Aspire to Tech: Vancity’s Chief Technology & Innovation Officer

We sat down with Kirsten Sutton, Vancity’s Chief Technology & Innovation Officer, to get her perspective on the ecosystem as a BC Tech Board Member and her aspirations for BC’s future

Tell our readers a little about yourself – what’s your day job and what’s your role with BC Tech? Every day I’m a mom, wife, daughter and friend and I am a Director on the Board of BC Tech. I spend most of the daytime talking through my webcam with my amazing team at Vancity where I’m privileged to be the Chief Technology & Information Officer. 

How long have you been involved with BC Tech? It is getting fuzzy for me now… I tried to check out after serving for several years ending as Chair of the Board of BC Tech back in 2018, but like Hotel California, I can never seem to truly leave and have returned to serve again as Director.

Why did you choose to get involved with BC Tech? BC’s tech ecosystem is special – special in spirit, collaboration and resourcefulness. I wanted to do what I could through BC Tech to ensure that the spirit is kept alive and we collectively benefit from a strong, healthy tech community.

What do you see as the single biggest challenge in the BC Tech Ecosystem today? We are often overlooked by those who could contribute to our collective success and ignored by those who don’t understand the tech powerhouse here on the West Coast of Canada – yet we succeed despite all that. Unfortunately, this leaves us in the same position: without much needed support. Think of what we could do with some help!

What excites you about the future of BC Tech’s ecosystem? I’m most excited by the diversity in our ecosystem: super small-mega large companies, business-finance-mining-forestry-agriculture…so many verticals, cultures and worldviews, skills and competencies. For me, that means our future can be whatever we want it to be.

Why should every tech company join BC Tech? Every tech company should join BC Tech for two reasons: The more the merrier! It is FUN being a member! Nothing says inspiration and innovation like a big group of tech companies coming together.  To elevate the tech community. We are stronger, smarter and more of a force, the more we are in numbers. Let’s harness and take our ecosystem to the next level.

And…not just every tech company should join BC Tech…there is value for all companies where technology enables sales channels, where technology enables operations or where technology connects employees. What does Jill always say? “Every business is a technology business.” So come one and all – join the fun.

What advice would you like to share with other companies out there? It is a tough gig building a tech company, especially in BC. Remember you are not in this alone. There are so many others who have been at every stage of growing a tech company right here where you are. BC Tech can connect you to all of them. Just ask!