Connecting Canadians

Three former expats share the opportunities to expand their skills and experience back home in Canada

Artemis Canada has partnered with Canadian Women’s Network and Connection Silicon Valley to help connect with talented professionals and entrepreneurs, and add insights regarding growing careers and teams. As executive recruiters working with Canadian tech companies, we see first hand both the growing opportunities for experienced tech leaders and the incredible need to expand this talent pool. We are thrilled when Canadians who have moved abroad, and have gained important experience, are looking to make the move home. We even created a program to help out—you can learn more at canadaconnect.com. Of course, we are not the only ones happy to welcome returning ex-pats—our local tech companies are eager to bring this diversity of ideas and experience into their businesses to help them build and succeed.

Meet three incredibly talented women who have recently returned to Canada to continue contributing to our national tech scene.

Tash Jefferies, Sales and Growth Marketing Expert

When did you leave Canada, and where did you live/what did you do while away?

In 2016 I moved from Toronto, Ontario to return to my hometown of Halifax, Nova Scotia, only to immediately leave for San Francisco, California. I worked within two startups while there, transitioning to become a startup mentor with 500 startups between 2017 and 2018. I was able to work on my passion, which is helping startups grow their sales, understand how to market to their customers, and grow their audience.

In 2019 I moved to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and worked with on-the-ground accelerator programs with 500 startups. I helped grow pre-seed startups over a three-month period, helping them to prepare for demo day and raise their seed round of funding.

What motivated you to return to Canada?

I moved back to Halifax when the pandemic hit in April of 2020. The word shutting down made me want to be home and closer to my family. I also thought that 2020 was a great year to invest in property, and grow my foundation and home-base. My hope is to continue to travel once the world opens up again.

What are you most excited about now that you’re back in Canada?

With the proliferation of remote and online work, it means that I can now work from literally anywhere, which means I no longer have to be in “bigger cities” to experience a robust downtown, good quality of life, and access to a social life. Halifax especially has a more diverse downtown than it ever had when I was a kid!

In addition, Nova Scotia is filled with outdoor activities for every season of the year. There are so many places to enjoy a “staycation” that there’s never a dull moment. I’m enjoying the Atlantic provinces and all of their amazing activities more now than I ever did before I had the chance to start traveling!

Nathasha Lala, Chief Operating Officer at FormHero

When did you leave Canada, and where did you live/what did you do while away?

I left Canada in 2014 and moved to San Francisco. As someone with a background and interest in technology and high-growth companies, the Bay Area was the only place I wanted to be. It is a place that is unique on the globe that combines a growth mindset, talent, and a tremendous amount of capital for those types of ventures.

What motivated you to return to Canada?

I love San Francisco so it was certainly not an easy choice to leave, but at the end of the day Canada is home and the place I most want to be in the long term. In the time that I was away, the number and variety of technology-growth companies increased in Canada. In addition to satellite offices of Bay Area companies, I also saw more companies making significant traction that had been started in Canada, by Canadians. Of course, it’s not that growth companies didn’t exist in Canada in 2014, but there was far less of the ecosystem that exists today. I saw an opportunity to apply the lessons I have learned about how growth companies think and act to Canadian companies, and I was very excited to participate in that growth.

What are you most excited about now that you’re back?

While I was excited to see the Canadian tech-growth company community growing from afar, I did not realize the extent of the change until I was home. This was especially apparent as I started to meet various venture and private equity firms, some of which didn’t even exist when I left. In true Canadian fashion, everyone was so welcoming and helpful as I explored the (very different) landscape. With meaningful investment behind our already significant talent base, I’m excited and optimistic about Canada’s ability to continue to foster innovation and growth. (Also, there weren’t any Tim Hortons in San Francisco, so it goes without saying that I’m excited about that!)

Sabrina Papini, Marketing Consulting / Advisor

When did you leave Canada, and where did you live/what did you do while away?

My husband and I left Toronto in 2013 and moved to Silicon Valley. Over the course of five years in the Valley, we lived in San Jose, Redwood City, and San Francisco. I worked at PayPal on strategic growth initiatives as well as managing global partnership marketing. My primary focus at PayPal was to grow revenue through its ecosystem of software partners and developers servicing small, medium and enterprise global customers.

What motivated you to return to Canada?

The main drivers to return to Canada were a better quality of life for our two little girls and to be closer to family and friends. We also missed the safety, cleanliness, and cultural experiences in Toronto.

What are you most excited about now that you’re back?

Professionally, I’m most excited about engaging with the blossoming Canadian tech scene and bringing my expertise to a growing tech hub. I’m also still carrying the energy and optimism that you get from living and working in the Valley, so I’ve started a few ventures of my own. I’m also consulting with tech firms, primarily in FinTech on marketing strategy, go-to-market and partnerships.

Personally, I’m most excited to re-discover the beauty of Canada, especially within Ontario. When our family drives through some parts north of Toronto, we are amazed at the natural beauty and all there is to offer. There are a lot of untouched gems!

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