Numbers man opts for more creative career



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Rainer Takahashi went from a career at Mercedes-Benz Financial in the collections and operations department to being a creative design and marketing co-ordinator for cosmetics giant Aveda.


Sometimes what you’re born to do isn’t what you’re meant to do.

For Rainer Takahashi, that realization came nine months ago while working at Mercedes-Benz Financial in the collections and operations department. Takahashi had always been good with numbers, which had led him to a Finance and Marketing degree from Wilfred Laurier University, but after two years in the industry he realized he had to get out.

“I just couldn’t do it for work anymore. I’ve always been good with finance and a lot of people say I have a math brain, but I didn’t like my work. What I should have done was followed what I wanted to do, which was to be creative,” Takahashi said.

Today, the energetic 27-year-old has finally found his niche working as a creative design and marketing co-ordinator for cosmetics giant Aveda (known as Collega for Aveda in business circles) in a job that motivates him.

“I love it — I’m having the time of my life. It’s different every day and it’s never mundane. I’m not bound to a computer desk and I feel challenged to keep learning every day,” Takahashi said.

Whereas life at Mercedes-Benz revolved solely around one thing — “money, money, money” as Takahashi puts it — a workday at Aveda involves a myriad of unique challenges, something Takahashi loves.

“I do wear a lot of hats. Multi-tasking keeps me on my toes and it keeps me creative. It’s a lot more fun,” he said.

Whether he’s writing creative copy, organizing photo shoots, setting up product launches and shows or being a spokesperson to the media, Takahashi says he always finds excitement in every work day.

He also feels a connection to Aveda’s mission of environmental consciousness in the creation of its beauty products.

“Aveda is all about environmentally sustainable manufacturing practices, from the use of all-natural ingredients to a focus on renewable energy. Our manufacturing facility in Minnesota is fully wind-powered, for example. It’s something I support myself,” Takahashi said.

When he’s not exercising his mind at work, Takahashi exercises his body by leading cheers for the Toronto Raptors basketball team as an on-court entertainer with the Raptors Fan Patrol. The excitement and energy of being at a game keeps him from slowing down.

“I hate being still. I have to constantly be go, go, go and I try to throw in a social life there somewhere,” he joked.

Takahashi’s journey, good and bad, has made him finally realize something: happiness starts by doing what you love in the workplace.

“You have to love your job, otherwise it will just drain you. When I come home cheery, I carry it into my personal life,” Takahashi said.