Writing Story on Typewriter

Why Storytelling is a Crucial Skill for Finance and Accounting Professionals

Writing Story on Typewriter
The finance and accounting field is structured around numbers, statistics, facts, and hard data, all of which holds valuable information that can help leaders and employees make important business decisions. While numbers and data can be relied on for holding certain truths, such as how financially successful a project or company is, this information can fall flat without context.

Storytelling, often considered more of a creative skill, is crucial when it comes to giving context and meaning to the numbers and facts that finance and accounting professionals work with every day. Stories help people understand what impact numerical information has on business aspects like deciding whether to hire someone, considering whether to cut certain expenses, or moving on to the next stage of a multi-phase project, for example.

All finance and accounting professionals should be able to tell a powerful story based on the data they’ve collected and analyzed. Here are some reasons and ways to become a better storyteller.

Storytelling for Candidates

You don’t quite have your foot in the door yet, but you’re interested in joining a company. You’ve got plenty of stats as far as your previous projects and responsibilities go, but are you able to weave that information into a compelling narrative? Listing figures only goes so far—it’s much more interesting to those who are interviewing you when you can explain why those figures are important. Does this information show how you saved the company money? Did the data you researched and analyzed steer the company clear of an impending financial disaster?

Stand out from other candidates by crafting powerful stories around the achievements and successes you had in previous positions. This is important not only for candidates seeking a new position in a new company, but also for those who are seeking a promotion within their current company. Being able to skillfully explain the meaning behind the work you’ve done shows that you can analyze data and communicate that information properly to others.

Read: “Data Storytelling: The Essential Data Science Skill Everyone Needs” to find out more about why data storytellers are in high demand.

Storytelling for Managers and Leaders

You may already have a great position in a company, but do you have what it takes to use the data you and/or your employees process to make sound business decisions? Storytelling is just as much of a desirable skill in managers and leaders as it is in those who work under them. Leaders who rely too much on data without painting a full picture of how the data fits into the company’s story aren’t doing everything they can to drive the company forward and engage employees.

Data Storytelling Graphic from Brent Dykes, Forbes Contributor

Read: “Data Storytelling: The Essential Data Science Skill Everyone Needs” to find out more about why data storytellers are in high demand.

Being able to analyze data that you’ve been provided or have collected and turning that data into something that employees can relate to, see their role in, and be motivated by is a crucial leadership skill. Studies have found that storytelling elements can greatly impact the way that information is received, making it more memorable, persuasive, and engaging, which means it can be a highly successful method of getting employees and stakeholders on board for a variety of business decisions, as well as a way to boost customer sales.

One study, conducted by a Stanford professor, found that stories were remembered by 63% of those surveyed, while only 5% could remember a single statistic. In another study, which involved two variations of a Save the Children charity brochure, it was found that the story-based brochure option resulted in higher per participant donations than the infographic/statistical brochure option. Researchers in yet another study discovered that people are often in a trance-like state when listening to or reading a story, which results in them being more receptive to information instead of focusing too much on details and losing the meaning.

Read: “Finance and the Art of Storytelling” to learn how a CFO takes on storytelling in the real world.

Be a Better Storyteller

Storytelling is a skill that one must practice, just like any other skill. Learning how to craft stories that are the right length, have the right tone, and express the right meaning is something that all finance and accounting professionals should work towards. If you feel that your storytelling skills and techniques need a refresher, taking creative writing classes can help you develop a stronger sense of how to weave together a beginning, middle, and end that is interesting and motivating.

It’s important to keep in mind, however, that storytelling for the purposes of entertainment doesn’t always meet the requirements of storytelling for finance and accounting purposes. Rather than delving into a fictional world, finance and accounting stories must be grounded in facts and data, and will require a more formal style and tone than a story created solely to entertain.

Like any story, a finance and accounting one shouldn’t just focus on the positive aspects.

Good stories include hardships and struggle that are eventually overcome or change the main character in some way.

If you think of your company as the main character, sharing some of the less positive aspects of the company and its history helps set the stage for a story of triumph or transformation.

For example, perhaps a company was facing significant losses, but through the tenacity of its employees, who re-evaluated and re-positioned it using the data available to them, the company ended up making record profits and establishing itself as a major player in the market. Without the struggle at the beginning, would the data showing the company’s profits be as interesting or remarkable? The context set by the struggle helps show that the company wasn’t always as successful.

To create a great story, it’s also important to explain how some of the smaller pieces fit into the entire picture as a whole. If a department has successfully cut costs in order to reach a goal, how does the work that department is doing affect the rest of the company and its overall goals?

It’s also crucial that there be enough story to tell, so if data is missing or inaccurate, the story will not be as meaningful or engaging, since there won’t be much of a typical story structure (beginning, middle, and end). Keep in mind that the ending doesn’t have to be a tidy wrap-up, but could simply be a projection or forecast for the future.

By knowing what story to tell, why you are telling it, and how it will affect your audience, you can become a better finance and accounting candidate or leader who is able to shift from a purely data-driven perspective to a more creative, narrative one. This can inspire, motivate, and drive others to see data and statistics in a completely new light.

Read: “Accountants: You Need to be Able to Write it Right” for more insight on why writing is an essential skill for finance and accounting professionals to have.

Key Takeaways

  • Storytelling is an important skill, both for leaders and candidates.
  • Storytelling helps create context and meaning for numbers and data.
  • Important business decisions can be made based on fact-based stories.
  • Candidates can use storytelling to highlight their past achievements.
  • Communicating information supported by data is a desirable skill.
  • Leaders can engage and motivate employees using storytelling techniques.
  • Storytelling can help create a full picture from multiple smaller parts.
  • Storytelling increases memorability, persuasion, and engagement.
  • Storytelling is a skill that must be learned and practiced.
  • Stories must contain both positive and negative aspects to be interesting.
  • Treat your company as the main character of the story and describe its journey.
  • Ensure there is enough data available to create a compelling story.

Your Next Step

No one should walk the job search or hiring road alone. At Clarity Recruitment we help others realize their success through a process that marries proprietary technology with unwavering commitment. Contact us today to take control of your career, or to partner with us to hire well.

Clarity Recruitment, connecting exceptional people with remarkable companies.

Passion Led Us Here on Sidewalk

How to Lead a Team People WANT to Work on

Passion Led Us Here on Sidewalk
So you want to be a Great Leader. A good plan would be to list the skills you need, see where you have gaps, then learn and practice those until you are a great leader. Right?

So, you do your research – and you find a list like this one. It’s from the Harvard Business Review, so it’s pretty good!

You read this list, and say OK, I need to have high morals, provide goals, communicate, be open to others opinions, give training, communicate, etc. There is no denying that all the things on the list are really important. You should work on building all these skills. (hopefully you already have the ethics and morals!) 

But here’s the problem. You can do all the right stuff in theory, and still be a LOUSY leader. And you can probably mess up some of the things on this list, and if you are willing to learn and improve, you can still be a GREAT leader.  

So what’s not on this list? What are the things you can do RIGHT NOW, that will make everyone want to work on YOUR team? Here’s what’s on MY list.

 Straight Talk. No BS.

  • Say what you mean, and mean what you say. It's that simple. You can’t build TRUST if you don’t tell the truth.
  • You hire SMART people. So why pretend they are stupid and can’t see when there is a problem? Tell people what’s going on. If you don’t know – say that. If you can’t share the information yet – say that.
  • And if you can’t answer them, tell people what you CAN tell them, and when.

Be Real. Be the Best version of Yourself.

  • Remember the Emperor with no clothes? Everyone knows when you are being FAKE, they just won’t say anything because you're the boss.
  • Be CONSISTENT – the person in the lunch room, meeting room and boardroom should be the same in personality and values, even if what you talk about is different
  • If you are funny in person, use some humour. If you love sports, tell a sports story. But find a way to put YOUR personal stamp on your communication. It makes you real. 
  • Nothing is more inspiring than honesty. Especially in difficult or awkward situations. Your team will respect you for it. 

You work with PEOPLE, not robots. Act like it.

  • Get to know your team PERSONALLY. Ask them about their lives. Get to know at least 1 personal thing about everyone on your team! 
  • ASK people what their aspirations are. You can’t help them get there if you don’t know what they want.
  • Say Please and Thank you. In person, in emails. Publicly. A little APPRECIATIONand kindness goes a long way!
  • CELEBRATE birthdays, weddings, engagements, babies – any excuse for cake really!
  •  EMPATHY goes a long way. Be kind to the person who has a sick mother or child. Cut people some slack when they are going through a tough time. They will remember it and will pay you back with hard work and loyalty for a long time.

Take your Work Seriously. But it's OK to have FUN at the office!

  • My team knows I am deadly serious when it comes to delivering results, but boy can we have fun with pranks and jokes along the way!
  • Being willing to LAUGH at yourself is a great equalizer with your team.
  • Having team FUN doesn’t have to cost a lot. Try rock climbing, ping pong tournaments, or escape rooms. Pot luck meals are a great way to learn about each person’s culture. Or a simple pizza lunch can be fun. Change it up!
  • Find out what YOUR team actually wants to do – and just make it happen!

Be the Leader Your Team NEEDS – not the One you LIKE to be.

  • Fill the Void. Figure out what your team NEEDS and give them that.
  • Sometimes they need guidance. Sometimes an encouraging coach. Or and extra set of hands to help. Sometimes you just need to get out of the way!
  • During tough projects when the team is doing the hard work and they don’t need me – I go get the coffee, or pizza or ice-cream. You can never have too much caffeine and sugar! (and chocolate of course)
  • Roll up your sleeves and do what’s needed to get the job done.


Original Post by: Katya Forsyth 

Puzzle Piece Missing

How to Make Your Employment History Gaps Work for You

Puzzle Piece Missing
Gaps in your employment history may seem like a major hurdle when applying for a new position, but they don’t have to be. Employers often understand that people have to take time off every once in a while for personal reasons, whether it be to raise children, travel, or deal with a health issue. As long as you’re honest about the reasons for your resume gaps and are able to show that some personal or professional growth resulted from them, potential employers will still be willing to consider you for the job. Here’s how to handle explaining employment history gaps at two stages in the hiring process:

In Your Resume

It’s important to address the fact that you have a gap in your employment history when you’re putting together your resume. Gaps are really hard to miss when you’ve laid out your employment timelines on paper in black and white. Potential employers will likely have questions about why those gaps exist, so it’s better to be upfront about the gaps being part of your employment background and that there is a reason for them.

In your resume, you can mention in a brief statement (one sentence should suffice) why you have a gap in your employment history, if it’s because you took maternity or paternity leave, you needed a personal leave for a health or family issue, you decided to switch gears and look for opportunities in a different field, you ended up going back to school, or you took time off to travel or pursue another personal interest.

Gaps that are due to downsizing or being fired for another reason will likely require deeper explanation during a face-to-face interview, so leaving an explanation until that point is often a good idea. If you have gaps related to periods of contract employment, be sure to indicate that certain positions were term ones in your resume. This helps explain such gaps and the reason for multiple employers or roles within shorter time spans.

Another important thing to do when working on your resume when you have employment history gaps is to think about what you did during those periods of unemployment and what skills were gained from those activities. For example:

  • Did you volunteer or participate in community activities that helped you gain additional skills?
  • When you traveled, what did you learn about other cultures and/or languages?
  • If you took personal time for a health or family issue, what did you learn from that experience?
  • What did you learn about yourself during your time away from work that helped you understand how you work best?
  • Did you stay abreast of industry changes and trends?
  • Did you continue to participate in the finance and accounting industry in some way (for example, through social media sites like LinkedIn)?
  • Did you accomplish a goal while you were unemployed?
  • In what ways did your period of unemployment make you stronger?

If you participated in volunteer or community work, consider creating a section for this in your resume and describe what you did and how it helped others. If you were unemployed because you went back to school, ensure that you include any certifications/designations/courses completed in your resume.

Read: “How to Avoid Leaving a Recruiter with Questions about Your Resume” for more ways to beef up your resume.

In An Interview

Even if you’ve addressed employment history gaps in your resume, you should expect that you will be asked about this if you’re selected for an interview. Some of the questions a potential employer may have when they see gaps in a resume include: “Why hasn’t this person already been hired by someone else?”, “Why did they choose to take time off?”, “Does this person have problems with committing to a career?”, “Does this person have problems getting along with others?”, and “Is this person’s experience out of date?”

Understanding how to present the reasons for your gaps in employment can empower you to get through an interview with confidence and poise.

It’s crucial that you be prepared to answer the questions that will likely come up in regards to your resume gaps. Make a list of the things you learned or developed over the course of your time away from work. How can these experiences and/or skills be applied to the position for which you’re interviewing? Ensure your answers are brief and clear.

Note, however, that employers are prohibited from asking personal questions that are not related to qualifications and job requirements needed for the hiring decision, based on standards set out in the Ontario Employment Standards Act. This means that you can offer information as it directly relates to your work history, but no personal information beyond that is required to be shared by you or asked about by the interviewer.

If your resume gap was the result of downsizing at your previous employer, explain the circumstances that led to the downsizing, including details such as how many other people were laid off at around the same time that you were. Be clear about what you were able to accomplish during your time there, using the S.A.M. method – what you saved, achieved, and/or made. You can also talk about what the experience taught you and how you’ve grown from it.

However you choose to explain your resume gaps and present what benefits came out of your time away from work, make sure you do it by being straightforward, positive, and confident.

Read: “How To Talk About The Gap In Your Work History” for more insight on discussing time taken off from work.

Key Takeaways

  • Having gaps in your employment history doesn’t mean you won’t get the job.
  • Be honest about why you weren’t working for a period of time.
  • In your resume, briefly note why there are gaps.
  • It’s best to have a face-to-face talk about gaps due to downsizing or being fired.
  • Ensure you indicate in your resume any contract positions you’ve held.
  • Include in your resume any skills you gained while taking time off.
  • Consider adding a volunteering/community activities section to your resume.
  • Be prepared to answer interview questions about employment gaps you have.
  • Present yourself confidently and discuss resume gaps in a positive light.
  • Be clear with the interviewer about why you have employment history gaps.
  • Share how you grew professionally or personally during your time off.

Your Next Step

No one should walk the job search or hiring road alone. At Clarity Recruitment we help others realize their success through a process that marries proprietary technology with unwavering commitment. Contact us today to take control of your career, or to partner with us to hire well.

Clarity Recruitment, connecting exceptional people with remarkable companies.

Soccer Team Huddle

Look to FIFA for Ways to Build a Stronger Finance and Accounting Team

Soccer Team Huddle
GGGOOOOOOOOAAAAAALLLLLLL! The FIFA World Cup is underway, and whether you’re a soccer fan or not, it’s hard to deny the excitement brought on by watching a match. The way players interact with one another, the common goal they’re trying to reach, and the energy of the fans are all major reasons why the sport is enjoyed by billions of people around the world.

Although finance and accounting work isn’t something the public is watching intently like a professional soccer match, there are several lessons from the sports world that can be learned and applied to the building of a strong, confident, and winning finance and accounting team.

It’s About the Whole Team, Not Just the Star Players

Successful soccer teams are built on the understanding that, while there may be more popular or more highly skilled team members, it’s important to focus on how the team works as a whole. Working with the strengths of each player helps determine where on the field they should be and what position will best suit them.

This can easily be applied to the finance and accounting world. Having a diverse team that offers a variety of strengths is an asset, and being able to leverage these different strengths to complete various tasks and reach certain goals will serve the company much better than simply focusing on one or two people who are considered stronger team members.

When everyone is given an equal opportunity to shine, it creates a more supportive, team-like atmosphere.

On the pitch, putting all of the effort into training and developing one or two star players could backfire if they all of a sudden are injured or are unable to play. Coaches are then left with a team that perhaps hasn’t been given the same attention as the star players, and the result could likely be a team that simply doesn’t know how to work together well.

This is a scenario that could very easily occur in any finance and accounting team that hasn’t been fully developed. If one or two finance and accounting team members are considered more important and have had the majority of development opportunities, should they choose to leave or have to take time off for personal reasons, the rest of the team might not have the tools necessary to pick up the slack.

Focusing on all team members equally, and taking advantage of their diverse needs and skills, ensures you have a more flexible team that can work as one, even if one or two members are missing or aren’t performing their best.

Read: Hungry for more sports examples? Check out “How to Build a Finance Dream Team” for some comparisons between an NHL hockey team and a finance and accounting team.

Practice Makes Perfect

This well-known phrase speaks to all kinds of teams, and can benefit soccer teams and finance teams alike. Individual team members need to practice their skills to ensure they’re sharp, but it’s also important for teams to practice working together. Building communication skills, expanding knowledge of programs and processes, and learning how to deal with both losses and wins are just some of the things teams must learn to do together.

Practice requires discipline. Just as soccer players must commit to a training regimen, finance and accounting team members must be willing to do what it takes to reach the team’s goals. That could mean carrying out certain tasks over and over until the results are where they need to be, or working to establish processes and procedures that will increase efficiency, for example.

Adaptability is also an important aspect of practicing. A soccer team might practice certain strategies consistently and know them perfectly off of the pitch, but once they’re really in the game, what happens when the strategies don’t work as planned? In the finance world, when a team thinks it’s solidified a process or timeline, and then something goes awry, it means everyone needs to go back to step one and identify a new plan of attack.

Read: “5 Factors That Separate Great Teams From Good Ones” to learn what else you can do to make your team shine.

Everyone Needs to be Accountable

Pointing fingers when facing a loss doesn’t help to solve anything, whether you’re a soccer team or a group of finance and accounting professionals. Instead, banding together and coming up with solutions to problems will help the team move forward and hopefully succeed the next time around.

When everyone on a team accepts that they are all equally responsible for the team’s successes and failures, it means that when one team member falters, their teammates will be there to help them back up. Members of successful teams rely on each other, and also understand that they must be willing to reciprocate the respect and support offered by their teammates.

Part of feeling accountable to a team is being committed to the overall goal or vision. Soccer teams want to win games and go on to win entire championships. Finance and accounting teams want to work effectively and efficiently, meet deadlines, and reach targets that have been set out for them.

Read: “Tips from Toronto Recruiters – Being a Team Player” for more insight on what characteristics help members contribute best to teams.

Communication Drives Success

Out on the pitch, soccer players need to know what their teammates are doing. No one can read minds, so communicating clearly is important when working towards a shared goal. Having open communication lines and learning how best to communicate with one another allows for mutual understanding and prevents any surprises that could cost a team their win.

In a finance and accounting office, communication is essential to ensuring mistakes are avoided and that everyone is doing their part to reach the team’s goals. Members of successful finance and accounting teams understand that following up with others is part of good communication practices rather than a micro-management issue, and that keeping each other informed is crucial to keeping projects on track.

Key Takeaways

  • Each team member has something to bring to the table.
  • Avoid focusing on one or two team members only, at the detriment of others.
  • Team members should be willing to fill in for one another.
  • Take advantage of each team member’s unique skills.
  • Teams need to practice constantly to be their best and learn from mistakes.
  • An adaptable team uses what they learn from losses to earn future wins.
  • Everyone on a team must be held accountable for successes and failures.
  • Commitment to a common goal helps team members feel accountable.
  • Communication is important in avoiding mistakes and knowing what to do next.
  • Successful teams strive to communicate as much as possible.
  • Team members must learn how best to communicate with one another.

Your Next Step

No one should walk the job search or hiring road alone. At Clarity Recruitment we help others realize their success through a process that marries proprietary technology with unwavering commitment. Contact us today to take control of your career, or to partner with us to hire well.

Clarity Recruitment, connecting exceptional people with remarkable companies.

Diversity Group

How to Build a Better Finance Team Using Diversity

Diversity Group
The recent Pride Month celebrations got us thinking about diversity and its important role in any finance and accounting team. In the workplace, bringing together employees with different backgrounds like LGBTQ and/or various cultures, perspectives, experiences, and skills helps create a more dynamic, flexible, and adaptable team that will have a range of tools and qualities to solve any problem.

Pride originated as a protest, a chance for the LGBTQ community to have a voice when society was otherwise silencing them. As society became more accepting, the LGBTQ community members finally had the chance to show their talents and skills. The Pride movement began to expand into cheerful, supportive parades, events, and celebrations that are an inspiring reminder that when you encourage diversity, and truly embrace it, powerful things can happen. However, for diversity to truly work for a team, it helps to have the following ingredients.

Buy-in from the Top

Leadership support for diversity is integral to making it work. A recent study found that, many times, those in senior positions feel that they’re doing enough to successfully implement diversity; but this is often not as true as they may think. According to the results of the study, there is “a strong correlation between perceptions of inclusivity and overall leadership effectiveness”, which means leaders who are not seen as championing diversity often don’t leave the best impression with employees.

Leaders who aren’t open enough about inclusivity, who don’t challenge themselves and their teams enough when it comes to creating a diverse workplace, could ultimately be seen as failing in their roles. Continually looking for opportunities to add diversity to a team, and following through on implementing changes based on those opportunities creates a more positive workplace and a happier, stronger team.

Other research has shown that while employers say they feel inclusivity is important to a business overall, the fact is that around 53% of LGBTQ workers are not open about who they are because they aren’t confident that they’ll be treated the same as other employees when there are no actual anti-discrimination policies in place. Ultimately, this can affect a company’s bottom line.

According to a UCLA study, 92% of companies surveyed that had anti-discrimination policies say that those policies have a positive impact on annual sales, as well as lead to better recruitment and retention of top talent. Companies that don’t support LGBTQ inclusion could see a hit to their sales, considering the global LGBTQ consumer market is approximately $3.7 trillion, not to mention the market value of the community’s supporters.

The potential for happier employees, increased revenue, and a more positive work environment are important reasons why those in leadership positions should step up and take notice of opportunities for diversity and inclusion practices.

Pro Tip: “How to Retain Top Accounting and Finance Talent” for more insight on what keeps employees engaged.

Broad Application

A survey published in the Harvard Business Review found a correlation between companies that implemented diversity and company revenue.

Companies which hired more diverse talent had happier and more productive employees. This also had driven greater innovation in the teams and increased the profits, compared to the companies which were less diverse.

The survey found that “the more dimensions of diversity were represented, the stronger the relationship was (between diversity, performance, and profit)”, which indicates that while including some diversity initiatives is great, companies can benefit far more by including the broadest spectrum of diversity possible in their team.

Ways to do this include things like hiring strategies that remove bias, training programs for cultural sensitivity, communication techniques that allow open dialogue about cultural differences, and HR initiatives such as inclusive benefits for same-sex partners. Broad application of diversity initiatives should include aspects such as race, gender, age, sexual preference, education, and industry background.

“Fundamentally inclusion is about productivity. It’s about getting the most out of your workforce, it’s about letting your employees be themselves … which ultimately will improve their profitability and shareholder’s value,” said Suki Sandhu, the founder of INvolve, an organisation championing diversity inclusion in businesses in his interview with The Guardian.

Working with a trusted recruiter can help find candidates with different backgrounds, attributes, and skill sets that perfectly meet a company’s needs. Hiring diverse candidates will only benefit the team if an employer also has inclusion policies in place that will allow people with different backgrounds and experiences to feel comfortable and be able to express themselves fully.

Read: “5 Things to Think About Before You Hire a Finance Recruiter” for tips on how to find the right recruiter for your needs.


Talking about wanting to be more diverse is just the first step in making it happen. If real action hasn’t been taken, the feeling of inclusion hasn’t been achieved. Once diversity initiatives have been identified and planned, leaders should take steps each day to follow through on the intention of those initiatives.

It’s not enough to simply implement something one year and then walk away feeling like that’s all that will ever be needed. Diversity and inclusion should not be a side project or simple discussion, it must become ingrained in the company culture in order for it to really make a difference and allow people to feel comfortable, open, and heard.

The world is ever-changing, and staying on top of movements and social shifts can give a company the competitive advantage when it comes to its diversity and how its commitment to inclusivity is perceived.

Read: “What 11 CEOs Have Learned About Championing Diversity” to learn more about what it takes to make diversity a real focus in an organization.

Employee Input

A diversity plan or strategy that is shared with everyone in the company can help get the ball rolling. Meetings can focus on what ideas are on the table so far, and can be a great opportunity to get input from all team members to ensure that everyone has a say and that they feel well represented.

When gathering team members to discuss diversity initiatives, try to channel some of the electric energy that is highlighted every year during the Pride Week celebrations to help them get excited about making strides when it comes to creating a more inclusive environment, a more open communication channel, and a more supportive team.

Key Takeaways

  • Ensure leaders champion the diversity initiatives and lead by example.
  • A leader’s effectiveness is strongly linked to fostering inclusivity.
  • Include as many dimensions of diversity in the workplace as possible.
  • Diversity can improve employee performance and increase the innovation.
  • A more inclusive environment can positively affect a company’s bottom line.
  • Work with a trusted recruiter to help find diverse talent.
  • Diversity initiatives require real action to make a difference.
  • Rather than treat diversity like a project, consider it part of company culture.
  • It’s important to stay up-to-date on the changing aspects of diversity.
  • Getting employee input on diversity lets them feel heard and respected.
  • Inclusivity means employees feel comfortable expressing who they are.


Your Next Step

No one should walk the job search or hiring road alone. At Clarity Recruitment we help others realize their success through a process that marries proprietary technology with unwavering commitment. Contact us today to take control of your career, or to partner with us to hire well.

Clarity Recruitment, connecting exceptional people with remarkable companies.

Ali Pourdad Headshot

The Accountant’s Perspective on Entrepreneurship

Ali Pourdad Headshot
Some entrepreneurs can be spotted a mile away. The forceful passion and undiluted energy they convey with every word gives these daring self-starter away even before they explain their entrepreneurial inclinations.

Ali Pourdad isn’t like that - at least, not outwardly. When I sat down with Ali to chat about his innovative lending agency, Progressa, his attitude was calm and measured. Still, there’s a quiet intensity about Ali that hints at the entrepreneurial genius within. You get the sense that Ali spends a lot more time listening and thinking than talking, but when he does speak, it’s worth paying attention. He might seem quiet and restrained, but his ideas are bold and limitless.

Ali started with what many viewed as an untenable business concept – certainly, the major banks seem to. Progressa responds to a growing debt problem in Canada. We’re in a recursive cycle: debt grows, banks tighten lending requirements, more people have more debt, and so on. Progressa fills the gap, bringing debt solutions to people who would otherwise have no way of recapturing their financial freedom.

So how does a cautious, calculating accounting professional solve a problem that is seemingly so risky that the banks aren’t interested? Did he implement some clever new way to leverage mobile tech and machine learning, or some other buzzworthy technological marvel?

No. Well, not at first. Progressa leverages clever tech to connect them with the right clients, but Ali didn’t bring in the data scientists or technologists until Progressa had been picking up steam for two years. Instead, Progressa began with a core competency. Building a solid team, erecting an infrastructure to support them, and developing their skills and capabilities to create a competitive edge; it’s much less expensive than investing in proprietary tech, especially at the inception stage when cash flow is the tightest.

“The idea was to figure out our core competency first, and then pivot it into something scalable,” Ali tells me. “That’s how this business of lunacy can get off the ground. Some people think it’s nuts that we lend to subprime and near-prime consumers, but we get our money back.”

Ali continues, “It’s a lot less to do with smarts than most people think. It’s probably a lot more to do with building the right team at the right time, and learning how to motivate that team and manage that team.”

Ali is systematic, focused and organized. Big ideas are broken down into small, sensible steps, and risks shrink from there. This started with his network. Throughout his years on the 15-to-18-hour-a-day treadmill of accounting, he gained friends and mentors who could provide exactly the sort of insight needed to lend stability to his vision. Ali still considers his time as a chartered accountant one of the most important assets in his entrepreneurial journey. “I still consider myself a CA today,” he assures me.

There’s a reassuringly metered calmness to the way Ali explains the inception and growth of Progressa, but so much of his serenely rational approach hinges on his work ethic.

“I don’t think you can teach work ethic; I think you can observe it from outside,” he tells me. Ali believes that a solid work ethic comes from surrounding yourself with irrepressible professionals whose actions and attitudes can be emulated and internalized through immersion. And once you get going, there’s no stopping.

“You don’t have a choice as an entrepreneur,” Ali states casually. “It’s the difference between failure and success. Treat every day like tomorrow the doors will be closed.”

All this hard work is staggeringly effective. Most entrepreneurs, business owners – even middle-management professionals in stable corporate environments – have the same sort of reaction when you ask them if they’d do anything differently, given the opportunity to start over. Not Ali.

“I wouldn’t do anything differently.”

It’s a bold statement expressed with calm conviction. Ali’s research, networking, and systematic approach have created an excellent roadmap.

The work ethic and the results are familiar, but everything else about Ali’s calm, calculated approach deviates from the go-get-‘em paradigm we’ve come to expect of entrepreneurs. All the pieces are the same – the networking, the time management, the team-building, and the iron will – but they’re executed so differently they appear foreign when Ali outlines his journey.

There’s no one way to succeed as an entrepreneur, and Ali is an invigorating reminder that no single type of person owns the rights to entrepreneurship – and that hard work, strong ideas, and systematic problem solving can have the same impact as big ideas and big money.

There’s another side to this particular coin, though, as Ali reminds me. Ideas and hard work are nothing without the sort of meticulous planning a CA can bring to the table.

“If you look around British Columbia, I’m sure there’s gold under these mountains – but that doesn’t mean it’s viable to go and mine it.” Planning is the difference between a targeted mining operation, and a group of men roaming the province with dynamite and high hopes.

“[Since] the age of 16 or 17, I probably have over 100 business plans. You create them, you go and test them, and you take them to your mentors,” Ali explains. “In the case of Progressa… It was clear that there was a major market opportunity, and we needed to tackle it properly and in a systematic way.”

What of the other 99 business plans? Most exist only as documents somewhere on Ali’s computer. That doesn’t matter now: he’s realizing his vision and potential in Progressa.

Even so, Ali hesitates for the first time in our conversation when I inquire about that vision, and where it leads.

“Five years is going to be a very different landscape in Canada. If debt continues in the direction it’s going, I suspect we’ll have a lot more competition.”

Ali trails off for a moment before continuing. “...But I don’t think that far ahead. I don’t think five years ahead anymore, I’ve made that mistake before. Because in a startup environment… everything that [you] forecast, nothing is even remotely close. Five years… too much changes on an annual basis. I can tell you where we’ll be next year, but I can’t tell you where we’ll be in five years. I don’t want to guess.”

This isn’t a concern for Ali. His passion for his customers and his team, as well as his guiding principles and ethics are already paving the way for future success, and for the financial success of those whom he offers a second chance.

“Companies all over Canada are starting to realize ‘No, Progressa’s different,’ ” Ali tells me. He knows that he has something here: a way to help strengthen Canada through its most financially vulnerable.

Thanks to Ali Pourdad for taking the time to sit down with me and have a conversation about Progressa, entrepreneurship, and his journey.

There’s always more to a story than can fit on a page. Get in touch today to learn more about my story, or to find out how I can help change yours for the better.


Shane Gagnon is the Director of Clarity Recruitment Vancouver, with six years of experience in the industry. This is his personal blog, where you can expect to find not only insights from his endeavour to disrupt the recruitment industry, but also a glimpse into his pursuit of a satisfying career for himself and the finance/accounting professionals of Vancouver. Join Shane for each new post, as he reveals the journey that brought him here, and where he plans to go next.

Signing a contract

5 Compelling Reasons to Do Contract Work

Signing a contract
If you’ve ever felt a bit nervous thinking about what it would be like to work contract jobs only, you’re not alone. Many people feel that contract work brings with it too many unknowns, too many what-ifs. The other side of the coin is that the need for finance and accounting contractors is increasing and there are some real benefits that you should consider. Organizations are choosing to apply specialized skills against project needs as they realize the value of the expert in solving a complex or time dependent problem. 

Working with the right recruiter to find contract gigs can actually offer some surprising benefits for those who are interested in doing something different. It can also be an opportunity to build an even more successful career for yourself in the finance and accounting industry.

Demonstrated Success in Multiple Environments

Contract consulting work allows you an opportunity to stand out as you successfully complete engagements across multiple industries and organizations. In many ways, this will diversify your resume through exciting and challenging contract opportunities with a variety of employers. The range of experiences these contract opportunities provide can be a great way to differentiate yourself from other finance and accounting specialists as someone who is adaptable and can add value in different companies.

Contract work broadens OR specializes your profile depending on what kinds of contracts you accept, while making you an agile employee, and teaches you to think on your feet. All of these skills are very relevant to the rapidly changing technology driven economy.

Read: “How to Identify a Good Finance or Accounting Contract” to learn how to land the best contract jobs for you.

Helps You Make Connections

Networking is another great benefit of contract work. Temporary assignments with various companies can introduce you to new people on a regular basis, rather than only working with the same people all of the time. The more people you get to know in various companies, the more connections you have that could lead to other employment opportunities in the future.

Because of the nature of contract work, you might also end up meeting with or working alongside more senior-level people in the company that you possibly would never have had the opportunity to connect with otherwise. This can also open doors for you in the future.

Read: “Getting the Most Out of Networking Events” to learn how to increase your success with networking.

Someone is Paying You to Learn

The reality of contract work is that you might find yourself having to learn new processes, systems, software, and other things on a regular basis, and quickly. This helps develop a broader range of skills, giving you a leg up on those who might have more narrow training.

Working with many different people who are in a variety of roles also provides you with a chance to experience different perspectives or knowledge bases, which can further expand your own knowledge and understanding of the various areas of an industry.

Another way that contract work keeps you learning is by teaching you about yourself. Performing in a variety of roles and working with many types of people can lead you to a better understanding of your own work habits and preferences.

Read: “Why It's Good to Be a Contract Employee” to read about the experiences of some long-term contract employees.

Provides You with Opportunities

Being a contract worker gives you the chance to prove yourself to a company, which may decide to offer you permanent full-time work if they are impressed by your performance. These opportunities might only be available via a contract role, giving you rare access to hiring decision-makers in the company whom you might otherwise never meet.

On the flip side of that is contract gigs also provide opportunities for testing out the waters with various companies. Working a contract position means that you can see how you feel about a company before committing to anything long-term. This is a unique experience that can help you feel out what being an employee at a particular company would actually be like.

Read: “The Pro’s and Con’s of Contract Employment” for insight into more of the benefits (and some of the drawbacks) of contract employment.

Gives You Financial Rewards

Although contract workers don’t have the regular benefits often provided to full-time employees (like sick days, health benefits, and vacation time), they normally receive a higher hourly rate that can more than make up for it. Contract workers are also paid for ALL of the time they work, meaning there’s no unpaid overtime or other extra hours that might be required of a full-time employee.

Consider that your resume is your "currency" in the hiring market. Consulting is the fastest way to increase that value, as it allows you to work in different companies, with different challenges, and this creates a diverse background of capabilities that you can charge a premium for in the market.

Read: “How to Become an Accounting Consultant” for tips on how to decide if contract consulting work is right for you.

Key Takeaways

  • Contract work is becoming more common in the job market.
  • Contract work can make your resume stand out.
  • Contract work can bring you valuable connections.
  • Contract work lets you continuously learn new things and you get paid for it.
  • Contract work exposes you to a variety of perspectives and strategies.
  • Contract work can give you a trial run with a company.
  • Contract work often pays well and doesn’t require any extra unpaid time.
  • Contract work provides experience that you can charge a premium for.

Your Next Step

No one should walk the job search or hiring road alone. At Clarity Recruitment we help others realize their success through a process that marries proprietary technology with unwavering commitment. Contact us today to take control of your career, or to partner with us to hire well.

Clarity Recruitment, connecting exceptional people with remarkable companies.

Mentor with student

5 Important Benefits of Being a Mentor

Mentor with student
Do you remember when you were first starting out in your industry? You were likely a little overwhelmed, trying to learn everything you could as quickly as possible to feel like a valuable contributor to the team. You probably asked many questions and felt like you would never catch up to those who had more experience than you did. You might also have approached someone you looked up to and asked them to provide you with insight and feedback in the form of a mentoring relationship.

Mentoring is a valuable tool for those who are looking to learn from others to help them progress in their careers. But what about the mentors themselves? What does providing insight and feedback offer to those in a mentor role?

An Ego Boost

Let’s be honest, having someone look up to you and respect you enough to want to learn from and spend time with you can be very flattering. A mentee will likely have many positive things to say about you and your career and hearing such praises can certainly heighten your self-esteem.

Another aspect of this is how mentees can provide some perspective on just how much you’ve accomplished in your career. Day-to-day work and shorter-term projects can sometimes prevent you from seeing the big picture in terms of how far you’ve come in your career since you first started out. Mentoring someone else can help you realize how much you’ve learned and achieved, as well as how much you have to teach others.

Read: “Mentors and Coaches, Pt. I” and “Mentors and Coaches, Pt. II” for more information on why mentors are important, and how they differ from coaches.

A Chance to Pass on Knowledge

Sharing your knowledge is one of the major reasons you should consider becoming a mentor. You gain a tremendous amount of experience and skills throughout your working life, and what good is it all, really, if you keep it to yourself and take it with you once you retire? Allowing others to benefit from your knowledge and passing the torch, so to speak, provides you with the opportunity to give back to your industry in a big way.

Mentoring is also an important strategy when it comes to retaining great employees, particularly millennials. Most employees want to receive feedback about how they’re performing and what they could do better. Providing such feedback can show that you value your team and can keep them invested and interested in the company.

Read: “How to be a Mentor that Makes a Difference” to learn more about how to be an effective mentor.

A Learning Opportunity

You might not have considered this, but did you know it’s possible to learn just as much as a mentor as it is to learn as a mentee? Having two-sided conversations with your mentee can actually help you see things from a new angle, and possibly teach you new things about your industry from someone who has recently learned the most up-to-date standards, strategies, and trends.

Mentoring also helps a mentor to strengthen or develop a variety of their own skills, including leadership, teaching, recruitment, and management. By providing feedback, helping to solve problems, and guiding a mentee on their career path, mentors learn more about themselves and their industry.

Read: “Mentoring Myths that are Hurting Your Finance Team” to learn what mentoring really offers and how to avoid falling for mentoring myths.

A Relationship-Building Experience

Relationships are just as important in the working world as they are in your personal life. Mentoring someone can offer a meaningful experience through building a relationship of trust and understanding. Helping someone to grow and succeed can be an extremely gratifying way to spend your time and knowing that you made a difference in someone’s life can leave you with a real sense of accomplishment.

You might also find that building a relationship with your mentee opens doors to new connections in your industry, and perhaps even in other industries. Chances are that your mentee can grow your network, just as you can grow theirs. This is another added bonus to doing meaningful mentor work.

Read: “Why Being A Mentor Is Worth The Effort” for insight into the effects of mentorship on a mentor’s career.

A Path to Further Success

Although mentoring is a volunteer-based activity that normally doesn’t provide monetary or career gains directly, there are often indirect effects that can benefit both mentors and mentees.

Sun Microsystems, an American computer company that compared the career progress of approximately 1,000 employees over a five-year period, found that mentoring had some significant effects on the careers of both mentors and mentees. Specifically:

  • “Both mentors and mentees were approximately 20% more likely to get a raise than people who did not participate in the mentoring program.
  • 25% of mentees and 28% of mentors received a raise – versus only 5% of managers who were not mentors.
  • Employees who received mentoring were promoted five times more often than people who didn’t have mentors.
  • Mentors were six times more likely to have been promoted.”

Read: “How Becoming A Mentor Can Boost Your Career” for more ways you can benefit from being a mentor.

Key Takeaways

Being a mentor can:

  • Be a nice ego boost.
  • Provide you with perspective on your own accomplishments and skills.
  • Assist mentees and the company in general.
  • Help retain employees, especially millennials.
  • Make you feel good.
  • Help you develop or strengthen your own skills.
  • Teach you about yourself.
  • Be a meaningful experience.
  • Introduce you to new contacts in the industry or other industries.
  • Sometimes lead to pay raises or promotions for mentors.


Your Next Step

Let us know what you think! At Clarity Recruitment, we’re always interested in hearing from accounting and finance professionals like yourselves, who are ready for new, exciting opportunities that can take their careers to the next level. And be sure to follow us on Twitter and connect with us on LinkedIn and Facebook for more great tips and advice.

Clarity Recruitment, connecting exceptional people with remarkable companies.


Bouncing Back After Being Restructured Out of a Job

Losing your job as a result of company restructuring can be a difficult experience, whether you’ve been given advance notice or the change comes as a surprise. People often experience a range of emotions during this type of shift, including sadness, fear, and anger. Job loss due to restructuring can leave you with decreased self-confidence, as well as many questions about what to do next.

Bouncing back from being restructured out of a job requires you to see this change as an opportunity to find something new. By taking a few steps, you can successfully navigate the job market and land your next role.

Step 1: Get into the Right Headspace

Feeling a bit down in the dumps is normal after losing a job. Thinking positively will be important on your path to finding your new role. Be kind to yourself. Use positive self-talk and continue working on seeing this experience as an opportunity rather than a loss. Try making a list of all of your best professional and personal attributes that make you hireable – this will likely come in handy for Step 2.

Read: “Bouncing Back from Job Loss: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Job Hunters” for more tips on how to remain positive and focused on finding your new job.

Step 2: Ramp Up Your Resume

If you were in your last role for many years, or if the restructuring came as a surprise, chances are your resume needs some updating. Take stock of what’s already in there and remove anything that is no longer relevant, or that can be replaced by better examples. When listing recent accomplishments, try to quantify what made them successful by using numbers, if possible. And if you weren’t updating your resume regularly before, make it a habit to do so in the future each time you have a major achievement.

Read: “The Best Finance Resume We’ve Ever Received” for more tips on writing a great resume.

Step 3: Recharge Your LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn is a powerful social media tool that can connect you to others in the industry and allow you to demonstrate your most desirable skills. Just as you’ve updated your resume, you should also refresh the information in your LinkedIn profile to reflect the most relevant and interesting information for your work history and accomplishments. You should also make note of the fact that you’re seeking new opportunities in your industry, in case any of your contacts knows of roles that you might be interested in.

As well, you should take advantage of LinkedIn’s search engine qualities by finding common keywords in job posts that interest you, and then using those keywords throughout your profile, particularly in your summary section.

Read: “The Best LinkedIn Tips for Active Finance and Accounting Job Seekers”, “3 Reasons Finance Recruiters Are Passing Over Your LinkedIn Profile”, and “Tips From Toronto Recruiters – How to Write a LinkedIn Summary” for additional insight into making the most of your LinkedIn profile.

Step 4: Network, Network, Network

Start reaching out to those you know in your industry to find out if there are any available opportunities and to assess what the current job market looks like. Try to schedule time with those in your network to catch up over coffee, but be sure to make it about actually catching up and not just about asking for information for your own purposes.

During your conversation, try to learn more about your contact’s industry (if different from your own), organization, and connections they have. Connect with as many people as possible, and keep the meetings informal. Also, be sure to touch base with those you’ve contacted to keep the relationship going.

Read: “Just Lost Your Job? This Day-by-Day Timeline Will Help You Land a New One” for a great structured way to look at starting the job search again.

Step 5: Connect with a Recruiter

You should be making a full-time job out of finding your next full-time job. Searching for jobs can take a lot of time and energy, but working with a recruiter can make this process easier and more efficient. Meet with a recruiter who specializes in the finance and accounting industry, and let them know that you are looking for a new opportunity. Be specific about your skills and the areas in which you excel so they can help you find a role that’s right for you.

Select a recruiter who knows about both permanent and contract spaces, and be open to contract positions that can help keep your skills sharp and potentially allow you to gain experience in a different industry.

Read: “Five Mistakes to Avoid With a Finance Recruiter” to learn how to build the most constructive relationship possible with your recruiter.

Key Takeaways

  • Change your mindset from one of despair to one of hope and forward thinking.
  • Refresh your resume with relevant and exciting accomplishments.
  • Update your LinkedIn profile and include relevant keywords wherever possible.
  • Treat your job search like a full-time job.
  • Reach out to your contacts and connect in person, if possible.
  • Meet with a recruiter and be clear about your areas of expertise.


Your Next Step

No one should walk the job search or hiring road alone. At Clarity Recruitment we help others realize their success through a process that marries proprietary technology with unwavering commitment. Contact us today to take control of your career, or to partner with us to hire well.

Clarity Recruitment, connecting exceptional people with remarkable companies.

Dan Sutton

Disrupting Cannabis Cultivation: An Interview with Dan Sutton of Tantalus Labs

Dan Sutton
I sat down recently with Dan Sutton of Tantalus Labs, a Vancouverite and entrepreneur who’s committed to disrupting the cannabis industry. Like most people driven by an intense passion for positive change, Dan is the gregarious, outspoken sort. He never sounds like he’s holding anything back, because he wants you to understand his industry and his passions the way he understands them.

But what are his passions? What is it about cannabis production that makes this 32-year-old so dead-set on revolution? Is it just about making British Columbia feel a little more relaxed?

Maybe in part. Dan sure is committed to growing the sort of B.C. bud that will become the international standard for quality. But there’s a more classically British Columbian explanation for his passions: cannabis production is dominated by an “outlaw culture,” as Dan sees it. Grow-ops in warehouses consume egregious amounts of power and resources, and it isn’t sustainable. Traditional growing methods come with an ecological price tag that’s not in keeping with what British Columbia is all about. Greenhouses are the future – they’re more sustainable, and they lend themselves to a better product. As Tantalus’s website sensibly states, “It's simple. Would you grow tomatoes in a closet?” Changing the cannabis industry is Dan’s mission, but it hasn’t been an easy one.

Dan is a B.C. boy at heart. Vancouver born and raised, he studied economics at the University of Victoria just in time to graduate into the 2008 recession. Even so, he started out as a financial analyst – though he quickly realized there was something bigger out there, waiting for him. But when he started networking, reaching out to friends, parents, friends of parents and so on, he heard the recession reverberating back in his ears everywhere he went.

Dan didn’t care. The first step in entrepreneurship is learning to take a beating without bowing your head. “If you get to the end of the conversation and they say ‘I can’t help you,’ you say ‘Give me the names of three people who can,’ ” Dan says of the irrepressible pursuit of his early goals.

You can’t be fazed by these things, Dan tells me; no one in his network of insightful and intelligent up-and-comers let the threat of competition give them pause. “You’re going to have to go through discomfort you’ve never experienced before to achieve results you didn’t think you were capable of.”

Dan is careful not to speak in sweeping generalizations; he talks instead of his observations – though of course, these observations come from six years of experience building Tantalus Labs, and a history of determined pursuit of entrepreneurial objectives. Waking up early, for instance, is a characteristic he notes in most successful entrepreneurs. It’s not necessarily a requirement for success, but Dan doesn’t seem to know of any entrepreneurs who sleep in – not that Dan has a typical definition of ‘sleeping in.’ His predetermined sleep-in days afford him the grand luxury of a 7:30 a.m. wakeup call.

If this is starting to sound like the typical story of a motivated entrepreneur with an iron work-ethic, that’s no coincidence. A lot of the traits of successful entrepreneurs are battle-tested and well known. But the world is shifting, and entrepreneurship acutely sensitive to the waves of technological and social developments that seem to approach tsunami-level impact.

Phones and laptops are an incredible resource, for instance. For a lot of us, they can be a persistent distraction, but you won’t catch Dan playing Angry Birds while he waits for the bus. It’s not that he denies an electronic addiction, but he’s addicted to information. Dan’s phone is a portal to unyielding productivity. I don’t blame him. Structure and organization are critical to someone juggling as many priorities as Dan, and having a way to manage his tasks and keep the organized mess from turning to abject chaos is a privilege he doesn’t take for granted. The fact that the tool that allows for this level of organization fits in his pocket is a bonus.

All of this is useless, though, without principles. “Visions change,” Dan tells me, “strategies change. Principles don’t.”

Dan is a big proponent of a ‘first principles’ approach to entrepreneurship. He’s a philosophy fan, particularly well-versed in the classic Greek thinkers who devised systems of logic and reasoning that would shape the way humanity thought for thousands of years. Philosophical discussions can sound abstract and aloof, but the core of this kind of thinking is the notion of sound ideas.

Sound ideas are the basis for everything Dan does. As long as he knows his principles, he can always take a step back and ask himself if the latest idea, product, or strategy is in keeping with the reasons he started down this road in the first place. Part of that, he says, means mastering your emotions.

“Any successful entrepreneur – any successful human – must be a master of his or her emotions.” Dan says. “Don’t pretend that your triggers and weaknesses don’t exist – that’s not stoicism, even if people think it is. You don’t need to be emotionless, you’re a human being. You’re going to be affected by pain, confusion, fear… and mastery of how to respond to that stimulus is the essence of stoicism.”

Dan’s impetus as an entrepreneur seems to come from a mastery of fear. As a kid, he saw his intelligent and ambitious father struggle with a business project that was dragged sideways by partners; Dan decided that he’d never let someone destroy something he’d built, and he already knew he wanted to build something of value. He knew it wouldn’t be easy, but even as a teenager, Dan was already resolute.

As an entrepreneur, Dan tells me, you’re going to hit stumbling blocks, and you won’t know how to overcome them at the time. Dan surrounds himself with emotionally intelligent people: mentors, confidants, friends, family, and his team. Maybe it’s a function of Vancouver, he posits: we’re descendants of free-spirited hippies. Regardless, Dan knows that emotional intelligence is a far more important leadership quality than raw IQ. As an entrepreneur, you’re often leaping blindly into new space. “Things can be tricky when you have no template for your vision,” Dan tells me. Emotional intelligence will keep you level, and allow you to grow into the new roles that await you.

Now, we’re approaching my territory. Dan isn’t a recruiter, but he has built teams from scratch, and he knows the value of good people. Dan started with a carefully tailored group of specialists, surrounding himself with people whom he trusted not only to build his vision, but to build him as a person. From there, the strength of his team drew in the first new person, who drew in the second, and soon Dan had a brand so singularly principled and constructed that quality candidates gravitated towards him.

It all comes down to the early-game, Dan assures me. “Your first 20 employees are the difference between success and failure.” Good talent attracts good talent, and momentum is built. Fortunately, Dan had a talented core team, and now he’s reaping the benefits. “We are outdoorsy people, we’re Vancouverites,” Dan says, citing the strength his team gains from sharing not only a passion and talent for their work, but a fascination for nature. Cooperation and shared vision seem to come easier in this nature-shrouded town.

It’s something Dan loves about Vancouver, and something I’ve grown to love too. “We’re incredibly community-oriented,” Dan says. In his experience, everyone wants to contribute to what everyone else is doing, creating a cooperative network that raises everyone up. No one is alone in a silo, working only for their own goals, and this is something we both find incredibly encouraging. I’ve said before that our strength comes from our ability to work together, each doing what we do best to build world-leading businesses; through the strength of our cooperation and the strength of our enterprise, we can build Vancouver into a city that rivals the world. Dan is the sort of person who will make that vision a reality.

“Vancouver celebrates the apex of liberalism. It empowers people like no other place,” says Dan. “…We’re not beholden to any trend here.” Dan sees Vancouver’s startup ecosystem as a teenager: “It’s still figuring itself out.” That means we have the opportunity to sculpt a future we want to see.

Dan smiles when he opens up about the future. “Five years from now, we’re having this interview in a gorgeous – but sensibly priced – office in Vancouver. We’re… celebrating the domination of the entire cannabis industry, not just by Tantalus Labs, but by better cannabis from greenhouses [in general]. We’re in a place, in a time where Tantalus Labs is recognized globally as an amazing resource for quality B.C. bud, and we carry the torch for what that means.” Dan continues with the passion I’ve come to expect from him, “We have something to contribute here… If I can look around at me and my team and know we’ve done that, I’ll be a happy camper no matter how financially successful we are.”

Huge thanks to Dan for talking to me at length about his journey and his ambitions. He’s an outgoing guy who’s always looking for the value in meeting new people (does that sound familiar?) so reach out to him @dsutton1986 on Instagram or Twitter. While you’re at it, be sure to check out the cool things going on at tantaluslabs.com (it’s interesting now, but Dan tells me it’s going to get even more exciting in the near future), and watch Dan’s TEDx talk on how he’s changing the cannabis industry.

There’s always more to a story than can fit on a page. Get in touch today to learn more about my story, or to find out how I can help change yours for the better.


Shane Gagnon is the Director of Clarity Recruitment Vancouver, with six years of experience in the industry. This is his personal blog, where you can expect to find not only insights from his endeavour to disrupt the recruitment industry, but also a glimpse into his pursuit of a satisfying career for himself and the finance/accounting professionals of Vancouver. Join Shane for each new post, as he reveals the journey that brought him here, and where he plans to go next.