FACILITYCalgary publisher Mark Kolke, in conversation with Terri Snow
August 5, 2014
Her mom, a homemaker. Dad, a plumber/pipefitter in GooseBay. Eldest child, she has a sister and step-brother. She did her K-12 (valedictorian and athlete of the year) in home town Roberts Arm, Newfoundland (pop. 1,300).
She studied journalism at StephenvilleCommunity College, worked for the local french language newspaper. Published poetry. She came here, fell in love with Calgary, "a place to make dreams and opportunities a reality".
Published poet. Fisherman. Bilingual. Leader. Advocate. Activist. Lobbyist. Mom.
Tows a boat.
We ripped through her resume milestones – she’s done a lot, each step building to her current billet – research and service advisor to public sector clients, knitting problems together with a 1,000-subject team of experts addressing tech issues for government and education sector clients at her day job.
Driven, achiever. At Gartner where she advises major public sector accounts, she’s in the Top 300 globally in sales achievement again this year (she was #1 in sales for new-hires in Canada for 2013 out of 200+ Gartner), she says it isn’t just about dream-trips award winners get to take, but her long-standing drive to achieve and excel.
Arranging interviews with busy people like Terri (Terri-Lynn) Snow is a schedule and travel nightmare – in this case, a doubly-busy person who runs a busy career at Gartner by day and also leads Calgary’s premier technology organization – Calgary Council for Advanced Technology - to boot. Our schedules collided early one morning in that temple of coffee and questionable food – corner table at a Tim Horton’s – where she held court and this scribe struggled to keep up with my note taking, as zigs and zags of her own career intersected with what she wanted to talk about bumped into my questions. She insisted on Tetley Tea (the Newfie non-alcoholic beverage of choice) … and admonished Red Rose.
Her personal cause célèbre is quite obviously women-in-technology. Terri’s passion for women’s issues in her industry doesn’t seem to distract her from the main cause – advocate for her organization, for her industry. She’s particularly proud of a current initiative – Corporate Capacity Building For Women (funded by $300,000 grant they won) – which augments already stellar work that CCAT has been doing. What is CCAT’s essence? “CCAT bridges the gap between business and technology professionals who might never meet, to accelerate commercialization. Calgary has the largest number of tech start-ups per-capita in Canada”.
I’ve been on CCAT’s mailing list for many years – they regularly push out notices of events, news, seminars and demonstrate there is an active voice for technology start-ups, entrepreneurs and struggling baby-companies. Meeting CCAT’s current leader – someone who works for a massive global leader in its technology niche - seems such an appropriate fit.
While Terri wanted to focus our discussion on advocating for CCAT and telling me all about Gartner, I was more interested in what makes Terri tick. Her goal – to partner women in their organization with companies, with mentors – promoting success in technology for women.
Terri tells me there are four pillars to CCAT: energy, environment, ICT and life science. Seems to me there is a fifth pillar – Terri Snow.
Terri came to Calgary in 1991 for a summer job at a Greyhound call centre on a one-way $125 ticket.
I asked Terri how she sees technology business in Calgary, through her lens, looking forward over the next quarter?
… integrating mentors with technology insight. Business is exploding. Projects have become so complex – social, mobile, cloud. We have a workforce shortage of skilled personnel and it is going to get worse. Our women’s initiative at CCAT is aimed at attracting more women to traditional male dominated work. 60% of U of C Engineering grads are working - and 20% are not working in the field for which they trained!
And over the next five years?
... everything is going mobile. Most of our clients have staff who work from home. That will continue. Security, information protection - will become everyone's problem all the time.
… on cyber- threat risks?
… more likely to be internal threats – employee theft or sabotage – than from an outside source.
I asked, how would she describe her management style?
… assertive. And laid back. Lots of recognition. I’m concerned about ‘what’s in it for them?’. I get the job done. I’m focused, detail oriented. I believe I’m easy to get along with.
What qualities distinguish your preferred colleagues, collaborators and suppliers?
… show me you know me, and be relevant. Talk to me about things I care about.
What distinguishes you that causes people/employers to choose Terri Snow to do business with, why have they hired you, over others?
… I find out what is most important – drill down to the ‘why’. I want to understand the complications, align with their needs and understand relevant partnerships. This is a small community - and I have a good personal-brand.
What do you lose sleep over, what do you worry about?
… maintaining my health.
Who or what influenced you most – that has made a difference in your life, or that was a major turning point?
… my parents (married 43 years, still best friends). Having my daughter (she’s twenty now) by accident (faulty condom!) – I was already down a bad path. My lifestyle changed. Best accident of my life. CCAT. I’ve got a dreamy job. My partner Patrick – he’s a counselor with good drywall skills.
What’s ahead for you?
… at some point, perhaps start my own business. Something back east, exploring a resort investment – outdoors!
What do you do for fun? What defines work-life balance for you?
… it used to be, I didn’t. Biking, walking, two dogs. A real segregation of down time. I'm fully connected from 7AM to 6PM Monday to Friday. Otherwise, if it’s THAT urgent, they’ll call me. I also used to ski the double-blacks, but after a bad fall five years ago I now stick to the blues!
What do you read?
… self-help motivational books. Steven Covey’s 7 Habits.
… 2015 Kia Sorenta, loaded, moon roof + a little boat to tow.
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