In an era of extraordinarily rapid technological innovation, Bell Canada is in the midst of transitioning from a traditional telecommunications company into a tech services and digital media leader. Oksana Vassilieva is on the front lines of that change.
“I like Bell’s vision of using innovation to drive the customer experience,” says Vassilieva, senior manager with the national cybersecurity testing team. “This transformation is aligned with what’s happening in the world.”
Vassilieva, who joined Bell in 2005 as a security consultant, works in Bell’s business markets division, which serves diverse clients, including federal and provincial governments, manufacturers, retailers, insurance companies and financial institutions among others.
The reliability and security of their systems are of paramount importance for such clients. “Our team performs real-world threat simulation testing where we replicate the tactics, techniques and procedures used by malicious cybercriminal groups,” says Vassilieva. “Our mission is to help customers be secure by identifying weaknesses and vulnerabilities in their networks, web and mobile applications, and cloud services.”
There’s a strong focus on technology across all teams, ranging from marketing to finance, legal to operations. It’s an incredibly diverse organization. “One of the great things about Bell is the breadth and scope of the company,” says Payal Gabrani-Bahl, senior vice-president, consumer marketing. “There are so many different roles you can move into internally and have completely different careers.”
When she was an economics student at University of Waterloo, Gabrani-Bahl envisioned a career in the financial services industry – until she did a four-month co-op with Bell.
“After I graduated, I tried a couple of different things. Then an executive I worked with during my co-op asked if I’d like to work with him,” says Gabrani-Bahl. “He was a phenomenal leader so I accepted his offer and I’ve been here ever since.”
That was nearly 20 years ago. Her journey has included stints in corporate strategy, product development, sales and distribution, marketing and now the consumer side of the business, which includes residential internet and TV, voice and home security as well as wireless cellphone services.
Bell promotes career mobility through multiple professional development platforms. The company is investing in STEM talent and individual career development through internal resources offered through Bell U (Bell University).
These include university-level programs in business intelligence, cloud computing, cybersecurity, data science and software development among other subjects. Over the past three years, hundreds of employees have completed one or more of these programs. Employees interested in evolving technological trends have access to the Bell Learning Hub, which is powered by LinkedIn Learning.
Bell also offers mentoring programs designed to build the skills of individual employees and foster a robust high-tech culture. The company supports employees who want to pursue job-relevant outside degrees, certifications and accreditations.
“I’ve had phenomenal leaders who spent time mentoring me and helping me get to where I am today,” says Gabrani-Bahl.
Advertising feature produced by Canada’s Top 100 Employers, a division of Mediacorp Canada Inc. The Globe and Mail’s editorial department was not involved.