Don’t let the name Rewind fool you. Amanda Gordon has in fact joined a very forward-thinking company as the new vice president of people for the Ottawa-based data protection software firm.
She’s settling in very nicely, by the way, since starting her new job in late November.
“There’s a great People Team at Rewind,” the experienced recruitment and HR professional said in an interview. “How they’re building the company, the culture, the philosophy on work and balance and all that kind of stuff, it’s a beautiful thing. I feel very fortunate.”
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Four years after the University of Ottawa opened its first satellite campus in Kanata North, the university is expanding its presence in the tech park.
Founded in 2015, Rewind is on a roll. It specializes in software that backs up and recovers customer data for Shopify merchants and users of other cloud-based software platforms. It stores data from customer accounts on encrypted servers, ensuring sensitive information is protected from events such as power outages or cyber-attacks. “I’m very excited to be with them because I’m really excited about the technology.”
Gordon acknowledged that it was a hard decision to leave her last job at executive search and consulting firm Boyden, where she was a partner in its technology practice. “I really loved the team at Boyden and I honestly can’t say enough about that group.”
The placements that Boyden has made and the differences that those placements make in companies are “truly setting the bar on top, top, top talent,” said Gordon, who’d often feel exhilarated at the end of her work day by what they were able to accomplish.
Gordon works with an executive leadership team at Rewind that includes CEO and co-founder Mike Potter and COO Sam Wehbe.
“I’m at a stage in my career where it’s about working with great people and it’s about really trying to do great things,” she said of her focus on the employee experience. “If I’m going to invest time in Rewind it has to come from a place where I really believe we can do something amazing with it. How do I really make sure this is a career experience for people, where they look back at this as a highlight for them. Because I’ve had that, I’ve had a couple of those really beautiful experiences in my career.”
Gordon leads a 10-person team that handles such areas as recruitment, culture building, retention and engagement, and rewards and compensation. There’s also the growth side, which includes performance management, manager building, coaching and development of talent.
“Because we are scaling so quickly we really need to keep our eye on how to really support and grow our team, so that we’re not always hiring above them but developing the organization,” said Gordon.
Rewind currently has about 130 employees and is looking to add more than 100 hires next year.
Finding the right talent is one of the biggest challenges. While Rewind has won Employee Choice awards, it still faces pressure to differentiate itself from the competition, and prove what a gem of a workplace it truly is, said Gordon.
“You have to be very strategic in how you do it. Everybody says they have an incredible culture and everybody says they’re an ‘employer of choice’. We need to work strategically on how to make sure that we get above that noise to say, ‘This is the real deal’.”
Gordon is both a leader professionally and in the greater business community. Her involvement includes being a board member with the Kanata North Business Association and chair of its human resources and talent committee, a mentor and advisor with InvestOttawa’s SheBoot program for women-led businesses. As well, she’s been doing advisory work with the University of Ottawa’s business and technology programs.
“It comes from a place of passion, it truly does.”
In 2015, the mother of three stepped away from her busy executive role with SkyWave after her husband passed away unexpectedly. It was Jim Roche who got her to join Stratford Managers Corporation, giving her “a soft spot to land” until she figured things out.
She was inspired by how Roche leaned in, helped other companies and gave back, having already built a successful career for himself. “That really touched me, and I thought if I can help any other young female, any other young person who’s really considering tech as a career, that just started to really build within me,” she said of her interest in advisory roles.
“I would say it has definitely enriched what I do and has also made me a much stronger business leader.”
People on the move across Ottawa
If the amazing cuisine, landmarks and art collections aren’t enough to draw you to Paris, here’s one more reason: Ottawa’s Guy Laflamme is living there now. The former head of Ottawa 2017 has been hired by Moment Factory, a Montréal-based multimedia entertainment studio specializing in the conception and production of immersive environments combining video, lighting, architecture, sound and special effects to create remarkable visitor experiences.
As the new managing director, Laflamme is responsible for overseeing and defining the company’s strategies for Europe and the Middle East.
Laflamme formerly worked as senior vice president for National Capital Commission and director general of capital experience for Canadian Heritage. He was executive director of Ottawa 2017, a $40-million, year-long calendar of extraordinary events to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary. Remember the giant mechanical fire-breathing dragon?
Laflamme said he’s looking forward to promoting Canadian culture across Europe and the Middle East and being a “humble Ottawa ambassador” across the Atlantic.
Barbara Stead-Coyle has joined the CHEO Foundation as its incoming president and CEO. She takes over in the new year from Kevin Keohane, who’s retiring after having spent 20 years with the foundation. Stead-Coyle was most recently CEO of the National Gallery of Canada Foundation and has 15 years’ experience in professional fundraising. She’s held top leadership roles at a variety of large health organizations, including Muscular Dystrophy Canada, Canadian Cancer Society, and the Cape Breton Regional Hospital Foundation.
Professional fundraiser Tom Hewitt is working back in Ottawa again. He was recently appointed president of Bruyère Foundation. Hewitt spent the past nine years as chief development officer at his alma mater, Queen’s University in Kingston. He was initially recruited to help lead the largest fundraising initiative in the school’s history. Hewitt was also president for 10 years of the University of Ottawa Heart Institute Foundation.
Julie Potvin is the new board president with Ottawa-based Regroupement des gens d’affaires de la Capitale nationale. Potvin works for Mercer Canada as a senior principal consultant. RGA brings together nearly 600 business people, entrepreneurs and managers who want to conduct business in French in Eastern Ontario and the Outaouais.