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Coffee Break with Sam Ishak


Meet Sam Ishak, our Chief Information Officer responsible for all strategic and operational aspects of technology for FCT, including architecture, application development, information security, infrastructure, business intelligence and technical services.

Sam has an impressive technical background which he honed in the financial service, insurance and government sectors. Together with his team, he works hard to ensure that the applications our customers and employees use are always available, secure, innovative and current.

Sam is invested in his community and gives back by volunteering with many of the activities associated with the Canadian Cancer Society, something he has been doing for many years. He is also involved with multiple initiatives in support of the Sick Kids Foundation.

We recently had the opportunity to find out a little bit more about Sam.

When did you start at FCT?

I started in January 2006.

How did you get started on your career path?    

From the education and academic background, I hold a bachelor’s degree in computer science with a Professional Engineer of Ontario (PEng.) license. I was also awarded the title of “Distinguished Certified IT – Chief Architect” from the Open Group (2010).

Prior to joining FCT, I was the Enterprise Architect at the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC). I had a chance to gain diverse business experiences across multiple vertical industries including financial services, insurance, and government sectors.

How has the pandemic impacted your role at FCT?

In 2019, long before COVID-19 became a household term, my team helped to implement a new technology strategy ensuring the company had the tools and infrastructure required for a remote workforce.

One of the biggest challenges of this new remote workforce has been keeping up with employee needs and ensuring employee connectivity—not just work-wise, but emotionally and psychologically, as well. If someone requests additional monitors or devices, or just wants to check-in and talk, my team and I stand ready to provide support.

What is your favourite part of the job?

Working together with my team and our business partners to deliver innovative solutions that exceed our customers’ expectations and seeing the positive impact those solutions have on simplifying and automating our business processes.

What does your day-to-day role entail?

I’m accountable for the overall strategic and operational aspects of utilizing different technologies to support business objectives by providing leadership to multiple teams including IT architecture, PMO, application development, information security, infrastructure & operation. We leverage technology innovation to achieve digital transformation to our current systems while nurturing solid relationships with internal business stakeholders and external customers.

Which of your accomplishments at FCT are you most proud of?

I am proud of the successful delivery of multiple solutions that changed the way we do business, for example:

  • Lender Lawyer Connect (LLC) which is a technology platform that simplifies and enhances the way mortgage files are instructed, processed and exchanged between lenders and lawyers
  • Integrated Lending Solution (ILS), a portal that is used by lenders to facilitate the ordering and processing of refinance mortgage transactions
  • The Commercial Title Insurance Portal used by legal professionals to order, track and obtain title insurance for commercial transactions
  • Multiple B2B real-time integrations with major financial institutions such as RBC, TD, Scotia Bank, and BMO
  • The delivery of multiple SaaS/could host solutions (such as Salesforce, Oracle Financial, workday, & Service Now)
  • Ensuring that all IT systems and applications are secure and available (with 99.99 uptime stats)

What are you currently most excited to work on?

I’m excited to work with my team and business partners on solutions that support FCT customer-centricity strategy; technology transformation program for multiple backend systems and leveraging innovative technologies such as Robotic Process Automation (RPA) solutions, API gateway, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).

Share your thoughts about this interview in the comments.

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