Australian animation and visual effects company comes to Canada—Is this good news for the film industry?
Perhaps you’ve heard of The Lego Movie? Whether you took your child to see the 2014 blockbuster or simply enjoy animated films, the visual effects company behind the movie—Animal Logic—has some news: it’s coming to Canada. But what does this mean for the already thriving film industry in Canada? And should executives be worried or hopeful?
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Animal Logic, the Australian studio who’s recently been responsible for the visual effects showcased in Insurgent and Avengers: Age of Ultron will be making the trek from the Land Down Under to Canada—Vancouver, specifically.
With global hits like Happy Feet and Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole under their belt, this new move will help the film company in several ways. For starters, Animal Logic will now be closer to Hollywood, where its longtime client, Warner Brothers Pictures is currently stationed. Furthermore, the tax incentives offered by the Canadian government are also reason enough to make the transfer. And lastly and most importantly, as Chief executive and co-found Zareh Nalbandianhas stated, “The first reason for going to Vancouver is fundamentally that there is a very rich talent pool. There’s a lot of product going out at the moment which makes it very attractive to go into the business but makes it very competitive too.”
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While this sounds like a new and great adventure for Animal Logic, how is Vancouver going to be affected. And even more so, what do executives and CEOs in the film industry need to know?
For starters, let’s focus on the positive outcomes that are plausible by this move. As mentioned by Nalbandianhas, there is already a large pool of talent located and working in Vancouver. Animal Logic is a company that has a great success rate. What do you get when you add talent with talent? Hopefully, a rather amazing project.
Film executives in Canada may now be able to tap into a resource they haven’t been able to in the past: animation and visual effects. Industry heads should take note of this opportunity and see it has a chance to not only make many more quality projects, but also potentially increase revenue.
Not to mention, Animal Logic will be hiring 300 new employees—many of which are believed to be selected from the Canada pool. It goes without saying: more jobs in Canada will help the economy overall and not just the film industry.
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Of course, looking at this from a negative point of view—it’s competition, plain and simple. By making its ways into Canada, Animal Logic could potentially be taking business away from film companies who are already established in Vancouver and throughout.
Only time will tell if this move will aid or hinder the film industry in Canada. But if all executives involved could learn to play together, then movie magic just may take place!
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Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.