From the US to Europe to the Ultimate Relocation: New Brunswick
Sometimes you have to try on a few places before you can find the ultimate place to build your career and life. That was certainly the case for Ryan Strynatka, VP of Product Marketing and Chief Adoption Officer at Salesforce Marketing Cloud (formerly Radian6). After living the bi-coastal experience in the United States, and some time spent in Europe, he and his wife Teodora ultimately chose New Brunswick to call home.
Opportunities NB (ONB) wanted to find out exactly why they made this great decision.
ONB: You have had a pretty diverse and interesting career thus far. What brought you to the decision to move to New Brunswick?
Strynatka: It’s a bit of a winding road, but an interesting one. After graduating from Western University with a degree in Geography, I really wanted to get into the job market, but at the time I didn’t really have all the necessary skills. As a result I decided that I would take a post grad diploma from the Centre of Geographic Sciences in Nova Scotia. This was my initial move out of London, Ontario, where I grew up.
Even with a graduate diploma, the Canadian job market was tight, and after looking around I was offered a job in New York with a startup, Urban Data Solutions; it was a great opportunity at the time. It grew quickly but then about a year into it, the startup fizzled.
From there, I was able to work on a LIDAR project in North Carolina and then was recruited to do a digital photogrammetry role in San Francisco. I lived there for over three years until the company moved its headquarters to Atlanta. I moved there for another three and a half years.
The best part about the move to Atlanta was meeting my future wife. Teodora, who is originally from Romania, was in the same situation as I was — on a temporary work visa. After deciding to get married, we wanted to get on the same passport and decided our best option to do so was in Canada. Being that Romania had just joined the EU, we could move to Europe where she could apply for permanent residency in Canada.
ONB: That is a winding road for sure. Was that the time when you moved to New Brunswick?
Strynatka: It was. When we made this decision to first move to Europe I was working for Leica Geosystems in the US. When I told my manager of our decision, I thought that I would be leaving the company and looking for a new job in Europe. Instead they enabled me to work for a newly acquired business they had purchased in Belgium. They were very supportive.
After working there for a while, however, I realized that there weren’t a lot of product management jobs in the geospatial field in Canada. I had to make a decision; did I want to stay in the industry or continue a career in product management?
ONB: Knowing what we know about where you ended up, it’s safe to say you chose product management.
Strynatka: You would be correct. I had a burgeoning interest in social media at the time. I had one of the first blogs in photogrammetry, and also started to look at things from a marketing and communications lens and how you could build community through social.
In early 2009 I joined LinkedIn and saw a product management job posting for Radian6. I have to confess that I didn’t know what Radian6 was, but after my due diligence I was impressed, and very interested in the job. So, I applied. I didn’t know anyone at Radian6; I didn’t know anyone in New Brunswick. After a lengthy and detailed interview process I was hired. Teodora and I moved to Fredericton in fall 2009.
ONB: This must be quite a change for your wife. How does she like New Brunswick?
Strynatka: She loves it here. I have to confess that I was a little concerned the first week we moved here. We had been staying with my family in Ontario first and bought a car and drove here. It was a case of moving somewhere sight unseen. We spent our first night here in a hotel. When we woke up there was snow on the ground. That was October! Naturally this is not the norm for NB, but it was still a shock for both of us.
We’ve really come to love it here; it’s our home now. It is the antithesis of the big metropolitan city. I would characterize the people here as being the friendliest of any place I have ever lived. The size and scale are just right. It is large enough that you have a lot do and you don’t get bored, but it is small enough that you don’t have to worry about massive freeways and long commutes. It’s easy to get just about anywhere.
I have to admit that prior to living here we would have considered ourselves urbanites. Never in our wildest dreams did we believe that we would become “outdoorsy”, but we are. At the end of the workday we can venture just 20 minutes outside the city and be hiking. It is wonderful.
ONB: You travel a lot for work. Has that ever caused you to rethink where you live?
Strynatka: It has. A few times I have thought about moving to Toronto since I was travelling so much, and thought that would make things easier. Flights at 5am will do that to you. However, the reality of removing one leg of a trip would also mean that we would be giving up so much more. Our quality of life would change significantly, and not for the better.
Even if you remove the additional costs that you would incur and ignore those, we just wouldn’t have the same things we have here: friendly people, a safe and clean environment only a short distance away from so many natural wonders. After living in big metropolitan areas, I know what I have here and value it.
ONB: Your role with Salesforce (and Radian6 before the acquisition) has evolved. You are now the Chief Adoption Officer. What does that mean?
Strynatka: I focus on potential friction points for the customer and on specifically removing those friction points.
It is really one part product management and one part adoption.
ONB: Finally, what is it about New Brunswick that really sets us apart from other places?
Strynatka: In a word — diversity.
And, when I say diversity, I mean that in a multifaceted way.
1. Location – we are just one hour from the ocean.
2. Landscape – you don’t have to go far in NB to see a diverse and rich difference in our landscape. Each year we discover more of the beautiful coastline, rich interior of the province, and learn more about what wonderful treats there are in the province.
3. Pristine and peaceful – I can say that New Brunswick really is a hidden gem. You can go hiking and move at your own pace rather than that of a crowd. You can go kayaking or so many other activities and be alone to enjoy your surroundings and the peace of it all. You can actually enjoy the space and nature. This is not something you can do in a lot of places.
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