Erick Bauer and Steve Cameron are 26-year-old childhood friends. Erick is Consultant at APEX Public Relations Inc., and Steve is a Mortgage Underwriter at the Home Trust Company. But their story is so much more than just a couple great jobs. The two are founding members of a non-profit organization they started in 2005 with a group of friends. Find out more about this dynamic duo and Friends For Life Foundation (FFLF) Co-Founders in today's YPDaily.
Elevator Pitch: Describe your position in a nutshell.
Erick Bauer: Communications and public relations is all about informing and influencing target audiences. It's about staying a step ahead of the latest trends and strategies in communications and knowing how to apply them in the most compelling and effective manner. From reputation management, crisis communications, digital/social media, to media relations I’m in the business of building and sustaining relationships through strategic communication.
Steve Cameron: I am a dynamic, achievement-oriented individual with Sales, Marketing, and most recently Real Estate Finance experience, specifically in Mortgage Underwriting. I have a successful track record in business solutions, selling with strong listening, relationship building, and negotiation skills. As a Mortgage Underwriter, I am responsible for assessing and evaluating mortgage applications for residential single-family homes. I'm a creator and implementer of ideas and projects that is transferable through my many diverse ventures in life.
Why did you choose this career path? What was your motivation?
EB: I decided I wanted to work in the industry after launching the Friends For Life Foundation in 2005. Steve and I put a lot of time, effort and energy into building a unique brand that has endured the test of time and brought people together. We did that by sharing our personal stories/experiences with cystic fibrosis and cancer through strategic communication channels (i.e. online, social media and events). It didn’t take long before I realized that I really enjoyed “the business of storytelling.” That is essentially what drew me towards PR and communications as a career path.
SC: The real estate market has always been something that has intrigued me – from the time I was a young child I was fascinated by big homes and even bigger buildings. Having a father in the construction and development financing business triggered my move from a solutions sales specialist at Xerox Canada to embark on a journey to learn the mortgage business and take over (build) the empire.
What is the best part about your job on a daily basis? The most challenging part?
EB: I’ve been with APEX Public Relations for nearly three years now. Working in an agency means handling multiple pieces of business on a daily basis. The variety associated with juggling a diverse account mix is what makes my job challenging but also enjoyable. It may sound like a cliché, but no two days are alike. Working for a mid-sized firm like APEX has been great because I’ve been able to hone my entrepreneurial skills while working with a group of smart, creative people who truly love what they do.
SC: The best part about my job is what I’ve been able to learn in the past 12 months; if not for career growth, then for personal knowledge as an aspiring young professional. From assessing credit to learning the intricacies of the residential real estate business, I’ve been given the opportunity to gain vast understanding of the industry and finance in general. Further, I’ve had the opportunity to network with some great brokers and work on deals that no other lending institution could make happen . The challenge is what keeps me going.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
EB: Either working in a PR agency at a senior level or running my own agency. One of my long-term goals has always been to run my own business.
SC: In a senior position running a team of underwriters, managing loans on either the residential or commercial side of the business. Or as a rock star living in L.A…I’m not 100 per cent sure yet...
If you had any advice for other young professionals, what would it be?
EB: Opportunities are not presented, they are created. Define where you want to be and make it happen.
SC: If you have a good idea, make it happen; don’t be a talker, be a doer. Work harder than everyone around you and you will succeed. Work hard, play hard. Then get back to work and work harder.
What is notable to you?
EB: Being successful on your own terms.
SC: Being happy with what you have and making the best out of the cards you are dealt.
Erick Bauer and Steve Cameron – along with their group of friends – started Friends For Life Foundation in 2005. The two have known each other since the sixth grade. Their friendship was cemented when Steve was diagnosed with non-Hodkin's lymphoma at 16. Erick was able to help support Steve in a way few others could: Erick was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when he was five years old, and knew the challenges that Steve was about to face. FFLF was started to help unite others in the fight against cystic fibrosis and cancer.
How has your friendship help you cope through your struggles?
EB: It’s been huge. When you are dealing with a life-threatening, chronic illness there are very few people who can truly understand what you are going through on a daily basis. Having someone who can relate to what you are feeling/dealing with is extremely important. Sometimes just knowing that you are not alone in your fight is enough to give you the strength and courage that you need to carry on when things look dim. The friendship that Steve and I have developed as a result of our respective battles with cystic fibrosis and cancer, and is something that I definitely cherish.
What is the Friends For Life Foundation and why did you two decide to start it?
SC: The Friends For Life Foundation is a non-profit organization in support of Cystic Fibrosis Canada and the Oncology Unit at SickKids Hospital. The foundation was originally founded in 2005 by a group of friends who had been personally affected by both cancer and cystic fibrosis. I am a cancer survivor and Eric has cystic fibrosis. Essentially our goal is to unite people in the fight against cystic fibrosis and cancer by sharing our story and our personal experiences with these two devastating diseases.
What is your ultimate goal FFLF and what do you hope others will realize from your endeavours?
EB: The ultimate goal is to put an end to cystic fibrosis and cancer by someday finding a cure for these two devastating diseases. That said, we also aim to raise awareness and funds for the research and treatment of cystic fibrosis and cancer in an effort to enhance the quality of life for those forced to battle with these diseases until that day comes. I hope that others will realize that charity isn’t about pulling out your cheque book. It’s about getting involved in something that you believe in and making a difference in your own unique way.
SC: Our goal is a cure but the journey there is the most important. The purpose of FFLF is to remind people what is most important in life, to cherish it everyday, and never, ever, take for granted three things: health, family, and friendship. We unite to celebrate these three things and the importance they play in our lives and everyone’s around us. As young professionals in the city of Toronto, we are constantly faced with the never-ending pressure to work harder, longer, faster, and more efficiently. As important as this is, it is easy to lose sight of the true blessings in life. Without them, we have nothing. The FFLF is a chance to step back and be thankful. To celebrate the good times and find new and creative ways to raise as much money as we can in hopes of one day finding a cure.