In our Creative Cultures series, writer Isabel Chambers spends a day inside companies to learn how hiring, onboarding, and company culture play a role in employee happiness. From start-ups to design firms and all in-between, we’re pulling back the curtain on what it’s like to work in inventive and productive environments. Today, Isabel is at Rangle.io in Toronto.
Put simply, Rangle.io makes apps, but in reality, they’re a leading force in Canada’s tech industry for a lot more than that. Leaders of diversity and advocates for education, Rangle is building a new future for Canadian workplaces where inclusion and learning reign. When it comes to Rangle’s employees, they’re a passionate and educated bunch, and not just about technology. They’re well-versed in global issues and are together taking steps to break through barriers one hire at a time.
Meagan Tanner is passionate about facilitating excellence in the digital space. A Strategic Partner Manager at Google, Meagan is responsible for working with some of Canada’s largest media companies to help them navigate through digital transformation, and empower local SMBs with the right digital solutions to grow their business. Meagan loves to travel and connect with people, and has worked in Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, and Canada, and is a regular speaker at industry events across North America. Emma Bullen caught up with her to talk about local business and career advice for women.
EB: Tell me about how you came to be Strategic Partner Manager at Google
Meagan Tanner: My career path was not one that was necessarily marked with intention. I started out in a very different field; I did a BA in International Development Studies.
I started working in a consulting firm that created and ran entrepreneurship education programs in developing countries to alleviate poverty. I spent my time on the business development side, pitching programs to international financial institutions. I was also helping to launch these programs in the countries where they would be run by local stakeholders.
I moved to the Cayman Islands for personal reasons, and there was really no work in that field there. I was trying to figure out what I was going to do and I met someone who was as living in my Condo complex. She was a Canadian lawyer who had moved to the Cayman Islands and was selling advertising for Yellow Pages. She was leaving her role to go and live in Paris, and she said, “you should take my role.” I thought, “I’m not so sure I want to do that!”, but she ensured me that it was a great way to meet people on the island – I met 200 local business owners in my first year. So I went in, and I interviewed, and I got hired that day. That was my jumping off point into the advertising industry. I got really good at selling digital because I realized that’s where the future of the industry was going.
Project: The Broadview Hotel, Toronto Client: Streetcar Developments
In our Creative Cultures series, writer Helen Bullingham spends a day inside companies to learn how hiring, onboarding, and company culture play a role in employee happiness. From start-ups to design firms and all in-between, we’re pulling back the curtain on what it’s like to work in inventive and productive environments. Today, Helen is at Norm Li in Toronto.
Located at Dundas and University in downtown Toronto is the visualization studio Norm Li, a rare and brilliant gem that creates Renderings, Animation and Interactive experiences for the architectural, real estate development and design industries. The studio helps clients to visualize spaces and places prior to being built or occupied. The need varies; in some instances, clients know what they want and need Norm Li’s team to bring it to life. In other instances, they seek out the design studio’s help in figuring out what that space should look like. What Norm Li delivers is a visual narrative of the space that’s so real, you can feel yourself drawn to it. And in the case of their VR applications like the image above, you can actually feel yourself in the space too.
Whether you call it — performance connection, stretch goals, or audacious goals — most employees focus on encouraging their employees to set goals as a management best practice.
We do this at home too. We all have things that we want to accomplish, from saving for that big vacation to losing weight. We might set new goals once a year or once a month. We tell ourselves that setting goals improves your life, that we feel better about yourself when we reach that goal, that goal setting lets us get more done.
There’s just one problem here. The trouble about goal setting is that it can be counter productive. If you’ve ever set a new year’s resolution and not met it, you’ll know what it is. Time after time, people fall short of reaching the ambitious goal that they set out to achieve.
Riipen is a technology platform that connects the greater business community with higher ed students, recent graduates, and educators through meaningful project-based experiences. Emma Bullen spoke to Co-Founder and Director of Industry Partners, Dave Savory
Emma Bullen: Tell me a bit about you. How did you get to where you are today?
Dave Savory: I grew up in Southern Ontario and moved out to the University of Victoria when I was 19. I ended up getting a business degree, and I ran a college pro-painting franchise for three summers to get some real-world business experience while I was still at school. I met Dana, who I started Riipen with, in the program at UVic. We were in an entrepreneurial class in our last semester, and we had to come up with a business idea and do all the planning for a potential venture. We wanted to do something that could potentially be taken outside of the classroom. We went through doing a mandatory Co-op program where we went through the process of sending out a million resumes and not getting anything back from companies. It was frustrating. Thinking about all the different projects and assignments that you do through your academic career that demonstrate real world value are often siloed in an academic bubble. From there, we started asking, “what if projects we were doing for course credits were for real companies?”
EB: Tell me about Riipen – when did it launch and how many users are on the platform? Continue reading
Changing the Way You Find Event Space
thisopenspace is on a mission to connect people and space to bring ideas to the world. They are an online marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique short-term spaces from around the world. From an empty downtown retail store to an art gallery inside a heritage building, it can all be found on thisopenspace. Emma Bullen spoke to Co-Founder and CEO, Yashar Nejati.
Emma Bullen: Tell me about your background. How have you got to where you are today?
Yashar Nejati: My background is in business, marketing, and biochemistry. I worked in business and life sciences for about a year out of college, then I switched to enterprise technology sales. I’ve always wanted to start my own business and my first business was food manufacturing. We made organic dips and sold them into Whole Foods and had some success doing that. In around May 2013, we were planning an event and wanted to open a pop-up cafe for a couple of weeks and couldn’t find anywhere to do that in. It’s really the classic story, I solved my own problem and found the space. And after the event, we got feedback that accessible short-term space is a problem that a lot of entrepreneurs face.
OpenChannel provides everything you need to create and manage your own app store, partner directory or plugin marketplace. Emma Bullen spoke to Head of Marketing, Michael Kovacs about how a change in career led him to co-founding a Toronto-based startup.
Emma Bullen: Tell me about your background. Where did you start out?
Michael Kovacs: I guess you could say my background is a bit unusual. I was a professional musician. As a kid, I started off playing with friends in our parent’s basements, and it went from there. We won a few battle of the bands, and we got some free studio time. There’d be someone in the studio who would say, “I like what you guys are doing, why don’t you come back and I’ll give you some more free time.” We needed a manager, the manager had contacts at a record label and we ended up signing a deal with Universal Music. We did that for a while. The part of the label that we worked with was based in Germany, but we recorded in Canada. Lots of our touring was done in Germany as well as the US and China. It was a super fun experience.
EB: How did you change your career path?
Curatio is an award-winning health software company, with users in over 39 countries to date. With a private platform that combines matchmaking, curated content and easy tracking tools, their mission is to give every patient on the planet the support they need. Emma Bullen spoke to Founder and CEO, Lynda Brown.
Emma Bullen: Tell me a bit about you. How did you get to where you are today?
Lynda Brown: I started my first business at age 14. Back in the day, I didn’t really know much about being an entrepreneur. But, when I look back, I’ve always been interested in using tech to connect people. In terms of where I find myself today, I’m following that passion. Being part geek, part connector has influenced my life and what I’m doing with Curatio. I wanted to do something that had impact. Continue reading
In our Creative Cultures series, correspondent Crystal Henrickson spends a day inside companies to learn how company culture play a role in employee happiness. From startups to design firms and all in-between, we’re pulling back the curtain on what it’s like to work in inventive and productive environments. Today she’s with the lovely folks at the legal software company, Clio.
Launched in 2008, Clio offers cloud-based practice management software for lawyers and legal professionals. Since then, they’ve gone from a promising startup to one of Canada’s fastest growing tech companies three years running — all while earning an enviable reputation for their people-first, growth-minded company culture.
With over 200 ‘Clions’ across Canada and Dublin, I arrived at their colourful Burnaby head office to meet a few, and discover why they find Clio such a great place to work.
Various titles I considered for this article include: “I’m not psychic, and neither are you”, “your stakeholders won’t know if you don’t tell them,” and “heyeayeayeayea, heyeayeayea, I said hey, what the heck is going on?” It was a close call, but at the end of the day, search engine optimization won out.
Improving my communication skills has been a recent goal of mine along with ‘say no more often,’ and ‘improve all the workflows!’ Given that Brian Tracy describes it as a skill that anyone can learn, “like a bicycle or typing,” and that Richard Branson says that it’s “the most effective skill any leader can possess,” improving my communication skills seemed the best place to start.
I’m a writer; I should know how to communicate, right? Well, to some extent. When I found myself saying, “I’m not psychic” and “why are you all acting like I don’t have a plan?” several times a week, I realized that part of the problem was me. And it was time to do something about it.