A Dynamic and Vibrant Business Environment in Canada

I was part of Cisco’s leadership team in Emerging Markets for the past five years, where most of my work focused on 132+ countries from Africa to the Middle East to Latin America to Central Eastern Europe to Russia and CIS.   I joined Cisco Canada last August and it was a big change to now focus on the growth of a developed country.  I have had the opportunity to look at how to build growth in developed versus developing countries — and there are many differences.

Great Investment and Growth Opportunitues

Canada is a country full of opportunites that has not been impacted to the same degree as the US and Europe by the recent economic recession.  At US$1.6 trillion, Canada has the world’s tenth largest economy as measured by GDP. With 27 Financial Times “Global Company” companies headquartered in Canada, the country is home to a vibrant corporate community. What I learned was that from 2000 to 2010, Canada’s economy grew faster than any other G-7 countries.  This growth is the result of a diversified economy, with foundations built upon low corporate taxes, prudent fiscal management and financial regulation, a business climate that rewards innovation and entrepreneurship, and an open economy that welcomes foreign direct investors.

What most people don’t know is that Canada’s economy is larger than Russia, India, or South Korea.  It is also a home to more top global companies than Germany, India, Brazil, Russia or Italy.  According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), with the possible exception of the United States, Canada is poised to grow faster than other G-7 economies in 2011 and 2012.

Global Digital Leader

Canada’s Information & Communications Technology sector is a global digital economy leader. This robust sector is a key driver of Canadian innovation and is producing revenues of more than $154 billion. More than 540,000 employees work in approximately 30,000 ICT firms located across Canada. The country was recently ranked as the second-best- place on the planet to house massive computers, data centers and server farms needed to run corporate networks and internet sites, particularly in cloud-based & virtual computer world.

Cisco Canada: Driving Strong Relationships

What I learned about Cisco Canada was that we had a great team across the country with a “can do” attitude.  A powerful validation of our strong culture is seen in the result of Cisco Canada in 2011 ranking first out of 121 companies surveyed by HR consultants Aon Hewitt in its annual Best Employers in Canada survey.

Cisco achieved top employer status in only its second year of participation in the study. Last year, Cisco ranked third on the list, which was the highest ranking ever achieved by a first-time participant. The result strongly suggests employees here feel empowered and are fully engaged in the opportunities provide at Cisco Canada. Our Cisco culture encourages all to assume leadership in a broad range of programs, including work-life initiatives, with a strong focus on diversity and inclusion. Cisco technology enables individual flexible work schedules, supported by remote work collaboration technologies that connect employees across Canada and around the world

About Ayelet Baron

Ayelet is an expert in social business, online collaboration, global business strategy and operations. Her particular area of focus is implementing strategy and driving business results through people. She has a passion for social good and is currently working with youth in Kenya, using Cisco TelePresence. She is also on the Board of goal4.org and One Media. Ayelet is currently on the Canadian Executive Leadership Team and is responsible for strategy and transformation. She was previously on the executive team of Emerging Markets where she was looking at ways that emerging technologies can generate greater equity in Emerging Markets. Ayelet completed a Cisco Leadership Fellowship, where she worked with CIOs of 26 global non-profit organizations (Save the Children, Plan International, Care, Ashoka, etc.) on a roadmap of how to leverage repeatable ICT solutions, capabilities and resources for sustainable development. She also led the Healthcare Working Group, where she was responsible for ICT healthcare initiatives. Ayelet has a bonus chapter on the Generations and Social Media in Fuse -- http://www.fusethebook.com/
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