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By Christian Nelissen
• Dec. 20, 2018
Senior Vice President, Head of Enterprise Data and Analytics

By Christian Nelissen
Senior Vice President, Head of Enterprise Data and Analytics

From mobile communications to financial technology to artificial intelligence, Canada has a rich history of being a world leader in technology innovation.

But if Canada and Canadian organizations are to remain competitive on the international stage in the new digital economy, our country must also become known as a global leader in data and analytics talent.

And we're not just talking about data scientists, but also a new generation of business professionals and future executives who take a data-driven approach to solving the complex challenges facing this country and the world.

We exist in a new digital reality where customers are demanding increasingly sophisticated and personalized experiences, while at the same time expecting organizations to safeguard their data and be transparent about how that data is used.

As more and more of our lives and our daily interactions are digitized, the need for organizations in both the public and private sectors to capture that data seamlessly, safeguard it responsibly, and use it ethically and effectively grows every day. These are universal challenges that countries around the world are wrestling with and making investments in at all levels of business and government.

Data-first leaders will be critical to ensuring Canadian competitiveness across industries, from finance and banking, to retail, manufacturing, e-commerce, mining, and construction.

In early October, TD announced $4-million in new funding for the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management to create the TD Management Data & Analytics Lab. This state-of-the-art facility will be part of the school's efforts to attract and develop top data and analytics leadership talent from around the world.

The new Lab will focus on student development and engagement in data and analytics, including practical applications of data and analytics theory in the form of ongoing workshops, hackathons and guest speakers.

The focus will be on fostering academic collaboration and creating a space that allows for research, ideation, innovation, and elevating the profession of data and analytics. This new contribution builds on TD's financial support last year of the creation of The Rotman Financial Innovation Hub in Advanced Analytics (Rotman FinHub), a venture that has also provided students with the opportunity to work with TD on real-world customer solutions.

The world is changing. Digital information and our ability to understand and analyze that data has the power to shape the future of economies and governments around the world. To make the most of these changes, we need leadership that lives and breathes data, understanding it an implicit level, to enable the best possible decision-making.

To achieve this goal, we must provide the next generation of talent with the tools they need to become visionaries, who can see not only what's possible, but also what we might not have even thought of yet.

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