Driving WinTech talks to Whitehorse

Driving WinTech Event Recap

Talking to Whitehorse! Community Conversation Recap

By Nancy Baye

It was on one of the last warm sunny days in Whitehorse expects that local techies joined our Community Conversation on September 13. Held at the Coast High Country Inn, the event was generously sponsored by TechYukon and the Engineers Yukon 30 by 30 initiative.

Rick Steele, Executive Director of TechYukon, welcomed the crew. He was pleased to describe how the local government is actively involved in helping startups in the tech sector, and creating new programs to support IT development, particularly for women. They also created new scholarships for students pursuing technical studies. With that, 2017 saw its  first female scholarship recipient.

Driving WinTech was happy to have Sandra MacDougall say a few words. Sandra started the initiative Engineers Yukon 30 by 30 (our community partner). She’s passionate about encouraging more women to pursue engineering. Her organization is making strides with her groups focused on  on key issues of recruitment and retention. She feels that change is in the air, and that events like this Community Conversation are the proof.

Moderator Krista Prochazka, Director of Government Relations at Northwestel, offered these questions to the panel:

  • How did you get started and what led you to your career?
  • What were your top learning opportunities?
  • What support was invaluable?
  • What’s the greatest advantage of being a woman in tech?

Needless to say the event generated provocative discussion. Here are some notes from the panel.

Lidwien – after getting a BA, she got a diploma in Computer Science. One of her first interviews was with a road construction company where the boss said he wouldn’t hire her since he wasn’t comfortable sending a woman onto a construction site. She recommends LinkedIn for job searches, noting the group Women of Influence” found there. Her advice to women in tech is to be yourself, know your weaknesses and work on them, use strengths, get mentors, help others to work on their weaknesses, work honestly and with enthusiasm. Finally, she reminds women to always make time for yourself.

A high school counsellor told Alison engineers design cool things like MRIs and that got her excited. She went on to learn programming. She struggled for months in her first job because she didn’t know how to do it, after two months she finally admitted this. She now works at a college and enjoys being able to support students.

She advises taking advantage of our support networks like Engineers Yukon 30 by 30 initiative  and other Whitehorse  resources. She believes support will help you get ahead, don’t keep banging your head on the glass ceiling -we all need sponsor and/or advocate. Finally, she recommends valuing company culture more than the work itself.

As a kid, computers came naturally to Roni-Sue Sparvier. She went into Computer Science and her bosses supported her to learn hardware then software. She’s great at solving puzzles and has a love for learning. She now works in communications and graphic design. Her biggest learning opportunities come from having had amazing bosses in her career. They built up her strength saying, “I have the power to do what I want to do and I let my bosses know what that was.” Her advice: work hard, do your best, give other women opportunities and nurture them.

Angela Anderson was raised in telecom industry with a father who worked for a large telecom company. It was only natural she went onto study IT. She worked for Telus, both on the regulatory side and with engineers before taking a job in IT. She advises women in tech to keep learning, look for lessons, find mentors and “just keep swimming.” She also wants women to ensure they pick the hill they’re willing to die on, never give up or surrender and to listen with the intent to understand.

Group discussion made it clear that having kids and maternity leave remains a big issue, even for men. All agree this is a problem across many industries that needs to be addressed. One major factor seems to be that it is often a financial issue (of compensation) with smaller companies.

Stay tuned for the full version of recommendations from the Community Conversation in Whitehorse.

Driving WinTech talks to Whitehorse

Driving WinTech Event Recap

Talking to Whitehorse! Community Conversation Recap

By Nancy Baye

It was on one of the last warm sunny days in Whitehorse expects that local techies joined our Community Conversation on September 13. Held at the Coast High Country Inn, the event was generously sponsored by TechYukon and the Engineers Yukon 30 by 30 initiative.

Rick Steele, Executive Director of TechYukon, welcomed the crew. He was pleased to describe how the local government is actively involved in helping startups in the tech sector, and creating new programs to support IT development, particularly for women. They also created new scholarships for students pursuing technical studies. With that, 2017 saw its  first female scholarship recipient.

Driving WinTech was happy to have Sandra MacDougall say a few words. Sandra started the initiative Engineers Yukon 30 by 30 (our community partner). She’s passionate about encouraging more women to pursue engineering. Her organization is making strides with her groups focused on  on key issues of recruitment and retention. She feels that change is in the air, and that events like this Community Conversation are the proof.

Moderator Krista Prochazka, Director of Government Relations at Northwestel, offered these questions to the panel:

  • How did you get started and what led you to your career?
  • What were your top learning opportunities?
  • What support was invaluable?
  • What’s the greatest advantage of being a woman in tech?

Needless to say the event generated provocative discussion. Here are some notes from the panel.

Lidwien – after getting a BA, she got a diploma in Computer Science. One of her first interviews was with a road construction company where the boss said he wouldn’t hire her since he wasn’t comfortable sending a woman onto a construction site. She recommends LinkedIn for job searches, noting the group Women of Influence” found there. Her advice to women in tech is to be yourself, know your weaknesses and work on them, use strengths, get mentors, help others to work on their weaknesses, work honestly and with enthusiasm. Finally, she reminds women to always make time for yourself.

A high school counsellor told Alison engineers design cool things like MRIs and that got her excited. She went on to learn programming. She struggled for months in her first job because she didn’t know how to do it, after two months she finally admitted this. She now works at a college and enjoys being able to support students.

She advises taking advantage of our support networks like Engineers Yukon 30 by 30 initiative  and other Whitehorse  resources. She believes support will help you get ahead, don’t keep banging your head on the glass ceiling -we all need sponsor and/or advocate. Finally, she recommends valuing company culture more than the work itself.

As a kid, computers came naturally to Roni-Sue Sparvier. She went into Computer Science and her bosses supported her to learn hardware then software. She’s great at solving puzzles and has a love for learning. She now works in communications and graphic design. Her biggest learning opportunities come from having had amazing bosses in her career. They built up her strength saying, “I have the power to do what I want to do and I let my bosses know what that was.” Her advice: work hard, do your best, give other women opportunities and nurture them.

Angela Anderson was raised in telecom industry with a father who worked for a large telecom company. It was only natural she went onto study IT. She worked for Telus, both on the regulatory side and with engineers before taking a job in IT. She advises women in tech to keep learning, look for lessons, find mentors and “just keep swimming.” She also wants women to ensure they pick the hill they’re willing to die on, never give up or surrender and to listen with the intent to understand.

Group discussion made it clear that having kids and maternity leave remains a big issue, even for men. All agree this is a problem across many industries that needs to be addressed. One major factor seems to be that it is often a financial issue (of compensation) with smaller companies.

Stay tuned for the full version of recommendations from the Community Conversation in Whitehorse.

Everyone knows that we are living in an increasingly tech-enabled world. Not surprisingly, this is reflected in the number of jobs that are now available in the tech industry. The problem is, while the Computer Science workforce has grown by 60% since 1991, the percentage of young women going into the industry has declined (Stats Canada 2011). This needs to change.