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  • Writer's pictureAshley Gallant

Immigrants of Tech - Niv Lobo Gajiwala

Updated: Apr 29

This month, we are flipping the script and looking inwards for our Immigrants of Tech series, featuring our own Niv Lobo Gajiwala, Strategic Lead at Artemis Canada. To celebrate Niv’s newly minted Canadian citizenship, we dive into her story -  how she came to Canada to build Artemis, the magic along the way, and the advice she has for newcomers. 


What's your story?


I grew up in Bombay, now known as Mumbai. My first job was in an ad agency when social media was emerging. I worked with a couple of brands in the social impact space and I realized my heart was not in advertising—I wanted to build out my foundation on the business side. I was interested in how different cultures market to each other and was fortunate to get a scholarship to a reputed business school in Paris, where I did my MBA and interned at the Philips HQ in Amsterdam. I enjoyed working with people from around the world but didn't love the red tape that comes with a large corporate organization. I wanted to be part of something meaningful with smart, kind people who would offer great mentorship. After a stint in Europe, I was trying to figure out what was next. 


At university, I was the Vice President at AIESEC, a student leadership org focused on international internships. I wanted to explore that path myself and Artemis was one of the opportunites I applied to. Our founder, Kristina, had done a similar internship in South Africa. We had a great connection right away, though I was hesitant about Canada—oceans away from everything I knew and unfamiliar with the Canadian ecosystem. But I felt strongly about Artemis' mission, was curious about the startup world and keen to build something from the ground up. Canada’s kindness, values-driven culture, and the emergence of AI drew me in.


Tell us a bit about your current role at Artemis 


Artemis is an executive search firm, we parter with growth stage tech companies on strategic roles. The heart of Artemis is “choose your own adventure”, which resonated with me because it offers autonomy, ownership and the opportunity to run with your ideas.


I was lucky enough to have a job offer before moving to Canada, which was not the same for my peers. DEI became very important to me, as often founders we partnered with faced challenges in building diverse leadership teams. It's hard to build tech with everyone in mind unless you have different voices making big decisions together. Part of my role has been helping companies build diverse teams and setting in place processes to ensure that, right from the job description to interview and onboarding, companies are accounting for everybody and building equitable processes. 


When I joined, we were a small team. We recently celebrated our 10-year anniversary, were recognized by The Globe and Mail as one of Canada’s fastest-growing companies, 3x in size and revenue and successfully placed leaders at Canada's fastest-growing startups. It's interesting to zoom out and think about how wild it is that this girl from Bombay went through all these adventures to connect leaders with companies that will go on to change the future of the world.


Why do you love what you do? 


I've always been interested in stories and the psychology behind people doing big things with their lives. Once I moved here, it felt like the perfect match—matching startups and early-stage founding companies with incredible talent. It feels like I get to learn something game-changing that impacts the way we will go on to live.


We get to talk to incredibly smart people full of ideas, ambition, and the drive to solve a problem. Our role is at the intersection of storytelling, understanding motivations, what makes a business work, what makes it fail sometimes, and how to move quickly in challenging environments and adapt to them. It's exciting and inspiring. 


What led you to choose Canada as the place you wanted to build in?


When I first got the offer from Artemis, I was initially hesitant. But I liked that it was a small team doing impactful work, where every member had a seat at the table, embodying what I envisioned as Canadian values. The welcoming of diverse perspectives stood out. Waterloo was a new experience; I had only lived in big cities. It was a period of adjustment but a warm and welcoming community. 


I opened the Toronto office in the first year and built out the brand and partnerships there. Canada offers a lot of opportunities to bring your authentic self to work— it allows you to think about things bigger than yourself and focus on what gives you meaning. At the baseline, you have the luxury of choice in Canada.


What advice do you have for newcomers looking to break into the Canadian tech ecosystem?

I'm not going to say it isn't a challenging market right now. As recruiters, we've seen the ebb and flow; it's been difficult. However, there are things you can do to stand out as a newcomer:


  • Contextualizing your experience—Canadian employers may not recognize your experience. Your experience is valid, but you can break it down, e.g., "I worked at the Uber of India," and use data to support every story you tell. Metrics and numbers to show results will showcase the impact you made in your role. 

  • Networking and building your brand as a newcomer can be daunting but is something that will make a difference. Employers will look at your LinkedIn profile, so build the personal brand in the direction you want to grow in. 

  • Don't be afraid to reach out to people on LinkedIn who are where you want to be in a few years. Ask for advice, coffee—someone who might have been in the same position as you (a leader who was once a newcomer). 

  • Lastly, don't be afraid to ask questions. It's a new market, and there's so much to explore. Look at it as an exciting place where you can challenge yourself to learn and grow. Build connections at the peer level and outside of your domain; what you learn may excite, surprise you, and draw you in. Keep that door open. 


Don't come in with set expectations, which can be hard because you have likely sacrificed a lot to make this jump. Expectations can put too much pressure on you and take away from the joy that is the adventure.


What kind of support systems or resources have been the most helpful for you as an immigrant in the tech industry?

  • We created The Bridge Project, a collection of resources that will give newcomers the tools and insights that they need to find ideal employment in the Canadian tech sector and to grow and succeed as part of a thriving tech ecosystem.

  • Scale Without Borders, with their workshops and mentorship, have been invaluable

  • Job boards apart from Linkedin like WorkinTech.ca, HiredHippo, Prospect.fyi, Indeed

  • I also recommend following all the Canadian tech news sites, like BetaKit, our newsletter the Artemis Update,  etc. 


What is the most Canadian experience you've ever had?

I experienced heaven on earth in Banff and Lake Louise. Coming from one of the biggest metropolitan cities in the world, seeing that natural beauty and majesty shifted my perspective. If you can, go travel. Experience the place. Canada is a treasure trove.

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