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Feb 14

Fill that glass up: there’s no such thing as half-empty for this inspirational employee

Posted on February 14, 2014 at 12:00 AM by Communications Office

BJ Sims“I like to enable people to have power over their destiny,” says B.J. Sims. Although she’s a “business services manager” in the Office of Economic Development, her title doesn’t do justice to what B.J.’s job really is.

She describes her role in OED as helping people find the power within themselves to be successful. As an active connector, she continually brings in multiple City departments to develop business solutions that don’t fit into neat categories. 

These days, B.J. is involved in relationship building at all levels, from connecting job seekers with prospective employers at work2future to introducing businesses interested in locating in San José to the City. Her most recent project is the Business Coaching Center, an online, 24/7 tool that guides business owners through the process of starting or expanding their business.

“We want to help businesses without their needing to physically stop by City Hall first,” she said. “The Coaching Center makes it easy for them to cut red tape and time.” 

What B.J. especially likes about the Coaching Center is that it’s an evolving, collaborative project that actively reflects feedback from local businesses about their needs. It cuts across the boundaries of several City departments that are working together to use the web to provide timely, convenient, and practical business information.

Another project that brings a twinkle to her eye are the annual Summit on Entrepreneurship and Innovation events. “These bring Silicon Valley business and city leaders, entrepreneurs, and investors together in the same room where they share ideas and explore business opportunities in San Jose,” she said.  “It’s fascinating to be a matchmaker for creative and energetic people interested in growing businesses and jobs in our city.” 

Whether it's recruiting Silicon Valley companies to participate in work2future job fairs in order to find talent, or working with Business Owner Space partners to enhance one-stop resources for entrepreneurs, B.J. is always looking far down the road to anticipate the future. 

“The connections we help people make today will pay off in amazing and unexpected ways tomorrow,” she said.  “We’re always hustling – not to keep up, but to stay ahead of what our businesses and workforce might be needing.”

“B.J. is someone who is forward-thinking,” added Jeff Ruster, who’s the Office of Economic Development’s Director of Strategic Partnerships and work2future’s Executive Director. “Her dedication to her job is contagious, and she really is about maximizing the potential in people and developing partnerships both inside and outside the City organization.”

B.J. went to San José State University originally to become a teacher, but she began looking beyond a teaching career when she found there weren’t enough jobs for all the new teachers coming out at the time. Instead, she went to work for the California Employment Development Department where she enjoyed several decades of public service. She joined OED in 2002 and hasn’t looked back since. 

And her motivation is helping the customer, whether a job seeker or a job provider. She studies her customer's needs and uses that knowledge to find the answers through collaboration, both inside and outside the City organization. 

“It’s about everybody working together,” she said.  And when B.J. is part of the team, the job will get done and it will get done well. "I just don't accept that people can't do it." 

B.J's enthusiasm for public service is contagious: she’s an optimist who doesn’t see any glass as half full.  

“That’s just a glass that needs to be filled,” she said.


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