Another Code for Canada showcase already!?
This past Monday was the Code for Canada Showcase, where the Cohort 4 fellows presented their work with their government partners. Unlike previous years, they presented via video conferencing. (Recordings from the sessions are available as a playlist on the C4C YouTube channel).
It’s very strange to think about Cohort 4 wrapping up and presenting their final work. Our own showcase as Cohort 3 fellows was March 10th of this year, when we gathered in Toronto as a group. Behaviours had already started to change (there were elbow bumps rather than handshakes, and plentiful hand santizer). We took the train back from Toronto on Wednesday the 11th, and I immediately started working from home, and have been doing so ever since.
So like so much else in life, things seem a bit ‘stuck’ at that moment in time. Of course, things have changed — I finished my fellowship, started working at Transport, left Transport to start working at CRA…. but it still seems jarring to think that the Cohort 4 fellows have wrapped up, and the onboarding for Cohort 5 is underway.
The fellowship was a job, sure, but it is also more than that. I’ve been really happy to help promote the fellowship, assist in interviewing and speak at orientation (as well as recommend every new fellow get a copy of Cyd Harrell’s book about civic tech..which they did!)
I know as more fellows get embedded in the public sector, there’s a tremendous amount of knowledge and tips that can be shared — and of course, every fellow should have the ability to learn-by-doing (i.e. make their own mistakes) as well. But I’m eager to help where I can — I have found as I go further in my career, I really appreciate the opportunity to guide or mentor others. So I’m still active in the Code for Canada slack group, happy to point to resources or offer guidance where I can.
As part of the showcase, I was on a short panel about “Fellowship Alum: Where are they now?”. It was fun to sit on a panel with Evan (Cohort 1) and Fatima (Cohort 2) — even though we’ve only met a handful of times, there is definitely a kinship among former fellows. Although I’m still refining my answers for questions about the differences between the public and private sectors, and how best to find success post-fellowship, it’s a nice opportunity to reflect on what that 10-month experience meant to me and how it’s shaped my path.
When I was in university I was in a sorority, and we had an Alumni Advisory Committee. These were former members who had graduated and, well, ‘advised’ us. They were helpful, especially when it came to things like dealing with the mortgage, but sometimes we rolled our eyes at some of their antiquated views. I was already the oldest fellow in our cohort (…by a lot, I think…), and I don’t want to be this stodgy old alum who offers unwelcome advice. The best I can do is just be open to having people reach out, offer my time freely for those who are interested. I relish the opportunity to share my experiences with others if it’s helpful — not only in the areas of UX and product strategy, but also in entering the public sector.
But whether the new fellows reach out, or they forge their own paths, I know I’ll continue to be a proud supporter of my fellow fellows and the whole Code for Canada family. ♥️