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Alice Thomas

Alice's Biography

Alice Thomas is the Vice-President, Digital, CRM and Contact Center Application Services at Sun Life Financial. She graduated with a Computer Science degree from the University of Ottawa and subsequently completed her MBA from Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. She is responsible for the technology strategy and application development for Sun Life supporting all customer-facing channels, including the web, mobile, social media, CRM, and call center channels. Her role keeps her very much in tune with the latest trends and innovations in the digital arena, which is an exciting and growing space vital to Sun Life! She lives in Toronto with her husband and two daughters.

Vice-President, Digital, CRM, Contact Center Application Services, Sun Life Financial, Toronto, ON

My current role is Vice-President, Digital, CRM and Contact Center Application Services. I lead a large global team of professionals in delivering business applications using the latest digital technologies such as the web, mobile, and social media. In addition, I lead an enterprise wide innovation program to bring forth new ideas utilizing the latest technologies.

Please note that Alice’s new role is Chief Digital Technology Officer.

Sun Life is a leader in the Canadian insurance industry for using technology to deliver exceptional service to our clients. Sun Life employs over 3000 staff globally in the area of technology. Technology plays a critical role in the services and solutions we provide to our clients and employees.

One of the most interesting projects that I was involved in was creating the first mobile application for our clients. This project was particularly challenging as the technology was new at the time, which meant there weren’t best practices in place or consultants that we could learn from and thus I was pioneering in a brand new field. It was risky but also very exciting, such as when we launched our application to the delight of our clients (and in a short timeframe)! This project was a great opportunity to collaborate with multiple generations of talent, including millennials.

The digital solutions that my team creates allow our clients to do business with Sun Life more easily. From our websites to our mobile apps and the new, soon to be launched, digital assistant, we aim to help our clients in managing their savings and submitting health and dental claims with ease.

I’m a big supporter of women in IT. I hope more women will choose a career in technology and aid the evolution of future roles in IT to include some of the functions that are becoming increasingly important. Communication with clients and staff, team work, collaboration, negotiation, etc. are all essential attributes of future successful IT professionals. It’s not enough to be a technologist anymore.

The best advice I got was to jump in with both feet and take a risk. As women, we often second guess ourselves and hesitate to try something new. I got into the digital space over 20 years ago when a new opportunity came up. It was risky and unknown, but it propelled my career and I’m glad I took that step!

I’m motivated by the people I work with. My ‘community’ includes my colleagues, my team, the suppliers and partners I work with, as well as my business partners within Sun Life. The ability to learn from a wide group of people is particularly motivating.

One of the things I wish I had done earlier in my career was to reach out and network more, not only with people in my industry, but also outside my industry. Having a wide network of contacts is beneficial to building your ‘advisory’ network – those that you can call upon for input, and vice versa.

 

 

Through outreach and professional development activities, research, partnerships, thought leadership and online initiatives, we work with industry and academia to educate on the value of diversity for innovation, to inspire women to thrive and to celebrate the contributions of women in science and engineering.
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