Meet Meaghan and Marie Wright, videographers and storytellers of Common Good Solutions.
The set of twins graduated from Saint Frances Xavier University with business degrees, and found their passion for videography early on in first year. Upon graduating, the pair connected with Common Good Solutions (CGS).
CGS helps start, grow and connect social enterprises that are making serious social and environmental impacts within communities. With the help of the Graduate to Opportunity (GTO) program they were able to hire both ladies.
The GTO program offers a funding incentive for small businesses in Nova Scotia who commit to hiring recent university and college grads for meaningful jobs in their field. Eligible employers can receive up to 35% of the grad’s first year salary and 12.5% of the grad’s second year salary from the Province, while helping youth stay in Nova Scotia and build their careers.
“I developed this passion for videography, but thought that to grow and start my career I would have to move to Toronto and get the big girl advertising agency job,” says Marie. “But with the help of GTO we were both able to stay and pursue what we love. Which is amazing.”
Meaghan and Marie started off at CGS making online courses for social entrepreneurs, then began to tell the stories of social entrepreneurs around Nova Scotia using their passion, video.
“We realized there was a bigger story to tell,” says Meaghan.
So, with fellow staffer Joseph Huyer, pictured above, they bought an RV in May 2017, drove across the country and interviewed 60 social entrepreneurs on the shift from traditional business to social enterprise. They called it: the Social Shift.
“Our passion for videography over-lapped with the social purpose and environmental impact side of things, coming straight out of University, you’d never think you’d be able to couple both of those passions. If more people had awareness around Graduate to Opportunity, then more people would be willing and able to stay in Nova Scotia and do what they actually want to do,” says Meaghan.
Both women believe in the notion that a lot of young people today want to work for a company that aligns with their values, and want to see purpose and be passionate and excited about going to work every day.
“This job and being able to stay in Nova Scotia – a place that we grew up and love so dearly – has been a perfect mix,” says Marie. “The GTO program has allowed us to stay here in a place we love, and allowed us to help make Nova Scotia a better place.”
Stephanie Pronk, Director of Operations at CGS is wowed by the influence the twins’ videos have had.
“CGS is trying to shift people’s perspectives on how business can be done, and show that business can be used as a force for good,” says Stephanie. “Meaghan and Marie are helping shift this mindset by crafting beautiful, telling videos and sharing them online. The videos have been getting incredible traffic, one video has over 20,000 views. The impact this is having on our sector is invaluable.”
About 80% of CGS’s employees are under the age of 30. When Meaghan and Marie joined the team the staff compliment was about 4-5 people. This has since grown to 21.
“This place was amped up ten-fold when they walked in,” says Stephanie. “They are super jovial and positive, when they come in in the morning they get everyone else riled up and excited about the day. Having that energy injected into the office culture is incredible.”
Many employers appreciate young talent and the skills and qualities that graduates can bring to the table. However, hiring is not always easy.
“We always keep our eyes open for youth employment opportunities,” says Stephanie. “CGS really values hiring youth. We have done a lot of recruitment and selection of new grads. We were referred to the GTO program and that how is how we connected with Marie and Meaghan. Since hiring the twins we have used the GTO program two more times. I wish we could just use it again and again.”
Stephanie believes that GTO provides the sometimes ‘missing link’ to connect grads who have no experience, to a meaningful first job in their field.
Stay tuned on Twitter for videos about Meaghan and Marie, and other successful graduates who are building their careers in Nova Scotia with a little help from the Department of Labour and Advanced Education.