My 2021 started in much the same way that I ended 2020: negotiating agreements with school administrators. 3D Planeta began life at the University of New Brunswick and we have happily continued that relationship, hiring our first couple of employees through its study-to-work programs for engineering and business students. We have an equally beneficial relationship with the New Brunswick Community College (NBCC) and I’ve just signed off on 3D Planeta’s role as the flagship employer for a new partnership between the provincial Department of Education and Early Childhood Education (EECD) and Atlantic Canada Aerospace and Defence Association (ACADA) to begin welcoming high school students to our workplace later this spring via the Future NB experiential learning program.
This is how Norm and I believe in giving back to our community. Sure, we’ll provide monetary donations to worthy causes, such as our affiliation with 1% for the Planet, but we believe the best way to help our community is to consciously align 3D Planeta’s processes, policies and decision-making with the needs of our local community whenever possible. To ask ourselves how we can create mutually beneficial opportunities that improve life for people in our community while advancing 3D Planeta’s interests.
Transformational change calls for active leadership, which for us means rolling up our sleeves and working directly on the issues of importance to us. This is a belief we have shared since we first started talking about creating a company together.
How would we actively engage in addressing big, complex issues, both through our technology but also through our actions as entrepreneurs and business leaders. Who would we buy from? How would we select suppliers? We wanted to make mindful choices about every aspect of our business.
Experiential learning, paid internships and co-ops were an obvious first step for us. We’re a high-tech start-up in need of highly skilled workers, operating in a part of the country with a chronic labour shortage. It made sense to us that the best way to find those workers was to meet and mentor them while they’re still in school.
Over the past 18 months we’ve had tremendous experiences working with talented, creative and motivated young people from all over the world, many with complementary work experiences in their home countries. The end result is a variety of perspectives and knowledge that has benefited 3D Planeta’s growth and trajectory.
I can’t wait to start working with local public high school students to find out what they see and think about our advanced 3D earth observation technology. For instance, there is a crossover between our technology and the gaming world and I’ll appreciate the perspective young gamers might see that my middle-aged, civil defence-focused mind hasn’t considered yet. More importantly, we are providing teens with a glance into a wider world that they could never envision from their classrooms or from their study-from-home bedrooms and kitchen tables. Maybe some of them might come and work for us or maybe the experience will set them down a post-secondary path they hadn’t considered and see them find work with another business across town or across the country. I’m happy either way. Our goal is to show local students a wider world so they can figure out the role they want to play in making it better.
Active leadership that benefits the people in my community: that’s my goal for 2021.
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