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Lara Ghaddar - BEng '01, MEEI '10

Software Engineering, Master of Engineering Entrepreneurship & Innovation | Embracing Agility

Programming was her future, expected Lara Ghaddar, as she left McMaster with her Software Engineering degree in hand.

But after a few years of success in that field, she realized that she was interested in using a wider range of her skills on a day-to-day basis, and in combining her skill in technology with business and sales operations.

“I completed the Master of Engineering Entrepreneurship & Innovation program part-time, as I started transitioning my career from pure tech to a combination of tech and business,” says Ghaddar, who is now based in Hamilton as the national Channel Sales Lead for the mid-market segment at Microsoft.

“It provided me with a unique skill set, particularly as a woman, and has allowed me to move into leadership roles at high tech companies,” she adds.

Since completing the MEEI program, Ghaddar has held business and sales development roles with prestigious local companies, including Research in Motion. While working with Waterloo-based IMS, she was involved in launching one of Canada’s first User-Based Insurance Telematics programs.

Now with Microsoft, Ghaddar says she has the opportunity to have a Canada-wide impact as she drives new technology products through Microsoft’s partners working with mid-market companies.

The position demands a range of skills and keeps her on the leading edge of product development in areas as diverse as AI, cloud computing and advanced productivity tools.

“I’m always learning new products and seeing the evolution of technology while being in front of the market, convincing people why the new technology will be life-changing for them.”

Her perspective of her career and the importance of agility and adaptability is partially shaped by the book The Start-up of You, by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha.

“It speaks to the fact that being in one company for your career does not work anymore,” says Ghaddar. “Agility and the ability to continuously re-start yourself is critical.”