Meet Our New CEO, Wayne Sumarah – Digital Nova Scotia – Leading Digital Industry
Meet Our New CEO, Wayne Sumarah

Wayne is very passionate about the tech sector, having spent the majority of his career with industry-leading ICT companies across Canada. His leadership roles have encompassed strategic business planning, organizational growth, client acquisition, marketing, new product and service development, and program design and implementation. In addition to these corporate leadership roles within the tech sector, he brings a unique combination of small business and public sector experience, including operation of a digital marketing agency and various senior leadership roles within government focused on economic growth, sector development, innovation, and workforce development. He also holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Marketing from Dalhousie University.

A native Haligonian, and proud Nova Scotian, Wayne is honoured to be leading the outstanding team at Digital Nova Scotia. He’s looking forward to leveraging his unique combination of experience in business and government leadership to empower the DNS team as we continue to foster the growth of the province’s tech sector and the digital economy.

We sat down with Wayne for a quick Q&A session.

What are you most excited about in your new role with Digital Nova Scotia?

Wayne: It’s an honour to have been selected to lead the outstanding team at Digital Nova Scotia, and to continue to build on the Association’s great work and commitment to help the province’s tech sector grow, evolve and thrive.

I’m particularly excited about the unique opportunity this role will afford, in partnership with the Digital Nova Scotia Board and our diverse array of key stakeholders to accelerate the growth and success of a sector that is so important to our province. The $2.5 billion ICT sector not only represents over 1,000 establishments and more than 25,000 workers* throughout our province, it also permeates every other sector. A vibrant and growing tech sector has a tremendous impact on the future success of our provincial economy as a whole.
I believe in increasing the skills of our digital workforce at all levels. That means continuing to focus on programs like our Digital Discovery Camps to generate youth engagement in our sector. It means collaborating with our post-secondary institutions to fill talent gaps, and encouraging graduates to stay in Nova Scotia through initiatives like our Saving Livelihoods Project. It means continuing to provide professional development opportunities and training programs for our existing digital workforce that are based on the needs of our members and industry stakeholders.

I’m also a strong advocate for continuing the work Digital Nova Scotia is doing to increase diversity and inclusion in our sector. Initiatives like the Digital Diversity Awards that allow us to shine a spotlight on those who are going above and beyond in these areas can help inspire further action and change across our industry.

What are your priorities in your new role as CEO of Digital Nova Scotia?

Wayne: In the more immediate term, I plan to connect with and spend time getting to know our diverse array of Association members and industry stakeholders; collaboration will be one of the keys to continuing to advance the growth and success of our sector. Ultimately the more successful we are as a sector, the better-equipped our province will be for overall economic success.

At Digital Nova Scotia we face many exciting opportunities as we move forward, and my ultimate priority is to help turn these opportunities into reality. These opportunities include the continued growth of our Association’s membership base, offering a value proposition (including programs and services) that is of ever-increasing value and relevance to our members, and an ongoing focus to deliver on the Association’s commitment to help our sector grow, evolve and thrive through our promotional, capacity building, and advocacy work.

Ultimately I see Digital Nova Scotia playing a key leadership role, in collaboration with our members, industry, government and academia to advance the winning conditions that will help to accelerate the growth of our sector, and more broadly the province’s overall digital economy.

How would you describe your leadership style?

Wayne: I’m an eternal optimist! I believe strongly in collaboration and in empowering individuals. By collaborating with our members, key stakeholders, the Digital Nova Scotia Board of Directors, and with the ongoing commitment of the outstanding team at Digital Nova Scotia, we can continue to have a major impact on growing a vibrant tech sector.

How is the tech sector well-positioned for continued growth in Nova Scotia?

Wayne: Growing a vibrant tech sector is critical to the broader success of our province.

Here in Nova Scotia we’re home to 10 universities and 13 NSCC campuses, which ensures the availability of highly-skilled talent. We have world-class infrastructure, we’re strategically located between the United States and Europe, and we offer cost-competitive operating costs. We also have a rapidly evolving innovation ecosystem in our province, which helps pave the way for organizations to scale-up and compete globally, enriched by our network of start-up hubs, accelerators and incubators situated in the province.

It’s really an exciting time for Nova Scotia.

What’s something you’re really interested in that might surprise us?

Wayne: I collect movie memorabilia (or junk, as my wife would lovingly call it), especially anything from the James Bond franchise.

Quick hitters!

Favourite James Bond Actor? Sir Roger Moore
Favourite James Bond Movie? Skyfall
Hidden Talent? Plays the Accordion (not well and not often)
Star Wars or Star Trek? Star Wars
Early Bird or Night Owl? Night Owl
Favourite Ice Cream Flavour? Vanilla (topped with a touch of Maple Syrup)