25 NEW WAYS TO GET TO KNOW CHFA PRESIDENT, HELEN LONG
Learning the ins and outs of any leader is always fascinating. From her many years of experience in the industry, her first foray in a job, to her guilty pleasure and the advice she would give her 18-year-old self, we asked our President, Helen Long, 25 questions to help you get to know her a little bit more.
1. What was your first job and is there anything you learned then that still applies to your work today?
Not including babysitting and cleaning house – first ‘real’ job was working at Burger King. I learned many things that still apply today – the most important being that you can never underestimate the value of good customer service. Being responsive, providing what’s asked for with a level of quality and timeliness that meets expectations, understanding needs, these are all things that help me every day. I truly believe that experience in a service industry like hospitality or retail is fantastic experience for any role.
2. What is the best gift you have every received?
Other than my kids? And being involved in this industry? My Dyson hairdryer – is that too ridiculous? It really is the best hairdryer ever.
3. What is the first thing you do when you arrive in your office each day?
Check my calendar for the day and to do list for the week to make sure I have in mind what I need/want to accomplish that day.
4. What is the first thing you do when you get home at night?
Hug my husband or feed my cats – depends who cries the loudest or gets to the door first.
5. What are the most useful apps on your phone?
Waze, social apps, banking, and of course my TML app!
6. What is your most used emoji?
Winky face or heart emoji.
7. Have you ever had a serious accident?
What’s serious? Probably my skiing accident this year was most serious.
8. When was the last time you were pleasantly surprised?
Every time my kids are super thoughtful and I think wow, I really didn’t do a bad job.
9. Who do you find intimidating? Alternatively, who do you most admire?
Not sure intimidating is the right word, but still my Dad. I admire lots of people but in the last few months, probably Ryan Straschnitzki.
10. Do you have a pet peeve?
People who drive in the fast lane, or bad drivers in general.
11. What is something you say you will do but never do?
Exercise more. Meditate every day.
12. What did you have to give up to achieve your current level of success?
Having a social life. Just kidding. I think in this type of role, you do have to be prepared to prioritize a lot. Spending less time with my kids some nights than I would have liked, although I like to think I made the important ones. Putting in a lot of hours at work that I could be sharing with my friends and families. Giving up most of my volunteer work.
13. If you could have one do-over in your life, what would it be?
I wouldn’t do anything over. I think what happens in your life shapes who you are and every step on the path of life takes you to where you are today. I love where I am today and using a ‘do-over’ might take me down a different road.
14. At what job would you be terrible?
15. What’s your guilty pleasure?
Starbucks – especially the pumpkin scone.
16. If you didn’t have to sleep what would you do with the extra time?
Probably work. But I should say go to the gym…or get a hobby.
17. What is the best piece of advice that you’ve been given (or that you ignored)?
Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today. I like to get things done. Even now procrastinating (even when I choose to do it) stresses me out.
18. Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your 18-year-old self?
18-year-old me wouldn’t have listened. Maybe, you won’t always know where the road is going, but pick a direction and believe in yourself. When you think you know what to do, just do it.
19. If you could instantly become an expert in something, what would it be?
Oh so many things! Computers? I’d love to be smart enough to be a computer geek.
20. What is your hidden talent?
I’m super organized. And I’m way better than I thought at decorating.
21. What were your best and worst subjects in school?
Best – English and Phys Ed; Worst – Math.
22. What was the first concert you went to?
Donny Osmond at the CNE when I was 7. My mom took me. He wore a purple cape that lit up and purple socks. It was amazing.
23. To survive on a desert island, what one practical item and one luxury item would you want? (Excluded: items that would help you escape, like a boat or cell phone.)
Bottle of wine and an opener, LOL. Really a notebook and pen. Not sure that’s practical and luxury – can that count as one practical item? And fresh flowers are always a luxury.
24. What would you like your epitaph to say?
Tough, but good to those she loved.
25. What person, living or dead, would you like to have dinner with?
Freddie Mercury. I think he was brilliant. Or Winston Churchill. I was born the day they had his funeral and I’ve always found the history around him fascinating.