GAME CHANGERS: Hiring Young Professionals with International Backgrounds

September 6, 2017

“When I look at my team, I am reminded why I chose to hire young professionals, in particular, young professionals with international backgrounds,” says Ulrike Bahr-Gedalia, President & CEO of Digital Nova Scotia.

DNSAs the industry association for Nova Scotia's fastest growing sector, Digital Nova Scotia provides advocacy, multi-sectorial industry intelligence, facilitates connections between industry and talent, and delivers high-level programming to ensure Nova Scotia’s $1.5 billion digital technologies industry continues to flourish. The industry generates an additional $1 billion in spin-offs.

To foster and support the growth of Nova Scotia's digital economy, the non-profit's core areas of focus are: advocacy, promotion, collaboration, and capacity. DNS' membership-base consists of over 100 multinational technology corporations, SMEs, start-ups, academic institutions, and a number of industry stakeholders.

The team of three at DNS are immigrants from Germany, the U.K and China. “These young immigrants have a mindset and attitude that is open to change, innovation, new ideas, and creativity. If given the freedom to make mistakes, and learn from them, they can be resilient, passionate, and less risk adverse – which encourages us all to step outside of our comfort zone and approach things differently,” says Ulrike. 

“I believe at DNS it is crucial to have a global view, as IT is a global sector that is fast-paced, constantly growing, and always changing. We need to embrace a global outlook to ensure Nova Scotia and Canada remain competitive on the world stage. This all starts with our people, who we hire and how we build our teams.”

With ten universities and 13 community college campuses, as well as Learning Centres and more, Nova Scotia has an advantage when it comes to resources and talent. Ulrike feels by investing in our youth’s education, we are helping to support industry growth. 

“Many international students have chosen Nova Scotia as their study destination, and have become invested in supporting the growth of our economy. We can see first-hand the opportunities that exist in the ICT sector, and encourage youth to explore the great number of innovative companies we have here,” says Ulrike. 

Her advice for recent grads entering the workforce is to explore new opportunities and network at every opportunity. “This may result in stepping outside of your comfort zone, but through networking you will have better luck not only finding a job, but finding a job that fits well. Nova Scotia is very relationship-based and this can have a lot of potential for your future career,” she says.

DNS also provides professional development and training opportunities to meet industry needs, and leadership training for women in tech. One of their current programs is the Impact and Influence Leadership Lab for Women in Tech with Eleanor Beaton, designed to help advance women in the digital sector and enhance their leadership skills. 

DNS remains supportive and active in youth retention, focusing on promoting the IT sector and connecting talent with industry. They host a Digital Discovery Camp, a Tech Lounge networking event, and have close working relationships with local universities and NSCC. They also collaborate with Brilliant Labs, Skills Nova Scotia, and Techsploration to connect with youth.

In the upcoming months, DNS will launch a three-month Sales and Business Development Program facilitated by Sandler Sales, as well as a new cohort of their established Incubating Ideas Program with John Robertson of inspiredEggs in Sydney and Wolfville this fall.

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