Where does a world traveler rest their head in between trips? Surely it’s in a place that’s culturally enriched, bustling with activities, and has a scenic landscape with endless opportunities to explore. A place that if you found yourself getting rooted, you wouldn’t break the bank doing so (and you’d still be able to save $$$ for your vacation fund). While it may come as a surprise to some, Ottawa is that place. But don’t just take my word for it.
Kaushi Bandara left Germany and her academic career in astronomy and pursued a career at Klipfolio, an Ottawa-based company that offers dashboard services for businesses. Kaushi is now a ninja by day and part-time astronomer by night (there’s a sentence I never thought I’d write!). Here’s what she had to say about living and working in the 613:
So you’re a Professional Services Ninja. That’s the coolest job title I’ve ever heard. What do you do (besides being a master infiltrator)?
One of the strongest assets of Klipfolio is the ability to build highly customized dashboards, which help businesses visually understand a wide range of key performance indicators (KPIs). These KPIs can be pulled from Google Analytics, Google AdWords, social media accounts, websites, etc… However, this high level of customizability means that some users can experience a steep learning curve. Klipfolio’s Ninja Services are designed for customers who are interested in receiving one-on-one dashboard building training and assistance. I work closely with our customers to help them get over the initial learning curve and become successful in building dashboards.
How does Klipfolio support your role?
The work environment at Klipfolio is a highly collaborative one, so you’re never alone in your role. The Klipfolio ninjas work very closely with the support and customer success teams to provide accurate and efficient help to our customers. I also appreciate that training for professional advancement is highly encouraged, which at the moment, I am taking advantage of! Last but not least, I very much appreciate that work-life balance is highly valued… and that we have a dog-friendly office!
Speaking about your work-life balance, what’s the one thing you look forward to doing on evenings and weekends?
As I’m a relative newcomer to Ottawa, most of the things that I look forward to involves getting to know this city and its surrounding areas, which can vary quite a bit between seasons. In the summer, I love hiking and kayaking in the Gatineau Park and going for bike rides or runs along the Capital Pathway by the Ottawa River. I live in Mechanicsville, so I’m only a five-minute walk away from the water. I also look forward to outdoor food festivals throughout the summer. I experienced Chinatown’s Night Market for the first time last year and I can’t wait for it to return again with more delicious food! In the winter, I love going to various events hosted by the city such as Winterlude and the Christmas Lights Across Canada as much as possible. One thing that doesn’t change is that I always look forward to hanging out with my husband and cat every day – they’re both hilarious!
Now that you’ve spent some time here, what’s surprised you about living and working in Ottawa?
The best surprise about working in Ottawa has been finding my niche in an exceptional work environment. I’ve been working at Klipfolio for just over a year and I’ve never looked back on my decision to leave my career in academia. Prior to my move, I didn’t know much about the high-tech sector of Ottawa, both current and historical, but I’m learning more through Klipfolio and various meet-ups. The best surprise about living in Ottawa has been observing the increase in cycling culture – especially in comparison to the previous times I visited as a tourist, which was a while back.
What would you say to someone who is thinking about moving to Ottawa?
Embrace winter because we get a lot of it! Some of the best events hosted by the City of Ottawa happen in the winter. I’ve been very lucky to have lived in multiple countries (Sri Lanka, Canada, Scotland, USA, and Germany), so my other piece of advice is a general one from years of experience in moving. Be a tourist in your own city as much as possible, don’t wait until you have out-of-town guests to experience what your city has to offer. We are trying to balance work and life in a hectic world and in the midst of the daily grind, it’s easy to fall into the trap of “local fatigue.” I love trying out free activities that are offered by the city I live in: visit museums, such as the Canadian Museum of Nature, that have free admission, skate the Rideau Canal as much as possible, reward yourself with a Beavertail, go for a hike in the various green spaces around the city… The list goes on!