Tag Archives: international students

Hey Google: Nancy Ting ’94

Head of Consumer and Brand Marketing at Google Hong Kong, globe-trotter Nancy Ting ’94 knows innovation and new technologies really can make the world a better place—and she’s focused on bringing them to market. We checked in with the impressive alumna to see what’s next in tech and ask what advice she has for those who want in.

Whether you’re checking in on Gmail, down a virtual rabbit hole, or asking your Google Home to convert ounces to grams, there are few of us whose lives haven’t been touched by the online powerhouse. More than 3.5 billion searches are conducted on Google each day—that’s 40,000 per second—and it accounts for over 92 per cent of all global internet searches. Somewhere along the way, Google even co-opted our language, switching silkily from noun to verb. “Google it,” has become a go-to phrase, regardless of which search engine you’re on.

“Climb the mountain not so that people can see you, but so that you can see the world.”

So after a year where we spent more time on screens than ever before, we spoke with alumna Nancy Ting ’94, Google’s Head of Consumer and Brand Marketing in Hong Kong, who works for the company that, literally, has all the answers.

Nancy started with Google after moving to Hong Kong in 2010 where she now lives with her seven-year-old daughter. Though her role keeps her busy, Nancy makes sure to prioritize their time together, playing tennis and golf and, most recently, picking up skateboarding.

The alumna graduated from Ridley in 1994, alongside her brother Newton. Their parents had sent them to Ridley to broaden their perspectives; Newton lived in Merritt South and Nancy moved into Gooderham House West. Though it was her first time living away from home, Nancy quickly settled in, recalling fond memories of learning Caribbean dancing from her roommate Philice Davis ’94, her mentor, Mrs. Williams—the first female pilot in St. Catharines—and gathering with the rest of the GWest girls at the home of their House mother, Mrs. Close, she called her ‘second home.’ Nancy still keeps in touch with classmates via social media and catches up with some of them right in Hong Kong.

“I’ve always wanted to solve problems to make the world a better place, so I decided to pursue an engineering degree. I went from not knowing how to turn on a computer to programming circuit boards in four years! So never be afraid to pursue disciplines that seem daunting. If you have the passion, there is always a way.”

After graduation, Nancy attended Queen’s University in Kingston Ontario, where she studied Electrical and Computer Engineering. “I’ve always wanted to solve problems to make the world a better place, so I decided to pursue an engineering degree,” she explains. “I went from not knowing how to turn on a computer to programming circuit boards in four years. So never be afraid to pursue disciplines that seem daunting. If you have the passion, there is always a way.”

Nancy may not have known exactly what the end goal was at the time, but accruing a strong, transferrable skillset enabled her to work toward what she did know she wanted: to make a difference and be able to travel.

“Having a background in science and maths helped me land jobs and projects in different parts of the world,” she says. For Nancy, living in new places is an exciting way to get to know people from different backgrounds and cultures, and it enables her to appreciate different points of view. She’s lived so far in Toronto, London, New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Austin, San Francisco, and Beijing.

“The challenging part is that one needs to re-establish one’s social circle,” she responds when asked how she settles into a new spot. “But I’ve found that if you follow your own interest, be it music, yoga or sports, you’ll be able to establish new circles pretty easily.”

The key, she adds, is to be willing to try something new. For example, when she was living in New York, Nancy was drawn to comedy, so she joined improv classes at Upright Citizen’s Brigade. It was an opportunity to meet people outside her work environment—and to have a good laugh while she did it.

That willingness to explore and try new things served Nancy well as she built her career, which has taken several unexpected turns along the way. Nancy’s first job was in Toronto as an eCommerce programmer at IBM, where she programmed internet applications from eCommerce websites to mobile apps to internet banking. Two years later, wanting to learn more about business, she moved to New York and worked for Deloitte Consulting as a strategy and management consultant. She also pursued an MBA at MIT, gaining skills in areas like accounting, finance and marketing and switched industries, becoming an investment banker at Morgan Stanley. Next, Nancy started her own company, Mode Republic, a user-generated magazine which showcased international fashionistas’ daily outfits. The magazine offered a ‘Shop This Look’ feature so you could shop for similar items from online stores.

But it was after moving to Hong Kong that Nancy was offered a position on Google’s marketing team, and she started out doing working for the Ads business in Greater China. “Working for years in different industries and functions, only reinforced my passion to use technology to make the world a better place,” she says. “Google is a company that’s constantly innovating, and it encourages employees to explore new positions and geographies every few years.”

Two years ago, she switched to B2C marketing, and now looks after products like YouTube, Google Play, Google Classroom, Android, and more. “Marketing is a great mixture of arts and science,” she remarks. “We focus on quantitative data analysis as well as identifying true user insight—then we come up with creative campaign ideas and bring them to market.”

The pandemic certainly affected how consumers and businesses alike use technology—a steady progression toward online options was sped up out of necessity, and traditional businesses recognized an urgent need for digitization. As foot traffic was reduced, small businesses were forced to build websites, up their social media game, and figure out digital ads so they could still be found. And, what’s more, they needed to deliver their products and services via those online channels.

“Wellbeing has different definitions for people. It’s important to go through the exercise of making it clear to yourself what makes you happy, what wellbeing means to you. Then you need to openly communicate that to your boss, your co-workers, your family—especially what is your ‘non-negotiable.’”

And it wasn’t only commerce that was affected; day-to-day life still relies on digital tools, be they for work, remote learning or entertainment which, as Nancy notes, brings with it tremendous opportunities in all areas.

Those opportunities mean that roles like Nancy’s are incredibly busy, so of course we have to ask how she manages her time and keeps on top of her own wellbeing—juggling motherhood, managing marketing for a company that’s constantly churning out new products, and tackling the year’s tougher realities like remote work and school.

“Wellbeing has different definitions for people,” she replies. “It’s important to go through the exercise of making it clear to yourself what makes you happy, what wellbeing means to you. Then you need to openly communicate that to your boss, your co-workers, your family—especially what is your ‘non-negotiable.’”

For Nancy, it’s important that she keeps healthy and spends quality time with those who matter. The pandemic was an opportunity to get in shape and keep her immune system strong, and she’s worked over the past months to focus on eating well and exercising. “I turned my biological age back to 25-years-old!” she laughs.

With days filled with meetings, she also sets aside time where she turns off and just focuses on her work, and makes it clear to her colleagues that being there for her daughter—particularly in important moments—is her ‘non-negotiable.’

“It certainly helps that I love what I do for work,” Nancy says. “Even when I have some spare time, I’d be reading about the tech industry or the latest innovations. I’d recommend young Ridleians strive to land a job in a field that aligns with their passion as soon as they can. When your work is something that you enjoy, the wellbeing challenge is significantly reduced.”

“In the coming decades, there will be job titles we’ve never heard of before. Equipping yourself with strong foundational skills in math, science and coding will better prepare you for exciting new job options.”

As students look ahead to their own careers, many of them considering jobs in the tech industry, Nancy recommends they equip themselves with strong foundational skills—like math, science and coding—that will give them plenty of room to pivot when required and to move around.

“In the coming decades, there will be job titles we’ve never heard of before,” she advises. “Those foundational skills will prepare you for exciting new options. And don’t worry if you aren’t good at these things now. I failed Maths and Physics in Junior High. The turning point for me was at Ridley when I had amazing teachers who helped me understand how things work. Seeking great mentors and information will help you to master the latest knowledge—you just need to be inquisitive and invest the time and effort.”

It’s sound advice. As opportunities expand, and with them, our ability to connect with and impact others across the globe, Nancy is the perfect example of someone who has approached her career with a strategically open mind and adventurously open arms. And as we conclude our conversation, each a world away from the other, connected only by a few of clicks, she leaves off with the words she’s always lived by: “Climb the mountain, not so that people can see you, but so that you can see the world.”


This article was printed in the latest issue of Tiger magazine. Learn about our alumni, get community updates and find out where Ridley is heading next! Read more from the Fall 2021 issue.

The Weekend Programme – January 2016 Highlights

Launched in 2015, the Weekend Programme provides students with fun activities – on and off campus – every weekend. This January, the Weekend Programme was stocked full with fun activities that were great for Ridleians of all ages!

Grade 9’s have a ball at Residential Life Bowling!

Thursday, January 7th
By: Jack Petrunick ‘19

What better way to start off 2016 than with Residential Life Bowling! I find that our days can be quite busy; filled with classes, sports and homework and sometimes it seems that we don’t get much of a chance to catch up with one another. This made a night of bowling with classmates a perfect opportunity to reconnect. Did you know that in the Golden Era of the 1960’s and 1970’s, bowlers made twice as much money as NFL stars? Pro bowlers signed million dollar contracts and were heralded as international celebrities. Today, the glitz and glamour has faded, however, this changed as the Ridley College Class of 2019 arrived at Parkway Lanes! The students were all bright-eyed with thoughts of a strike, a spare or even just praying they wouldn’t get a gutter ball! Speaking of strikes…did you know that in the sport of bowling, if you see a picture of a turkey on your scoring screen, it refers to three strikes in a row? A ham bone is one better, with four strikes in a row! Best of all is a golden turkey, which represents nine strikes in a row!

Grade 9 Bowling  Jack Petrunick

Well, I definitely don’t recall seeing a golden turkey on anyone’s scoring screen, but I do remember Ms. Lech knocking down nine pins at one time, which resulted in her doing a happy dance!

Ms. Lech and staff, thank you for organizing an exciting event for us. It was an evening enjoyed by all! Thank you!

– Jack Petrunick ‘19

” I have never been bowling before. I played games like this on my console, but because my parents are really busy and there are not many places like this near me, I [had] never gone before. It was a lot of fun!” – Grade 9 student

Ridleians show their Tiger pride during the Carl Dorland Basketball Tournament

Saturday, January 9th
By:
Liam Wilson ’16

Carl Dorland Champions

January 9th, 2016 – a night that I won’t forget for a very long time. Ridley wins the Carl Dorland Tournament against powerhouse rivals from Illinois, Lake Forest Academy. Although the game was very exciting, it wasn’t the shots made or the impressive moves that made this night so memorable for me, it was having the Ridley community supporting us. Students, faculty, parents, and even partner basketball programs – like Noble Preparatory Academy from Nassau, Bahamas – were all packed into the Griffith Gym to make as much noise and give as much support as possible. When Brett Warren ‘16 scored on an amazing drive or Shamar Burrows ‘16 made a great stop on defense, the crowd just got louder and louder.

Spirit Night  Saturday Jan 23

There is no better feeling than being able to look to the other side of the court and see your classmates cheering as loud as they can for you. Seeing my teachers in the crowd fostered school spirit and enthusiasm like you would not believe. As the game got tight and the clock started to run out, it was our fellow Ridleians that gave us the energy to close the game off and bring home the gold on our home court. Thank you, Ridley.

– Liam Wilson ’16

Students enjoy feature films with their friends!

Saturday, January 16th

On Saturday, January 16th, Ridleians piled on the Movie Bus and headed to Landmark Cinemas at the Pen Centre. Students had the chance to see the latest blockbusters on the big screen, with all of their friends! Following the Movie Bus, students were invited to the Great Hall for Café, where there was music, hot chocolate and cookies!

“Café is amazing!”- Noel Cousins ’16

Sports, spies and snacks – students hang out on campus for a fun-filled Saturday!

Saturday January 23rd

Students had a fun-filled evening on campus this past Saturday! Students were able to participate in tons of sporting activities such as swimming, badminton, basketball and soccer! Students who wanted a more relaxing Saturday night were invited to watch the movie The Kingsman in the Ross E. Morrow Theatre. Café followed, featuring DJ Lech, where the students joined in the Great Hall to hear wonderful music from the 1980’s to today.

Cafe Jan. 16 2

January’s Weekend Programme line-up started the term off right! Ridley pride arose during Spirit Night and students stayed active inside as the snow piled up outdoors. There were no shortage of smiles and laughs here on campus.

Next month, the Weekend Programme kicks off with Dean’s Dance, the annual semi-formal dance, followed by fun activities throughout the month! Check back in February to read more!

Students hit the slopes for Ski Day 2016!

On January 22nd, Ridleians travelled to Barrie, Ontario and Glenwood, New York to hit the slopes! It was a spectacular day to be outside; warm, sunny and a thick blanket of snow covered the ground. Students eagerly suited up in their winter gear and prepared for a day of fun!

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A long-standing tradition at Ridley and one of the most anticipated student trips of the year, Ski Day offered more than just skiing.  Students, staff and faculty had the opportunity to try an array of winter sports! Students who traveled south to Kissing Bridge had the opportunity to ski, snowboard and even tube! Students who made their way north to Horseshoe Resort enjoyed downhill and cross-country skiing! At the bottom of the hill awaited a warm chalet for any student looking to escape the cold and enjoy a hot meal! Since winter sports are such a quintessential part of Canadian life, Ski Day is also offered a chance for our international students to be exposed to a true Canadian experience! What a great way to experience Canadian culture, first-hand!

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Fresh air, the great outdoors, exercise and friends; there was no better way to spend a day away from the classroom. Students learned new skills, strengthened bonds with their peers and forgot about their homework for a few hours! According to the David Suzuki Foundation and the Children & Nature Network, time outside can help with problem solving, focus and creativity; so a day in the snow wasn’t all fun and games!

Back on campus, our primary students were having some fun of their own! Playing in the snow, practicing their soccer skills, skating and enjoying time with their friends – there were no shortage of smiles.

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To see photos from this year’s Ski Day, click here! We’re already counting down the days until next year!

Ridley College International Christmas Service

On any given day you can walk around the Ridley College campus and hear languages from thirty-one different countries.  On Friday we held our annual International Christmas service in the Memorial Chapel where we were able to see students from those countries read a Christmas passage in their native language. We heard thirteen different languages – Hebrew, Latin, English, Spanish, Cantonese, Korean, Japanese, French, Mandarin, Russian, German, Italian and Latvian. As a school located in Canada we embrace multiculturalism and cherish the fact that we can share languages and traditions from different countries and cultures with each other.

Check out the video from the service: