VP, Human Resources
Sector: Business, Management, and Administration, Information Technology
Type: Career Profile
Business & Economics, Computer Science, Technology & Engineering
The biggest motivator for me is seeing people grow and thrive in their work lives. We spend so many hours at work; give so much of our time, energy, and soul to work that it is very fulfilling when I see people progress, learn, and feel their efforts are recognized, rewarded, and having a positive impact. My role directly affects the practices and policies that drive this. It is personally rewarding for me that I have remained connected to so many people from so many different organizations, industries, and countries.
This is not what I expected to be doing when I was in school. I was going to study archaeology or architecture. I ended up with a Computer Science degree because I got good marks in it and figured it was the future (i.e., that I'd get a job!). I found I didn't enjoy programming because I felt too isolated, so I branched out into consulting. I wanted to round out my technical education and work experience with exposure to finance, strategy, and the human side of work so went back to school for an MBA.
That is where my career took a turn to HR. It started with change management on large IT projects, but change is all about people and processes. That morphed into strategic HR. Because I didn't start my career in HR, it has been a curse and a blessing. I do not have a history of the fundamentals of HR, so I rely heavily on those who do. At the same time, my consulting and analytical background provides me with strong business insight, so I am seen more as a business person than a pure HR person.
My advice would be to stay curious. Pursue courses and activities that interest you and bring you joy. If you don't enjoy what you're doing, change it! You have more time than you think. I would also say to stay humble. I believe humility and curiosity allow a person to continually learn, meet new people, try new things, and get up after falling down.
I play golf, ski, and hike. I love the movies, spending time with friends and family, and travel. My love of travel has driven many of my employment choices and I have had the good fortune to work in many parts of the world.
I have had two careers. The first was in the Information Technology (IT) industry as a programmer, systems engineer, and consultant. The second was as a Human Resources (HR) executive. There is more cross-over than one would expect between these careers. Both require problem solving, critical thinking, use of technology, analytics, and data-driven decision-making. My background in STEM provided a solid grounding in critical thinking, methodology to define and solve problems, capture and analytics of data. I work as part of a large, multi-disciplinary team. Having a curious and open mind is critical to dealing with people.
I was born/grew up in: Calgary, Alberta
I now live in: Toronto, Ontario
I completed my training/education at: BSc in Computer Science from University of Calgary; Masters of Business Administration from Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto with a focus on Organizational Behaviour and Strategy
When I was
- Foreign languages
- Literature and Language Arts
- Home Economics
- Physical Education/Health
- Brought people together
- Played on a sports team
- Enjoyed working with my hands
- Was motivated by success
- Wanted to be in charge
- Liked being given free range to explore my ideas
- Liked reading
- Was really creative
- Felt great satisfaction in getting good grades
- Wasn’t sure what I wanted to do
- Liked to design or build things
- Learned best “by doing”