Janet Longmore — Digital Opportunity Trust
Leading for Change — Empowering Women with Technology
It's a late night in August, the rain is pouring heavily, and the muddy Kenyan road makes for a long and arduous drive after a series of meetings. As exhausted as she may feel, Janet Longmore, President and CEO of Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT), knows that the road she is on is worth it. Having just met with local partners, it's a drive like this that affords her a rare opportunity from her 'go, go, go' schedule to reflect on the success of the work that DOT has been leading around the world.
Digital Opportunity Trust is paving the proverbial road to self-reliance with programs that promote technology as a necessary tool of empowerment. As the Founder of DOT, Janet has set the vision and guided the celebrated international social enterprise to success. Launched in 2002 with a particular focus on youth and women, DOT has mobilized thousands of local young interns to become leaders of change. They train and coach their communities and schools, in developing countries and regions under stress, to apply 21st century skills as they promote entrepreneurship and the use of technology.
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CanWIT Chapter Updates
The Waterloo Region Chapter is very busy planning for the launch of their Signature Series Events. Their first event will celebrate women who are pioneering Technology in Canada. Stay tuned to catawit.ca for upcoming details! In October the Chapter held their first Speed Mentoring Event which was received with great appreciation. All attendees were enthusiastic about the quality of information they received and the level of support that was expressed by our mentors. The team plans to continue to host these types of interactive events. Waterloo's VPs of Marketing and Communications, Alison Clarke and Stephanie Rozek were hosted by Rogers' Talk Local TV show with Hayley Zimak. This was a great opportunity to locally share the chapter's vision to inspire, support, elevate and empower women in technology personally, professionally and together as a community. The board would also like to extend congratulations to Membership Co-Chair Marni McVicar on the recent announcement of her employer Aeryon Labs winning the prestigious Ontario Centres of Excellence Mind to Market award for collaborative research and commercialization. The Mind to Market Award honours the best Ontario Centres of Excellence supported research collaboration between the business and research communities resulting in the effective commercialization of leading edge ideas and solutions.
The Toronto Chapter completed their 2011 Professional Development series on October 27th. This speaker series was limited to smaller groups and facilitated by local professionals. With the help of CIBC, CanWIT Toronto chapter hosted their fall networking event on November 22nd featuring speaker Don Tapscott, author, speaker and advisor on Media, Technology and Innovation. The inspiring event on innovation was sold-out. The Toronto team also hosted a free 'Mentorship and Me' session on December 1st. This session provided attendees with the opportunity to network with mentors and to learn how to optimize mentorship relationships.
The BC Chapter held their signature lunch on October 26th with Laurie Schultz, President and COO, ACL Services, Amielle Lake, CEO of Tagga Media Inc., Jeanette Jackson, Founding CEO/Current CMO, Light based Technologies, and Colleen Collins, Associate Dean, Simon Fraser University. The fantastic line-up of speakers discussed Growing a Technology-Based Business. On November 23rd, CanWIT BC's Vice President of Marketing, Jennifer Barron hosted a successful session on Working with influencers in the age of social media. Jennifer runs the Vancouver office of High Road Communications, one of Canada's leading marketing-communications agencies specializing in technology and digital lifestyle PR. The Chapter has an exciting 6-session Group Mastermind Mentoring program planned for the 2012 season. A great way to work on personal and professional resolutions for the New Year! Apply on-line
CanWIT BC was also mentioned in a recent blog post highlighting the November CanWIT BC Breakfast with guest speaker Dr. Catherine Aczel Boivie of Vancity. Check out the blog here.
CanWIT is now delivering programs and services coast to coast! Our brand-new Atlantic Chapter celebrated its official launch event on November 3rd as part of New Brunswick Innovation Forum in Fredericton. The launch featured four of the region's most inspiring women in technology: Jill Green, CEO of Green Imaging Inc., Theresa Williams, Atwood Technology, Desiree Stockermans, Operations Manager at Instrument Concepts Inc., and Cathy Ronahan, Project Coordinator at Trade HERizons. The Chapter is pleased to welcome their newest executive team member, Nancy Beth Guptill, President of Sweet Spot Marketing. Nancy Beth will be the Chapter's PEI Representative. Welcome aboard, Nancy Beth! The executive team is currently planning their events and programs for 2012. Follow the Chapter on twitter @CanWITAtlantic for details!
CanWIT's Ottawa Chapter recently hosted a successful event on protecting Intellectual Property on November 15th. Leading IP experts Anne Kinsman, Partner, Lawyer and Patent Agent, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, and Kent Ledwell, Partner, Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP, engaged the audience in informative discussion surrounding the importance of protecting and identifying ownership of intellectual creativity. The Ottawa team is prepping for their next event on January 25th which will provide attendees with the necessary tips on 'How to Start a Technical Business?' Register on-line for their 2012 events.
Advocacy in Action
The Senate standing committee on banking, trade and commerce met on Thursday to continue their discussions concerning the current state of the domestic and international banking system, and more specifically, the issue of financing growth capital available for small and medium enterprises (SME).
Witnesses Barbara Orser from the Telfer School of Management, Stephanie McKendrick from the Canadian Women in Communications, and Lynda Partner from Canadian Women in Technology appeared before the committee. Witnesses testified to the fact that there are gender differences and gender gaps within the technology and telecommunications sectors that need to be addressed, and highlighted the fact that women-owned businesses need targeted programs to help their growth due to gender differences.
Witnesses also called for a disaggregation of the data relating to the impact federal government programs have on the businesses they help, as this information would better enable the growth of women-owned businesses. It was emphasized that targeting women is not just a social or moral imperative, but rather a specific market segment that has a lot of potential for huge economic impact within Canada with increased assistance and support. The senators' questions to the witnesses touched on a number of topics, particularly how the committee could recommend ways to implement new, or change old programs within the federal government, and specifically measures that can be taken to help advantage women-owned businesses.
More details? Find out in the Alpheus Committee Snapshot. Same day overview of testimony, summary of questions & answers and highlights of committee decisions.
Tech Talk Corner — CanWIT's Blog Spot
Innovation and the epic quandary: to be or not to be?
By Laura O'Blenis, Chair of the CanWIT Atlantic Chapter
In the context of knowledge-based industries, the Shakespearean spirit embodied in the epic question 'to be or not to be' is a loaded enquiry that only deserves a solid 'yes' in response. Shall we choose to be innovative? To bring new products to market, to create greater opportunities for aging industries by adopting the application of new technologies that help us work faster, smarter, and better. The reality is that we live in a global economy and that we compete globally, whether we like it or not. Why wouldn't we choose innovation? Because really.... technology helps us. Technology helps us communicate efficiently (although not always effectively – innovation can help with this). And then there's research... just think of all those really cool tech gadgets that keep us entertained on a daily basis: new mobile applications, the emerging near-face communications (NFC), and the latest and greatest clinical devices for cancer treatment, reproduction, and other healthcare breakthroughs. Innovation moves us forward.
With so many advancements in so many sectors that are touched by the need for the adoption of technologies, we need more Canadians studying and working in knowledge-based fields. We need more entrepreneurs and academics that are prepared to take their brilliant ideas and commercialize them to create new economies, more jobs and greater opportunities for the next generation of workers. We need more scientists, more engineers, more software developers, and more computer wizards who will foster innovation! And of utmost importance, we need a lot more of them to be women!
The bubble of the new millennium brought caution to our industry as many felt there would be no long term employment sustainability. Those ideas have placed a stereotype on our sector. As members of this exciting industry, we need to declare that there are limitless opportunities to the next generation of young women. Now is the time to explore a career in technology and encourage innovation in our country!
So ask yourself "to be or not to be?" I know one thing is for certain my answer will always be yes to innovation... my answer is "to be."