Growing up in Toronto, my childhood involved training for downhill ski races, shuttling across the province to "Kids of Steel" triathlon competitions, and exploring the forests and shores of Georgian Bay with my brother. We only had two channels on our television set but the fastest skis strapped to the roof of the car. In my family, success is not measured by material wealth, but by adventures, risk, and personal fulfillment.
As I navigated high school and university, I discovered that I was happiest when my work made a positive impact. Professional fulfillment, for me, is making the world a better place through direct connections with people. I pursued an academic track as a human rights practitioner, studying and working on critical initiatives in Canada, UK, Cambodia, and South Africa.
As it turns out, changing the world doesn't happen as fast as I had hoped. I loved the work I did but not always how it was done. After working in the non-profit sector for a few years, I felt trapped inside of a system that was underfunded, overworked, and frequently blocked by antiquated systems and shifting political agendas.
I wanted to move faster and learn more, so I re-routed my career towards the uncharted territory of tech and innovation. If international development was covered in red tape, why not join the people who are running with scissors?
After an interview packed with, "If I don't know it, I'll learn it" proclamations, I landed a part-time job at a local university incubator. It was the start of what has become a decade-long journey in Toronto's innovation economy.
In the past 10 years, I have purposely sought out work in the critical corners of the Canadian tech ecosystem — as a founder, a team member, board member, and investor. I've helped to build a world-renowned accelerator, co-founded Canada's largest tech meetup group, operated within early-stage startups, worked in venture capital, and founded my own national organization.
The common thread for me has always been to help people find one another. I believe that great people, together, build incredible things. It’s exciting to think that I get to do this every day now in my role at Drive.
I also believe that Canada is one of the best places in the world to build a business and, frankly, just be human. It's really great up here, eh?