MOT Alumni Profile: Chanelle Dupre
A skilled and accomplished woman, Chanelle Dupre works as VP of Strategic Initiatives at SKY GLOBAL. Recently, she sat down with the CMC to share her career journey, the adversities she faced as a woman working in the tech industry, and how she used the MOT program to leverage her career to where it is today.
Management of Technology (MOT) MBA Alumni Chanelle Dupre didn’t start off in pursuit of her professional career knowing exactly how the path would unwind. She pursued a degree in International Relations specializing in Economics at the University of British Columbia (UBC) with initial aspirations to work in government but with influence from her parents, she decided that a career in Chartered Accounting was more practical. However, this didn’t last as long as she had thought it would. Growing restless and longing for a more creative profession, she set out to pursue a career in the field of marketing:
“[A new career] needed to be something that incorporated my core competencies and the knowledge and experience I already had, plus something that I was excited to do every day. My brain has always been creative, and so I knew that that was the kind of a career path I was going to go towards”
Though her accounting background provided her with a solid foundation, she followed her creative calling and decided to pursue her Marketing Communications certificated at BCIT and landed a job in media. After several years of working at PostMedia (The Vancouver Sun and The Province) as well as Rogers Communications in Toronto for the publishing division, she realized that the media landscape was changing fast:
“I knew that I needed to reinvent myself and move from traditional marketing to digital marketing and I particularly enjoyed the excitement of technology, so that was kind of where I thought, ‘I'm going to combine my interests.’ I realized that in order to do so successfully, I needed to go back to school to upgrade my skills and learn more about technology.”
With this in mind, Chanelle pursued the MOT program, which helped her leverage her career to where it is today:
“An MBA gives you the credibility, but specializing in technology gives you that much more of a perspective, credibility, and confidence, whether you're a consultant or a full time executive. I knew everything was going to be changing, every type of business will implement technology, and so it was important for me to have a very good basis.
The MOT program really diversified my knowledge and my skills around technology. It was an eye opening and enlightening experience touching on all the different types of technology and digging into case studies and different business models. I'm really grateful for that. I wouldn't have been exposed to it otherwise.”
During the MOT program, Chanelle utilized various resources offered by the CMC, such as the peer-to-peer mentorship, executive coaching, and the career workshops.
“The Canadian Women's Executive Network peer-to-peer mentoring was really helpful because I was able to connect with like-minded peers – who I now meet with once a month – to share ideas and exchange feedback. I also had executive coaching, which really helped to guide my career, and participated in workshops that helped me perfect my LinkedIn profile and refine job searching skills. Wendy Lawson, my career advisor, was really helpful there. She coached me, we had one-on-one practice interviews, and she provided honest feedback.”
As always, any career will come with its ups and downs. When asked about the challenges she faced during her career journey, Chanelle touched on the fact that Vancouver, specifically in the field of marketing, is highly competitive. In particular, she stressed, there are very few women at the management level in the technology industry makes it difficult to fit in:
“If you’re a woman in management, there are challenges with fitting in a male dominated culture. You do have to make more effort to align your interests to feel a sense of belonging. Women are especially underrepresented in the technology industry, with only 30-40% working at a management level and very little working as developers, at least this has been the case from my experience.”
While reflecting on her journey, Chanelle realized that she wished she could have known to follow her passion much earlier than she did:
“I knew that I wasn’t listening to my intuition and there were too many things that were just not clicking with me and then I thought, you know, I'm probably not in the right field. I was doing it mostly because my parents sort of guided me towards that.
I wish I could've known to have done marketing much earlier than I did. Although I have a very strong accounting background and knowledge that helped me with marketing budgets or projections, I feel like I missed out on the opportunity to work for various agencies earlier in my career.”
At the end of the conversation, Chanelle offered some words of wisdom for current students and job seekers:
“For job searching, it's really important to build and maintain your network of connections because while people are judged by their talent, skills and experience, they can also be trained. Often, it's the fit that is really important to a lot of companies because you're spending most of your days with each other and so leveraging your network is really important. Making the connections through different types of associations and meetups is important and then being diligent about following up with those new connections.
If you're seeking a promotion, make sure that you know what value you're adding to the company and you are aware of what you can contribute to the organization because it's easier for you to get a promotion when it's very clear to them what you can bring to the table.”