Sara Kirke Award winners 2017 – Fawn Annan and Cindy Gordon interview

Awarded for entrepreneurship and innovation by the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance, the Sara Kirke Award celebrates women leading the tech sector. But according to this year’s winners, there’s a lot more work to be done if true equality is to be achieved.

During the awards ceremony, Gordon was lauded as a business leader, a high energy community volunteer and advocate for advancing the stature of technology industries in Canada. She has mentored women from coast to coast, inspiring them to pursue careers in STEM.

“Her organization of a successful lobby campaign to legalize equity crowdfunding brought together hundreds of experts together to change the legislation in Canada,” said CATA CEO John Reid. “But that is but one of her accomplishments. Cindy brings leadership, insight and strategic thinking into play in all of her initiatives.”

Annan, head of the nation’s largest content house serving the technology industry, was praised for her relentless commitment to improving Canada’s innovation environment.

“Fawn is a positive role model for women who continually demonstrates that with drive and passion, there are no problems that can be overcome – even in situations where traditionally women have not been able to demonstrate strength,” said Reid.

Sara Kirke is considered by many to be North America’s first entrepreneur. Sara Kirke arrived in Newfoundland in 1638 with her husband David Kirke, who was soon recalled to England. Sara, however, continued to reside in Avalon, and conducted business as usual from the Pool Plantation. Lady Kirke was a remarkable individual as she managed affairs at the Pool Plantation and became one of the most successful merchants on the English Shore — and was almost certainly North America’s first and foremost woman entrepreneur.

“Winning the Sara Kirke Award is a legacy moment in my career as a technology leader and innovator,” said Gordon after the ceremony. “I am honoured to be walking in the footsteps of entrepreneurial women who have paved the pathways before me.”

However, with less than one per cent of technology companies having a female board director and less than three per cent of venture capital going to projects headed by women, there is still lots of work to be done, she said.

Annan echoed the sentiment “As a woman entrepreneur in the communications industry, specializing in technology, I am thrilled to be a recipient of the Sara Kirke Award. I will take advantage of the honour by further advocating executive parity at all levels of the Canadian business landscape.”

Although there are an increasing number of role models for women in business, she said shattering the glass ceiling in the boardrooms ceiling of FP1000 companies is critical.

Gordon, who received the award from Stephen McIntyre, Partner at E&Y, is CEO and Founder of SalesChoice, a Cognitive Sciences AI-based sales analytics platform and Data Sciences company. She is recognized internationally for her innovation thought leadership with over 14 books in the market. She has an extensive community track record and is a Board Director /Advisor with Corent Technology, TouchTV, Kula and CoursePeer. She is also a recipient of the Governor’s Generals Award for Innovation.

Annan received her award from Mike Taylor, Vice President, End User Services at RBC. She is the President and CMO of IT World Canada. She is a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee Award in recognition of her significant contributions that have aided the progress of society and civilization, throughout the Commonwealth.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Brian Jackson
Brian Jackson
Former editorial director of IT World Canada. Current research director at Info-Tech

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