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Small Business Canada

Faye Pang, Canada Country Manager, Xero

A business to make the small-scale businesses even more beautiful? Well, that’s what Xero aims to achieve and we landed the amazing shot at interviewing Faye Pang, who is Xero’s Country Manager for Canada. In this segment, Pang gives us an insight into her own journey in the Canadian technology industry and what has she learned over the span of her career. She also touches upon the various steps that small-business owners can take to make an impact on their individual ventures.

Faye Pang is the Canada Country Manager for Xero, the global small business platform with more than 2.7 million subscribers worldwide that are dedicated to making business beautiful. Faye brings nearly 15 years of experience building businesses from the ground up. Prior to joining Xero, Faye helped launch Uber Freight into the Canadian market. She also helped launch the Uber Eats app in Toronto in December 2015, scaling the business from 80 restaurants on launch day to 20,000 partners by the end of her tenure.

As a leader, Faye prioritizes growth above all else, and practices authenticity, transparency, and empathy in the way she manages her team. She strongly believes that we all have a set of values that we have to live by at all times (rather than keeping our work and personal lives separate), and keeps this consideration top-of-mind when championing her team’s growth, both personally and professionally. She is passionate about creating systems that lift women up while tackling the hierarchical barriers that have disproportionately affected women in the workplace.

How did you become involved in the Canadian technology industry? What have you learned, and how have things changed for you?

Getting involved in tech was not something I had deliberately planned on. I actually started my career in consumer packaged goods, but I always had an entrepreneurial streak in me. That led me to tech quite naturally, because I could see how much faster technology companies were moving.

I was lucky to be a member of the original team that launched Uber Eats in Toronto, and I also helped scale Uber Freight into the Canadian market. That experience certainly satisfied my desire to work in a fast-moving industry—I would compare it to climbing aboard a rocket ship without truly knowing the destination! It made me excited to get out of bed every morning, which is also how my current role at Xero makes me feel.

One of the most important things I have learned over my career is that I am happiest when I’m working for a company whose values reflect my own. It took me a few years to get to the point in my career where I felt established enough to stand up and say,

“I want to work for an organization that aligns with my values”, but it’s been a game-changer for how I view my work.

Business transformation and how cloud accounting can help are key topics. What do the business leaders you talk to think about these concepts?

These are two topics that really go hand-in-hand, especially now. If you want to see countless examples of business transformation, just take a look at the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had.

Business leaders tell me that one of the biggest transformations they’ve seen is an unprecedented acceleration in the adoption of digital technologies.

That’s a pretty broad topic, and it includes everything from making a website to the technology needed to support a remote workforce, to the digital infrastructure required to run a successful e-commerce business. The same business owners who have been the quickest to adapt to this changing landscape are also the ones who are most likely to embrace a cloud-based accounting platform like Xero.

Can you tell us about Xero’s momentum in Canada over the last couple of years?

We’ve seen some incredible growth in the Canadian market, but we’re really just getting started.

Our Toronto office is also Xero’s North American hub for product development and technology innovation which is really exciting for the Toronto tech ecosystem.

We’re working on some exciting projects involving artificial intelligence and machine learning—but we’re also all about maintaining a very real human connection with our customers. That takes great people, and we’re always looking for new Xeros!

What is required of small business owners to create high-impact results during these challenging times?

I’ve been so impressed by the adaptability and flexibility of small business owners and their teams during the last year and a half. As tough as it’s been to watch the ups and downs, it’s given me so much hope to see the incredible resilience of Canadian small businesses. The biggest skills we’ve seen used are flexibility and creativity. From a purely practical standpoint, I can’t stress enough the importance of financial literacy, and of having a good accountant or trusted adviser on your team to help you navigate things like government support programs and access to capital.

Any advice on creating systems that empower women, while tackling the hierarchical barriers that have disproportionately affected women in the workplace?

I think one of the most important ways that organizations can promote and encourage female participation, especially at the senior level, is to support working moms. I’m speaking from personal experience—when Xero gave me the formal offer to join their team, I was due to give birth in a week, and I immediately went on parental leave. I’m passionate about issues like parental leave—and compassionate leave for employees who have suffered miscarriages—because they’re about making a more inclusive workplace. It all comes down, once again, to values, and creating a corporate culture that embodies those. That’s not just good for women; it makes things better for everyone.

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