Meet our new VP HR,
We recently had the pleasure of welcoming Kalina Morin as our new VP of Human Resources. It’s been a little bit over a month, but we already can’t imagine the Studio without her. In between meetings, Kalina made the time to chat with us about her career history, what drew her to Behaviour, the challenges that drive her, and what interview question stumps even an HR exec!
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
I’d describe myself as resourceful, dedicated, resilient, and a bit of a daredevil, which is something people might not guess about me.
A daredevil? How so?
I’ve crossed the Sahara Desert in a 4×4, swam with sharks in Thailand, gone parachuting, and climbed Mount Ventoux by mountain bike during the Tour de France. That 13.7-mile ascent is still one of the highlights of my travels!
What was your first job?
I started working when I was 12. I’ve been a babysitter, lifeguard, waitress, I’ve mowed lawns; you name it! Working at an ice-cream parlour made me particularly popular with my friends.
Looking back, what did you want to be when you grew up?
That’s easy. I imagined growing up to become an architect. I’ve always been quite logical and I used to love playing with Legos, so it seemed like an ideal job. I studied sciences all through college before changing paths and completing a bachelor’s degree in psychology, which led to my HR career. You know what they say about best-laid plans!
Why chose a career in human resources?
I didn’t choose human resources; human resources chose me!
I’ve always possessed a nomadic spirit. When I was offered the position of process coordinator for an engineering firm in San Francisco right out of University, I jumped at the chance. This first experience provided an invaluable understanding of business operations that serves me to this day. Back in Montreal, I was hired as a human resources manager for a software engineering firm with a high turnover rate. My first mandate was hiring 100 engineers. I can tell you that my psych major came in handy!
My goal is always to encourage and support professional development. Having an analytical mind, I am fascinated by team dynamics and finding paths to improvement. Human resources impact every aspect of a business. You can have the best business model in the world, but it won’t get you far if you don’t hire, motivate, and retain your people. My strength is finding simple solutions to seemingly complex problems. In my opinion, if it isn’t simple enough, it’s not the right solution.
What’s the hardest interview question anyone’s ever asked you?
Funnily enough, this happened when I was interviewing for the position at Behaviour. Our CEO asked me what I do in my free time, and I was stumped! What free time? I don’t mean to say that I’m a workaholic, but between work, family, and personal projects, it left me pondering the very concept of “free time”.
What drew you to Behaviour?
I was familiar with Behaviour as a Montreal-based success story; a gem that deserves more recognition. As a former expat with an expertise in international mobility, I’m thrilled that attracting talent to Montreal is part of my mandate. I’ve travelled the world, but I love my city!
I’ve always worked for tech SMEs in periods of major growth or transformation. That’s my sweet spot. Behaviour’s current explosive expansion is a perfect fit for my expertise and interests. Also, Behaviour is such a positive work environment where you can’t help but want to give your all.
In the end, it was Behaviour’s people-first management style that clinched the deal. The fact that our CEO Rémi Racine abolished crunch time over a decade ago speaks volume about the company’s focus on employee well-being and operational efficiency. The best of both worlds! A company that walks the talk when it comes to work/life balance suits my personal and work values.
What has surprised you most in your first month at Behaviour?
I don’t know if it’s a surprise per se, but the degree of brainpower and passion here is astounding. It’s beyond motivating to work with individuals of such high calibre. I can’t wait to collaborate with colleagues from all business units to contribute to the company’s successes on the local and international stages.
What is the biggest HR challenge facing the video game and tech industries?
The video game industry is not alone in facing a labour shortage. Attracting top talent is a dominant issue, but, on the positive side, employers are working harder to retain their workforce. If employees don’t feel supported, they’ll find employment elsewhere.
Our biggest challenge, however, is competing for professionals that are the very best at what they do. The video game industry is growing faster than the pool of qualified candidates.
What’s the most important leadership lesson you’d like to share?
Trust your team and don’t be afraid to delegate. Surround yourself with brilliant people and allow them to shine!