Meet Danielle: Code for Canada’s People and Culture Manager
April 20, 2022
Danielle began her career as an Olympic ski cross athlete and then moved into HR, working with different organizations to create positive and inclusive work environments. We asked her about her career so far and what she’s excited to do at C4C.
Tell us about yourself!
Human Resources is my second career — I used to ski cross and alpine on Canada’s national team. I represented Canada in a few World Championships, the World Cup, and the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. After an injury sidelined me in 2011, I started thinking about my next step post-Team Canada. Once I officially retired, I decided to go back to school.
At the time, my sister was finishing university and vented to me about a bad onboarding experience with a new company during the winter holidays. Because of the awkward timing, her team pretty much forgot about her and left her on her own. It made me realize that I didn’t want anyone else to have that experience, so I decided to go into HR.
I made my way into the nonprofit sector because I appreciate the opportunity to do work I care about while having an impact on society. In my spare time, I coach skiing to give back to the next generation of athletes.
What brought you to Code for Canada?
I believe in Code for Canada’s mission to improve people's lives. The big HR story in government was the failure of the Phoenix payroll system. I think the work C4C is doing can help ensure that situations like that don’t happen again. I’m proof that you don’t necessarily need to know how to code to be part of the civic tech movement, as long as you’re up for learning and finding new ways to make things better.
What is your vision for your role? What are you looking forward to working on?
I want to build on C4C’s existing people & culture foundation while thinking about what our organization will look like as we grow. In my two months here, we’ve already taken some big steps to make this a great place to work, like:
Establishing core working hours, so our team across Canada knows when they can reach each other
Updating our paid-time-off policy so everyone has the time they need to relax and recharge
Finding a new benefits provider, so our team gets the benefits they need from day one
What’s the best advice you’ve received that has helped you in your work?
Don't be afraid to ask questions. Especially in HR, you have to be honest if you don’t know the answer because it can impact people's livelihood. So always ask questions and do your research.
What’s something you love to do?
I've recently gotten back into sewing! Our household tradition is to make Christmas stockings with the whole family. We've made pyjama bags, and we're going to make more gift bags over the next year. I even got my daughter a tiny sewing machine so we could learn together.
If you could plan the perfect vacation, what would that look like?
No surprise, it would be a ski vacation. Japan is known for its world-famous powder, but I've also always loved racing in Switzerland — something about the mountains and small villages has always drawn me in.