Alfredo Tan (HBSc 1998)
From forensic biologist to personal trainer to founding team member at Facebook Canada, one could certainly say that Alfredo Tan has had an unusual career trajectory. The U of T Mississauga alumnus is known for his innovative work in technology & media, his volunteer work with academic and charitable organizations, and was recently recognized with an Arbor Award for his outstanding personal service to U of T.
Previously, Tan was a lifestyle coach & personal trainer, holding numerous national certifications. He holds a bachelor’s degree in forensic science and biology from the University of Toronto Mississauga, a master’s degree with a specialization in information systems & technology from McMaster University. He has also completed executive programs at the Harvard Business School.
Before entering the exciting world of technology and digital media, Tan worked in enterprise marketing and strategy at Bell Canada. He started his career in technology as a systems design engineer at Bell Nexxia, consulting for some of Canada's largest financial institutions. Tan went on to build his digital experience as senior director at Yahoo! where he led mobile, business development and search marketing teams. He also managed the Rogers Yahoo! partnerships across media, internet, and wireless. In addition, he was previously a director of strategic alliances at Sympatico MSN (the largest Internet portal at the time) where he was responsible for media sales, business development and strategic partnerships.
In early 2009, Tan joined Facebook in Canada as one of the founding team members. He was previously responsible for leading the teams responsible for the high growth verticals in the Canadian market, working closely with agencies and marketing executives at Fortune 500 companies. In 2016, he was the part of the launch team for Facebook and Instagram in the Philippines and the founding Country Manager. He continued his leadership work through the rest of South East Asia mentoring the teams in Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. In his final years with the company, he was based in Latin America, working closely with the Facebook and Instagram leadership teams in Colombia, Brazil, Mexico and Argentina.
In 2015, Tan was the recipient of UTM's Desmond Parker Outstanding Young Alumni Award. Calling Tan “an amazing trailblazer,” Professor Deep Saini, vice president, U of T, and principal, UTM, lauded Tan for his volunteer work with various academic and charitable organizations. “He is generous with his time, and truly upholds the value of this prestigious award,” Saini said. Tan is involved with the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, where he is a member of the leadership council. He sits on the board of directors of the Interactive Advertising Bureau in Canada, is on the Advisory Board at the University of Waterloo, and the board of directors at the West Neighbourhood House.
Tan noted the lifelong impact U of T has had on his life, from providing childhood dental care to his family when they first immigrated to Canada to being his first choice for post-secondary education. “When it came time to apply to university, there was only one school we were allowed to choose—the University of Toronto,” he said, adding that he is “grateful for the incredible learning at UTM, and the life-long friends I made here.” Tan noted that his campus connections have extended to his work life where three of the five founding staff at the Facebook Canada offices were fellow UTM alumni.
As of March 2018, Tan will join WestJet as the new chief digital and innovation officer.
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