Written by: Ahmed Minhas
With an increasing number of organizations undergoing digital transformation, the next big challenge is not just a “technology” challenge, it’s also a “people” challenge, due to a shortage of skilled workers and new graduates entering the workforce. This shortage has driven a competitive race for talent, and many organizations have had to reimagine their traditional hiring practices and search for a way to stand out from the competition.
Pivotree, a leading provider of frictionless commerce solutions, is using corporate philanthropy to identify and engage bright young talent. By partnering with Carleton, Pivotree is helping students access learning pathways that prepare them for their future careers and build a workforce that can thrive in a rapidly changing digital landscape.
Sharing a vision with Carleton to create an inclusive future digital economy, Pivotree (formerly Thinkwrap Commerce) bestowed a generous endowment to create the Pivotree Scholarship in Computer Science five years ago. The scholarship is awarded annually to outstanding full-time students in the Bachelor of Computer Science program who exhibit a strong commitment to innovation and entrepreneurship. To date, the scholarship has been awarded to nine students.
In addition to providing financial assistance and opportunity for Carleton students, the annual scholarship solidifies Pivotree’s commitment to corporate social responsibility while aligning with their goal to create a world where commerce is truly frictionless: leveraging technology to create a seamless retail experience. Through corporate philanthropy at Carleton, Pivotree can also connect with future talent.
“As a Carleton alum, establishing the Pivotree scholarship was important to me. We wanted to honour the best and brightest computer science students and provide them with future opportunities,” said Joel Farquhar, VP of Engineering, Commerce, Pivotree.
“We also found that students were getting hired before they graduated. This scholarship was a unique way to get early access to top talent and show them that Pivotree is a diverse, inclusive and great place to work, all the while supporting students in their studies.”
Since establishing the scholarship, Pivotree and Carleton have been creating a positive and lasting impact on students and the IT workforce in Ottawa through education – equipping young, talented computer science students with the skills and experience to meet industry needs.
Through the partnership, students are able to supplement their classroom learning with networking and engagement opportunities with industry leadership. At the same time, Pivotree can build meaningful connections with their future workforce. On a recent tour of the Pivotree Ottawa office, the 2022-2023 student recipients, Eren and Sam, had the invaluable experience of meeting three Pivotree leaders who are also Carleton alumni.
Left to right: Kai Cheng, Senior Software Engineer; Eren, fourth-year Computer Science student specializing in artificial intelligence and machine learning; Joel Farquhar, VP of Engineering, Commerce; Sam, third-year Computer Science student specializing in computer and internet security; Jason Cawthray, Senior Solution Architect.
In his final year of studies at Carleton, Eren, a teaching assistant and past director of cuHacking, Ottawa’s largest hackathon, was excited to visit the Pivotree office.
“It was a great experience visiting the Pivotree space and meeting with Joel, Kai, Jason and the team. It was a great opportunity to meet with senior leaders and get a genuine sense of the culture at the company. I’m grateful to Pivotree for enhancing my student experience while at Carleton and for this valuable contribution to my career after graduation,” said Eren.
Sam, in their third year in computer science with a specialization in computer and internet security, is grateful for the scholarship as it allows them to focus on their studies.
“I am honoured to be selected as a recipient of the Pivotree Scholarship in Computer Science for the 2022-23 academic year. My goal is to work in defensive security — seeking out and fixing vulnerabilities in software before they can be used by malicious actors. Thanks to [this] generous scholarship, I have time to pursue my studies here at Carleton as well as hone my skills with various personal projects,” said Sam.
Philanthropy through higher education is also a great way for corporate donors to foster a diverse future workforce by identifying and supporting opportunities that reduce barriers for talent from equity-seeking backgrounds.
“Our goal now is to grow the scholarship and honour our commitment to diversity and inclusion,” said Farquhar.
By integrating equity as a core tenet of the scholarship, Pivotree has found a unique way to stand out from the competition to secure talent and ensure that students from all economic and social backgrounds have the time and space to not only develop their skills, but to also find and fulfill their purpose.
Pivotree’s vision to build frictionless commerce is dependent on digital transformation, and by extension, a digitally savvy future workforce. Through their corporate philanthropic partnership with Carleton, Pivotree will continue to equip students to thrive in the digital economy while upholding their value of standing for good: embracing diversity, caring for people and being a socially responsible global citizen.
To learn more about how your company can leverage a talent acquisition strategy through philanthropy at Carleton, contact Mistalyn Seguin, Senior Corporate Relations Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can work with you to develop unique opportunities to meet with students and show them why you’re an employer of choice.
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