Kristina McDougall

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Apr 2018
Each spring the Artemis team gets away for 2 days for a retreat. With the backdrop of a cozy inn and spa, we celebrate our successes, reflect on our learnings and set intentions for the year ahead. For me, this retreat is an opportunity to step back from our daily work and let everyone participate in defining the future of our business. What is our ‘Why’? Do we need to change anything to make a bigger impact? How do we individually leverage our strengths to be a better team?
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Feb 2018
We work with young companies who are watching their culture evolve. They are identifying the values that will drive leadership decisions and ultimately help them build a company that succeeds. They know that the greatest tech companies are those where brilliant people deliver incredible results. But how do you motivate and engage the best in tech? Getting this right is critical but not simple.
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Feb 2018
There is a wave of change coming and it is going to have a big impact on how we manage our businesses. What was a general push towards diversity in 2017, is now heated conversations around safety, respect and accountability, most publicly as part of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements. And while the conversation has centred around women, it points to a need for change in the level of basic respect for our colleagues and employees.
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Nov 2017
The Waterloo Region has been gaining momentum as a destination for both talent and for global companies looking to tap into our entrepreneurial culture, university research, and highly capable workforce. But as a community full of people with small town roots, and with a dedication to the success of our home-grown companies, corporate newcomers will only be embraced if they demonstrate shared values. Amazon’s call for bids to build out a second HQ (#AmazonHQ2) has sparked passionate opinions about whether this would be really good or really bad news for our community. With our unique view on the talent pool, I have some thoughts on how Amazon, or any newcomer, can ensure a welcome and become a valuable corporate citizen.
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Jul 2017
Have you ever noticed how some people are just luckier than others. They always find great deals, meet interesting people who open doors on cool opportunities and come up with the brilliant, game changing ideas. I’m practical and don’t believe that some people are just born under the right alignment of stars. Luck is something real to be sure, but maybe it's something that we can develop in ourselves - and it’s definitely something that we can look for when we hire for our teams.
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May 2017
Last week, the Kitchener-Waterloo tech community was excited to welcome the Netflix HR Guru Patty McCord. As keynote speaker at Communitech's Tech Leadership Conference, Patty's talk was crammed with authenticity, humour and incredibly valuable lessons. Among many gems, her thoughts on retention really hit home. While most tech companies point to employee retention as a measure of successful HR and leadership, Patty dismissed this notion entirely. She sought to make Netflix a great company to be from.   "Most tech companies have a four-year vesting schedule and try to use options as ‘golden handcuffs; to aid retention, but we never thought that made sense. If you see a better opportunity elsewhere, you should be allowed to take what you’ve earned and leave. If you no longer want to work with us, we don’t want to hold you hostage."   Tech companies evolve, and as they grow they hire people who believe in the mission, and who are great at the things that need to be done. At the same time, talented people move into roles where they get to accomplish important things. The move to where they are valued and where they get to use their strengths. As long as these objectives are being met, everything is great - but as soon as a company can't utilize your best talents, it's time to move on!

The growth of a company is a journey, and so is every individual's career.

Expecting that the changing needs of your business will align perfectly with the evolving strengths and career goals of any one individual is unrealistic. At various points along the way you need people with different strengths. You need innovators, builders, tactical execution experts, change leaders, and people who can scale-up process and operations. These are often very different humans. Yet leaders can take it personally when an employee leaves to pursue the next evolution on their path.  Even when that next step doesn't exist in their company or if they as managers have failed to discuss future plans. Many people feel stuck in companies that can no longer utilize their best abilities. When employees feel under-utilized they becoming disengaged - without realizing that it is ok, and not disloyal, to seek growth and fulfillment in another setting. An employment relationship isn't like a marriage - where ideally the two parties grow and evolve in tandem. A business will grow and an employee will also grow but not always in the same trajectory. Unlike a marriage, it is ok to just be good at the first 2 years, and then move on. So how does a company manage this? How can employers encourage people to follow their path without the trauma of turnover that disrupts the business?

The answer is in conversations that are transparent, honest and safe.

Imagine if your managers and teammates could talk openly about their career ambitions and their strengths, and the needs of the business. If each employee knew that their best talents were needed and valued, and that their career goals would be fulfilled - of course they'd stay. And the employer would have the ability to tap into their employees strengths to help grow the business. Without a manager fearing that the employee will resign without notice, or the employee fearing for the near-term security of their job, everyone could work together to ensure that there was minimum disruption - to the business and to the individual's employment.  There is a lot of anxiety around the "what if" possibility of an open conversation revealing that there may soon need to be a parting of the ways. This might seem like a big leap of trust, and perhaps unrealistic, but the alternative is surprise resignations, and unfulfilled, disengaged or insecure workers. So take a small leap at least. To the leaders, talk to your people about their strengths, and how (or if) they can do what they are best at. Talk about career goals and whether you can offer growth in ways that matter. And to every employee, know what you are best at and identify the areas you want to grow - then talk to your leaders. Whether your paths align or not, everyone will more quickly and happily reach their destination.  
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May 2017
Uber and their “culture of sexism”  may be fading slowly from the front pages, but tech companies are scrambling to review their official practices and unofficial workplace norms. We see now that a single blog post or GlassDoor rating can cripple your company brand. It’s a scary time, but we are (finally) seeing some serious focus on the culture of our tech community.
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Mar 2017
Recently a friend and local tech exec met with some top engineering students, and learned that as many as 60% had plans to accept jobs with tech companies in Silicon Valley. He asked a very interesting and complex question"What can we do to convince them to stay local and build a career here?"
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Artemis Canada – Executive Search

We are a boutique executive search firm exclusively serving Canada’s Innovation Economy.

Our partners are the inventors, builders and leaders who are changing our world, enriching the lives of their teams, strengthening their communities and delivering valuable innovations to global marketplaces.


"I have worked closely with Kristina for approximately 15 years, reaching out to her whenever we are searching for the hardest to find skills. She understands the industry, she’s smart, she listens to exactly what we need, and she never wastes our time. Kristina, and the Artemis team, deliver time and time again. When we need an external recruiter, I find it hard to work with anyone else!" Pete Devenyi, VP Global Software Dematic

Contact Artemis

  • 22 Regina St. N Waterloo N2J 3A1
  • 519-594-0913
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