CityMatch is founded on the tenants of civic pride and living well. When I launched my business I said that CityMatch was the culmination of everything I know, everything I’ve done and everything I love to do. A complete alignment of purpose and passion. This idea of alignment is important. To my clients alignment means a quality and satisfaction with one’s complete life, not just their work life. The complete life includes everything that happens outside the working day and not just with one’s colleagues during business hours. Alignment for my clients’ families encompasses good overall living standards, robust personal health, a sustainable environment with parks and wildlife, common communities of interest, an education for their children and continuing career growth opportunities, and the infusion of a little leisure and culture.
As a society, we tend to rely on terms like GDP (Gross Domestic Product) as a measure of our economic “health” but this fails to capture the areas of our lives that we care about most and have the most impact upon our ability to be happy and live well. It is also no surprise that many cities are seeking alternative indexes to capture a more complete story.
In my world and industry, there is an interesting analogy between GDP and the ways that organizations often approach relocation too. Just like GDP isn’t an accurate yardstick to measure what matters most, relocation framed narrowly in terms of a competitive salary package and whether one’s moving expenses are covered also misses factors that are important to newly transplanted employees and their families such as happiness, friendship, quality of life and general well-being after the working day.
This is where CityMatch comes in and why increasingly companies that are investing in the best talent realize that also investing in the outcomes and the overall life satisfaction is extremely imperative for their long-term success.
Recently, the University of Waterloo released a report titled, “How are Ontarians Really Doing?” which looked at the dichotomy between the rise in GDP and the fall in overall satisfaction of Ontarians. It made me stop and pause on the same day that I read that more 10,000 commuters are going FROM Toronto TO Waterloo rather than the other way around.
From 1994 to 2010, “The average daily commute time increased 11.9%,” representing an additional 27 hours of commuting.
Working Ontarians have lost over an entire day’s worth of free time to commuting and have increased the detrimental impact on the environment, on their health, and on their overall wellbeing.
So alignment, and balance and life satisfaction – and London. There is a distinct connection.
Many who live in London also work in London (or surrounding area) and are saved from a lengthy commute. This alone lends to an increase in overall life satisfaction. London has the advantage over Kitchener-Waterloo of being on the VIA Rail Windsor-Montreal corridor with many trains leaving London traveling to Toronto. But it’s not just about options, it’s about balance. If driving to the big city is required, London has you covered on the train. Balance is about being able to work during the 2 hour commute to reduce the time crunch and the related pressures that Ontarians are experiencing.
At CityMatch I’m immersed every day in “How Londoners Are Doing”. I see the eleventh-largest city in Canada that strikes a perfect balance of affordability, opportunity and well-being. It’s a fact that London has reduced costs related to childcare compared to neighbouring cities and is famous for its beautiful forested parks that host festivals all summer long. The low crime rates, excellent education system and high number of world-class health care facilities make the alignment work for many people looking to resettle here. It’s not just me that recognizes London’s advantage either – the People’s Choice Award for the best neighbourhood in Canada was won in 2013 by Wortley Village and in 2014 by the Old East Village - both located in London! Recently, Sarah Palmer shared her thoughts about the factors that went into her and her husband decision to leave her home in Calgary, Alberta in search of greener pastures in London, Ontario.
So when viewed through a wider more comprehensive lens of living in balance and living well, London has much to offer individuals and families who choose to relocate here. At CityMatch we’re focused on making the alignment between the requirements of new Londoners and their city, work with balance and ease. What excites me most is that the employers with whom I work understand this bigger picture of what it takes to build and live full, rich and meaningful lives in London and we share in our efforts to create better outcomes for newly relocated employees and their families. My civic pride swells and this city keeps getting better with all of us working together.