2017: Year in Review

Jessica Rowen

January 31, 2018

2017 was the year of THE stat. If you worked in tech in 2017 than you know the one I’m talking about — Toronto added more technology jobs than New York and San Francisco combined from 2015 to 2016.

We knew it was our time. The challenge was we didn’t have enough homegrown talent to fill the roles. We needed to put our humble Canadian toques aside and scream all the reasons why we were great from the top of the Rockies.

  • Canada has always been home to some of the top engineering schools globally.
  • We have a growing pool of veteran entrepreneurs that are choosing to stay and build their next company in Canada.
  • We’ve seen a growth in investment through larger Canadian funds and from the world’s leading VCs.
  • And we’re seeing global leaders and startups turn to Canada for it’s AI expertise.

All the ingredients needed to make it clear that Canada is a destination for talented people from around the world to grow their careers and build their businesses. And while those ingredients were marinating together, our biggest competitor for foreign-born talent decided to put up a wall and shut them out. Marking the beginning of what we’re calling the Canadian brain gain.

What I appreciate the most about this movement is that in the face of such divisiveness, Canada stood up and said, “diversity is our strength!” The tech community rallied in support of tech with no borders and our own government put policies into place to welcome foreign-born talent with open arms. We came together with a common goal — to build world-class companies, products and people. No matter where you were born.

“We came together with a common goal — to build world-class companies, products and people.”

The collaboration didn’t end there and never really does in the Canadian tech ecosystem. And we here at gdR strive to live up to that value everyday, working together with a common goal of growing the tech ecosystem. Here’s a few things we’re really proud of…

In 2017, we helped 40+ tech companies find great leaders and team members. We’re constantly growing our individual contributor recruiting business, while seeing our exec recruiting business take off in 2017. We played our part in the growth of Canadian AI expertise by find engineering and ML leaders for some of the most promising AI startups and large tech research labs that are moving into Canada. Sample successes we’re especially proud of include helping build one of the top SaaS marketing teams in North America and helped one of Canada’s industrial IoT leaders build their engineering teams to ready themselves for their global launch in 2018.


Canadian Tech at Scale

One of our contributions was the second annual Canadian Tech at Scale conference. Since 2016, we’ve partnered with Jean-Michel Lemieux (SVP of Engineering, Shopify) and Boris Chan (Managing Director, Pivotal Labs) to bring together Canada’s top engineering leaders to learn from each other’s successes and failures as our companies have scaled. All without having to leave the country, which is not a common occurrence.

2017’s impressive line-up of (all Canadian, eh) speakers included Tony Savor (Engineering Director, Facebook), Inmar Givoni (Engineering Manager, Uber ATG), Johnathan Nightingale (Founder, Raw Signal Group) and one of our organizing partners, Jean-Michel Lemieux (SVP of Engineering, Shopify). The 120 leaders in attendance spent the morning listening to topics such as scaling CD and using machine learning in production, with the afternoon reserved for unconference-like roundtable discussions.

Relationships were built, partnerships were formed, ideas were shared and as a result of it all, the Canadian tech ecosystem inched closer towards our common goal — to build world-class companies, products and people.


Leadership Development + Coaching

We announced that we made a move into leadership coaching and development by partnering with Mic Berman, who has over 20 years experience building, running and coaching some of the most well known tech companies such as Mozilla, Freshbooks, and Shopify. We did this because we wanted to further our core objective, which is to help grow the Canadian tech ecosystem. And I think we put a dent in that objective in 2017. We have coached and are working to transform 100+ leaders. You can sneak a peek at what our leadership development program looks like here: Coaching.gdR.jobs. Did we mention that the program is 66% – 83% covered by the government? Because it is! Amount depends on your company size. Get in touch to learn more.

Our leadership development team is also helping to empower women in the tech community by sharing their experiences and coaching skills. The idea started with a presentation at a Girl Geeks Toronto event. Mic and Tara focused on providing advice and techniques for how women in tech can survive and thrive in a male dominated industry. Since this was such a big topic to cover in one hour, we filmed a Q+A session from questions collected at the event and committed to continuing the conversation with follow-up workshops that will dive deep into the topics.

Resources for the Community

Something that is near and dear to my heart are the resources we produce every year. A lot of blood, sweat and tears goes into each piece. We are methodical in what we create and only produce content that we think will bring value to tech community. Starting with us acknowledging that yes, sometimes tech recruiters do suck. But the good news is, we also outline questions you can ask that will help you find a good one.

And then came “Tech Dreams”, which is a series where we explore how you can stand out to startups, large tech companies and innovation labs during the hiring and on-boarding process. The series included:

We also created a guide on how to navigate the new Canadian Global Skills Program (in partnership with Evan Green, co-founder of Green and Spiegel LLP). And we even chatted on a podcast about the benefits of coaching, which are ample. Let me show you…

Let’s start by debunking the myths of leadership coaching. And then let’s move to some of the coaching topics we explored this year. Any sound familiar?

What do you think? What topics should we cover next? We’re happy to explore anything you think will help you navigate your career and empower you to be a better leader! Email me at jessica@grossmandorland.com with you suggestions.

Well there you have it folks! That’s what 2017 looked liked for #TeamgdR. Thanks for coming on this trip down memory lane with us!

Let’s crush it even more in 2018, Canada!

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