Driving WinTech talks to Winnipeg

Driving WinTech Event Recap


Community Conversation Recap: Winnipeg

Win2a
Win1a

By Talia Smith

Driving WinTech pulled into Winnipeg on Sept. 28 for a Community Conversation. Venue sponsor, ACE Space at Red River College welcomed the crowd for a lively discussion. PEG Beer graciously sponsored food for the event which centered around the professional and personal journey of Nusraat Masood.

Lois McGill, Director of Academics at Balmoral High School was the moderator of the event. She said, “Tech is punching above its weight in Manitoba, but we still have some heavy lifting to do to create the conditions to make ICT more appealing to women as a career choice. We have the power to change this industry for the better.”  

Nusraat Masood is an Electrical and Computer Engineer by trade, with a Master of Science from the University of Manitoba. Her career trajectory has taken her from tech start-up to university faculty member. She is now the director of WISE (Women in Science and Engineering) Kid-Netic Energy. This outreach initiative focuses on inspiring and empowering youth in Manitoba with the possibilities of science, engineering, and technology. Nusraat is also a Director of IEEQ (Internationally-Educated Engineers Qualifications).

After completing her master’s degree, she quickly realized that simply holding a degree was no guarantee of stable employment in her specialized field. She credits networking as the cornerstone of her professional evolution. Networking played a huge role in landing her first post-university job at a tech startup in Ottawa. She also credits mentorship as a major influence, which helped her navigate unfamiliar territories. “I really seek people who have gone through experiences who I can learn and benefit from.” she explained. “If someone’s gone through something I think I can learn from, I going to invite them to lunch.”

One of WISE Kid-Netic’s missions is to empower girls to get involved in STEM programs and activities. Many in the audience echoed a similar sentiment, with questions and comments about the role early education plays in encouraging girls to pursue careers in technology. These questions led to lively conversation:

  • Why does the number of young women pursuing higher education degrees in STEM drop significantly at the postgraduate level?
  • How can we help promote girls’ interest in STEM at a young age so that it becomes normalized in a community sense, as opposed to a niche interest?
  • How do we show young girls the social impact that entering STEM will allow them to have?
  • How do parents’ perceptions of career norms affect girls’ interest in technology?

Most of our participants agreed: a shift in discourse is required to encourage more girls to enter a tech career or pursue science. Massood echoed this, stating that educators need to make changes to ensure that post-secondary education is more enjoyable for a diverse student body – which in turn creates a more creative workforce.

“Women look at things differently,” Nusraat explained, “Whenever we look at a problem, it’s important to have diverse variables to work with. If you have the same people thinking the same way with the same problems, you get stuck in a rut. That’s what women and minorities bring to teams – a more robust and creative atmosphere.”

We thank our community partners:ICTAM (Information & Communications Technologies Association of Manitoba), Women’s Enterprise Center of Manitoba, Horizon 3, iQmetrix, ALT Hotel and myCEO for making the event a big success.

Can you join us on our next stops?

Waterloo, Oct. 5. Register here. 

Barrie, Oct. 10. Register here.

Toronto Oct. 11. Register here.

We invite everyone to join in the conversation by taking our survey. Stay-tuned for more in-depth recommendations in a future blog series.

Driving WinTech talks to Winnipeg

Driving WinTech Event Recap


Community Conversation Recap: Winnipeg

Win2a
Win1a

By Talia Smith

Driving WinTech pulled into Winnipeg on Sept. 28 for a Community Conversation. Venue sponsor, ACE Space at Red River College welcomed the crowd for a lively discussion. PEG Beer graciously sponsored food for the event which centered around the professional and personal journey of Nusraat Masood.

Lois McGill, Director of Academics at Balmoral High School was the moderator of the event. She said, “Tech is punching above its weight in Manitoba, but we still have some heavy lifting to do to create the conditions to make ICT more appealing to women as a career choice. We have the power to change this industry for the better.”  

Nusraat Masood is an Electrical and Computer Engineer by trade, with a Master of Science from the University of Manitoba. Her career trajectory has taken her from tech start-up to university faculty member. She is now the director of WISE (Women in Science and Engineering) Kid-Netic Energy. This outreach initiative focuses on inspiring and empowering youth in Manitoba with the possibilities of science, engineering, and technology. Nusraat is also a Director of IEEQ (Internationally-Educated Engineers Qualifications).

After completing her master’s degree, she quickly realized that simply holding a degree was no guarantee of stable employment in her specialized field. She credits networking as the cornerstone of her professional evolution. Networking played a huge role in landing her first post-university job at a tech startup in Ottawa. She also credits mentorship as a major influence, which helped her navigate unfamiliar territories. “I really seek people who have gone through experiences who I can learn and benefit from.” she explained. “If someone’s gone through something I think I can learn from, I going to invite them to lunch.”

One of WISE Kid-Netic’s missions is to empower girls to get involved in STEM programs and activities. Many in the audience echoed a similar sentiment, with questions and comments about the role early education plays in encouraging girls to pursue careers in technology. These questions led to lively conversation:

  • Why does the number of young women pursuing higher education degrees in STEM drop significantly at the postgraduate level?
  • How can we help promote girls’ interest in STEM at a young age so that it becomes normalized in a community sense, as opposed to a niche interest?
  • How do we show young girls the social impact that entering STEM will allow them to have?
  • How do parents’ perceptions of career norms affect girls’ interest in technology?

Most of our participants agreed: a shift in discourse is required to encourage more girls to enter a tech career or pursue science. Massood echoed this, stating that educators need to make changes to ensure that post-secondary education is more enjoyable for a diverse student body – which in turn creates a more creative workforce.

“Women look at things differently,” Nusraat explained, “Whenever we look at a problem, it’s important to have diverse variables to work with. If you have the same people thinking the same way with the same problems, you get stuck in a rut. That’s what women and minorities bring to teams – a more robust and creative atmosphere.”

We thank our community partners:ICTAM (Information & Communications Technologies Association of Manitoba), Women’s Enterprise Center of Manitoba, Horizon 3, iQmetrix, ALT Hotel and myCEO for making the event a big success.

Can you join us on our next stops?

Waterloo, Oct. 5. Register here. 

Barrie, Oct. 10. Register here.

Toronto Oct. 11. Register here.

We invite everyone to join in the conversation by taking our survey. Stay-tuned for more in-depth recommendations 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.