Travel Advisory: Jason Shim on Simplicity, Epic Time Saving and a Great Steak-frites
Sometimes the most valuable work goes unnoticed. It’s a common plight of charities and not-for-profits: those working hard to support others don’t get around to letting people know of the life-changing work they do. They’re simply too busy helping people.
Yet the need to effectively communicate the work being done affects how well an organization can help people, recruit talent, or appeal to donors and volunteers. At Pathways to Education, a national organization dedicated to helping students living in low-income communities to graduate from high school, Jason Shim’s job is to make sure the story is well-told.
As associate director of digital strategy and alumni relations, Shim works with Pathways to optimize its sites in search engines, look for new storytelling opportunities, represent the organization on various boards, and be a general evangelist for installing a comprehensive digital strategy. As a result, his work has him travelling frequently from Toronto to Ottawa for business, though he also spends time in Montreal, Chicago and New York and Washington fairly regularly, usually through Billy Bishop. And he’ll fly anywhere for speaking engagements to discuss how non-profits can better market their services online, or to address youth around the country.
Shim favours travelling through Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, which recently landed him a starring role in its It’s My Airport campaign. “Ever since the tunnel was put in it just makes traveling fun again,” he says. “The idea of being able to make air travel convenient and having the combo of those two words in the same sentence, it’s something that distinguishes Billy Bishop from elsewhere.”
While the travel is easy, Shim says the best part of his job is knowing that at the end of the day his work has impact. “Prior to coming to the national office I’d worked in the local community in Kitchener for three years and in that role I had a chance to sit down with students, help them with resumes and talk to them about future dreams and life goals,” says Shim. “Having been with Pathways for six-and-a-half years now, I’ve had the opportunity to see the amazing growth of some of these students now entering the workforce. It’s a privilege to see them go through high school successfully and see them succeed after high school.”
We spoke with this frequent traveller for his take on how he makes travel simple while doing work he finds gratifying.
Courtesy Swiss Hotel
Savour the simple luxuries
Shim may love the ease and convenience of Billy Bishop, but his love of simplicity doesn’t end there. His personal favourites go-tos in Ottawa and Montreal each share a similarly stripped down and singular appeal.
“In Ottawa there’s a place called the Swiss Hotel (it recently rebranded from the Guest House). That’s a personal favourite; it’s just a very comfortable stay. I really appreciate all the small touches like the morning breakfast. The [Swiss Bircher Muesli] is great. I like the small details.”
In Montreal, he recommend is the L’Entrecote St-Jean. “It’s a place where they pretty much serve steak and fries, and you get a choice of how you like your steak – that’s pretty much it.”
Do everything possible to save time...
Even though Nexus cards are most frequently used by travellers to the US, Shim says having one is a boon, no matter where you go, particularly if you cut things down to the wire like he does.
“I’ve found is useful because you still get access to the short lines. It has saved me a lot of time and potential missed flights,” Shim says. “I was recently about to take off and I was delayed by a combination of broken elevators in my building and just slow going traffic. If it weren't for the Nexus card I would have missed my flight. It’s totally worth the investment.
When it comes to travel tips, Shim’s echoes that of most frequent travellers: carry on luggage, only.
“I find it really challenging if I’m travelling with others and they don’t have carry on. I will do everything within my power to make sure everything fits into a carry on because it speeds up the process so much,” says Shim. Even it if means dispensing with some basic toiletries.
… even if it means ditching the toothpaste
“I’m not a fan of carrying anything that could go everywhere in my luggage,” says Shim noting that rather than pack the Crest, he relies on his favourite little travel item: Toothy Tabs from Lush “They are tiny little tabs that you pop in your mouth and brush your teeth with. They help keep everything compact – you don’t have to pack a tube of toothpaste!”