EN­TRY LEVEL

By day, Gra­ham Cook is a mild-man­nered project man­ager. By night, he's run­ning as an in­de­pen­dent for pub­lic of­fice

BC Business Magazine - - Contents - By Nathan Cad­dell

Tech worker Gra­ham Cook bal­ances his 9-to-5 job with a city coun­cil bid

More than 40 can­di­dates are vy­ing for a seat on Van­cou­ver city coun­cil in what prom­ises to be one of the more hotly con­tested mu­nic­i­pal races in re­cent mem­ory (see p.23). Among the dozens of hope­fuls is 24-year-old SFU busi­ness grad Gra­ham Cook. By day, Cook is a project man­ager at tech startup Mob­ify, which builds apps and web pages, mostly for e-com­merce. Orig­i­nally from Sur­rey, he's lived in Van­cou­ver for sev­eral years, where his dis­ap­point­ment with multi-unit rental hous­ing swelled into a po­lit­i­cal cam­paign.

6 a.m. It's an early start for Cook, who likes to mix it up by fol­low­ing a car­rot muf­fin (“it's more or less a piece of car­rot cake; it's very un­healthy”) with a trip to the gym. He rises be­fore the sun for stand­ing calls with many Mob­ify clients–bri­tish telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions giant BT Group, for ex­am­ple– across the At­lantic. After putting out any in­ter­na­tional fires, Cook, who fol­lows a strict no-pol­i­tics rule at the of­fice, sched­ules some cam­paign­re­lated so­cial me­dia posts.

10 a.m. Cook turns his at­ten­tion to East Coast cus­tomers be­fore tack­ling do­mes­tic is­sues. As a project man­ager on the part­ner suc­cess team, his job boils down to keep­ing clients happy, whether that's trou­bleshoot­ing their app or site or re­view­ing the lat­est num­bers. Lunch Hop­ing to im­prove his tech­ni­cal skills, Cook tries his hand at Codecademy—an on­line plat­form that teaches com­puter cod­ing—while scarf­ing down his pre-made sac­chet­tini with veg­eta­bles.

3 p.m. In­ter­nal meet­ings take up much of the rest of the day in what Cook calls a “ca­sual work en­vi­ron­ment”–so much so that he didn't for­mally bring up his bid for of­fice. “Most peo­ple have found out and just said, `Hey, that's re­ally cool.'”

For Cook, that at­ti­tude squares with how Mob­ify does busi­ness: “It's very col­lab­o­ra­tive; it's not like, here are the five things you need to do to­day. It's here's the end goal. What's the best way to get there, in your opin­ion?”

5:30 p.m. Time for Cook to don his cape. On this hot Au­gust evening, he leaves his down­town of­fice for a non-par­ti­san gath­er­ing in Rail­town called Dear City Coun­cil, where cit­i­zens can ex­change ideas in the lead-up to the Oc­to­ber 20 elec­tion. En route, he spots Vi­sion Van­cou­ver may­oral can­di­date Ian Camp­bell head­ing the other way.

“I was re­ally mad,” Cook says of why he's run­ning for coun­cil. “Hous­ing is the big thing for ev­ery young per­son,” the ever-smil­ing Trout Lake res­i­dent adds. “And just feel­ing like we didn't have this seat at the ta­ble, that city hall and coun­cil didn't un­der­stand where we were com­ing from.”

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