Kaaren Whitney-Vernon - CEO at shift2

Kaaren Whitney-Vernon

CEO at shift2

I was born/grew up: Hong Kong / Toronto, Ontario Canada

I now live in: Toronto

I completed my training/education at: University of Toronto

Describe what you do at work.

My main role is to get clients and brands to rethink the way they advertise to young people. I have to understand numbers and figures so that I can read research papers and plan budgets. I live on my computer. We are trying to get clients to think more like a YouTuber and create on going video content through story telling.

When I was a student I enjoyed:

How does your job affect people's lives?

The content we create entertains people. We are also changing the way that brands advertise to people so its less about pushing a product and more of a two way communication between the brand and the person. We also employee people which allows them to raise a family and work in a fun environment.

What motivates you in your career?

I like to run my own business and I always think how can I make something different and better. I also like creating content that people will watch or read. I never do the same thing twice so I do not get bored or restless. I also meet amazing people and get to travel across North America. I also want to push myself to learn and can do this when it is my own company.

When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:

Describe your career path to this career.

I started in advertising and interned with a small ad agency for a summer in Los Angeles. Moved back to Toronto and got a job in media buying and planning because my cousin knew the owner not because I thought this is what I wanted to do. You have to use a lot of math in this line of work which at first I didn't think I could do or remember since I had not taken math in university. After 2 years I got approached by the head of sales at a radio station who asked if I wanted to sell radio air time. This changed everything for me as I learnt all about building client relationships and only got paid when I sold something. This taught me the value of hard work and how to bring in money which is one of the most important thing in any business. If you don't have money you can't have a company.

What activities do you like to do outside of work?

I have volunteered my whole life. I also like to walk and do yoga and hang with my friends.

What advice or encouragement would you give others seeking a similar career?

Everything is changing and with big change comes opportunity. Tech has allowed a small company to compete with a big company if you have an idea.

CurioCity Careers

We hope you enjoyed learning about this great STEM career! The information in this career profile was provided by this individual especially for CurioCity. We hope it helped give you a sense of what this type of job is really like.

Let’s Talk Science is pleased to provide you with this information as you explore future career options. Many careers require a background in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Even jobs that don’t use specific STEM concepts on a day-to-day basis benefit from the skills gained through a study of STEM. People with a STEM background are very much in demand by employers across all career sectors. If you would like to learn about more careers that have a STEM connection, visit http://www.explorecuriocity.org/careers.

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