Coordinator & Executive Assistant
The Beanstalk Project
Dundas, ON

Hi! My name is Joel. I’m a self-employed professional speaker and educator. I mostly work in the education field – speaking at schools and conferences, doing workshops and keynote presentations. I try to empower people to live with impact. I have a growing company of facilitators that does leadership & careers-based workshops in schools – The Beanstalk Project. I teach Sustainability and Ethics at McMaster, I sit on the board of The Hamilton Children’s Choir, and I sometimes get to work with community engagement groups and non-profits. I believe we can create a better world.

Three and a half years ago, my wife and I had a baby (and we went on to have twins last January) so I finally admitted to myself that I needed to spend less time working, and that meant I needed to hire an assistant. I had one amazing person for 2 years, but she got another offer that she couldn’t refuse. I’ve had another amazing person for the past year, but she is due to have a baby in March, so I’m once again looking for an amazing teammate.

Describing the role is a bit tricky because it could actually be at least 2 separate jobs rolled into one, and I’d consider hiring 2 part-time positions if the skills/interests don’t all line up. But 1 person is ideal, because each business sort of ebbs and flows, and the efforts can balance each other out.

The first job is as Beanstalk Project’s Coordinator. This involves managing incoming booking requests, communicating with facilitators to ensure they’re available and prepped, sending contracts and invoices, and client follow-up. It also sometimes involves full-blown event-coordination as we create events for schools. You’d also be reaching out to potential partner organizations, telling them about what we’re doing and exploring whether there’s a fit in partnering. Sometimes you’re running errands, sometimes you’re attending events to represent Beanstalk, and we’ve even occasionally needed our coordinator to help out in a facilitation capacity, though that’s rare. Mostly, you’re the front-end point-contact for Beanstalk, and you’re the one lining up all the back-end stuff that’s happening, which is often a lot of stuff – we’re in the middle of expanding the team from ~3 to ~8 facilitators, so that means payroll, invoicing and expenses, social media, and lots of email and phone calls. Oh, and we have hired high school co-op students in the past, so you might be managing a student who’s working as a media production assistant for a few hours a day.

The second job is as my Executive Assistant. The “Joel Hilchey Speaking” business is distinct from Beanstalk, but it’s a lot of the same stuff. Basically, my highest value activities are speaking, creating content (video, writing, products, & presentations), selling (talking to clients), strategizing. I’m looking for someone to help me do everything else. This would include things like office organization, scheduling appointments, sending contracts & invoices, follow-up with schools, conference search & outreach, running errands, booking travel, managing social media presence, creating promo videos, and assisting with email correspondence. That’s not a complete list – but it probably gives you an idea.

Job Type / Category

This is a maternity leave contract position, so I can’t guarantee future work. But - I’ve got a few more business ideas, and I’m hoping that things go well enough that we could create a position for you once Kelly (our current coordinator) is ready to return. If you only WANTED a mat leave contract, well, that’s okay with me too. As we demonstrate that it works and get more comfortable with each other, there will definitely be the possibility to grow and expand the role.

So - What’s in it for you?

In short – Partially flexible hours doing varied and interesting work that you can feel good about doing in a growing small business with cool people and a really positive environment. Let’s break it down for the long version:

  • “Partially Flexible Hours” – 35-40 hours (summers probably lighter), but about 50% of the work can probably be done on your own schedule. You’ll generally need to be available most weekdays between 9am and 4pm, because that’s when I try to do my work, and it’s when most of the phone calls happen. But we don’t get together every day, so it’ll have some flexibility. Some of the time will be in my home office (in downtown Dundas), alongside me (and Kelly) – especially at the start. Some will be running errands. Some will be doable from anywhere – you could work from home so long as you have access to your own computer and a solid internet connection.
  • “Varied & Interesting Work”: Lots of different stuff – random projects and problems, lots of consistent email and some good consistent processes, but no 2 days the same.
  • “..that you can feel good about doing..”: We’re making a difference. Education has a magic feeling to it.
  • “..in a growing small business..”: Beanstalk Project has become Ontario’s top provider of SHSM workshops, which is cool – and we’re getting busier, so we’re figuring out how to expand.
  • “..with cool people..”: jugglers, magicians, circus artists.. just read our bios – we’re all weirdos.
  • “..a really positive environment.”: Aside from being surrounded by nice coworkers, there’s a level of professionalism and calm courtesy in the world of education that makes things feel civilized, positive, (mostly) unpretentious, and relaxed.

Pay & Terms – I can’t really compete with big companies here, but I’d like to keep things at least at the “living wage” level – I’m thinking maybe $17 per hour for the first 3 months – that will be a trial & learning period for both of us. I recognize that’s low for a personal assistant role, so after we get you trained, we’ll definitely increase the pay. If you have a different expectation, please let me know. I want to play the long game here.

I’m hoping you can start in January of 2019, and that would give about 2 months of overlap with Kelly. There’s a lot to learn.

Here are some qualities that I’ll need you to have:

  • Trustworthy – Because you’ll be working in my house and representing my businesses
  • Enjoyable to Work With – Because life should be mostly fun.
  • Independent – Because I won’t always be able to (or want to) oversee what you’re doing.
  • Computer Literate – Especially MS Office.
  • Marketing Mindset & Experience – We use Mailchimp, Canva, and Weebly. The specifics are learnable, but if you’ve got experience, that’s a good start.
  • Practical & Organized – Because there’s always at least a few projects on the go, and a long list in the queue.
  • Good writing skills – Because you’ll be a representative of me.
  • Good speaking skills – Being courteous and friendly go a long way on the phone.
  • Open to feedback – There’s going to be a lot for both of us to learn to make a long-term relationship work.

Bonus: Enthusiastic about the cause – creating a better world, empowering youth & teachers, and creating a more sustainable and fulfilling future for everyone!

To Apply:

First – check out my websites: www.joelhilchey.com& www.thebeanstalkproject.org. Get a sense of who I am and what I do.

Email me a cover letter, and a resume – joel at joelhilchey dot com. Tell me about you. Feel free to talk about why you’re interested in this. In the cover letter, just for fun - include the names of my two books. I’m hoping to interview people in mid December – likely Dec 14-21. I’m not likely to respond at all until December 7th – so don’t worry if you don’t hear back before then. If you haven’t heard by Dec 21st, I probably did not choose you for an interview. I’ve been a bit overwhelmed by the number of applications in the past, but don’t let that stop you from applying.

Overall – my final thoughts:

A number of years ago now, I had two “mostly-failed” attempts at working with virtual assistants – their life changes interrupted the work, and I got frustrated and went back to my old patterns. An “in-person” assistant has proven to be more useful, more productive, and more secure. I need an awesome teammate - someone who can help me reach more people and make a bigger impact in the world with my speaking and writing, all while being more available as a dad and husband. Too many people don’t care at all about their companies or their work. I really believe in what I’m doing, and I think this job will give someone the chance to make a real difference in a supportive role. If nothing else, you’ll vastly improve the quality of MY life, so you’ll know you’re making a difference to at least one person!

PS – If the level of detail of this job posting is annoying to you because it was too long, I might not be the right employer for you.

Job Types: Full-time, Contract

Salary: $30,000.00 to $40,000.00 /year