Introducing Courtney Bowen, Member of Toronto Global’s Diversity and Inclusion Task Force
Courtney Bowen is an Advisor on Toronto Global’s Investment Attraction (IA) team focusing on the UK, Ireland and Nordic markets. Courtney started her journey at Toronto Global in January of 2020, which was just 6 weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic halted in-person office attendance. Courtney has been primarily working remotely for the past 2 years and is excited to be returning to the office more recently.
In her role, Courtney has had the opportunity to learn about a variety of nuanced industries while helping European companies expand to the Toronto Region. “When I first started, I learned a lot about recycling transformer oil in Canada for a client. Because of my role, I learned about it for two weeks and became fairly knowledgeable,” she said.
The most common questions clients have for Courtney are regarding the overall market environment in Canada and the Toronto Region. “Our clients aren’t from here. In many cases, they have never been to Toronto before, let alone Canada. We fill in the gaps, including what it’s like to be here, both on the business and personal levels,” she said.
Courtney enjoys connecting clients with talent in the region, as many Canadians appreciate the opportunity for travel when working with European businesses. “Companies really enjoy information on how to best set yourself apart when hiring,” she said.
Remote work has not dampened Courtney’s connection with clients. “I liked that the pandemic stripped away the typical business mentality. When people are in their home and they are surrounded by pets and family, it really opens that human connection,” she said.
Courtney found ways to take care of her mental wellbeing in a remote workplace and used the unique situation as a steppingstone toward better mental health. “For the first time, I sat back and let myself acknowledge how I was feeling in general,” she said. “Life was always so busy, just one thing after another, but I never took the time to think about what I needed.”
Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Culture
As a member of Toronto Global’s Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, equity is very important to Courtney. “To me, it means that everyone from any walk of life, has the opportunity to grow and better themselves and to be what they’ve always dreamed of being. Whether that’s the CEO of a company or a real estate agent, everyone should have the opportunity to accomplish that and be supported in achieving their goal,” she said.
Courtney led the recent partnership between Toronto Global and Women in IT Summit and Awards Canada, a series of awards that recognize and celebrate women, allies, and organisations for their contribution to the technology industry. Awards like this are designed to promote equal representation within the tech industry, a sector that has been historically male-dominated.
As an IA Advisor, Courtney often bridges connections between people of differing cultures, including connections between herself and clients. “I don’t think of it as meeting someone who is different from me but rather as making a new human connection, because that’s what we are first and foremost. It’s what we all have in common, we are human. And then everything else, whether its an accent, the colour of your skin, culture, heritage, or physical appearance, is just what makes a person special,” she said.
Courtney was born and raised in Ottawa and moved to the Toronto Region to access opportunities here. Courtney now resides in Downtown Toronto, which she fell in love with on her Grade 10 trip to the University of Toronto St. George Campus for a provincial track meet.
“We came to Toronto to run the U of T track, which is close to where I live now. I remember running, having the best race, then walking at Yonge and Bloor and seeing the people so full of life, on the path to whatever they wanted to accomplish. I called my mom and told her, ‘I’m going to live here when I grow older,’” she said.
Courtney has transformed her love for track into a family tradition. Each Olympics, Courtney’s family holds an Olympic games day, complete with a scoreboard and sporting activities. Courtney’s family also has an annual tradition of hosting a seafood boil at the start of each summer.
Although the pandemic made it harder to honour these traditions, Courtney was able to connect with her culture in different ways. “I started taking care of my hair myself – no more straightener, no more salons,” she said. Learning how to cornrow was a unique way of embracing her natural heritage.
Courtney looks forward to continuing to make strong human connections with Toronto Global. Courtney believes that equity, diversity, and inclusion is about every person having the same opportunity to follow their ambitions, and her favourite quote reflects that:
“I’m a master of my fate. I’m a captain of my soul.”
– William Ernest Henry