Before Jamie Petten officially takes the reins of the Kanata North Business Association on May 22, Techopia Live got some early insights into the new executive director’s priorities.
Petten, currently the director of marketing at L-Spark, told Techopia Live that her goals are to grow the tech park’s national and international brand and attract diverse talent to the area’s firms.
Petten – who was recently named one of the Ottawa Business Journal-Ottawa Chamber of Commerce’s 2018 Forty Under 40 recipients ‒ said that when she first joined the Kanata-based SaaS accelerator L-Spark four years ago, her non-tech background left her “kind of blind.” But coming from building her own business in Jamaica, she found her true calling was in helping others do the same.
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“What attracted me most to that role, and it’s very similar here in Kanata North, was the opportunity to work with other entrepreneurs and business owners and support them and enable them … to take their businesses to the next level,” she said.
During her tenure, the accelerator’s portfolio grew to 36 firms. Now, with Kanata North’s 500-plus companies in front of her, Petten says she’s looking forward to understanding their needs and building a bigger community.
One of her proudest accomplishments at L-Spark was founding the annual SaaS North conference and building a national tech community around the accelerator. Petten’s hoping to do similar work at Kanata North by expanding the tech park’s brand around the world.
“I’d really like to see our national and international tech community build a further awareness of the incredible companies that are here and the critical mass of talent that we have here,” she said.
That mission includes attracting international talent, and not just of the tech variety. Petten said she’d like to promote the message that Kanata North holds opportunities for women and employees who work in other fields as well.
“I did not come from a technical background, nor did I even come from tech going into L-Spark, but I took the leap of faith and I’m so glad that I did,” she said.