Diversity Just Happens in a Canadian Tech Company

This blog was originally posted by Jeff Crews on Nov. 29th on LinkedIn.

Back in October, I tweeted about an article authored by @Adam_Creighton. The article highlighted a recent World Bank research study that showed Canada as being among the top 4 countries in the world that have most benefited from an influx of highly skilled immigrants. 

Aside from Canada's leadership from an immigration perspective, here's the paragraph that really struck me: 

"The weight of the evidence points to high-skilled immigrants boosting innovation and productivity—mainly through the increased quantity of skilled individuals pursuing innovative work,” the authors said. 

October was a busy month, as I was also fortunate enough to attend Google's Go North Conference at the Evergreen Brick Works in Toronto. Two presentations from this event really resonated with me. The panel consisted of leading Canadian entrepreneurs: 

  • Harley Finkelstein (@harleyf), COO of Shopify 
  • Hongwei Liu (@thehongwei), Co-founder and CEO of Mappedin  
  • Ted Livingston (@ted_livingston), Founder of CEO of Kik  
  • Michele Romanow (@MicheleRomanow), Co-founder of Clearbanc & Buytopia  

What was the key message from that panel? Canada shouldn't try to mimic Silicon Valley. We should focus on what makes us different and build on that -- build on our sense of community, diversity, collaboration, sharing, and supportive government.

The second panel was hosted by Canada's Innovation Minister, Navdeep Bains and was followed up by @NavdeepSBains speaking about Canada's strongest competitive advantage is our level of diversity. The message was quite clear -- Canada's tech sector is the fastest growing segment of the Canadian economy and Minister Bains is leading Canada in developing and implementing an innovation agenda to ensure Canada's standard of living will continue to grow. 

To watch these presentations for yourself visit: http://googlecanada.blogspot.ca/2016/10/go-north.html 

Being a leader of a tech company in Toronto, the WSJ blog and Google Go North conference connected all the dots for me: Diversity just happens in Canadian technology … and its an awesome and important differentiator for Canada. 

I see clear evidence of this Canadian competitive advantage in action everyday @BioConnect, the company for which I work. We are a living example of diversity and innovation in Canadian tech companies. To demonstrate it, I asked the team to conduct a survey of our employee base and our hiring over the last 2 years. The results are below:

BioConnect Diversity.png

I obviously knew we were building a diverse culture, but the key point for me was Canada's progressive immigration policy was serving up such qualified foreign-born candidates just by virtue of @BioConnect being located in Toronto. BioConnect is clearly a real-life example of the diversity advantage @NavdeepSBains  spoke about at the Google conference. 

And you know what our number 1 priority was in making all of these hiring decisions? Hire the best possible people we can find. Period. No compromise.   

I am seeing this virtuous cycle of Canada's world leading stance on immigration leading to a diverse population. The diversity inherent in our population inevitably leads to a diverse workforce for Canadian tech companies - then leading to increased innovation because of diversity … and innovation leading to growth everyday in our company. BioConnect is a shining example of what makes Canada so great as a country. I am a very proud Canadian and equally proud to be contributing to the growing tech sector in Toronto. 

In closing, I am very proud to be working in a growing tech company in Canada - and I am equally proud to boast of the diversity we have within our company. But, I am most proud of the team we have built at BioConnect. I think of our amazing team first. I don't naturally focus on the diversity component. The benefits of such a diverse team has been the result of hiring the best people we can find. I consider it to be a bonus that there is all kinds of evidence that a diverse team drives greater innovation as  @Adam_Creighton cites in his article. 


In case you are interested, BioConnect has 10 developer jobs open, and I am pretty sure we will continue to benefit from the diversity we are already experiencing in our team. Come check us out at: https://www.bioconnect.com/careers/ 





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