By Sam Hollinrake | 5 min read
Erica Malik finds herself on the cusp of working with the world’s most life-changing events and decisions. Having been a part of the team at the Centre of Emergency Preparedness and Response during H1N1, to obtaining her JD at the University of Windsor to then work in the areas of anti-money laundering and cannabis licensing (to name a few), her next biggest venture? Being one of Arteria’s Senior Legal Consultants and Client Solutions Specialists. Erica’s drive has helped bring success to clients who want to contract faster and more efficiently using emerging technologies.
Erica uses her legal background and her interests in data and design to work with the legal teams of our existing and prospective clients and communicates their needs to the Arteria product designers and developers. Arteria’s ever-growing team of lawyers, consultants, data scientists and graphic designers provide the diversity needed to bring our clients success through every piece of the platform.
Let’s start at the beginning - obtaining your diverse degrees! What was your academic journey like?
When I was an impressionable 16-year-old, several mentors persuaded me to obtain a degree in life sciences, convincing me that I’d be broke if I pursued my interests in interior design or biomedical engineering. Without a clear purpose for why I was in the life sciences program, plus the newfound freedom to go to the Eaton Centre whenever I wanted, I crammed for exams only days before, which didn’t cut it at U of T. My academic advisor said I was throwing away my potential and that if I didn’t change things up in my last two years, I wouldn’t be able to get into my favourite grad programs.
So I changed things up, pursued a Master’s in Public Health, and while working at the Centre for Emergency Preparedness and Response during H1N1, I was inspired by the lawyers who guided our Public Health leaders toward making decisions. Without knowing what the LSAT was, I applied to law school. When I genuinely enjoyed preparing for the LSAT, I knew I made the right decision to pursue law.
Now moving into your career journey, what brought you to Arteria?
“How could this be more efficient?” is something I often mumble to myself for as long as I can remember. Tech is the gateway to efficiency, and I have always wanted to contribute to innovation in some way. My gut told me that Arteria would be a leader in the global legal tech world, largely because I knew that Shelby would do everything she could to make that happen. After working here for nearly ten months, it’s now more than a gut feeling. For years, I had been searching for creative, data-driven, purposeful ways to use my diverse degrees, and I found that with Arteria.
At Arteria, we prize diverse backgrounds and perspectives. How have your experiences contributed to the skills you’ve brought to Arteria?
"You’ll have to learn a whole new language if you go to law school!” is what my dad said to me when I received my law school acceptance letter. The experience of “learning new languages” and pivoting from one thing to another allows me to translate the needs of our clients to our awesome development team, who then build our clients the products they want and need!
What is the most important skill or trait you have learned, and how has it proven invaluable?
This would be a toss-up between the following:
Each of these enhances my ability to communicate effectively, from a place of kindness and respect.
Having travelled much of the world, tell us your biggest life-changing experience that has shaped who you are today/ your perspectives.
So many great questions and I have a feeling that as soon as this is published, I’ll regret not sharing another story! Travelling has provided me with the ability to respect and appreciate the perspectives of others, even if they seem irrational to me. For example, I never understood why some people were afraid of cute animals until I was almost mauled by a dog on three separate occasions in Thailand. They were clearly hungry, but thankfully, cars rescued the day. When I returned to Toronto, the first sight of a dog triggered a fear that I never experienced before.
It was a great reminder that we don’t know what causes anyone to have the reactions that they do, and I will always do my best to appreciate that there’s likely a rational reason for why someone may have a reaction that I don’t understand.
Have you drawn professional inspiration from anyone? Who is someone who has inspired you?
Both of my parents have inspired me to work hard and just do my best. My dad always worked insanely long hours to ensure we had what he felt we needed to be happy. Our mom was our personal chauffeur, our five-star cook and baker, our grandma’s caregiver, and our nurse. With a handful of kids (five of us to be exact), she went back to school to become a Registered Nurse and I still don’t know how she was able to have the energy to do all that she did. My sister inspired me to take more risks in life, which has contributed to so many fulfilling experiences.
Beyond my family, Dr. Stephanie Brister and Elena Hoffstein inspired me to be independent, persevere and not let roadblocks prevent me from achieving my goals.
What is your craziest celebrity encounter?
While strolling up Bay Street, I caught myself staring at a familiar face walking out of the Scotia Bank Arena. Upon making eye contact, I said, “you look familiar!” The familiar face said, “yes, I’m Joe Biden!” to which I said, “of course you’re Joe Biden!” President Biden was generous with his time and asked my friend and I if we’d like to take a picture, which I sort of ruined with my closed eyes, but hey, we have a picture with the President of the United States!
The time Erica accidentally met President Joe Biden
Bikes lined up after 838km (in 8 days) thailand bike ride
What’s your secret talent?
Interior design and painting, which paid for my first MacBook in undergrad. A couple of friends feel that I should share the following secret talents:
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