Rebecca Petricevic

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02
May 2018
This month, we had a pleasure of chatting with Adam Volpe, VP of Customer Success at Sortable in Kitchener-Waterloo. Adam is an expert in his field and he took some time to let us in on his secrets.
Congratulations on the recent move to Sortable (and we are pleased to have helped)! We’d love to hear about why you decided to join them.
I joined Sortable for many reasons, but mostly because it is a scrappy company that had corporate values that closely matched mine. It was also understanding Chris' (our CEO) journey to this point in Sortable. His own values and cultural expectations felts like a great fit.
What are some of the biggest changes and trends you’ve seen in the customer success space in your career?
The biggest change I've seen in customer success in my career is the focus on keeping existing customers happy. Companies are really starting to get it. It's not just about retaining customers, but truly happy customers are more loyal, will spend more with you, will help your product improve by providing great (and relevant) feedback and they are also often your best sales tool. There is really no downside to a company that puts their primary focus in finding and keeping the right customers.
What are you most proud of, professionally?
I'd say I'm most proud of my ability to assess the state of an org, quickly identify what is most critical and build a strong team of dedicated professionals to execute on a unified vision. And doing so successfully within organizations of various sizes, from startup to large, mature enterprises. I'm also very proud of the teams I have helped to build, the successes we've had and the close relationships I've formed along the way.
What are some common misconceptions people have about Customer Success? Why do you feel it’s integral to a tech company’s success?
One of the most common misconceptions people have about CS is that it's just a re-branded sales org, focused on up-sell to existing customers. When done right, this couldn't be further from the truth. CS's real value is being expert users of a solution, knowing how best a customer can take advantages of all an organization has to offer and looking for thoughtful ways to continue to provide greater and greater value to our customers. If up-sell happens, it's organic and done with the genuine perspective that that additional offering is in the best interest of the customer and will help them grow and succeed as a business. A great Customer Success org is also able to quickly assess if a customer isn't a good fit, and work for a way to communicate that to a customer and help point them to a solution that would be more suited. Having customers that aren't a good fit for your product creates significant unnecessary work internal and will ultimately lead to churn - it's just a matter of time. So, it's integral to a companies success because it helps to ensure all resources are spending their efforts on the right customers and it builds loyalty through strong, honest relationships, both internally and externally.
Working in the tech industry can be very demanding, what do you do outside work to maintain energy?
I like to stay very active, spending time with my wife and 2 amazing kids. Outside of that, much of my energy is spend training in Martial Arts. I'm currently a Black Sash instructor in Kung Fu and train several times a week. I also love mountain biking and snowboarding when I can.
Wow! You’re an accomplished martial artist. What lessons have you taken from your outside practice and applied to your work?
Many :-) But the most important lessons have been that nothing can replace having a plan, hard work and building strong relationships with the people that are on the journey with you. I wouldn't be successful in my professional life or my Martial Arts career without having a strong team to support me in every situation.
You must have interesting observations about the evolution of Kitchener-Waterloo’s tech scene. What has been the coolest thing you’ve seen develop here?
The coolest thing I've seen develop in KW is the amazing growth and diversity that came out of the downsizing of RIM (BlackBerry). Like many others in the region, I worked at RIM for many years and when things started to decline there, at first there was a concern that it would be difficult to find other opportunities as interesting and rewarding as the work we did at RIM. It's amazing to see that hasn't been the case at all. RIM helped to draw and develop an amazing talent pool that took the lessons learned from that experience and build amazing companies and careers that further diversified the region to be stronger and even more interesting. They took a potentially devastating downsizing and made it more positive than any of us could have imagined.
What advice do you have for leaders and entrepreneurs looking to hire great people and establish a strong customer success practice?
Surround yourself with smart, hardworking people that you enjoy spending time with. Treat them like your family, support them, lift them up, help them grow and be honest with them. Teach them what it means to really be part of a strong family, then help them extend that experience to your customers. If you treat your team and your customers like your family, you can't really go wrong
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30
Apr 2018
Welcome to the first of a monthly discussion piece. We're chatting about the role of tech companies in their communities - won't you join us?

Background:

Thalmic Lab’s CEO Stephen Lake published a thoughtful piece on why he’s based his company in Waterloo Region. There was a lot of back and forth discussion around Waterloo Region as a home for tech, sparked by Vidyard’s Michael Litt’s Globe and Mail piece.

The Discussion So Far:

Some in the Arts community found the piece to be offensive and written in bad faith. The author of one piece suggested that the arts could use financial support from companies as successful as Vidyard. Others like Conway Fraser argued that Litt’s piece was simply highlighting rather than attacking and opening a much-needed conversation. Fraser suggested that critical evaluation is necessary for improvement The discussion touched on the arts and culture currently available in Waterloo Region and included Litt's view on everything from the health care facilities to the educational institutions.

How About You:

What do you think? We’ve chosen to continue the conversation around the role of tech companies in the communities in which they operate. We would love to hear your thoughts on the matter in the comments below. Do companies have an obligation to the communities in which they operate? If so, to what extent?

This discussion was originally opened in our monthly newsletter. If you’d like to be the first to join in on the conversations and keep up to date on the Canadian tech scene, subscribe to our newsletter!

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10
Apr 2018
Heather Galt is the new VP of Startup Programs at Communitech and works tirelessly to support the young companies she works with and set them up for success. We were very lucky to connect with Heather and hear about her recent exploits, her motivations, and her wisdom.
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06
Mar 2018

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

WealthSimple had a big year, raising $65 million from Power Financial Group for a total investment of $165 million, as well as announcing that they now manage over $2 billion for clients across Canada, the US, and the UK.

Voltera announced its new product, the new V-One Drill. Waterloo Region's own SkyWatch raised $4 million in its seed round of funding to continue development of its Earth Observation platform EarthCache. Addressing a talent shortage, several companies including TulipShopify and ecobee have banded together to create an Associate Product Management program and will accept 12 to 15 students for 6 months of vocational training. Ratio City was awarded the grand prize of $100,000 at the Fierce Founders Finale. Waterloo-based OpenText acquires Hightail and adds it to their product suite.

RealWear has raised $17 million for its AR wearable device aimed at workers in construction and other heavy industries.

The Ontario government has tapped Waterloo-based Shopify to lead online marijuana sales upon federal legalization in July. DroneBase raises $12 M to bring AR to aerial drone imagery. Ontario’s advanced manufacturing sector will get a generous federal boost as it was named one of the 5 winning superclusters awarded funding from the federal government. Montreal-based media and image platform Unsplash raised a unique funding boost through ablockchain tokenization project that netted them $7.25M. How’s that for creativity. Montreal-based Dialogue raised $12 M in Series A funding.

One time Flickr rival, 500px, acquired by China VCG.

HUMANS OF TECH

This month, we had the pleasure of connecting with marketing guru and Aussie transplant, Paul Gray! Paul is the Marketing Growth Coach at Communitech currently, but he's been involved with companies at all stages - from co-founding his own startup to Disney and now back to the startup community in Waterloo.

Click to read more about his inspiration, experience, and advice.

WHO IS ON THE MOVE?

Brandon Nussey, former CFO at D2L, has joined Lightspeed POS. Local AI start-up Kiite welcomes Stephanie Ratza as its new CFO. Stephanie was formerly with BlueCat* and Descartes. Local founder, Eric Migicovky has joined the Y Combinator to work with incoming teams, including those whose companies have a hardware component. Eric led Pebble through 2 record-breaking kick-starter campaigns, then sold the company to FitBit. Formerly CTO at QuickBooks, Warren Faleiro, has now moved into the CTO position at Toronto's Oanda. Stephen Klee, former Bank of Nova Scotia VP, joins venture firm Portag3. Big leadership changes at eSentire with a new CEO in Kerry Bailey, as CTO Mark McArdle and CRO John Harris depart. *the original newsletter incorrectly stated that Stephanie Ratza had been with PointClickCare. We apologize for the error. 

CANADA CONNECT

The Artemis Canada Connect program is a confidential and curated introduction service aimed at connecting returning tech talent with innovative tech companies in Canada. Sign up to get a first look at future candidates. Check out our Canada Connect video where we talk about how the program works. This month we’ve connected with leaders like this Marketing Executive with expertise in Cybersecurity, Big Data and Ai. To see more candidates like this person click here. Want to get great candidates right to your inbox? Subscribe here.

ACTIVE ARTEMIS SEARCHES

Director of Engineering - EdTech start up Learn More Data Science Product Manager - Cyber Security Learn More Head of Growth - FinTech startup Learn More VP Engineering/CTO - FinTech Learn More Head of Marketing - AI start-up Learn More

LETTER FROM THE FOUNDER

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. Continue reading for the 3 Secrets to Building a Motivated Team and the One Missing Ingredient That’ll Bring it All Crashing Down
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