When Angela Mondou retired after eight years of serving with the Canadian Air Force, her thirst for adventure drove her to seek a new career that offered the same level of excitement and enabled her to continue exploring the world.
Working as a peacekeeper in a warzone instilled a sense of purpose in Angela at a young age. To her, finding that sense of purpose and building human connections is where she finds joy. Her mission was purpose-based, and her heart was set on leaving a lasting, positive impact on a global scale. So, when she stumbled upon an article about a Canadian tech company named Nortel, something clicked.
“It was exactly what I was looking for—the ability to travel the world, do business in other countries, and be at the front-end of a burgeoning sector with global purpose,” says Angela.
This sparked a dynamic career in tech that began at Nortel, which led to her move to BlackBerry, founding a global strategic marketing firm with clients that included Technology Scale-Ups, and finally culminating in her current role as TECHNATION’s President and CEO.
Canada’s tech industry has fallen behind other world powers, and we’re losing our position as a global leader, which doesn’t bode well for our country’s long-term growth. Angela’s commitment to widescale change, however, has kept TECHNATION consistently forward-facing and ready to steer Canada towards a brighter tech future.
Canada is already a leader in immigration and diversity. This inclusivity, however, doesn’t extend far enough across the tech industry. Women, minorities, and marginalized groups remain significantly underrepresented in leadership positions and in boardrooms. Carrying these values over to our tech sector will give Canada a competitive advantage while creating better opportunities for people who deserve it.
TECHNATION aims to correct this by focusing on driving change at the policy level through government relations and advocacy. Angela believes that diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are key performance indicators for businesses, and that by implementing DEI programs, policies, and board-room quotas, we can begin to see measurable success. Spurring technological innovation with diverse perspectives is critical to helping Canada remain competitive with other international leaders in the industry.
“I’m blessed to be in a job where I believe in what we’re doing—moving Canada forward,” she continues. “Digitalization, DEI, accelerating talent, health tech, government influence, cyber security, influencing Agile procurement and enabling scale-ups more government access—all these areas of influence work together to drive a more globally competitive nation through accelerated technology adoption.”
Systemic change must start from the top before those changes can trickle down. Encouraging prominent industry leaders to incorporate DEI initiatives will ripple outward and influence the decisions of the entire sector. Recently, a Deputy Minister for one of Canada’s largest procurements of tech—valued at billions of dollars—remarked to Angela, “You guys at TECHNATION have pushed us hard.”
“It’s so cool to hear that from people who can help drive change,” says Angela. “When someone in senior government tells us that we’re helping them look at things differently, we can go home knowing that our efforts are paying off.”
Blazing a Trail for Underrepresented Talent
What makes Angela’s work in tech so remarkable is her humanitarian perspective. In addition to pushing for organizations to diversify their teams, she is committed to creating training and upskilling opportunities to help emerging talent break through barriers and earn their seat at the table.
As a woman in tech, Angela’s firsthand experiences with discrimination, harassment, glass ceilings, and voicelessness in a male-dominated environment have fuelled her mission to open doors for underrepresented groups. This humanitarian drive extends internationally as well, in the form of TECHNATION’s partnership with Talent Beyond Borders—a global not-for-profit organization focused on unlocking skilled migration pathways for refugees in countries like Afghanistan, Jordan and Lebanon.
“The need for skilled tech talent in Canada is real,” Angela said in a recent release, “And this partnership with TBB is another important way we can make a difference, helping both employers and job seekers.”
Within TECHNATION itself, Angela is a big believer in team building and get-togethers, which has led to ongoing team events, even during the pandemics’ virtual reality. Everything from virtual watercooler hangouts to company holiday parties where employees share food, stories, and music from their diverse backgrounds and cultures. Team strategic planning sessions will always include entertainment and team challenges. A spin-off from her military background, Angela understands the value of the team getting to know each other and connecting on a personal level—it’s a critical element of team collaboration and synergy.
Knowing Your Value and Honouring Your Core Values
When asked what advice she has for emerging and diverse talent in the tech industry, Angela says it’s crucial to understand your core values and ‘know your truth’ by having an honest understanding of what you bring to the table. When you know what you will or will not stand for, you can set boundaries and draw the line if you feel uncomfortable or discriminated against. If you choose to leave a situation that isn’t benefitting you, you empower yourself to discover something better.
Understanding the culture of your organization is another big piece of the puzzle. Whether you’re a member of a marginalized group or not, if the culture of your workplace doesn’t align with who you are as a person, it will be much harder to succeed.
Working closely with the Tech Sector and Canada’s tech giants, Angela’s team is proud of the influence they have had in creating more equitable, inclusive workplace cultures. Ultimately, the new generation of diverse talent will have a greater chance to succeed. By adopting DEI tactics, tracking their success and producing measurable results, organizations can be confident that they’re heading in the right direction.
The Future of Canadian Tech
Angela is proud of the progress and change TECHNATION has helped foster. Although she says there is still more work to be done, she remains confident about what’s on the horizon. TECHNATION has assembled a Cyber task force to heighten business and government awareness of the imminent threat of aggressive cyber-attacks, ransomware, malware that could stop them in their tracks and, most importantly, the talent crisis impacting this critical space.
The past 2+ years were significant for technology adoption and digitalization. But the next few years will still be very telling from a tech perspective. “Canada needs to accelerate all things technology—from our Cybersecurity posture to tech talent, to digitalization in every sector,” Angela says. “Our economy and health as a nation depends on it. It’s going to be a real crescendo with cyber security and global technology.”
TECHNATION is keen to continue influencing the evolving Canadian tech landscape. And when it comes to talent and growth, Canada’s tech companies should lead the way and commit to creating safe, positive and inclusive work environments where everyone can truly thrive.