Award winners from left: Ashley Kielbratowski: Co-Founder & Product Development, Harbr (Diversity Champion Award Winner - accepting on behalf of the company), Sarah Ryan, Program Director, Brilliant Labs (Power IT Up Award winner), Ulrike Bahr-Gedalia, President & CEO of Digital Nova Scotia & Dr. Rita Orji, Computer Science Professor, Faculty of Computer Science, Dalhousie University (Women Leaders Award winner). Photo from Digital Nova Scotia.

Published: June 6th, 2018

Three women in Nova Scotia’s ICT sector walked home with some hardware Tuesday during Digital Nova Scotia’s third Digital Diversity Awards in Halifax.

The three category winners represented women in senior level executive positions who, according to Digital Nova Scotia, “have made a significant contribution to Nova Scotia’s ICT sector and are active champions of diversity in their communities or organizations.”

“Since 1843 women have led major advances in programming and software development, yet today women still represent less than 25 per cent of the industry. Our awards were established to address the gender gap, and actively promote role models and champions of diversity in our ICT sector,” said Ulrike Bahr-Gedalia, president and CEO of Digital Nova Scotia, in a statement.

Women represent just approximately 27 per cent, according to the Canadian Labour Force Survey in 2016. That number has dropped from almost 30 per cent in 2011.

The three category winners are:

  • Power IT Up: Next Generation Leadership – Sarah Ryan, program director, Brilliant Labs. Ryan has been active in the science and technology education field for more than nine years. She has participated in events, panel discussions and has been a guest speaker at conferences and initiatives across the province.
  • Women Leaders in the Digital Economy – Dr. Rita Orji, computer science professor for the faculty of computer science at Dalhousie University. Her research focuses on investigating how interactive systems can be designed to help people move towards improved health and wellness. In 2017, she was named one of the top 150 Canadian Women in STEM by the hEr VOLUTION, was among the top 50 Young Most Influential Best Brains in Enugu State, Nigeria, and was invited to speak to the Canadian Parliament and at a United Nations Commission on the State of Women’s Panel.
  • Diversity Champion of the Year – Harbr, a construction technology startup company based in Halifax. As a team, they have over 20 years experience working with and for general contractors, and collectively they want to help drive the construction industry towards more efficient and thoughtful construction. Working within two male-dominated industries, construction and technology, Harbr vocally committed to gender parity, and achieved their goal in 2017.


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