Get Curious

General counsel and corporate secretary Jamie Anderson demonstrates that an appetite for knowledge and continuously asking “why” is the key to a successful career

Jamie Anderson is nothing if not efficient. The general counsel and corporate secretary’s ability to see the big picture and draw clear connections between seemingly unrelated subjects has given him an advantage during his extensive education and career.

Earning a bachelor of commerce degree in finance, Anderson then focused on management during his MBA studies. Anderson’s studies went beyond just business—after completing his thesis and studying French in Québec, he moved to Europe to teach English to university graduates. Subsequently, Anderson began his education in law, and further strengthened his background in business through a number of business law electives. Anderson even earned a bachelor of science in economics during this time, to round out his studies.

After completing his education, Anderson joined GE, where he gained experience by learning on the job alongside innovative legal thinkers. Anderson took this considerable experience to subsequent positions, consulting for banks and serving as an in-house lawyer for an insurance company and the Canadian Depository for Securities. Eight years and a master of laws degree in financial services later, Anderson joined The Canadian Securities Exchange (CSE) as general counsel, where he continues to leverage his experience in business and law.

“‘Why’ is a catalyst for learning, which is key for continued success. Without ‘why,’ you cease to innovate; without curiosity, you will not have true understanding.”

“You cannot walk until you learn to crawl, and you cannot run until you learn to walk,” Anderson says. “It’s about building a solid foundation from your successes as well as your mistakes that will balance you as you reach for greater goals.”

Each step has solidified that foundation for Anderson, exposing him to situations that push him to develop a robust imagination and innovative thinking. “The more confidence that you can inspire in others, the greater likelihood of leading very important projects,” he says.

That well-rounded perspective and hard work has laid a foundation of trust in Anderson from leadership teams. In one of his previous positions, Anderson was seconded from the legal department to lead a team for a $100 million acquisition. He reported directly to the board, overseeing executive team contributions, and responsible for the final recommendation. Building his case from both a business perspective and as a lawyer with a finance background, Anderson perfectly integrated his education and experience in a crucial way. The result was a major success that proved his capacity and resilience.

“I have never defined myself solely as any one, specific profession,” Anderson says. “I’m a problem-solver and I like to get things done, which has allowed me to cross from industry to industry and adapt from role to role.” And just as in every position he’s held, the use of his big-picture perspective has been key to finding solutions for an array of challenges at the fast-growing CSE.

Taking Stock of the CSE

1.5 billion
Trading value of CSE securities in 2016

Listed securities by mid-2016, up 12.3% over the same period in 2015

6.4 billion
Trading volume in CSE securities in 2016

Increase in CSE company financings (over $400 million in 2016)

The upstart stock exchange has more than three hundred issuers and has out-listed its Canadian competitors—excluding exchange-traded funds and structured products—over the past two years. As “The Exchange for Entrepreneurs,” it maintains a close connection to its entrepreneurial roots. Anderson’s efficiency is in demand as the CSE refines processes for listing and trading services and pushes to increase its capacity in the competitive Canadian exchange arena.

“We’ve had great success in just over ten years,” says Anderson, “We’re always looking for ways to do more, being different, faster, and nimbler.”

Throughout his experience with the CSE, Anderson has never lost the curiosity he used during his university years. “‘Why,’ is a catalyst for learning, which is key for continued success,” says Anderson. “Without ‘why,’ you cease to innovate; without curiosity, you will not have true understanding.”

Just as important as understanding different industries and roles, says Anderson, is understanding different people and adapting to different cultures. “You have to be able to put your piece into the puzzle of the culture of an organization,” he continues. “Like a jigsaw, you become seamless with what’s already there.”

For Anderson, investing in emotional intelligence is just as crucial as investing in formal education—each requires the ability to see unlikely connections to form a bigger picture, the continued use of ‘why,’ and the development of a diverse understanding, as the ideal blueprint for a solid foundation of success.