How relocating 3,500 km across the country became the personal challenge of my logistics career


Suzanne Cascanette, CITP|FIBP Logistics Career

Suzanne Cascanette, CITP|FIBP Logistics Career

Since the November 2015 restructuring at an Ottawa Crown Corporation, when my position of Manager, Logistics & Customs Compliance was abolished, I have been working on my own personal logistics project – to relocate my career, home and life to beautiful Victoria, BC.

Starting with what’s most important

For me, all major decisions are about family dynamics and ensuring those important to me support the decision, which, happily, they do.

My mother has resided in Kelowna, BC for several years and as an only child, it is time for me to be closer to her, as it is harder for her to travel long distance.

My daughter is attending the University of Dalhousie in Halifax working towards her Bachelor of Science, Major Psychology.

Her future goal is to obtain her Masters to become a speech pathologist to help others. I hope that one day, we will all live in the same province to allow for more time together for family visits.

In-demand skills from coast to coast

Through my research, I realized that Western Canada was in great need of the international supply chain skills and experience I have obtained through over twenty five years of experience working in the industry in Ontario.

Through my most recent position as Manager, Logistics and Customs Compliance, I was able to add to my portfolio of experience and receive hands-on training in government procurement processes to include contract writing and vendor management.

This opportunity complimented my many years of international trade logistics operations and sales experience.

All of my employers to date have provided a positive experience and helped to grow my networking contacts which I am thankful for.

Through my involvement with the FITT community, I realized my talents for training and enjoyment of delivering presentations for the internal teams to better understand international trade processes.

I put these skills and experience to work to make the biggest move in my career.

Learning to lighten up

Suzanne Cascanette, CITP|FIBP
Suzanne’s expert packing completed

My next steps were to put the target date of March 1st in place so that I could create a timeline, as my proven theory for success is to “begin with the end in mind”.

A wonderful friend offered me her home to house sit for month of February which solved the logistics of a in-transit residence.

I had to hire a moving company who was reputable, cost effective and available to deliver in my required date. Next, I gathered all the details on my personal effects.

I ran an RFQ (Request for Quote) with the top 10 moving companies in Canada for approximately 2500 lbs of personal effects and 1 vehicle.

When the quotes arrived, it opened my eyes to the fact that I truly did not need everything I was intending to bring. I took the opportunity to lighten up, and only bring what actually was both needed and wanted.

I was able to unload approximately 500 lbs of items, which also gave me a welcome inbound cash flow and a feeling of lightness from being less bound to possessions.

Based on my many years of warehouse experience, I decided to do all of the packing myself, using professional, high quality packaging materials to reduce risk of breakage on the long journey from Ottawa to Victoria, which is approximately 3579 km (2219 miles) and includes ferry transport.

Traveling with “precious cargo”

The next step of the logistics process was to decide whether I wanted to contract shipping of my car to the mover, or drive it myself for the 5-6 day journey, with two cats (precious cargo) in the car.

I decided to ship the car and fly across Canada with the two cats, who as you can imagine, do not enjoy traveling.

In the quotes I received, most moving companies offered only to ship my car by rail. The RFQ winner offered to move my vehicle in the same truck with my personal effects at same cost as rail.

This way, all items arrive together, which works much better logistically and reduces risk, as the car will not be exposed to weather elements.

The biggest surprise I received in this cross-Canada relocation project is that pets in general are not welcome in rental units in Victoria, BC.

Engaging my research skills, learned from my FITTskills training, I was successful in finding a website for “pet friendly properties only”.

Pixie and Pepper
Suzanne’s precious cargo, Pixie and Pepper

A healthy dash of good fortune

Sometimes, even the best-laid logistics plans benefit from a bit of good luck, and I believe that is what happened to me.

I emailed four rental companies with my wish list requirements: hardwood/ceramic floors, outdoor pool, water view/access for kayak, sunny with lots of windows, 2 cats allowed, close to city center and parking – all, of course, within a certain budget and available for mid-February/early March.

The next day, I received a phone call from my future landlord to advise that she was in the process of writing me an email to say good luck, but that she had no availability. Before she could hit send, a long term tenant entered her office and gave notice.

The last logistics issue was choosing the best airline to fly across Canada with the two cats in the cabin, rather than in cargo, due to the long journey.

To pull this off, my daughter will come to Ottawa from Halifax and we will each take a cat as hand carry cargo inside the cabin to travel to Kelowna. It’s the perfect opportunity to visit my mother and have a family reunion!

As the logistics plan was being put together, I was able to uncover numerous exciting employment opportunities in Victoria. I was soon given the good news of a job offer in Victoria as Senior Business Development Manager for a global logistics provider, which I will be honored to represent and partner with.

This, my latest and most personal “logistics project”, took approximately 90 days to complete from start to the finish target date I had set. In fact, my target date was March 1st and I should be relocated to Victoria by February 20th, over 10 days ahead of schedule!

One of the greatest points of this story is that the layoff allowed me to have the time to truly analyze and do all the required research to think about what I really wanted in my future career and lifestyle, including location.

I know many of us have had to go through this often life-changing journey of being laid off, but what I want to share is that not only can you recover gracefully – you in fact can make your life what you really want it to be by being freed up to make the best choices for you!

The advice that helped me was “you cannot control all elements of your life but you can control your reaction.”

Adieu, Ottawa

Although I have enjoyed Ottawa the last 25 years, I am ready for a change and am very thankful for this opportunity to make this life-changing decision to relocate to one of the most beautiful cities in Canada.

And thankful that my experience and training, including the FITTskills program, and the support of my fellow CITP®|FIBP®’s and colleagues has allowed me to do it smoothly, quickly and effectively.

LinkedIn has been the method of communicating this change to my business community, and I am amazed at the support and invitations already received to meet for personal networking on my arrival.

Although change is scary due to the unknown, I believe it’s possible for anyone to accept it and move forward to live your dreams, and most importantly believe in yourself and your abilities.

My experience is living proof of the old saying that “one door closes and another opens”.

Want to connect with Suzanne?

LinkedIn_Logo60pxC.fw LinkedIn: Suzanne Cascanette

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the contributing author, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forum for International Trade Training.

About the author

Author: Suzanne Cascanette, CITP|FIBP

Suzanne has over 20 years experience managing global supply chain requirements for a diverse industry sector base and extensive portfolio of commodities. She is a CITP|FIBP, and enjoys connecting with her fellow global trade professionals all over world.

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