#WednesdayswithMDBInsight – Meet Evelyn Paul
Today we’re sharing thoughts and ideas from Evelyn Paul, who started as an Intern and worked as a Research Analyst before recently becoming one of our Consultants.When did you join the MDB Insight team? And what surprised you the most about your first month with the firm?
EVELYN: I started as an intern in May 2017. I was interested in learning as much as I could, and the firm responded – I was given tasks and responsibilities from the get-go and it was amazing to see day to day transformations project-wise.
What’s the coolest task you’ve worked on in the last few months?
EVELYN: The final strategy/profile/report is always the coolest! Brainstorming and watching it all come together. Working on a project gets you invested. It is not just numbers or projections, it is a community, a people, an opportunity – there is nothing formulaic about it. Yes, we follow a set of tasks, but the outcome is always unique and embodies the community.
What are you reading right now that you would recommend?
EVELYN: I’m reading up on digital tech and how communities can adapt and transform - I’m currently reading The Digital Transformation Playbook- Rethink Your Business for the Digital Age by David Rogers.
If you could work in any community in Canada which one would it be and why?
EVELYN: I would love to do more economic recovery strategies – it’s super exciting and challenging to develop strategies for growth in a community that is stagnant. The way policy, planning and economic development intersects in those projects is always fascinating!
I was recently in Kelowna working on a strategy we’re doing for the Central Okanagan Economic Development Corporation. I spent three days in the community going ‘wow’! It is an awesome place to be, not just for the natural environment and recreation but because of the growing tech sector – definitely a place to watch.
Are there any particular trends you’re watching or developments in the field that you’re following closely?
EVELYN: I’ve been focusing on ‘Human Capital’ recently. I think demographic trends are important to monitor as they shape economic development and growth. Given the technology boom and the evolution of work, investment in human capital is imperative to accelerate job-creation, investment and growth. Communities are facing a decline in their working-age population. They need to think about how best to boost labour force participation, attract the working-age population, support the mature labour force and focus on retraining and retaining mechanisms. Supportive policies are important as well to open up innovation, capital, trade, labour flow and immigration.
What’s the most helpful or complimentary feedback you’ve received from one of our clients recently?
EVELYN: It was beyond awesome being in front of the Hamilton City Council when MDB Insight presented the Hamilton Creative Industries Sector Profile. I did not present, but I had to answer some questions based on the data. That to me meant our work was valued and it was both rewarding and humbling being in that environment. I also worked on the Town of Tillsonburg’s High Tech Manufacturing Cluster Model recently – the feedback from our client was great and made clear they were impressed with the work.
What do you think are the key issues facing economic development as a profession over the next few years? What might your role look like 10 years from now?
EVELYN: I think economic development is constantly evolving – as practitioners and experts in the field, it is important to have a forward-thinking mindset. How will our recommendations or action plans hold up in the short, medium and long term? It is always important to be up to date on trends and transformations in the economy to help our clients be best prepared for what’s coming. I think in 10 years data will be more available/accessible, with more interactive problem solving. Maybe I’ll have a robotic assistant!
To learn more about Evelyn and the other members of our team, go to https://mdbinsight.com/team-bios/
Our Wednesdays with MDB Insight blog posts (#WednesdayswithMDBInsight) feature the thinkers and doers on our team sharing ideas and talking about what’s important to us as professionals. We have very diverse backgrounds and a range of interests to share with you.