Humans of Tech – Lilika Beck

Lilika Beck is the VP of Global Marketing for Unitron, a global hearing healthcare brand. Lilika immigrated from Sydney, Australia 2 and half years ago with her husband and two kids. She humorously describes the transfer as moving ‘from the bottom of the world to the top of the world!’

Lilika had been with Unitron for  8 years when she got a call from their HQ about an exciting new role in Kitchener-Waterloo and she was definitely up for the adventure

What’s your major internal motivation for doing what you do?

One of the things I absolutely love about this company and this industry is the combination of innovation – we’re developing cutting edge medical devices – and the fact that we have a very altruistic mission of helping people with hearing loss. What we do at Unitron really impacts the quality of life for someone out there. The technology we’re creating doesn’t only improve their hearing but can help them get reconnected to their family, work and community. When I’m having a challenging day, I can come back to this mission and the lives we’re impacting to re-energise myself.

Also, it’s an exciting time to be part of the healthcare industry. We’re seeing a change in consumer behaviour and so much innovation as a result. The whole healthcare consumer experience is going to rapidly change over the next 10 years. The industry, which has been traditionally slow to change, is picking up the pace and utilizing more data and customer insight to improve the entire customer experience.

What are your favourite aspects of what you do?

I love that I get to take part in the end-to-end life of the product – from collaborating with the Research and Development team to working directly with our healthcare partners and consumers. I get to collaborate with people along every step of the way and that keeps a lot of variety in my day.

We often bring people with hearing loss onsite to hear about their experiences and their journey with hearing loss. I had the opportunity to meet one of the first female pilots for Air Canada – Nanette – and talk to her. Not only was I inspired by her story but I also go to hear about how a hearing solution we were working on affected her quality of life. It was such a rewarding experience.

Being able to interact directly with people who use our products and hear about their experiences reconnects me with the work I do. Unitron does a good job of keeping connected with the consumer and that in turn motivates me.

What’s been the most surprising part of your journey?

Moving across the world, it was surprising how much administrative work there is to get settled into a new country. Everything from finding a place to live, to getting a driver’s license and health card, there was more paperwork involved than we expected. I was really fortunate that my husband had decided to take some time off from his career to handle that. We landed on a Sunday and I started in my new role on the Monday, so that didn’t leave me with a lot of time. My husband stepped back from his career to help me build mine and I’m really grateful for his support.

What are you most proud of professionally?

I started with Unitron 10 years ago as a Marketing Specialist in Australia. I’m very proud of the fact that through hard work I’ve been able to progress my career from there to VP of Global Marketing. It’s not that long a span of time and I’m grateful that this organization has given me the opportunities they have. I’m proud that I’ve performed well enough and been confident enough to take new and challenging steps in my career.

What do you find the most interesting about the Waterloo tech ecosystem?

I find the sense of community here to be hugely refreshing. . Anyone I have come in contact with has the mindset of “how can I help you be successful?” It’s not about what they can get out of the situation. It truly is about making sure that people in this ecosystem are supported and successful.

I also had no idea that KW had such a strong tech community before I moved here – the size of the start up community was surprising. At Sonova – Unitron’s parent company headquartered in Switzerland –  I do some work helping to profile Kitchener-Waterloo and illustrate its strength. In return, we’re attracting more investment from Sonova into our facility, which is a wonderful thing.

I think this community will really hit the world map when we see better transportation between K-W and Toronto. I know there are many people working hard on making that happen.