Meet the Judges: Adam Cole

Adam Cole, the vice-president of IT for startup Canadian Clinical Trial Network in Ontario, has always been an entrepreneur at heart, having also started his own company straight out of school. “I like the entrepreneurial mode of building a company from ground up,” said Cole.

While Cole’s past roles have dealt directly with IT, his current position at Canadian Clinical Trial Network, an organization funded by the federal government and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, is more about vendor management. The job that is “corralling, engaging and guiding partners” like the University of Waterloo and Research in Motion Ltd. is a bit of a transition for Cole. “It’s an evolution,” he said.

Career Précis

After graduating with a Bachelor of mathematics from the University of Waterloo and a Masters of business administration from the University of Fredericton, Cole founded a health-care technology consultancy, Optium Health Solutions, which he grew to 15 employees. He then moved on to assume positions in IT including with McKesson Canada as director of specialty technology solutions, all the while continuing to dabble in IT management consulting on the side.

Being an alumni of the University of Waterloo, Cole finds it gratifying to be able to build partnerships in his current role at the Canadian Clinical Trial Network. “I get to go back there and work with many of the professors that were there when I was there,” said Cole.

Early Leadership Exposure

Given Cole’s entrepreneurial start, he didn’t have the usual mentors of manager and peer. Instead, his mentors were often his clients. “My lesson here is everybody has got advice (to give), and in the context they’re giving it, it’s valuable,” said Cole.

But Cole does also recognize a couple of great leaders in Sam Schwartz, a lawyer who mentored him on business, and Stephen Ibaracki of the Canadian Information Processing Society (CIPS) who is “somebody you want to follow.”

Leadership Philosophy
Cole believes in maintaining good working relationships because he never knows when he might have to work with those same colleagues on future projects. “Your reputation stays with you forever. Stay true to your principles,” said Cole.

Winners for ComputerWorld Canada’s IT Leadership Awards will be announced at an awards gala on Oct. 26.

Follow Kathleen Lau on Twitter: @KathleenLau



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