Canada’s Most Notable People and Events of 2014
As 2014 comes to an end, we would like to take a few moments to reflect on some of the most notable people and events featured in a variety of stories on topics that defined the year.
Here is a look back at 2014 in Canada:
Biggest National Story:
In October we mourned the shooting and killing of Nathan Cirillo, a soldier on ceremonial duty at the Canadian National War Memorial, by Islamic convert Michael Zehaf-Bibeau. Following the murder, Zehaf-Bibeau attacked the Parliament building, where he was cornered and killed following a shootout.
Biggest Political Story:
After a big win in provincial elections, it seems that the Liberals are also doing very well in the federal polls. There are speculations that suggest third-party leader Justin Trudeau actually has a shot at forming a government after the October 2015 election.
Biggest Economy Story:
The 46% drop since June in crude prices has prompted energy companies such as Husky Energy Inc. and MEG Energy Corp. to reduce their investments. The lower oil prices are also causing governments to recalibrate their projections on what profits oil can bring. Other industries like retail, banking or the housing industry may suffer from dampened demand. This may lead to lower GDP growth and higher unemployment in our oil-rich province.
Biggest Tax Story:
The Conservative government allocated a few tax cuts this fall in anticipation of a surplus budget. Harper government's tax cut measures come into effect Jan. 1. According to Canadian Taxpayers Federation, the Family Tax Cut, along with changes to the Universal Child Care Benefit, will provide substantial tax savings for families with children.
Biggest Business Story:
Keystone XL pipeline, which would stretch from Alberta, Canada, to the Gulf of Mexico, is at the center of a years-long, contentious debate among politicians, energy companies and environmentalists. The Harper government has been lobbying Washington for years to approve the contentious pipeline that would carry 830,000 barrels of oil to the Gulf of Mexico. However, the Obama administration has delayed on the Keystone XL oil pipeline for six years due to pressure from environmental groups who oppose Canada's exploitation of its oil sands because of its supposedly harmful impacts on the world's climate.
Biggest Legal Story:
Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin seemed to get the better of Prime Minister Stephen Harper this year. Her court ruled that the Prime Minister was offside of the law when he tried to name semi-retired federal appellate judge Marc Nadon to the Supreme Court.
Biggest Health Story:
2014 saw the largest outbreak of the deadly virus since it was first discovered in 1976, with the World Health Organization estimating the death toll to be over 7,500 and the number of cases detected to be nearing 20,000. In August, NewLink, Ames-based pharmaceutical company, received a $1 million contract from the United States Defense Threat Reduction Agency to bring its Ebola vaccine closer to human trials. NewLink has since partnered with New Jersey-based pharmaceutical company Merck to help research, develop, manufacture and distribute the vaccine.
Biggest Tech Story:
700 MHz spectrum auction accelerated Canada’s wireless future. This range of radio frequencies can penetrate deeply into buildings and underground enabling telecom companies to deliver next-generation wireless services.
Biggest Population Story:
In 2014 we welcomed a record number of new citizens to the country. Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander says more than 260,000 people became new Canadians during 2014.
Biggest Real Estate/Mortgage Story:
In May Investors Group stunned us with what appeared to be the deepest discount in Canadian history on a floating rate loan, offering a deal that takes an effective mortgage rate down to 1.99%. The company offered 1.01 percentage points off its prime rate of 3% for a variable rate mortgage. The borrowers were offered the rate for a 36-month term.
Biggest Sport Story:
The Canadian men's hockey team shut out Sweden 3-0 in Sochi to win gold for the second straight Winter Olympics. The Canadian women's team also celebrated a 3-2 victory against U.S. and brought home its fourth straight Olympic women’s hockey gold.
Biggest Weather Story:
According to the national weather agency, Snowfall records were set in Windsor, Ont., Kenora, Ont., Calgary, Red Deer and a few other cities. It was also the winter where dense Arctic air moved much farther south than normal.
Biggest Entertainment Story:
In September Jian Ghomeshi departed his post at CBC's popular radio show Q. By late November, a number of women had come forward with allegations, and, Ghomeshi was formally charged with four counts of sexual assault. Ghomeshi has plead not guilty to all charges.
Biggest Generosity Story:
We were moved by Torontonians’ generosity when Alberta’s identical triplet boys required treatment at one of Toronto’s hospitals. Mason, Thomas and Luke Low, who were all diagnosed with retinoblastoma, a rare form of eye cancer, were to receive treatments at the Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto. After their parents posted an online plea for temporary housing in the city, in just over 36 hours they received more than 500 emails from generous Torontonians offering accommodations.
Biggest Community Story:
After the deadly attacks on the National War Memorial and Parliament Hill in October, dozens of people came together in Cold Lake, Alta., to clean up a mosque after it was vandalized and the words "Go home" were written multiple times across the outside of the building in red spray paint. During the cleanup, volunteers put up new messages that read, “You are home” and “Love your neighbors.”
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.