TechConnex Blog

         
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  • 15 Nov 2013 12:11 PM | Pamela Montgomery (Administrator)

    If you have people working with you or for you, you need to be aware of the growing mental health concern that exists in the workplace.

     

    With 7 million recorded cases of mental health issues in Canada – that is one in five of us, one has to wonder how many unrecorded cases there are.

     

    According to the National Standard of Canada titled Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace, mental health problems and illnesses are the leading cause of short-and long-term disability in Canada. This affects not only Canadian work places, but families and communities as well. There is no doubt that the impact on productivity and corporate culture provide sufficient incentive to prod organizations out of their comfort zone and begin to reduce the stigma that surrounds mental health and wellness.

     

    This topic initiated thoughtful conversation in TechConnex’s HR Peer Group this week. With member companies ranging in size from sole proprietor to large corporations, participants recognized that this issue could surface anywhere. Through a series of mini-videos within a PowerPoint presentation, various aspects and perspectives of mental health and wellness were presented.

     

    Understanding that the first step is awareness, an important question is, “What constitutes mental health problems and illnesses?” The most common issues are anxiety and depression, something we have all likely experienced; however the significance rests in its severity and duration. Fortunately, there are steps an organization can take to prepare their front-line managers and leadership team to appropriately address this issue.

    The peer group discussion offered interesting insights as to what one can do:

    ·         Help the leadership team to realize they set the tone and need to be involved in reducing stigma

    ·         Offer techniques in work-life balance as part of a lunch-and-learn. Some examples include meditation, managing priorities and personal financial management

    • Download the National Standard of Canada for a systematic approach to developing and sustaining a psychologically healthy and safe workplace

    ·         Watch the HR Peer Group PowerPoint presentation to pick up tips and tactics

    Let’s begin the conversation and reduce stigma. Mental health and wellness is a topic that concerns companies of all sizes.

  • 23 Nov 2011 11:19 AM | Pat Shaw (Administrator)

    This is sent along from a friend who heard Tom Friedman this morning, author of The World Is Flat. Thought you might enjoy:

     "I went back to the first edition of The World Is Flat that I started writing in 2004. I looked in the index, under 'F': Facebook wasn't in it! So when I said 'the world is flat, we're all connected!', Facebook didn't exist, Twitter was a sound, the cloud was in the sky, 4G was a parking place, LinkedIn was a prison, applications were what you sent to college, and for most people Skype was a type-o!"

    Brilliant!   Speaks a lot to why there is such a response to the peer to peer networking that has become a hallmark of YTA membership.

  • 16 Jun 2011 3:51 PM | Tim Shaw (Administrator)
    First of all, congratulations to mySpark Technologies, DVS Sciences, and Platform Computing for some very well-deserved recognition in accepting the YTA Technology Leadership Awards earlier this week. All three companies demonstrate the drive, commitment and collaborative spirit that is needed to create successful, innovative leaders in a very competitive space. We are extremely proud and fortunate to have them as part of the GTA tech community.
     
    At the YTA Awards Luncheon (where they were presented with their very attractive awards), the leaders of each winning company provided YTA members and guests with a few of the ingredients that they have used in stirring-up their own secret sauce for success. Each company of course has its own unique flavour, yet there were a couple of common ingredients.
     
    Be the Right Founder(s)
    The companies featured this year were represented by their founder or co-founder on our celebrity panel, and each continues to play an active and important role in the business. The common thread among the founders is the vision to create something of value; and then as they enthusiastically declared, “a tireless drive to deliver”. 
     
    Each founder demonstrated this passion to lead by example, and in one case spoke glowingly of employees who were so committed to the company's purpose that they continued to show up to work even though there hadn’t been enough money to pay salaries several weeks in a row! (then he opined about not understanding why these same employees now have such high expectations for a regular pay packet – go figure).
     
    Which leads to the second common ingredient...
     
    The People
    Each founder made clear mention of the quality of their people.  It is readily apparent that a strong team that works well together is the critically important factor for growth of any stage organization. The commitment that it takes to bring a company from an idea to a business is idle chatter without a talented, collaborative staff. Each of the winning companies mentioned that their people are more than staff members, they are friends and colleagues.  And only next to the respect of their people for the IP they possess, contribute, and inspire – the leaders shared a reverence for protecting their company’s IP even earlier than they could have imagined. First time I saw someone say with a straight face, “Pay your lawyer first”. 
     
     
    If you missed the luncheon or want a refresher on what was shared by the winners, check out their videos available on the YTA Award Winners page. Photos are also available on the YTA Flickr page.
     
  • 15 May 2011 9:16 AM | Pat Shaw (Administrator)

    Congratulations to Stephen Chan CEO of Dapasoft, and YTA Board Member, on being recognized at the Chinese Canadian Entrepreneur Awards for 2011. Dapasoft received ACCE’s Most Innovative award . Stephen is also a great contributor of candid advice, equally to YTA event attendees and the YTA Board, where he has been a member for two years.  Read more about his most recent recognition at  http://www.thestar.com/business/article/991567--chinese-canadian-entrepreneurs-share-success-stories 

     

     

  • 26 Jan 2011 10:42 AM | Tim Shaw (Administrator)
    From the beginning of time people have been discovering and creating innovations resulting in significant impacts on how we live.  Many of these innovations have completely changed the way we interact, or have replaced a previously ‘accepted’ way of doing things - they have been disruptive innovations.

    Many innovations hit close to home – literally and figuratively: instant KD; online newspapers, LCD TV and PVR; bullet trains, electric cars, VOIP phone / fax, social media and online community – influencing the way we live, connect and conduct business.  

    Experts are here right in our own backyard. Often overlooked is the fact that game changing innovations are being created right in our own community.  In the YTA /  GTA, companies are establishing a 'new business as usual' with applications, programs and services that impact our lives and lives around the globe.  These companies work in B2B, consumer technology, services, healthcare, data recovery, security, enterprise management, and many other fields.

    The YTA Solutions Showcase will put these companies and innovations in front of you.  It will profile the amazing technology coming out of YTA members and aim to inspire a continued spirit of disruptive innovation in our tech community.

    Disrupt with us on March 10 at the Markham Convergence Centre for the YTA Solutions Showcase: see firsthand and interact with the technologies that will improve your work, home and healthcare in the very near future.

  • 22 Jan 2011 9:14 AM | Pat Shaw (Administrator)
    The theme  of the magazine article is that we seek to connect with those already well connected. The secret of joining the YTA is out then.
    We've been through something of a reboot as tech members in the GTA have come to use YTA as their platform for connecting to other community members.  This is direct to the core of 'first principles' that since 1983 have directed the organization to facilitate dialogue, exchange, and community awareness.  The peer to peer networking sessions (10 per month and building) are key to the connections that tech companies value, and where they exchange ideas and best practices with peers. 
    Less of a prediction - more about execution.  Build it and they will come.  This year make the effort to connect in your community - however you might define it.  -P@.
     
  • 17 Nov 2010 11:12 AM | Pat Shaw (Administrator)
         YTA member gShift Labs was just named one of the most innovative companies in Digital Media in Canada by the Canadian Innovation Exchange (CIX).

        gShift is an active member of the York Technology Alliance (YTA) and the GTA tech community.  With all of the commitments involved in starting a company, we are fortunate that gShift co-founder, Krista LaRiviere sees the value of participating in the tech community and somehow finds time to sit on the Board of Directors at the YTA.  Her team members have been featured as subject matter experts at YTA peer to peer sessions discussing Web Presence Optimization.

                 Congrats to Krista and the entire team at gShift. 

       Interested in learning more about gShift?  They are presenting at a special YTA event on how to optimize your company's web presence on December 3.  Details coming soon!  

  • 15 Nov 2010 11:50 AM | Pat Shaw (Administrator)

    Kunal Gupta is on to something.  His company is creating a platform for businesses to share content across the mobile web; and it's growing like crazy. 

    The YTA is pleased to have Kunal speaking at our next luncheon on November 18.  He is a market-leader in launching innovative mobile applications and understands the transformative potential that smartphones present in enabling the mobile lifestyle for consumers.  He's a visionary, and rising star in the heady mobile space.

    Beyond the significant accomplished of building Polar Mobile to a readily recognized brand and viable business, he is committed to ensuring that the next generation of Canadian entrepreneurs have the skills and awareness to continue this country's strong innovative tradition.  To do this he founded Impact Entrepreneurship Group - while completing his undergrad at the University of Waterloo.  Now Impact is the largest youth entrepreneurship non-profit organization in Canada, where he continues to serve as Chair of the Board.

    We are especially pleased to have Kunal speak this week, during Global Entrepreneurship Week; a time to celebrate the next generation of entrepreneurs and the success that our current entrepreneurs are experiencing. 

    Come join us on Thursday, November 18 to celebrate entrepreneurship and hear about the trends from a leader in one of the hottest tech spaces right now.

    P@.

  • 10 Sep 2010 9:17 AM | Pat Shaw (Administrator)
    The YTA is embracing the objective behind our revised name ( Alliance rather than Association!). We are actively reaching out to others who will add value for our members and who will help others in the ecosystem better recognize and access the services that YTA can offer them too.

    This arrangement provides YTA members who are inclined, with a clear connection for policy commentary input; an area that ITAC is well recognized for by both industry and government. It benefits ITAC to have a clear line of site to YTA members - adding credence to the commentary they can offer governments.

    Better coordinating programs and events will avail better and more timely programs and events for members of each, while reducing the clutter and intrusion upon our busy members,

    The YTA Board of Directors is pursuing other similar arrangements throughout the GTA - with the aim of establishing alliances that support coordination and shared learning for members of the community while minimizing cost of delivery. 

    The YTA - Fostering a vibrant tech ecosystem in the Greater Toronto Region. 
  • 26 May 2010 10:12 PM | Pat Shaw (Administrator)
    A great way to recognize members of the tech community!  The YTA Board determined that this is the year to start the Technology Leadership Awards - YTA members or non-members - those companies brought to the attention of the board as having made significant achievements in building their businesses while contributing to the 'greater good' of the tech cluster. 
    Everyone who has heard of the new Awards has been delighted that the YTA has taken on this challenge and embraced the responsibility of drawing attention to the tech success stories that our members so often simply take for granted in terms of 'the way we do business'.
    Aligned with our membership 'majorities' we will recognize three companies - one each in the start-up, scale-up, and grown-up categories.
    Join us at the June 17th Awards and Member Recognition luncheon - sure to attain the status of a new 'must attend' YTA event.
    Each of the award recipients will join the luncheon panel to share the recipe of their own 'secret sauce' including the things they wished they knew before they knew them, in the spirit of 'short cuts to success' the YTA fosters amongst members of the Association.
    Come out and share in the celebration - book a table and bring your team or bring your clients - it is sure to be an event to remember!  -Pat.
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