Driving WinTech talks to Edmonton!

Driving WinTech Event Recap

Driving Wintech Community Conversation Recap: Edmonton

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By Marwa Ridha  

Driving WinTech continued its tour across the country, stopping in Edmonton, Alberta on September 19. The Community Conversation was held at Startup Edmonton, who provided the space and also generously sponsored the event. Other supporters who made the event successful were Tech Edmonton, Alberta Innovates and Alberta Women’s Science Network (AWSN).  

Moderator Susan Charara, Alberta ambassador for Women in Tech, began the evening by having the panel introduce themselves and explain why they chose to get involved in the conversation. She shared the story of a friend, owner of a software development company, who told her he preferred hiring women over men because he found them to be stronger and better at getting things done, but lacked the confidence their male counterparts had. Susan became interested in exploring this problem and joined WinTech World to help empower women in the tech space.  

Confidence quickly emerged as the topic of the night, with a lack of confidence the main issue women in the tech space grappled with.  

Carrie Le Claire, Director of CX and Transformation at ATB, said she identifies with many roles but has a hard time identifying herself as a woman in tech. Stephanie Enders, Manager at Startup Edmonton, works in the marketing and communications department of a tech company yet also struggles to call herself a woman in tech. Bree Emmerson, Chapter Lead at Ladies Learning Code, owns her own web design and development company and sees first hand a lack of confidence in the women who sign up to learn code.  

Susan argued that we need to broaden the definition of a woman in tech to include the many roles that women hold in the field. She generated discussion by asking the panel:

  1. What are your thoughts on the current tech ecosystem in Edmonton?
  2. How did you get started in tech?
  3. Given where you are at now, what support or resources did you receive throughout your career to help you get to where you are today?
  4. What is one piece of advice you would give to the next generation of women in tech?

When Bree was 12 years old her family got their first computer. She maintained a strong interest in computers, went to college then got a job in the field. After the economic crisis she launched her own tech business and never looked back. It was an experience in high school that changed the course of her life. After a teacher in a tech course told her she wouldn’t need to learn anything beyond creating a Word document because she was female, Bree quit and taught herself to code. For her, Google and the public library were her biggest support systems. She also emphasized the importance of mentorship.

Stephanie’s path was very different. She had a more artistic background and parlayed her experience in the arts into a full-time position in the marketing and communications department at Startup Edmonton. Her biggest support has been the incredible women in her life. Her peers and strong mentors have modeled the careers she wanted and showed her how to reach her goals.

Carrie had been at ATB for years before participating in an executive training program where she learned subjects like design thinking and focusing from the user. Any free time she had was devoted to the subjects. Carrie believes, “If you want to know where your heart is, pay attention to where your mind goes when it wanders.” Her support came from the coaches, leaders and neighbours in the community.

All three women felt that tech in Edmonton is evolving and growing at an increasing rate. Bree noted that when Ladies Learning Code began in 2013, it was, “like pulling teeth trying to get people interested.” Since then, demand in the program has skyrocketed, and now there is an endless supply of volunteers. Sandra acknowledged the efforts of the City of Edmonton and their initiative to support the emerging tech industry. Salima Ebrahim, Director of External Relations, informed Sandra that one of her core mandates at the municipal level is to help foster and support the tech ecosystem in Edmonton.  

More recommendations from the Edmonton Community Conversations will be featured in a future blog series.

Driving WinTech arrives in Edmonton

Driving WinTech Event Recap

Driving Wintech Community Conversation Recap: Edmonton

edm3a
Edm1a

By Marwa Ridha  

Driving WinTech continued its tour across the country, stopping in Edmonton, Alberta on September 19. The Community Conversation was held at Startup Edmonton, who provided the space and also generously sponsored the event. Other supporters who made the event successful were Tech Edmonton, Alberta Innovates and Alberta Women’s Science Network (AWSN).

Moderator Susan Charara, Alberta ambassador for Women in Tech, began the evening by having the panel introduce themselves and explain why they chose to get involved in the conversation. She shared the story of a friend, owner of a software development company, who told her he preferred hiring women over men because he found them to be stronger and better at getting things done, but lacked the confidence their male counterparts had. Susan became interested in exploring this problem and joined WinTech World to help empower women in the tech space.

Confidence quickly emerged as the topic of the night, with a lack of confidence the main issue women in the tech space grappled with.

Carrie Le Claire, Director of CX and Transformation at ATB, identifies with many roles but has a hard time identifying herself as a woman in tech. Stephanie Enders, Manager at Startup Edmonton, works in the marketing and communications department of a tech company yet also struggles to call herself a woman in tech. Bree Emmerson, Chapter Lead at Ladies Learning Code, owns her own web design and development company and sees first hand a lack of confidence in the women who sign up to learn code.

Susan argued that we need to broaden the definition of a woman in tech to include the many roles that women hold in the field. She generated discussion by asking the panel:

  1. What are your thoughts on the current tech ecosystem in Edmonton?
  2. How did you get started in tech?
  3. Given where you are at now, what support or resources did you receive throughout your career to help you get to where you are today?
  4. What is one piece of advice you would give to the next generation of women in tech?

When Bree was 12 years old her family got their first computer. She maintained a strong interest in computers, went to college then got a job in the field. After the economic crisis she launched her own tech business and never looked back. It was an experience in high school that changed the course of her life. After a teacher in a tech course told her she wouldn’t need to learn anything beyond creating a word document because she was female, Bree quit and taught herself to code. For her, Google and the public library were her biggest support systems. She also emphasized the importance of mentorship.

Stephanie’s path was very different. She had a more artistic background and parlayed her experience in the arts into a full-time position in the marketing and communications department at Startup Edmonton. Her biggest support has been the incredible women in her life. Her peers and strong mentors have modeled the careers she wanted and showed her how to reach her goals.

Carrie had been at ATB for years before participating in an executive training program where she learned subjects like design thinking and focusing from the user. Any free time she had was devoted to the subjects. Carrie believes, “If you want to know where your heart is, pay attention to where your mind goes when it wanders.” Her support came from the coaches, leaders and neighbours in the community.

All three women feel that tech in Edmonton is evolving and growing at an increasing rate. Bree noted that when Ladies Learning Code began in 2013, it was, “like pulling teeth trying to get people interested.” Since then, demand in the program has skyrocketed, and now there is an endless supply of volunteers. Sandra acknowledged the efforts of the City of Edmonton and their initiative to support the emerging tech industry. Salima Ebrahim, Director of External Relations, informed Sandra that one of her core mandates at the municipal level is to help foster and support the tech ecosystem in Edmonton.

More recommendations from the Edmonton Community Conversations will be featured in a future blog series.

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.