Claudia’s best first job

October 1, 2020

Claudia standing in the bulk food department
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When it comes to first jobs, Claudia Sinopoli says hers was the best.

A bulk part-time Clerk at a Fortinos® store in Vaughan, Ont., she cites the friendly employees and positive work environment as the biggest reasons why someone should consider working for the company—but they’re not the only things she loves about her job.

The Ryerson University geography student started working at the Fortinos store when she was in Grade 10 and celebrated her four-year anniversary in March. She says the store’s flexibility has made it easy to juggle work and school. And this position hasn’t just been a way to make money—it has also helped her grow as a person, and, in turn, live the life she wants to live.

“When I first got hired here, I was extremely shy and kept to myself,” she says. “Bulk is a small department, so often I would be the only one here and I had so many interactions with people who had questions and concerns. Just being on my own for a little while and working independently helped me realize there's nothing to be shy about.”

Coming out of her shell has helped Claudia take on new challenges aligned with her career goals, too. As part of Esri Canada’s Geographic Information Systems ambassador program, she visited local schools to teach students about the importance of geography. “It's so important to everyday life. You don't realize it, but it's within everything,” she says.

She spoke to three elementary classes and did such a good job that the teachers asked her to come back to speak to more students. COVID has put the program on hold for the time being, but Claudia is hopeful to get back those visits, as well as teaching a workshop at a future conference—something that was also in the works until the pandemic hit.

It’s something she couldn’t have seen herself doing as a kid.

“When I was younger, I couldn't present if my life depended on it—I would get so red and embarrassed!” she says. But in her first year of university, she realized that all her customer service experience has helped her overcome her shyness, almost without realizing it. “There was one time in my first year of university where I had to present something, and I was so relaxed about it. I was like, ‘Wow, I'm not red anymore. I can do this without any hesitation.’”

Claudia originally applied to the Fortinos store because her brother had worked there, too, and his experience was positive. And now she’s passing that message along to her peers.

“For everyone younger than me, I always tell them to apply here,” she says. “I feel like there's so much opportunity, and you can meet and help people of every means and background. Everyone has to grocery shop, so it’s a good spot to interact with people of different ethnicities, cultures, religions.”

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