Historically, the tech industry in Canada has been dominated by men – even today, the ratio of men to women in the sector is estimated at three to one. But times are changing.
Across the country, women are founding tech startups, taking on leadership roles in tech businesses, and providing a shining example of why gender parity is so important. We saw this first-hand near the end of August, when ITWC and sponsor Ingram Micro Canada hosted the sixth annual CDN Women in the IT Channel luncheon, inviting more than 130 executives from across the country and honouring four women for their impressive careers. We heard speeches about the value of mentorship, the qualities of great leadership, and many examples of successful women that have built careers in the IT industry.
Now, we’re continuing to tell the story of the experiences, challenges, and accomplishments of women in the technology sector with a Twitter chat. We’re of course welcoming all the attendees from our luncheon and we’re also opening up the conversation to our wider community. Join us Sept. 15 at 1 PM ET using the #CDNwomen hashtag to follow along, and join in the chat. You’ll have the opportunity to interact with these special guests:
Jennifer Hollett, Twitter Canada
Jennifer Hollett is the Head of News and Government at Twitter Canada and a key member of Twitter’s media team. Prior to her arrival at Twitter Canada, Jennifer was an award-winning journalist, producer and digital expert, Jennifer has over a decade of experience at CBC, CTV and MuchMusic covering stories across Canada and around the world. She won a Canadian Online Publishing Award for her work hosting CBC’s G20 Street Level blog during the G20 Summit in Toronto, and was recognized by Amnesty International Canada with a Media Award for her CBC radio reporting from Israel and Palestine.
Jennifer studied public policy at Harvard University, obtaining her MPA. She co-founded a startup and developed “Super PAC App,” which debuted #1 in its category in the App Store, helping make political TV ads more transparent. More recently, Jennifer was the federal NDP candidate in University-Rosedale and an associate with the Atkinson Foundation, focused on civic technology.
Heather Schaan, vice-president, Microserve
As Microserve’s Vice President & General Manager since 2014, Heather’s primary mandate is to advance the overall direction of the company through strategic and operational leadership. Some of her key areas of focus include overall business planning, marketing, communications, talent management, strategic contract acquisition, and key initiatives.
Since joining Microserve in 2003, Heather has worked across many areas of the business including sales, service management, proposal management, IT Staffing and recruitment.
Heather is passionate in her belief that businesses have a responsibility to make a positive contribution to society, the environment, family, and access to education. She is especially proud to have helped establish and grow Microserve’s many scholarship and bursary funds with leading post-secondary institutions including Douglas College, BCIT, the University of Victoria and the University of Alberta.
Fawn Annan, president, ITWC
Fawn Annan is the president, chief marketing officer and group publisher of IT World Canada/IDG Canada. She is also partner and CMO for Haliburton’s Digital Reno, a new storytelling agency created to use the power of brand journalism to bring innovative video, podcast and written content to companies seeking to increase their online audience. Ms. Annan is Chair of the Canadian Channel Chiefs Council, sits on the Ontario Board of the Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC) and serves on the national board of Canadian Women in Communications and Technology (WCT). Ms. Annan has operated her own business and held senior positions in marketing and strategy with a variety of firms. In 2012 she received the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Award for her contribution to the IT industry.
Questions we’ll be discussing at the chat:
1. “We’ve reached equality in the workplace in Canada.” To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement? #CDNwomen
2. What are some of the unique challenges you’ve faced as a woman in tech? #CDNwomen
3. Do you have a role model that serves as an example for your career ambitions? Who is it and why? #CDNwomen
4. What role does mentorship play in career building? Have you been a mentor or a mentee? #CDNwomen
5. What can we actively do to create equitable opportunities for women in the workplace? #CDNwomen
6. Do you know if you make equal salary for equal work to your male colleagues? #CDNwomen
7. Often sexism in the workplace comes down to simple interactions. What’s the best strategy to respond in these situations? #CDNwomen
8. It’s common to hear about balancing family life when discussions about women’s careers are raised. How do you feel about this? #CDNwomen
9. What is the best thing that can be done to encourage more women to pursue careers with tech companies? #CDNwomen
10. a) Canada’s 30% club is working to see women make up at least 30% of board of director positions by 2020. #CDNwomen
b) What will it take to reach that goal? (A study put the number at 20.8% in 2014) #CDNwomen
Join the chat here – Thursday, Sept. 15 at 1 PM ET: