Transcript: Meegan Scott, Interviews Dorinda So, Conference Director

Post-Conference Interview Dorinda So

Meegan Scott    October 31, 2018

Dorinda So Research Director at the Institute of Competitiveness and Prosperity; and Conference Director, for the 21st TCI Network Global Conference (TCI 2018) Image Source:

Dorinda So Image Source:

We caught up with Dorinda So, Research Director at the Institute of Competitiveness and Prosperity; and Conference Director, for the 21st TCI Network Global Conference (TCI 2018).

Here’s what she had to share about the conference, women, Toronto, and the Caribbean.

Meegan: What would you say was your greatest takeaway from the TCI Conference last week?

Dorinda: For me, the greatest takeaway is seeing how much activity there is between 38 countries. TCI conferences are always friendly places to network and it’s a really humbling experience when people connect with one another and they learn from each other. It’s also a testament that we can foster good relationships; and we need this for trade purposes and to see our clusters grow.

Meegan: Do you have any messages for the CARICOM Caribbean on what Toronto has to offer as it relates to clusters and collaboration?

Dorinda: The Toronto Region, like so many places, are recognizing the need to collaborate.  Toronto isn’t a very large region in terms of population which is more the reason for clusters to collaborate in order to compete. And we are seeing a lot of collaboration happen within clusters, we are seeing that firsthand with the conference.

Finally, there are a lot of strong clusters here and it’s rare to see so many in a region that is not that large.

Meegan: You have just past the Flag or Baton of leadership to Belgium, what was Toronto, and Canada’s biggest benefit from its time in the leadership chair?

Dorinda: For us, it’s internally–or within the Toronto Region, getting people to work together. As much as there is collaboration there are also reasons to not work together, and it’s often because of perceived competition between organizations and governments. But this conference gave actors reason to work together. So many of the people who organized the cluster immersion experiences never worked with the other organizations in their working group before. Even if they wanted to, there was no reason for them to do so. We are thankful for this opportunity to be the catalyst for collaboration.

Externally, we are happy to showcase what we have in Toronto. Sometimes we are too self-deprecating as Canadians, at least I am, and therefore we don’t tell the world how great we really are. TCI 2018 was a chance to do this.

Meegan: Who was your biggest unexpected connection?

For me, it was working with UN Women. They reached out and we worked together to ensure that their amazing programme, WE EMPOWER received the attention that it deserves. This was the first TCI conference that put talent and diversity at the forefront of the conference and so it was fitting to work with UN Women and such a privilege.

We want to hear what you think about the possibilities for cluster partnerships between Toronto and the Caribbean?  What are your thoughts relating to economic development clusters and empowering women?

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