How attending Elevate 2018 advanced my career

When Chanèle McFarlane attended Elevate in 2018, she had no idea that her career was about to change. We sat down with Chanèle to talk about her experience, career growth, and the qualities that make an innovative workplace.

Elevate Main Stage | Jennifer R. Jackson, President of Capital One Canada | Photo by //

Tell us about your experience at Elevate 2018. Which moment had the greatest impact on you?
I attended Elevate for the first time in 2018 so I had no idea what to expect. I knew that I had a growing interest in the tech industry but I wasn’t exactly sure where I’d fit in. It just so happened that I attended on the day that Jennifer Jackson, the President of Capital One Canada, was speaking. My experience of seeing her speak at Elevate 2018 completely changed the vision I had for my career path as I was actually an entrepreneur prior to joining Capital One. However, hearing Jennifer’s story and simply witnessing her presence at Elevate really spoke to me as a woman of colour, entrepreneur and former corporate professional and that encouraged me to apply to Capital One. The rest, as they say, is history!

What do innovative workplaces need to do to attract top talent?
I believe that the most innovative workplaces don’t just think about how they can passively attract talent but instead consider how they can meet the talent where they are and become a part of their story. Having a clear understanding of who they’re looking to attract but also how they think, where they spend their time and what they look for in an employer becomes extremely important. Using a user experience mindset, you’re able to build out personas, understand the entire candidate journey (especially their pain points) and then build a strategy around how to best tell your organization’s story at each touchpoint.

How can leadership positively shape the culture of an organization?
If leadership is committed to bringing the best versions of themselves to work every day, in turn, that encourages everyone else to do the same and it fosters a warm and inclusive company culture. To me, showing up as the best version of yourself means to feel comfortable expressing who you are, where you’re from and what matters most to you. Additionally, you’re open to having authentic conversations about your personal and professional challenges to help others understand your perspectives while also taking the time to truly understand the people around you.

What inspires you about your workplace?
I continue to be extremely inspired by Capital One’s commitment to mentorship and networking. From my very first day, my manager, Erika, provided me with an on-boarding plan she had created for me which included a list of people across the company to set up meet and greets with. I was also partnered with a buddy (Hey, Steph!) and was encouraged to continue networking within the company each and every day. Based on my personal experience, I can say that everyone I’ve encountered since I’ve started here has been so willing to take the time to answer any questions, provide guidance and also genuinely interested in getting to know who I am and what’s important to me. What I’ve also really appreciated is that this culture of mentorship extends across all the regions Capital One has offices in. It doesn’t matter if I’m chatting with a colleague in our head office in Richmond, Virginia or someone in our Toronto office, everyone is just so kind and generous with their time and it has made my time here so far extremely positive.

What are you looking forward to for Elevate 2019?
Each year, Toronto’s tech community continues to grow exponentially and I’m excited for another opportunity for us to come together, celebrate our achievements and hear from some of the incredible leaders in the space. I also have to be really honest and say that it’s pretty cool to think that last year, I was at Elevate as an attendee. A year later, I’ll be involved as a Capital One associate and as part of my role, I get to work on how we show up at Elevate and tell our story as an organization. I’m really looking forward to it!

Chanèle McFarlane is a Senior Associate, Employer Brand at Capital One Canada. She has been recognized as one of the Top 100 Black Women to Watch in Canada and, most recently, one of the Top 25 Women of Influence for her community work. Read Chanèle’s initial piece about her Elevate 2018  and Capital One experience on LinkedIn

2019-02-12T11:42:53-04:00By |