BIV Forty under 40 list shines spotlight on influential UBC Sauder alums

Posted 2019-10-17
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Business in Vancouver’s 2019 Forty under 40 list showcased the rising young stars of Vancouver’s business scene. Three UBC Sauder alums landed on the selective list. They share how the school helped shape their futures, the connections they’ve formed along the way, and how exactly they’ve managed to make such an indelible mark so early in their careers.

Paulina Cameron, CEO, Forum for Women Entrepreneurs
Bachelor of Commerce (2010)

As the leader of Forum for Women Entrepreneurs (FWE), a Vancouver-based charity that educates, mentors and connects female entrepreneurs, Paulina Cameron has a “delightfully full” day-to-day schedule. She says her work is a varied mix of speaking directly with entrepreneurs, collaborating with community partners, sponsors and champions, and driving the organization’s strategy forward with the board and staff of FWE. As the public face of the charity, you’ll also often find her talking about FWE’s work on stage or while recording a podcast.

Authentic and relationship-centred networking

As a graduate of UBC Sauder’s Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) program, Cameron describes the school’s approach to networking as “authentic” and “relationship-centred.” She says she loves that the school prioritizes extracurricular involvement and that her participation in those activities when she was a student helped chart the course of her professional life.

“Through volunteering on student council to attending events in the business community, I learned how to build community, how to contribute to causes I care about, and how to use my voice for impact,” says Cameron. “These are practices and values that continue to be greatly important to me.”

Cameron says she decided to build her career in Vancouver because the city enables you to make opportunities for yourself. “It’s a very entrepreneurial community and there are many great individuals and organizations that you can surround yourself with for support.”

Cameron names Leadership and General Management as one of her most memorable classes at UBC Sauder. For her, the course required a lot of hard work, but was deeply rewarding in that it exposed her to a “different, broader and more holistic way of thinking.”  

It takes a village…and hard work

When asked what personality trait helped her rise through the ranks so quickly, Cameron points to her hard work and positive mindset. She’s also quick to credit her network, adding “I surround myself with incredible people – from team members to friends to collaborators – and success is definitely a village effort.”

For students and new graduates who are looking to make their mark on Vancouver or anywhere else, Cameron reiterates that it’s all about the relationships you form. 

“Identify causes that are important to you, find those who are also working on those causes, and build community by generously contributing your skills and time.”

Jay Rhind, Partner, Rhino Ventures
Master of Business Administration (2015)

Born and raised in Ontario, Jay Rhind admits that the initial draw of the Pacific Northwest wasn’t entirely business related. As an avid skier and lover of the outdoors, the city’s proximity to the mountains and the ocean was a main attraction. The quality education available at UBC Sauder offered further encouragement to make the move cross country.

Rhind’s reason for staying in Vancouver after graduating from the Master of Business Administration (MBA) program is a different story. He says he was motivated, in part, by the skepticism of those in his life who were “downbeat on the Vancouver business ecosystem.”

“It’s considered contrarian to think that big businesses are being built in this city,” says Rhind. “I am bullish on Vancouver and I love proving my family and friends back in Toronto wrong.”

 

Finding the right people in a city of opportunity

And prove them wrong he did. Rhind is now a partner at Rhino Ventures (formerly Vancouver Founder Fund), an early-stage venture capital firm that supports the top founders of Western Canada. In his role, Rhind says no two days are ever the same and that he divides his time between looking at new investments, supporting the firm’s existing portfolios, and doing the necessary but unglamorous admin and CFO work of managing investors.

He remains steadfast in his support of Vancouver, saying that the city offers enormous opportunity if you can establish high-trust relationships. “The ecosystem is big enough to build a big business but its small enough where you can have a close group of business colleagues who you can trust,” says Rhind.

Changing the Vancouver narrative

Now an adjunct professor of New Venture Design at UBC Sauder, Rhind counsels his students to challenge the notion that there aren’t exciting local companies in Vancouver.

“We have a resource economy that’s turning into a tech economy. There’s a changing of the narrative where you have to look at some of the exciting things and not apply yesterday’s lens,” says Rhind.

He also says new graduates must have a sense of urgency that goes against the traditional West Coast mentality and ethos. They can encourage that sense of urgency within themselves by having a role model that is always one or two steps ahead, says Rhind.  

Rhind echoes Cameron’s sentiment in saying that his success can be largely attributed to hard work and the ability to network in an organic way.

“What I took away most from my MBA experience was, by far, the dozen or so people who I still talk with every single week that were part of my graduating cohort who are all doing incredible things in the city and are all in very complementary areas like finance, consulting, or business,” says Rhind. “I can pick up the phone and ask them questions.”

Ryan Uy, Director, Finance & Administration, DP World (Canada) Inc.   
Bachelor of Commerce (2002)

For Ryan Uy, building a career in his hometown of Vancouver was always the plan. After graduating from UBC Sauder’s BCom program, he obtained his Chartered Accountant designation and was ready to pursue local opportunities. But when his then-girlfriend (now-wife) decided to return to her native Singapore in 2004, Uy eventually followed her. Having returned to the west coast several years later, he has found success in the city he always intended to call home.

Today, Uy is the Director, Finance & Administration at DP World (Canada) Inc., Western Canada’s premier container terminal operator and stevedore. DP World (Canada) Inc. operates terminals in Vancouver, Prince Rupert and Nanaimo, and is part of a global network of 78 operating marine and inland terminals in over 45 countries. Uy oversees all finance, information technology, purchasing and administration functions of the organization, among other responsibilities.

Leaving Vancouver to find local success

Uy credits those unexpected years spent abroad with much of his success. He says students and new graduates should be open to opportunities elsewhere, even if their end goal is to make a life in Vancouver.

“Don’t be afraid to leave Vancouver – take the opportunity to study abroad for a semester, or even do a work term in a different country. Broaden your horizons. It is your insight and experiences that you draw on that will bring value and set you apart from other candidates,” says Uy.

Uy says that his experience at UBC Sauder taught him to always ask questions and never settle for the status quo – lessons that he continues to use in his current role. He remembers Strategic Management as his favourite class, as it offered a real-world perspective by reviewing business cases about the struggles and strategies of companies.

Bringing out the best in others

Uy reflects fondly on the relationships he formed at UBC Sauder and says that some of his clearest memories are of meeting like-minded classmates, who would eventually become his good friends. “We will always be connected because of our time together at UBC,” he says.

As part of giving back to his alma mater, Uy serves as a mentor with UBC Sauder’s Executive Mentorship Program. “I am happy to share that both my previous mentees are gainfully employed,” says Uy.

According to Uy, he’s been able to become a senior leader because he constantly strives for excellence and always does his best, regardless of the size of the task. Of making the Forty under 40 list, he says, “I see it as a motivation to continue exceling in my field, becoming a better leader and helping others develop in their careers.”