Tracy's blog

I’m Tracy Au and I have graduated from the Professional Writing program from university. I am an aspiring screenwriter, so this blog is used to promote my writing and attract people who will hire me to write for your TV show or movie. I write a lot about writing, TV, movies, jokes, and my daily life and opinions. I have another blog promoting my TV project at

Monday, January 15, 2018

Angela Brown/ Canada's tech talent

Sept. 11, 2017 The Ladder: Angela Brown: Today I found this article in the Globe and Mail:

Angela Brown is president and chief executive officer of Moneris Solutions, one of Canada's largest payment processors.

I was always a numbers-oriented person. My first position was with Procter &Gamble, a great company. I was very involved on the manufacturing side and loved seeing the systems and the ways that things were put together. When I moved over into financial services, I was naturally involved in all of the IT build because all financial services are based on technology and big systems.

I found my passion in financial services. It's so current and so involved in the economy and the way that people conduct their lives. I really love that about the business. As I got more familiar with the systems and technology side of it, it's just been endlessly challenging and at the forefront of what's going on in technology in general. It's really an interesting place to be.

I'm proud to have had leadership positions on both sides of the border. I worked 13 years with CIBC, then moved to the U.S. and worked 13 years, growing positions. There's something to be learned about putting yourself into a different market, even one that seems as familiar as the U.S. market feels to the Canadian market. You learn something about yourself and about people and how to lead, and how to adapt your leadership. I'm very proud of the fact that I could do that on both sides of the border.

Despite having the best laid plans in the world, unexpected opportunities will pop up at any moment and these could be the opportunities worth pursuing.

You need to be open to what comes up in life, even if you think it doesn't align with your set ideals or vision. Oftentimes, what you think you know will get thrown out the window once you open yourself up to other roles or paths that weren't initially on your radar. Your vision will adapt along the way.

My advice to young people is that you have to stay open to opportunity. I did not graduate from my MBA saying, "This is what I want to do," but you take opportunities as they present themselves and start to discover where you fit and where your talents really seem to shine.

I think you pay attention to that as a young person and take advantage of different opportunities and be thoughtful about, if it didn't work out, why didn't it work out?
Understand what that means about what you should pursue in the future.

There are seasons for work and family, and you need to work realistically with those instead of trying to deny that they're there. And just take care of what's most important at that time.

I think that you are a better leader at work if you also have a very healthy personal life and a balance that you create for yourself. It's a matter of continually adjusting and saying, "Am I taking care of myself? How about my fitness? Am I taking care of my family? Am I taking care of business?" and constantly re-evaluating.

I've been very fortunate to have had some wonderful mentors through my whole career. Today, I still have mentors that I reach out to when I'm dealing with something and I need some different perspectives. I mentor a few people today, formally and informally. It's a great opportunity to share a few pearls of what these younger people could be thinking about as they pursue their own careers.

This is a technology-driven business, so I am reverse-mentored by young people on an almost-daily basis. A millennial or someone younger shows me something new that they've seen in the marketplace, a technology application or something interesting.

They don't always lead somewhere, but they're on the forefront of watching those things.
When hiring for my team, I look for people who are intelligent and have a passion for this business and the technology. They are not intimidated by it – they embrace it. They need to have some energy and I look for integrity.

I think I'm naturally an introvert that's had to, over the years, develop the ability to work a crowd, to be a part of a team. When you're the leader, we just had our sales conference and you need to mingle with these people and engage them and let them engage you. You just have to develop those skills. These days, I am more of an ambivert.

The best advice I've received was way back, when someone said to me, "Angela, always take the high road." It's great advice when you are competing and trying to figure out how you want to handle different situations. You'll never regret taking the high road.
This interview has been edited and condensed.

Oct. 6, 2017 "Canada emerging as magnet for tech talent": Today I found this article by Jared Lindzon in the Globe and Mail:

Though he had co-founded two companies previously and worked at LinkedIn's head office in Silicon Valley for six years, Vikram Rangnekar's H-1B visa did not allow him to start a company of his own on American soil.

Between the visa restrictions and the soaring cost of living in the Valley, the Indian-born entrepreneur and author decided last year that it was time to move his family to a new country. They first considered India and Singapore, where they had lived previously, and Melbourne, Australia, where they had family, or a totally new city such as Berlin. Then a friend recommended that he look into Toronto.

"We wanted a little more freedom and a reasonable path to citizenship, and it would have to be a city with a tech scene I could bet on," he said. "Surprisingly, or maybe not surprisingly, Toronto is becoming a serious tech centre in North America."

In recent months, political turmoil and tough talk on immigration in the United States has caused many of its technologyindustry workers to consider viable living options elsewhere. At the same time, Toronto - and Canada, more broadly - is emerging as a tech powerhouse in its own right, causing a sudden reversal in the long-standing trend of Canadian talent moving south.

To the 37 per cent of American technology workers that are foreign-born and the 13 per cent that are H-1B visa holders, Canada has never looked like a more appealing alternative.

"Shopify saw 40 per cent more U.S. applicants in the first quarter of 2017 than we averaged in all of 2016," said Anna Lambert, the Ottawa-based company's director of talent acquisition. And when Toronto-based innovation hub MaRS Discovery District polled 42 high-growth companies based in Canada, two-thirds of respondents indicated that they had recently witnessed a notable increase in applications from the United States.

The sudden interest in Canada's technology industry is even becoming apparent in postsecondary institutions. Canadian universities witnessed a 25-percent increase in international applications for this school year, with the University of Toronto receiving interest from 80 per cent more American students compared with last year.

"Tech has always been about getting in early," Mr. Rangnekar said. "I think Toronto has that startup appeal - it's young and growing - and people want to be part of that startup story." Mr.

Rangnekar adds that it could have taken up to 20 years and thousands of dollars in legal fees to get a U.S. green card for himself and his family, but it only took a few months to get permanent residency in Canada, no lawyer required.

After settling into a home in the Leslieville neighbourhood, launching his startup, Webmatr, and surviving his first Canadian winter, Mr. Rangnekar detailed his journey in a LinkedIn post, providing some words of advice to others that might be looking to do the same.

"When I shared it initially on LinkedIn, it hit 20,000 views in two days," he said. "The most I had gotten [previously] was a few hundred, and it's still growing." Mr. Rangnekar received so much interest that he began an online forum called Mov North to help Americans and international tech workers bring their talents to Canada.

A recent study by job-search website Indeed found that the average U.S.-based job seeker looking to work outside the country sends 12 per cent of their applications to Canadian employers, but in recent months, that number jumped to 30 per cent among tech-industry workers.

Bryan Smith, chief executive and co-founder of Toronto-based big-data-processing firm ThinkData Works, says that he's seen a 50-per-cent increase in U.S.-based applications and a 100-per-cent increase in foreign applications over all in the past year.

When he asks foreign-based applicants about the sudden interest in Canada, however, many say it isn't in direct response to U.S. President Donald Trump's controversial rhetoric. Instead, the election lead many foreign workers based in the United States to the conclusion that immigration policy during his tenure isn't likely to make the already burdensome and complex process any easier.

"I think Toronto was off everyone's radar, and what's happening in the U.S. has expanded their search a little bit," Mr. Smith said. "Once they started looking [at Toronto], they liked what they saw, not just from a tech and a company perspective but from a cultural and living perspective."

Mr. Smith also credits efforts from government policy for drawing talent. "I think for the first time, at least in my lifetime, the governments at all levels are drumming to the same beat, which is bringing in high-class talent and setting up the support mechanism to get people here to start companies and add to the economy," he said.

"You can see that from [Toronto Mayor John] Tory all the way up to [Prime Minister Justin] Trudeau; they're all on message."

Mr. Smith specifically applauds the federal government's Startup Visa Program, which helps bring immigrant entrepreneurs into the country. Karen Greve Young, herself an American immigrant and the vice-president of partnerships for MaRS, says the Startup Visa Program couldn't have come at a better time for a city and country emerging as a global leader in certain technology fields.

"There's a lot happening in artificial intelligence in Toronto and Canada generally with the launch of the Vector institute, the attraction of Uber's Advanced Technology Group, RBC starting a huge AI group and Element AI launching an AI-as-aservice product," she said.
"There's a lot of trends happening in key tech sectors where the centre of gravity is Toronto."

As long as Canada's borders remain more open to entrepreneurs and tech industry workers than its neighbour to the south and it continues to invest in early-stage high-tech fields, Ms. Greve Young is confident that the recent influx of talent marks a new stage in the country's innovation, rather than a temporary reaction to recent political events.
Associated Graphic

Vikram Rangnekar, seen in Toronto on Thursday, was denied starting his own company in the United States because of visa restrictions, so he turned to Canada on a friend's recommendation.


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