June 24, 2021 – North American cities are increasingly important hubs for artificial intelligence (AI) research. The demand for AI specialists focused on data and machine learning is growing exponentially internationally and the search for top talent is increasing, according to Montreal-based Pender & Howe Executive Search. Montreal ranks No. 1 among 20 major cities in Canada and the U.S. for the quality of its artificial intelligence industry based on a comparative analysis by fDi Benchmark from the Financial Times, according to Céline Chabée, a principal at the search firm. World leaders, including Google, Microsoft and Facebook, opened AI research labs in Montréal in the last few years.

Ms. Chabée said that finding senior leaders for AI companies can be challenging. “Sourcing and connecting with these experts can be difficult and inviting them to explore options through the interview process can be even harder,” she noted. The best way to ascertain a candidate’s suitability for an AI role is to understand the industry intimately and the role to be filled. Understanding leading organizations and early sectoral trends within the pharmaceutical, clinical research, digital and medical health and pharmacology sectors, for example, can be critical to finding the best candidate, she said.

“Our search strategy, velocity and nimbleness keeps us competitive and sharp and all of these things are required so that we stay at the forefront of AI as a strong and diligent recruitment expert,” said Ms. Chabée. “AI will impact every job, in every industry and every country globally. North America is not an exception. Some studies emphasize how AI will create more jobs or just remove tasks within jobs. Yet despite these realities, we are beginning to accept our new AI world and adopt these technologies as we see the potential new opportunities helping each other get work done faster and more efficient than ever before,” she said.

“We are asked to find ideally hybrid talent who can maximize their skill-sets by understanding the reality of specific sectors,” she said. “How much the profile required is focusing on leveraging artificial intelligence, healthcare expertise or front-line medical knowledge to address real-life challenges on the in specifics sectors? Our challenges are to highlight the most unmet needs in line with market reality. Like ‘valuable AI is only as good as the insight it gives,’ we partner with our client to evaluate what is the essential talent and how to scout it in a tense and evolving market,” she added.

Leadership Solutions

Pender & Howe Executive Search is a boutique executive search firm with offices in Toronto, Montreal, New York, Boston, Edmonton, and Vancouver. The firm has more than 30 years of combined experience in leadership advisory and executive search. Pender & Howe focuses on collaborating with governing boards and CEOs in identifying world class executive leaders. It provides leadership solutions that encompass venture capital firms, private equity, new technologies, emerging sectors, as well as board advisory positions. Its clients range from pre-seed start-ups and VC-backed disrupters to global public companies. Specialties include executive search, CEO search, leadership strategy, succession planning, executive assessment, talent management, executive recruiting, culture transformation, board services and digital transformation.

LogiNext Partners with Pender & Howe in U.S. Expansion

Pender & Howe Executive Search has recruited the AVP for business development for LogiNext as the company expands its operations in the U.S. LogiNext is among the fastest growing SaaS companies providing solutions to manage and optimize logistics and field service operations. The company’s flagship products are its cloud-based Last-Mile Delivery and Route Optimization software and its Field Service and Field Workforce Optimization software. LogiNext serves large enterprises having frequent movements of shipments, vehicles, movable assets, delivery associates, field technicians, repair workers and sales personnel.

Ms. Chabée leads Pender & Howe’s North American scientific, AI and medical/pharmaceutical business division. Previously, she built and led the scientific practice for Lock Search Group, Pender & Howe’s sister firm.

Ms. Chabée recently sat down with Hunt Scanlon Media to examine how AI has changed the workplace and how it can be a challenge to recruit senior executives in this fast-growing sector. Following is an excerpt from that discussion.

Céline Chabée

Céline, can you provide an overview of Pender and Howe’s recruiting expertise in the burgeoning area of AI and machine learning?

Pender & Howe is a boutique retained executive search firm specializing in collaborating with governing boards and CEOs to identify and attract world-class leaders to join revolutionary organizations across North America. Our leadership solutions are fully tailored to meet the specific needs of our clients within various sectors and business areas including the AI arena. We assist in building a strategic plan to ensure our client’s executive leadership team is at its strongest.

When searching for candidates within the AI vertical, what experiences are you seeking or seeing in most demand?

In mainline roles, we often help our clients find the right balance between excellence in leadership and solid expertise in deep learning or machine learning, and a comprehensive knowledge of global company goals (risk stratification, demand prediction, care delivery, patient finding, diagnostic investigation (imaging+++), enhancing treatment, drug development). Beyond sourcing and attracting the right talent, our consultative approach allows us to partner with the CEOs of these growing companies to offer them our advisory services to help develop competitively within their business area.

“There is a critical need for executive leaders with experience in managing and leading AI and machine learning organizations.”

Can you share some recent or on-going searches the firm has handled? What makes these searches unique?

We treat every search as unique – hence the boutique nature of our agency. We have worked with a wide variety of companies in the AI space across several sectors to source top talent. Some examples include: Aifred Health, a growing biotech firm that provides clinical decision support in mental healthcare, powered by AI. They are an IBM Watson AI XPRIZE semi-finalist team, headquartered in Montreal. A second example is Optina Diagnostics which specializes in the development of technology for early, non-invasive detection of disease via retinal deep phenotyping. With a primary focus on the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, Optina addresses the pressing need of millions of patients worldwide suffering from memory loss.

Original: The Challenge of Finding Top AI Leaders

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media