Driving WinTech talks to Waterloo

Driving WinTech Event Recap


Community Conversation in Waterloo

Wat1a
Wat

By Aileen Cham

On October 5th, Driving WinTech met with a dynamic and diverse group of women at Velocity Start, University of Waterloo. The Community Conversation was full of laughs, insightful discussion and immersive storytelling by a panel of captivating speakers. They included Brenda Halloran, Chair of the Board Startup Canada and 2006-2014 Mayor of Waterloo; Lara Swift, Co-Founder and COO of Swift Labs Inc.; Angelique Mohring, Founder and CEO of GainX; Ruth Casselman, Co-Founder and COO of Alert Labs; and Dan Mathers, Chairman and Co-Founder of eleven-x, who also moderated the Conversation.

When asked how she got started in the tech sector, Brenda noted she wasn’t a woman in tech per se, but was mayor of Waterloo during the rapidly growing tech sector. “I’ve been involved in this city for the really exciting years of technology. I saw the challenges women faced, it was hard getting a foothold in tech, women didn’t have the same support or finances as men.” She cited the importance of talking about these issues, and thanked Driving WinTech for the Conversation.

The topics of pay equity and sexism in the tech industry became the central theme of the discussion. Each panelist shared stories of their unique experiences dealing with prejudice during their careers, and offered valuable advice. Angelique said,“Women’s access to funding globally is startling, and when I saw that, it was hard for me not to be angry. My male co-worker made $25 000 more than me. I went to my boss and demanded a raise. Though I got it, I was still pissed off.”

Ruth contributed a similar experience, a pivotal moment in her career when she realized hard work alone wasn’t going get her recognition. She saw that her career development was in her own hands. “I went up to my boss and told him I wanted to be paid the same as my peers, I didn’t care about the money, I just wanted to be paid the same,” Ruth explained. “If you want something, you go and get it.” This resolute statement sparked all the women in the room to applaud in agreement.

During Q & A, a woman asked the panelists for insights on salary inequality. “I wish there was one answer to that question,” Ruth replied, and suggested that women are often too timid to share their successes, and should continually promote themselves. Lara shared her own piece of knowledge, explaining that a man will apply for a job even when they have only 50% of the qualifications, yet women won’t go for the job unless they have 100% qualifications. “It is our inability to push ourselves,” Lara concluded.

The Waterloo Community Conversation was revealing as well as uplifting, and through intimate storytelling and discussion, the event evolved to be a celebration of solidarity among all women in tech.

We thank all the wonderful Waterloo attendees, and our sponsors, Velocity for providing our venue and CommuniTech for the refreshments. Our next Community Conversations are in Barrie then a sold out event in Toronto.

Driving WinTech talks to Waterloo

Driving WinTech Event Recap


Community Conversation in Waterloo

Wat1a
Wat

By Aileen Cham

On October 5th, Driving WinTech met with a dynamic and diverse group of women at Velocity Start, University of Waterloo. The Community Conversation was full of laughs, insightful discussion and immersive storytelling by a panel of captivating speakers. They included Brenda Halloran, Chair of the Board Startup Canada and 2006-2014 Mayor of Waterloo; Lara Swift, Co-Founder and COO of Swift Labs Inc.; Angelique Mohring, Founder and CEO of GainX; Ruth Casselman, Co-Founder and COO of Alert Labs; and Dan Mathers, Chairman and Co-Founder of eleven-x, who also moderated the Conversation.

When asked how she got started in the tech sector, Brenda noted she wasn’t a woman in tech per se, but was mayor of Waterloo during the rapidly growing tech sector. “I’ve been involved in this city for the really exciting years of technology. I saw the challenges women faced, it was hard getting a foothold in tech, women didn’t have the same support or finances as men.” She cited the importance of talking about these issues, and thanked Driving WinTech for the Conversation.

The topics of pay equity and sexism in the tech industry became the central theme of the discussion. Each panelist shared stories of their unique experiences dealing with prejudice during their careers, and offered valuable advice. Angelique said,“Women’s access to funding globally is startling, and when I saw that, it was hard for me not to be angry. My male co-worker made $25 000 more than me. I went to my boss and demanded a raise. Though I got it, I was still pissed off.”

Ruth contributed a similar experience, a pivotal moment in her career when she realized hard work alone wasn’t going get her recognition. She saw that her career development was in her own hands. “I went up to my boss and told him I wanted to be paid the same as my peers, I didn’t care about the money, I just wanted to be paid the same,” Ruth explained. “If you want something, you go and get it.” This resolute statement sparked all the women in the room to applaud in agreement.

During Q&A, a woman asked the panelists for insights as to why there is salary inequality among women. “I wish there was one answer to that question,” Ruth replied, and suggested that women are often too timid to share their successes, and should continually promote themselves. Lara shared her own piece of knowledge, explaining that a man will apply for a job even when they have only 50% of the qualifications, yet women won’t go for the job unless they have 100% qualifications. “It is our inability to push ourselves,” Lara concluded.

The Waterloo Community Conversation was revealing as well as uplifting, and through intimate storytelling and discussion, the event evolved to be a celebration of solidarity among all women in tech.

We thank all the wonderful Waterloo attendees, and our sponsors, Velocity for providing our venue and CommuniTech for the refreshments. Our next Community Conversations are in Barrie then a sold out event in Toronto.

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.