Meet Maia du Toit, a Policy Analyst for the Digital Academy
1. What is your role in BC GOV and what product are you currently working on at the Exchange Lab?
My current role is as a Policy Analyst within the Digital Academy at the Exchange Lab. I am a fresh face in BCPS, having joined in June 2022 after completing my Master’s in Public Policy. At the Digital Academy, our goal is to support public servants in their learning journey, particularly when it comes to upskilling and reskilling their digital knowledge.
Currently, I am working on the Digital Era Leadership Pilot Program for executives across Ministries. We are working with Public Digital, a leading consultant in this space, to increase the ability of public servants to lead effectively in digital ways using mechanisms like user-centered research, working in the open, and creating cross-functional teams. The first cohort has recently wrapped up, and the team is eager to apply the feedback we have received to the next group!
2. What do you like most about working at the Exchange Lab?
The culture. I am constantly inspired by the people I am working with and the culture that each person plays a role in creating. From my first day with the BCPS, I have felt incredibly supported as a new member of the Exchange Lab team. I am encouraged to fail, be uncomfortable, and explore new avenues of learning and working along the way.
I think the culture of intentional experimentation sets the Lab apart from other organizations.
3. Do you have a favourite failure or apparent failure that has set you up for later success?
Too many to discuss here, but the “failure” I have been reflecting on lately has been my trip to Australia that began in February 2020. The trip was supposed to be a sand and surf-filled gap year; however, we all know what happened the following month. The pandemic forced me to return home to Canada much earlier than expected.
While I briefly dwelled on the fact that my sunny adventure down under was now an overcast and isolated vacation at my parent's house, I realize now that this was probably the best thing that could have happened to me at the time. For the next 18 months, I enjoyed quality family time, found a new love for running, and embraced life more slowly for the first time in years. This “reset” continues to guide my path forward in my education, career, and personal life.
1. What is an absurd thing you love?
Formula 1. I’m not sure why I am so captivated by cars zooming around in circles at 300km/hr and crashes costing millions of dollars, not to mention that the same guy almost always wins the race (this season, anyways). Regardless, I’m hooked and was so excited to attend the Montreal Grand Prix this summer!
1. What is a book that has greatly influenced your life?
I love bell hooks. Belonging: A Culture of Place transformed the way I think about my relationships with people and nature, as well as where my place is in our political, social, and physical worlds.
I love the way she connects thoughts around identity, race, and community to cities, landscapes, and “home”.
I find myself reflecting on her words over and over again across changes in my own life as I continue to rediscover what community and belonging mean to me.