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The Talent Development Centre includes advice for independent contractors in IT from one of Canada’s top staffing and recruitment agencies. See all posts about inspiration.

Google Summarized 2019’s Greatest Heroes in this 2-Minute Video

As we gear up for 2020 and reflect back on to all of the positive memories from 2019, Google is also looking back at the incredible things that happened this year. Their 2019 Year in Search looked at the hottest trends but focused on an inspirational topic — heroes, and not the kind from the big screen.

As the YouTube descriptions says “Throughout history, when times are challenging, the world goes looking for heroes. And this year, searches for heroes — both superheroes and everyday heroes — soared around the world.”

Valuable Lessons from Children’s Authors and Illustrators

There are life lessons all around us and from all sorts of people. That was evident during the MASC Young Authors & Illustrators Festival that Eagle sponsored in Ottawa this past April. The event brings in hundreds of students from grades 4 to 7 who get to attend workshops with Canadian authors and illustrators.

Before the learning begins, the authors and illustrators take some time to address the attendees. Each professional had a unique message that, and although crafted for kids, they can easily apply to anyone, including an IT contractor.

Britt Wilson, Cartoonist and Graphic Novelist

Britt Wilson is from Toronto and her graphic novels include Ghost Queen, Cat Dad King of the Goblins, and Britt Wilson’s Greatest Book on Earth. In this short clip, she explains how although it’s great to have a life plan (she knew what she wanted to be since she was a young kid), it’s important to be open to change and follow new opportunities. Wilson comments that she keeps her eye on her main goals and is “still not done yet” as she may still accomplish her original dream. As a bonus, this speech also reveals how valuable social media and networking can be, as well as how simple skills matter in a job search, given her quote “Good handwriting can get you jobs.”

Cary Fagan, Author of Novels and Picture Books for Children

Cary Fagan is also from Toronto and wrote books including Mr. Zinger’s Hat, Danny, Who Fell into a Hole, the Wolfie and Fly series, plus his latest book for middle-grade readers, Mort Ziff is not Dead. Cory explains to the students that there is no such thing as 1st place, 4th place or any real “best” position when it comes to being an author. No, he’s not supporting the controversial “everybody gets a trophy” trend, but he is explaining that people have so many different tastes and preferences and each author has their own style. As a result, authors don’t bother competing but instead build a community, share stories, embrace differences and learn from each other. This is no different for IT contractors. Top technology professionals flourish depending on many variables including the industry, the project, and the people they work with. Rather than considering other contractors as your competition, take Fagan’s advice and work together to bring each other up.

Catherine Austen, Author for All Ages

Catherine Austen comes from Gatineau. Her teen thriller, All Good Children and her middle-grade novel, 26 Tips for Surviving Grade 6, each received industry awards. In this final video, Austen reads a chapter from the latter book’s sequel, 28 Tricks for a Fearless Grade 6. The title of the chapter “If you want to keep a secret, don’t post it on social media” speaks for itself and contains a valuable lesson about lies. Whether it’s through social media or any other route, you’re bound to get busted eventually. That is not limited to school because unfortunately, it is not uncommon for Eagle recruiters to catch skilled IT contractors fibbing about their experience, and when the lie is inevitably discovered, it has serious consequences to their reputation and career.

6 Awesome Women in IT We Should Celebrate

Guest Post by Victoria Greene

You hear the name Silicon Valley and what do you think? The pinnacle of software, the place where the most gifted technological minds work, the mecca of IT. And how many executive positions by companies based at IT’s mecca are held by women? 11%.

Few industries have such a gap in gender representation as IT, but talent has nothing to do with it. There are millions of gifted women in the industry and countless inspirational individuals among them.

I’ve picked just 6 of the many talented ladies who deserve to be celebrated for their IT gifts. Read on and take inspiration from them.

Recommended reading: Take Responsibility for Your Own Career

  1. Julia Hartz

How many of the conferences you attended last year, gigs you’ve enjoyed recently, and events that you’ve organized used Eventbrite? The event management platform is simple, enormously popular, and wildly successful. It also wouldn’t exist without Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Julia Hartz.

Having studied communication and broadcast journalism at Malibu, California’s Pepperdine University, Julia founded the company with her husband, Kevin Hartz, in 2006. The company was the first of its type in the US.

With her trailblazing style, Julia Hartz’s success has seen her smash down barriers held in place by tech’s “men’s club” and earn her place among the most successful IT professionals in the world. We salute you, Julia.

  1. Karlie Kloss

You might know Karlie Kloss as the face Swarovski, or one of the many other high-level companies she models for. While Kloss is one of the top 300 models of the noughties, she’s also a passionate coder.

Kloss got into coding because it’s the “language of the future”, and in 2015 she sought to help carve out a path for young girls to play a part in the world of tomorrow by starting Kode With Klossy.

Kode With Klossy hosts summer coding camps for girls aged 13-18, where Kloss and her team help build the next generation of female IT stars. For your commitment to breaking down barriers, we celebrate you, Karlie.


  1. Sheila Flavell

Sheila Flavell has been in the IT industry for 3 decades, taking in roles at Lloyds Abbey, Glen Dudley, and FDM, where she is Chief Operating Officer and an Executive Board Director. She’s also won a bucketful of awards acknowledging her influence in the IT world.

Among these are:

  • Woman of the Year – Computing Women in IT Excellence Awards
  • Lifetime Achievement Award – Scotland Women in Technology Awards
  • Business Leader of the Year – Cisco Everywoman in Technology Awards

But Sheila’s not just an award winner, she’s an opportunity giver. She’s campaigned tirelessly to help more women get into the IT industry, acting as mentor for many gifted young ladies in the tech industry. Hats off to you, Sheila.

  1. Lynsey Thornton

Another female star of the IT world whose name might not be as recognizable as it should be is Lynsey Thornton, VP, of User Experience at the Canadian ecommerce powerhouse, Shopify.

A tech head throughout the course of the higher education, Lynsey left her home in the British Isles to become one of Canada’s female IT stars, graduating from being Shopify’s UX Research Lead to running the UX show.

Like Karlie Kloss, Lynsey uses her skills to help the next-gen of female coding stars, volunteering as a Facilitator at Code For Kids.

However, it’s her work helping female entrepreneurs of tomorrow take the gender pay gap into their own hands, by creating their own businesses using their easy store builder, for which we celebrate her. Excellent work, Lynsey.

  1. Sheryl Sandberg

They’re by far the biggest social media platform on the planet and a global institution that eat away billions of hours of the world’s time, but Facebook wouldn’t be where they are today without the brilliance of its Chief Operating Officer, Sheryl Sandberg.

After graduating from Harvard Business School in 1995, achieving an MBA with highest distinction, Sheryl went on to work for McKinsey & Company, Larry Summers, and Google. In 2007 she met Mark Zuckerberg at a party and a year later she became Facebook’s COO.

Sheryl was tasked with making Facebook profitable and boy has she succeeded; the company is firmly entrenched in the Fortune 500, and had a revenue of US$40.653 billion in 2017. Sheryl, you know what it means to star in the IT world.

  1. Susan Wojcicki

From Facebook to Google and YouTube, and from COO to CEO, we give you Susan Wojcicki. Like Sheryl Sandberg, Susan studied at Harvard University, turning her back on a career in academia in favor of lighting a fire under the world of online streaming.

It was Susan’s garage where Google’s founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin set up office in 1998; her partnership with the creators of the world’s largest search engine became official in 1999, when she became the company’s first marketing manager.

While working with Page and Brin, Susan pushed Google Video service against upstart streaming service YouTube. Rather than compete with YouTube, Susan recommended that Google buyout the company. That acquisition came in 2006 and today Susan is CEO of YouTube. Who knows where you would stream your videos from without Susan? Not us.

No industry should be a boys club, or a girls gang for that matter. The only factors that should determine where you work and what you do are talent, desire, dedication, and drive – gender should never be a factor. For all of their varied skills of our 6 awesome women in IT, it’s those 4 qualities for which we truly celebrate them.

We know that you have those 4 qualities too. So what are you waiting for? Take inspiration from our 6 stars and blaze your own trail in the world of IT.

Victoria Greene Victoria Greene is a branding consultant and freelance writer. On her blog, VictoriaEcommerce, she shares tips on how women can forge a career in the online world by using their gift for crafting brilliant content.

Inspirational Quotes from 100 Brilliant Minds

We’ve all heard the expression “It takes all kinds of people to run the world” or some variant of it. There is so much truth to it, but unfortunately media frequently focuses on the less intelligent, somewhat shameful minds to showcase to the world. Constantly seeing news reports of people saying dumb things can be deflating to a person, so we were excited when we came across this page on Funding Circle’s website showcasing quotes from 100 of the world’s most brilliant minds. In addition to the website, the infographic below shows all of the top quotes from each of those people.

Inspirational Quotes from 100 Brilliant Minds

True Geeks Will Love this Motivational Infographic

Are you one of those people who base their entire life off of advice given in Star Wars, Disney Movies or your favourite childhood cartoons? There’s nothing to be ashamed of. Classic books, movies and television became the classics they are because of unforgettable, intelligent writing. As a result, many people recite motivational quotes from their favourite characters… even if it is a little geeky.

To prove that you’re not alone, we found this infographic from PlaygroundEquipment.com that compiles 30 different motivational quotes from some of the most influential fictional teachers and mentors. Everybody from Yoda to Mary Poppins, Master Splinter and even Boy Meets World’s Mr. Feeny are included in this throwback graphic. At least one of these quotes will connect with you and make your day. Can you find your favourite?

Alphabet of Nostalgia: 90s Edition - PlaygroundEquipment.com - Infographic

8 Clever Energy Hacks to Help You Stay Motivated

This post was originally published by Chelsei Henderson on the Freshbooks Blog on November 3, 2015.

8 Clever Energy Hacks to Help You Stay Motivated All Day The work day is often full of very high highs and very low lows. If you’re anything like me, your motivation level is directly correlated to the energy you have.

If you want to build a successful business, you’ve got to learn how to hack motivation.

Otherwise, you’ll constantly struggle with getting things accomplished, remaining consistent and inspiring your team or others around you. And that’s no way to spend your day. In fact, if you wanted to waste away your time feeling depressed and miserable, you would have probably chosen a more traditional career path.

But instead, you’re working on your own. You’ve got the opportunity to make your career as awesome as you want. Don’t miss out on that because of a lack of motivation.

These clever methods can instantly bring you back from wherever you’re zoning out, giving you that extra boost you need to reach your goals. You’ll be better off and more productive, which will ultimately lead to greater success.

  1. Start Your Day With Visualization

Begin your day with a bit of visualization.

What I love about visualization is that you can do it for your big-picture goals, as well as your mundane, day-to-day tasks. It’s quite a powerful motivator that gives you a boost first thing in the morning.

Get centered for the day ahead by imagining yourself being productive on everything you need to accomplish. Matt Mayberry from Entrepreneur said picturing yourself succeeding can pay off in all sorts of ways, even if it’s seeing yourself staying focused and on your game.

For a step-by-step visualization guide visit Jack Canfield.

  1. Get Pumped With Inspiring Music

Music can get you mentally pumped to do your best or mellow you out and smooth the rough edges. And it’s a great way to block out distracting background noise or chatter.

I’ve found that a good playlist can make dull, repetitive tasks more bearable and help establish rhythms for the day.

Aaron Lynn from Asian Efficiency suggests getting your pulse going with movie soundtracks – these can trigger good memories of a favorite film, or get you excited to do something larger than life, much like a big-screen hero.

Video game music or streaming music services where you can adjust the tempo or style during the day can also be helpful.

  1. Go On a Walk to Clear Your Head

Get the blood flowing by taking a stroll.

It doesn’t matter how long it is. You could go for several blocks, or even just to the other side of the building. The simple act of walking gives you the chance to stretch your legs, releases some endorphins and stimulates your brain so that you can regain alertness.

You can even find a study to back this up. And it can bring some additional benefits as well – those who take regular 30 minutes lunchtime walks reported better health and better moods than those who didn’t do this regularly, according to the study.

  1. Take Breaks on a Regular Basis

Stepping away from a rough project can help you find clarity, regain motivation and even find some inspiration. And – perhaps most importantly – it’s a way to break up the monotony.

You don’t have to take breaks for hours at a time. In fact, they don’t even need to last 30 minutes.

Sometimes, even a 5 minutes breather is enough to help you get back into the flow of things. Try a tactic like the Pomodoro Technique if you’re looking for a more structured way to break your day into shorter intervals.

  1. Lie Down for a Quick Power Nap

I don’t know why we hated naps so much in kindergarten. These days, I love the idea of laying down for a few minutes in the middle of the day.

And it seems like I’m not alone in that mindset.

Workplace studies have found that a nap as short as 15 or 20 minutes can have surprising benefits for mental and physical focus, including boosting memory and lowering blood pressure. Some (awesome) companies even provide nap rooms for employees who want to catch a few zzzs and wake up rejuvenated.

Prevention said naps can reduce cortisol, that pesky stress hormone trying to ruin your day. And it also zaps some effects of insomnia or poor nighttime sleeping habits. Keep in mind, though, a siesta lasting more than 30 minutes could actually reverse some of these benefits.

  1. Cut Back on the Caffeine

Coffee, soda or energy drinks cause a spike in alertness, and many rely on them to stay motivated and energized throughout the day.

Unfortunately, the high is always followed by an bigger low.

Consider switching to something with less caffeine like tea. And if you’ve just got to have your coffee or soda, make the switch to caffeine-free versions.

  1. Do a Quick Workout Routine

Did you know that there are a variety of stretches and low-impact exercises that you can do right at your desk? These brief routines can get your blood pumping, while helping you burn a few calories in the process.

And if you’re not for any elaborate routines, simply drop to the floor and do a few pushups.

  1. Don’t Put Too Many Things on Your To-Do List

Have you ever looked at your long to-do list and felt instantly unmotivated?

I know I have. In fact, it’s left me paralyzed in unmotivation for days at a time. The sheer volume of things on my to-do list overwhelmed my mind to the point that I couldn’t accomplish any of it.

And that creates a vicious cycle. You get further behind, which leads to more tasks, which creates a larger to-do list, which creates even more overwhelm.

Instead, try consolidating your list to only the most important items.

These days, I start my day out with only 3 things on my to-do list. They’re often larger projects that will take me at least 1-2 hours to complete. Once I cross off those priority items, I reevaluate my day and take on a few medium-priority tasks.