For James Bilcox (BMgt ’01), finding the right university was key to his academic and professional success.
Like most young people who begin university, Bilcox had high hopes for the experience. He was a good student, always had been, and had grown up in a household firmly rooted in academia. It was therefore a rather big surprise for Bilcox to discover that the institution where he got his start wasn’t right for him.
“It was a huge campus,” Bilcox recalls. “I felt lost there, and I wasn’t making the connections with peers or professors that I wanted to. When my grades started to suffer I knew I had to make a change. I transferred to the University of Lethbridge and finally had the kind of collegial experience I expected to have at university.”
Bilcox majored in finance and got a job with ATB Financial after graduating in 2001. He’s built a career as a certified financial planner, having earned a Certified Financial Planning designation through his second employer, RBC. Today, Bilcox works as a consultant with Sun Life Financial, and describes his role as a “catalyst for positive financial change to occur in the lives of others.” As it happens, helping clients reach their goals isn’t the only way that Bilcox assists others personally and financially.
After watching the U of L Alumni Association (ULAA) from afar for a while, Bilcox decided to get involved. He’s become an active member of the ULAA and made his first financial donation to the University early this year. Bilcox says that contributing to the U of L is rewarding in a way that is unique from many other investments.
“I always direct my resources intentionally,” says Bilcox. “I’m passionate about education and particularly the U of L. I got everything I needed and wanted there – the foundation to build a great career and a network of incredible professionals to collaborate with moving forward. The time I spent at the U of L still pays dividends; it’s still opening doors for me. I hope my contributions will somehow help others in the same way.”
In addition to contributing to the U of L, Bilcox also volunteers at Ronald McDonald House (RMH) in Calgary, a charity that is particularly close to his heart. Bilcox also has a special interest in helping business owners, pre-retirees, young professional families and new Canadian immigrants.
“It feels great to help somebody out,” says Bilcox. “There are so many people who helped me along the way – who made a difference, who mentored me. I’m just passing that along. Where the U of L is concerned, giving back benefits all alumni. The more ambassadors we have for the University, the better all U of L graduates will do professionally.”
Join James and support the University of Lethbridge.