Growing Her Business with Young Employees

January 10, 2019

After travelling to the U.S. in search of job opportunities when she was in her 20s, Lynn Buckley decided to come back to Halifax to try her hand as a young entrepreneur. Her business, Agenda Managers, has since grown to a full corporate event management company with expertise in awards shows, fundraising events, conferences, conventions, trade missions, and international events.

During her 31 years in business, Lynn has remained devoted to supporting young people, especially women. As a young woman starting her own career in the ‘80s, her experience was not always positive, so she vowed to change that trend, at least in her own workplace.

And Lynn succeeded. All of Agenda Managers’ current employees are women who started working with the company when they were in their 20s. “Alexia, who’s been with me for 26 years, first joined us as a co-op student, Amy and Alison both started here when they were in their 20s, and Alyssa is our current co-op student and she’s 21,” says Lynn.

For six years, Agenda Managers has been hiring co-op students for eight month terms. Their co-op students are the fifth member of the Agenda Managers team. Before that, for several years they brought in a five-week work term student from the public relations program at NSCC, and almost 90% of these stayed for 3-5 years in full-time positions. In addition, Agenda Managers works all year-round with NSCC students on a project basis.

“Youth bring fresh ideas, new approaches, great networks, technological and social skills, and much more. The young people we have worked with demonstrate very strong work ethics and a willingness to put in the effort,” says Lynn. “I have also learned from my experiential learning students and my young employees the importance of work-life balance. It’s okay to have a life outside of work and to consider your interests.”

Lynn’s passion for hiring co-op students aligns perfectly with the efforts of the Game Changers Youth Retention Action Plan to encourage businesses to hire and support young talent in Nova Scotia. Agenda Managers has provided event support for the Game Changers events over the past three years. “You have to set an example for other employers who are fearful to take a risk on young people, or are set in their ways of doing things. I support Game Changers because it profiles the benefits of working with youth, which I have experienced.”

Lynn strongly believes that we have to keep young professionals and new Canadians here to grow our region. “It’s easy to keep immigrants in Canada, but it’s not easy to keep them in Nova Scotia, because as an immigrant, you’re looking for opportunities. We need to create those opportunities for them here,” says Lynn.