Yesterday, I read a great post by Alex Samuel, "Even in a virtual world, where you live still matters". Her thoughts were incredibly apropos because recently, I’ve been stewing about what the city of Vancouver has to offer business people like myself. As I stated almost two years ago, Vancouver has the potential to truly become a global business centre. I’m sitting on several municipal, regional, and industry Boards to play my part and what I hear over and over again is that Vancouver lacks the senior management talent and financing/investment ecosystems to reach its full potential. And, I couldn’t agree more!
I’m often referred to as one the “Exotic Birds” here in Vancouver. (I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not. ;-) ) I have lots of senior management, operations, finance and investment experience and the city would like to court more people like me. So, why aren’t there more people like me in Vancouver? Well, based on my experience, I think there needs to be a realignment of what it “costs” to be a global business player.
Recently, I’ve been approached by several local companies and organizations to join their teams, and while the opportunities have been very exciting, the conversations have come to a screeching halt (a little exaggerated) once dollars start being discussed. Now, I do understand that Vancouver isn’t NY, San Francisco or Toronto, but why am I consistently presented with compensation packages that equate to what I earned 10 years ago?! (And, this is not to point the finger at any one Vancouver company; this has happened numerous times.) At the same time, I’m being heavily courted by companies in other cities that are offering packages that are 2-3 times higher.
I really want to stay in Vancouver! But, as a business person, I am trained to balance opportunities with maximizing revenues. And, that’s exactly what these companies want me to do, once hired. So, why would I act any differently when it comes to my own earning potential. Now, I am not completely mercenary. (Frankly, if I were, I would be much richer and definitely NOT living in Vancouver.)
So, where does that leave us… well, I would like to see a shift in valuing those very skills that seem to be lacking here. Right now, we aren’t raising the bar to make Vancouver business opportunities attractive on a global scale! (To this point, I have spoken with at least a dozen phenomenal/qualified/ambitious colleagues in the past two weeks and we all joke that we’ll meet at YVR on our way to companies that do value us.)
Vancouver did a fabulous job raising the bar for the Olympics and for two weeks it truly felt like a global city! Now, we need to take that same energy and investment to make it become a world-class business environment! I’m not leaving, yet…but, I am putting the city on notice! ;-)