Working in the open: Weeks 15 & 16

One of Code for Canada’s principles is to operate in public. These bi-weekly blog posts put that value into practice, giving readers a window into what we’re doing — and how we do it.

If the past two weeks at Code for Canada were a famous book, they would be The Two Towers, the second novel in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Like the fabled Fellowship of the Ring, the Code for Canada crew was scattered to and fro this past fortnight, separated from each other but all working towards a common goal.

Gabe spent the final week of July on the east coast, meeting members of New Brunswick’s technology and design scene. He led two Code for Canada Open Houses; one in Fredericton where there was a stellar turnout of nearly 30 people, and a second in Saint John, where he met influential and active members of the community. He also made an appearance on CBC Radio’s Information Morning, and discussed the potential of civic tech in New Brunswick. Between all that work, he also managed to sample New Brunswick’s “outstanding” craft beer offerings.

Gabe speaking at Planet Hatch as part of the Code for Canada Open House in Fredericton on July 24, 2017.

Thanks a lot to Nick Scott for helping organize such a successful trip, and thank you to everyone who attended our Open Houses; we look forward to working with all of you to grow civic tech and digital government in New Brunswick!

Meghan was away to start last week, as she was invited to the annual ‘Unlearning’ retreat hosted by the School for Social Entrepreneurs Ontario. The event is an opportunity for change makers to challenge their own assumptions about what success and progress look like. Meghan said the retreat was inspiring, and helped her draw connections between social entrepreneurship, education, intrapreneurship and the work that Code for Canada is doing.

Meghan returned from her travels to a pretty awesome gift: the feedback from our recent Digital Government and Civic Tech workshop at Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation. The comments were incredibly positive and constructive, and will help us build future iterations of the course, including the one being taught at Ryerson University this fall! It’s great to see that that public servants are excited about digital, and looking for ways to apply it to their work.

Luke was out of the office for nearly two weeks, travelling to Banff and Saskatoon to visit family. He worked throughout the trip, and was surprised at how easy digital tools made it to stay connected and current with co-workers. We’ve heard from public servants and staff at other large organizations that they wish they had more flexibility to work remotely, and it seems more possible than ever. As Meghan likes to say, “we have the technology!”

We also hired our new Operations Lead, Jenny Struyk! She has a background in nonprofit management and leadership with a focus on building and improving organizational systems. Her work will be vital to the future success of Code for Canada, and includes responsibility for everything from human resources to evaluation and internal policy-making. Nonprofits and other social impact organizations need a strong foundation to support their efforts and we’re thrilled that Jenny has chosen to help us build ours.

Isha, who’s finishing her commerce degree at the University of Toronto, led an investment seminar for Code for Canada staff. Her sound advice and on-point slide deck skills wowed the team, and some have already begun putting her lessons into practice. Isha really wants to work in social impact in the future, but she’d also make a great financial planner!

Lastly, the finish line is in sight for fellowship recruitment! Prospective fellows have one hurdle left: a group task, where we can watch how they work in a collaborative environment. Fellows will be working closely together, as well as working inside of governments where decision-making can involve numerous stakeholders, so interpersonal skills are a priority.

We continue to be on track for hiring, and expect that offer letters will be sent out as early as Aug. 16! We’re also pleased to report that 50 per cent of our finalists are women, and 58 per cent are people of colour. We remain committed to increasing diversity in tech, and our fellowship recruitment process reflects that goal.

See you in two weeks!