“…it has been especially rewarding for me to be able to suggest tools and advice a diverse group of businesses such as Indigenous businesses, women-led businesses and businesses led by people from other marginalized groups on how to do business with the Government of Canada.”
Rona Datta, MBA(L), Class of 2021
Rona completed her MBA- Leadership degree from Dalhousie University in 2021. She brings a diverse work experience acquired through working in different industries starting from consumer-packaged goods to health care to university education and now she has recently joined Public Services and Procurement Canada.
Rona lives in Halifax with her husband and their little one. Her passion for travelling can be best described by the German word ‘Fernweh’ which translates to an innate desire to see far-flung places. She is a shutterbug who loves taking and editing pictures, a gastronome who is always ready for a culinary adventure, and a bookworm who currently has ‘Klara and the Sun’ on her bedside table.
We would be interested in hearing about your plans/goals now that you are an MBA Alumna.
One of the acronyms I came across during my MBA program, which really resonated with me was ‘VUCA’ which stands for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity. I think this term embodies the multifaceted challenges faced by us and truly captures the essence of the time we are going through today. When I was in the final leg of my MBA journey, the question that larked in my mind often was how to utilize my acquired knowledge and heuristics to solve some of the puzzles faced by our society.
Whether fighting climate change, or reviving the economy upended by the pandemic or reducing barriers to create a level playing field for people from all backgrounds and different walks of life, the role and reach of government is undeniable in co-creating positive changes in the society in collaboration with other partners. The crystallization of this thought led me to seek employment opportunities with the federal government and recently I have been able to change the trajectory of my career path. In fact, the beginning of my new career path serendipitously overlapped with the end of my MBA journey, which certainly may look like a cinematic coincidence!
Each year the Government of Canada spends billions of dollars through awarding thousands of contracts. This represents a huge potential market for businesses. In my new role, at Procurement Assistance Canada (PAC) Atlantic, under Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC), I am part of a team geared towards encouraging and helping smaller and diverse businesses sell their goods and services to the Government of Canada. Our focus is to inform, assist and engage with Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), to help reduce barriers often faced by these businesses, to ensure openness and fairness in the federal procurement process and to help increase supplier diversity. Another exciting area for me has been connecting with innovation hubs, entrepreneurial and innovative companies to create awareness about the IDEaS program, through which they can help solve some of the challenges identified by the Department of National Defence and get funding to advance their research or accelerate the development of their concepts or products.
Being an immigrant, and a woman of colour, I can relate to some of the barriers often people from under-represented sections of the society have to cross in order to stride on the path of making progress. Thus, it has been especially rewarding for me to be able to suggest tools and advice a diverse group of businesses such as Indigenous businesses, women-led businesses and businesses led by people from other marginalized groups, on how to do business with the Government of Canada.
As SMEs play such an integral part in our economy, being able to steer them in the right direction, evokes a sense of making a purposeful contribution to the society for me. After all, when shrouded by VUCA, we all need to do our part in lifting each other up. As famously quoted by Robert Ingersoll- “We rise by lifting others.”
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