Photo: Gisela McKay

Bio: Gisela McKay

As Chief Mastermind and President of pixcode Inc., Gisela McKay heads up development, maintenance, and marketing of their internet properties such as NaturalHealthcare.ca, BusinessPartnerships.ca, and CanadaEventsCalendar.ca.

She also is responsible for creating and nurturing new initiatives such as:

  • the series of books being developed through NaturalHealthcare.ca; and
  • the spin-off of the workplace wellness projects into the separate brand, Wellergize; plus
  • the attendant sites, EmployeeWellness.ca and WellnessFair.ca.

Outside of pixcode projects, Gisela is also currently Project Manager for McLuhan 2011 project (celebrating 100 years since Marshall McLuhan was born) and one of the founding partners in Awaken, a new health, spirituality, and green initiative in Toronto. Past positions include: Chief Technology Officer of a Canadian new media corporation, Associate Director of the byDesign eLab at the McLuhan Program (University of Toronto), and founding Member of the Women's Power Cocktail Hour team, coordinating and promoting events related to equality and the rights of women.

Photo: Gisela McKay

Background

Gisela has a solid background in technology and business practices, and comes from a long line of entrepreneurs. She started her first business at the age of 9 years old, and has been going strong since. To call her a "self-starter" may be the quintessential understatement.

Technology

Gisela McKay is the not-so-secret weapon companies deploy to reach their internet marketing goals. Raised with computers, as opposed to being trained on them, Gisela's natural affinity with software and concepts makes her versatile and able to suggest unique ways to get the most out of technology.

Early on, she was Administrator and Operations Manager for her mother's answering service, (one of the earliest to be completely computerized). This entailed overseeing the installation and maintenance of all related telephony systems in-house and at client sites. This experience heightened her ability to listen to the challenges and frustrations expressed by small business owners and to match their needs with the right technology.

Later, while at the University of Toronto (studying Film Theory and Philosophy, primarily logic) Gisela took on a part-time assignment with a management consulting firm reorganizing their filing system. When they learned that she could apply the same skills to their file server, they asked her to stay on, and she worked her way through various positions including Practice Assistant, Technical Writer, Graphic User Interface Design, Database Administrator, and Developer in well under three years. It was also here that she first put her web development skills to business use.

Later positions saw her designing and overseeing the development of three different Content Management Systems; designing and leading the development of two pieces of Internet directory management software; and envisioning and helping to create the social networking software that runs Business Partnerships Canada.

Entrepreneurship

The entrepreneurial spirit runs in her bloodline, from her great-grandfather, Captain Evelyn, through her grandmother, parents, and uncle, so there was lots of advice and support to be had when she and business partner Mark Lobo opened the doors to pixcode.

Gisela jokingly says that she had to start her own business because she's a bad employee who has ideas for how to fix everything. A combination of gifted, energetic, and personable, she freely admits the challenge is to focus down on one idea and just let the many others go, unless they further the main objective. Being able to make ideas reality through pure smarts and drive can actually be a bad thing, at times.

This is the reason she likes to be available to others, especially women, who are starting out in their own business, to help them avoid the pitfalls she has made and has seen others make. She is the founder of the Monday Mastermind Meetup group where women can connect with each other to support their efforts in growing their businesses.