot of new volunteers. It’s fun and gratifying to watch something you planted grow from the seedling stage.

I think the member resource groups do a good job of allowing us to see people in a different light, to meet people who we might otherwise have never met. CGI found a way to get people connected by more than just what their job function is, or which department they work in.

CGI’s culture means we like to work together and collaborate. Some people prefer to punch a clock rather than have the flexibility to be innovative and work at a time and at a pace that works for them. So CGI may not be for everyone. But for people who are talented, collaborative and like a personal touch, it can be ideal.

Read more member experiences in the Life At CGI blog series

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About this author

CGI building

Life at CGI

Life at CGI is a different experience for each CGI member. Some of them tell their stories in this dedicated blog.