At Osedea, we get a secret thrill from rewarding our team for their hard work and dedication to always going above and beyond for our clients - especially if we can make that reward deeply personally meaningful for people.
One way we do this is through the Dreams Come True initiative. This is something that company founder Martin Coulombe came up with after reflecting on what he personally would have loved to have the chance to experience, and what he struggled with, earlier in his career. The basic premise that Martin found himself reflecting on was that when he was in university, he had the time, but not the money, to devote to personal passion endeavours. Whereas when his career really started to accelerate, he had the money to do the things that were important to him, but he couldn’t take the time off required to devote to them.
After starting Osedea in 2011, there came a point when the company began doing well enough that Martin was finally able to take extended breaks to pursue adventures or projects that made him happy. And it wasn’t long before he started to think how awesome it would be to be able to offer that same chance to Osedea’s team members.
Fast-forward to today. Dreams Come True is available to any team member who has worked at Osedea for two years or more. The company puts up $5k and one additional weeks of vacation, creating an opportunity to immerse yourself in virtually any activity you can imagine, anywhere on the planet. And the program “refreshes” every five years, giving staff ample opportunity to do what’s most important to them.
In this article, we’d like to highlight two of the very different ways in which Osedea staff have taken advantage of the Dreams Come True initiative in the past year.
Martin, Osedea’s founder and Chief of Innovation, is a bit of an outdoorsman. It had been a while since he’d set out on an adventure that would push his limits, and he’d always wanted to take on a major accomplishment with his younger brother Alexandre, so when he realized he was up for his next Dreams Come True, he set his sights on scaling Mount Denali in Alaska.
Reaching the summit of Mount Denali is something that only 50% of people who attempt it succeed at. Martin and Alexandre were proud to make it to the top after 15 days of ascent - often in minus 30 degree temperatures. In the six months prior to flying out to Alaska, the brothers had focused on sharpening their mountaineering and winter camping skills, but there were still some dicey moments while they were out on the mountain. At one point during the two-day descent, Martin fell and slid down an ice pitch on the ridge near high camp. An unknown hiker (who didn’t speak English) offered his assistance changing knots on Martin’s harness, and thankfully he was able to continue, ultimately getting home safely.
The time spent on Mount Denali gave Martin an experience that was certainly quite different from his usual workday in Montreal. Good decision-making is a skill that was paramount while on the glacier, and a large part of that was prioritizing which days to rest, and which days to press ahead. When you’re climbing a mountain in the wintertime, there can be intense snowstorms, so a day that you would normally have taken as a rest day should be used as a time to keep hiking and climbing if the weather is good. (At work, we often say “screw it” when we’re tired, and throw in the towel for the day, but NOT prioritizing work-life balance, and choosing to power through instead, is sometimes the best choice.)
Thanks to his inspiration to create the Dreams Come True initiative back in the early days of Osedea, today Martin is able to step away from work and push his limits in a way that nourishes his soul. Like all Osedea team members who choose to pursue their own Dreams Come True, the result is fresh perspectives and a sense of personal fulfillment that translates into doing even better work for our clients. Sounds like a win-win to us.
Gregory, one of Osedea’s Project Managers, is originally from Toulouse, France, which most of his friends and family still call home. In the past, he would travel back to France every two or three years, but as his family expanded, the airfare costs became more and more prohibitive - especially if he wanted to travel over the holidays.
Once Gregory was able to take advantage of the Dreams Come True initiative after his initial two years at Osedea, he decided to fly himself, his partner, and their two daughters to Toulouse to spend an extended Christmas break with his family. He also had the chance to introduce his own kids to his friends’ children, a moment that was quite moving for him.
All told, Gregory was off work for seven weeks (five weeks in France and two weeks in quarantine back in Canada), sharing quality time with the people nearest and dearest to his heart. The best part of Gregory’s Dreams Come True experience? Seeing his three-year-old daughter’s expression when she saw the mountain of gifts from his family members under the tree on Christmas morning!
I had the chance to live the Dream Come True experience two and a half years after I started at Osedea as the Business Development Manager. Backpacking is my passion. I was even an adventure guide when I was younger. With my evolving career and the arrival of my first child, the opportunities to go on adventures and take long trips became rare..
I used the opportunity of the Dream Come True on a 4-week discovery of the Canadian Maritime provinces with my family. We mainly visited Nova Scotia and the Magdalen Islands. It was an unforgettable experience to take our first family trip, while exploring the country after the long months of the pandemic.. Our trip in summary: beautiful hikes, playing in nature, eating seafood and living a simple life. It allowed me to recharge my batteries and introduce my child to travel. My highlight? Cape Breton and the Cabot Trail, simply breathtaking!
Alexandre is part of Osedea’s development team. After being out of school for three years, he decided that he wanted to finish his CEGEP diploma - something that would normally have required him to take a complete break from work, in the typical “go back to school” fashion.
Last winter, Alexandre signed up for the Philosophy and French courses that he was missing to earn his degree from CEGEP André-Laurendeau, and he put the $5,000 that was given to him by Osedea towards reducing his work hours to more of a part-time basis. At first it was a challenge to juggle his studies and client work, especially when working entirely from home due to COVID-19, but he feels it taught him excellent time management skills that will serve him well in the future.
Alexandre has one or two more semesters to go before he’ll have his diploma, but he’s grateful that because he chose to work at Osedea, he was able to continue gaining work experience, learning new tech skills, and contributing to the success of our clients even as he completes his studies.