May 30, 2019

Dr. Cindy Gordon Awarded AI Leadership of the Year Award at IMPACT AI, stumps for the CanWIT (Women in Tech) Sara Kirke Women in Tech Agenda

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Ottawa, ON… At the IMPACT AI AWARDS: Eli Fathi, Mindbridge Ai, CEO, takes the stage, and says,

The MindBridge Ai AI Leadership of the Year Award, in partnership with CATAAlliance, is presented to an individual or organization from the private, public or academic sectors in recognition of their role in advancing the use, education, and promotion of responsible AI technology in Canada.

The recipient will have demonstrated consistent leadership and execution resulting in the creation and acceptance of a world-class AI-based product and/or service that has solved a technology problem in a socially and ethically responsible manner.

This product and/or service will have achieved, or is intended to achieve, disruption of a service or market segment, created business value, efficiencies, and cost savings, or improved services.

The AI Leadership of the Year Award recipient will also be recognized as an influencer in the marketplace and have demonstrated their engagement with the community (e.g., keynote talks, advocacy, and media interviews) in helping to improve Canada’s competitive business climate and champion the development of responsible AI.

I would now like to call on CATA CEO, John Reid, to present the Award to a most deserving winner.

John Reid, CEO CATA, says,

The Winner of the Mindbridge Ai, AI Leadership Award is Dr. Cindy Gordon, CEO & Founder, SalesChoice, a Canadian, AI SaaS Predictive and Prescriptive Advanced Analytics Guided Selling Company.

Cindy is an expert in SaaS, AI, Innovation, and Sales and Marketing and has held senior leadership and partnership roles in global B2B Enterprises, including: Accenture, Xerox, Citicorp and Nortel Networks.

She has been a VC, an Angel and Founder in SaaS software companies. and is currently involved as a Board Advisor or Partner, in companies, such as: Angstron Technologies, an AI Product Development Services Firm, Corent Technology, a Platform as a Services Firm, TouchTown TV, a Digital Retirement Community SaaS Platform, LyfeUp, a health Care AI Mobile and Clinic Platform, and has helped many others that have had successful exits like Eloqua, sold to Oracle.

Cindy is also the Founder of Helix Commerce International Inc., a strategy innovation firm which serviced global B2B clients  like: CIBC, Davis and Henderson, IBM, ING, LGS Electronics, MTS Allstream, Rogers and TD, where she advanced their digital transformation strategies to modernize into new markets, like Smart Television, Mobile Payments, Cloud Computing, Software as a Service, etc.

She is internationally recognized in the fields of SaaS, Collaboration, AI,  technology emergence, and Cindy has authored 13 books and is working on her 14th book on The AI SPLIT: The Perfect World, or The Perfect Storm and will hit the market in 2020.

Her Most Recent Awards include:

  • The Digital Disruption AI Innovation Award in 2018 from IT World Canada, and Microsoft 
  • The STARTUP CANADA, National and Regional Entrepreneurship Awards
  • CATA & E&Y Sara Kirke Award for Outstanding CEO: Innovation & Community Leadership
  • Most Creative CEO Award from Insights Success.
  • The Governor’s General Award for Innovation
  • There are many others, but I will stop there.

In the Not for Profit sector leadership, Cindy’s current roles include: Co-Founder, and Chair, The AI Directory, founded by CATA, SalesChoice, and IT World Canada, a National Media Spokesperson for CATA for advancing Innovation, AI, and STEM), Co-Chair, Sara Kirke Caucus, Board Director, RSI, advancing environmental sustainability, Board Director, Forbes Business and Technology University advancing AI Curriculum Leadership for CEO’s and Board Directors.

Her former Board Governance Roles include: National Chair, Invest CrowdFund Canada (ICC) where she worked tirelessly with over 100 CATA volunteers to educate security legislative leaders with many smart lawyers, accountants, and concerned tech leaders to help enable equity crowdfunding in our country, National Chair, Women in Technology (CANWIT, CATA), Founding Member, Toronto Maple Leaf Angels. Former Mentor for the Enterprise Sales Toronto Forum (ESF). She is also passionate about the Arts Community, and she has been a Former Board Director for Nightwood Theatre, The Bluma Appel St. Lawrence Theatre. She has also been active in the Canadian Cancer and Prostate Association, and The United Way, as her father passed away at 69 from Prostate cancer.

Cindy’s passion is the constant pursuit of sustainable innovation and making differentiated experiences to make our world an incredible place. She especially loves family time, and global adventure travelling. Last year, Cindy was in South Korea and learned how much Canada wastes as a country and wrote a CATA sustainability message.

The year prior she was in Zimbabwee spending time in a conservation with a new born black rhino and this August is spending time treking into the high mountains in Rwanda to spend time with Mountain Gorillas in their natural habitat, where less than 750 Gorillas remain in the world, Cindy plans to accelerate the leadership responsibility of global warming and its impact its having on nature.

Ladies and Gentleman, may you stand with me and recognize, Dr. Cindy Gordon for her business and community leadership. 

Cindy please come to the podium and accept on behalf of MindBridge AI and CATA, the first AI Impact Award.

As a Trailblazer, as other leaders are identified, we welcome you joining our 2020 Selection Committee and let’s keep advancing and recognizing Canadian Applied Innovation Leadership, a mission so core to CATA and to your leadership advocacy, making Canada a better world for all of us.

Dr. Cindy Gordon, CEO & Founder, SalesChoice joins Messrs. Fathi and Reid, on the stage, saying,

First on behalf of Mindbridge AI, and John Reid, CEO of CATA, and the selection judges, I would like to acknowledge the other candidates and peers who equally deserve special recognition for their tireless efforts in advancing AI enablement.

I suspect there are many in this room today that have had the honour of being mentored by Eli Fathi  or John Reid, or both of these Canadian leaders. They authentically care about advancing innovation in our country, and are stepping up to help us increase our peer networks in both for profit and not for profit sectors so we together can further help shape AI and the importance of Transparent AI for Good.

Given the nature of this award, and its significance, I wanted to take the time to share two leadership messages.

As I share these two perspectives, I would like each of you to dig deeper in your leadership agility and after my comments, think of standing up to demonstrate your genuine commitment to make a difference to modernize Canada and our AI Community.

Message #1: Canada is failing in Applied AI Innovation and the impact will be severe unless everyone in this room Leads in New and More Powerful Intentionality Ways. 

First, As a country, we have done an incredible job advancing AI for research, with our world -class research institutions.

But I must implore each of you to recognize that in nearly every area of AI Commercialization, we are barely hanging on by our finger nails. This is a sobering reality check to hear – let alone say out loud in a celebration forum. But it’s an important message to be internalized today especially.

To win in AI, Canadian leaders must start purchasing AI Canadian company solutions far more rapidly than we are.

To win in AI, we must file more patents and sustain innovation.

Did you know that there were Less patents filed in 2018 than in previous years, despite investment from the Canadian government of more than $250 million. 

Canada is at risk of falling even further behind, as it has seen a dramatic decrease of patents for AI filed in 2018.

The number of AI patents in 2018 was only 52, twenty patent filing lower than 2017, which was just 72.

When compared to 2009, in which 183 AI patents were filed, Canada had seen a decrease of approximately 70% over the past nine years.

While other leading nations in AI patents around the world have increased the number of patents filed, Canada is the only country among the top 10 that has experienced a consistent decrease since 2018.

For a better perspective, consider the following: 311 AI patents were filed in Australia in 2017. Australian currently sits in 6th place out of the top 10 countries. The number of patents filed in Australia in a single year is still larger than all of the AI patents filed in Canada in the past four years.

So ladies and gentleman as you continue your discussions today, recognize that if we want to lead in  AI as a nation, we must  increase our economic health for Canadians and improve our national wealth status, we no longer have the luxury of purchasing an AI USA company products when there is a Canadian company as a viable option, every time we don’t Buy Canada we are impacting our children’s future.

If you go to www.AIDIRECTORY.ai you can find hundreds of Canadian AI companies for your purchasing consideration, AI Data Scientists, Research Reports, all brought together from volunteers and support from CATA, ITWorld Canada, and our company SalesChoice.

We need more help to keep this international HUB visible as if we only profile Canadian AI companies we won’t connect the dots rapidly enough. There are over 350 China companies profiled on the site now, and over 80 CANADIAN AI companies now profiled.

So if you are a founder of an AI company, or an educator, or have any expertise in AI or Data Sciences, please go to the www.aidirectory.ai and join our international AI directory Hub, and if you want to lend a helping hand let John, Eli or I know . We need sponsorship support to advance forward even more, so feel free to speak to us three over the balance of the day.

 Message #2 – To advance in AI, we need to bring the full work force to bear.

This must include women.

Did you know that women make up less than 20 percent of tech jobs, even though we make up more than half of the workforce. 

Even worse, women now hold a lower share of computer science jobs than they did in the 1980s. This is surprising because unemployment across tech positions in 2016 at 2.5 percent was significantly lower than the 4.9 percent national average.

The boom in the industry is creating more jobs for techies. Data reveals there are currently over 600,000 unfilled tech jobs, due to supply.

In the AI and Data Sciences area, the gaps are scarcer. 

Why are women then not as visible in technology.

There are many factors about STEM. Girls become interested in tech careers at age 11, but lose interest soon after. Experts believe lack of female mentors and gender inequality are some of the factors responsible for this trend.

On top of everything else, gender bias is extremely prominent in the tech industry. And sadly the majority of Technology companies foster a culture that doesn’t encourage women to pursue a career in tech or if they do enter, they leave at the age of 31. This intentionality gap has been in place for over 25 years. McKinsey believes to get to the next fairness level of attracting, developing and retaining women in tech will take over 30 years. 

I submit to each of you this is simply not good enough. Governance leadership counts.

In Canada, women represent just over a quarter of board directors on the FP500, the list of Canada’s 500 largest corporations, according to 2018 statistics from the Canadian Board Diversity Council. We are very very slowly modernized governance practices in diversity representation on boards.

California late last year passed a law requiring all publicly traded companies headquartered in the state to include at least one woman on the board of directors by the end of 2019, and between one and three female directors based on the size of their boards by 2021.There are fines of up to $300,000 for non-compliance.

Other USA States are currently considering altering their laws. 

Ten years ago, Norway became the first country in the world to impose a gender quota, requiring nearly 500 firms, including 175 firms listed on the Oslo bourse, to raise the proportion of women on their boards to 40 percent.

Advancing more women into technology governance and leadership positions is not just a diversity responsibility it is first and foremost a business responsibility.

Diverse Teams perform better, not by a marginal difference. Performance is higher by 60% or more when you have more diversity in your leadership ranks.

If you care about business productivity and you want your company’s to grow in AI enablement and be successful, whether privately held or publically held, profit or not for profit, to lead in AI we must get advance and create more equitable workforces. Diversity is a business growth innovation enabler.

As of today, we are announcing the Sara Kirke Leadership Caucus of over 25 female CEO’s who a have won this prestigious award for Entrepreneurship and Innovation recognizing lwomen executives who have shown outstanding technological innovation and corporate leadership — leadership that has significantly expanded the frontiers of Canada’s Advanced Technology Industry. This Award recognizes innovation, entrepreneurship and creating positive role models for women. In case you did not know, Sara Kirke is considered by many to be North America’s first female entrepreneur. She held the governor general position in NFLD from 1638-1651.

This leadership caucus will be co-chaired by Fawn Annan, CEO of IT World Canada, and myself, working in partnership with the Ryerson Diversity Institute, with Dr. Wendy Cukier, the 2019 Sara Kirke Award Recipient who championed the advocacy of more gun control laws since 14 women studying technology degrees were murdered in Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal in 1989 and has dedicated her career to advancing leadership and diversity in business. We will be looking for senior Technology Male CEO Leaders to augment working with John, Eli and I on this diversity platform in our industry.

Our platform will be an advocacy platform for intensifying policy and legislative changes in our country. We have had over 25 years of research, proposals, policy guidance and little has changed in our country advancing women in our technology sector.

I don’t want to wait for 30 years for my daughter to have a better world as she has recently finished a Master’s degree in business communication and techno culture (short for digital transformation). I suspect many of you feel the same way – the question is what are you doing about it?

Our results in advancing diversity and equitable employment in the technology sector, in terms of boards of directors, VC funding equity (only ten percent of government funds go to women in tech), leadership teams unbalanced, and team diversity remain unbalanced across the technology sector in North America.

  • It’s not true that women don’t love engineering.
  • It’s not true that there are not enough women to join board ranks.
  • It’s not true that women don’t enjoy programming. 

What is true is :

  • less than 5% of start-ups are started by women in tech.
  • Females make up less than 11% of the Fortune 500 executive ranks.

And

  • 82% of men think we spend too much time talking about diversity, while over
  • 80% of women believe we do not spend enough talking about diversity, inclusiveness, equity

In Closing,

If we truly want Canada to win in the AI Race then the two foundational messages I have tabled today, we will need your support.

  • Strive to buy Canada AI companies more, and Write more patents in AI to accelerate our position as an applied innovation country in AI.
  • Strive to attract, develop and retain more women in technology in all leadership cells in your company. It’s not about having quotas.

It’s about modernizing our democracy platform, and recognizing this is about a business productivity and economic innovation growth enablement factor.

If leaders cannot get it right after 25 years, then other approaches need to be at least considered. 

Eli, John and I trust we can count on each of you to join us, as we further ignite the AI and advanced technology sector in Canada to advance these two innovation enablers.

We all truly want Canada to move from a D position in Innovation, and secure a strong AI GDP Position, but we won’t get there without accelerated focus on the two messages shared with you today.

Thank you Ladies and Gentleman, this Impact AI Award is truly an honour, and

I want to dedicate this award to all the men and women in our AI sector that are making a difference in our AI and Technology sectors.

It will take all of us to get this right.

We all have much work to do. Let’s make it Count.

About CanWIT (Women in Tech)

Interact with your Women in Tech Peer Group Now: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/3307815/

CanWIT (Women in Tech) is a CATAAlliance initiative designed to promote mentorship, STEM disciplines, Innovation advocacy and successful women led enterprises in Canada.

CanWIT crowdsources ideas and guidance from thousands of opt in members in moderated social networks in Canada and key global markets.

Among it key programs are, the Sara Kirke Awards for recognizing women entrepreneurs, Social Groups for peer information exchange, Video Sharing Channels for sharing of best practices, Competitive Innovation nation advocacy and member events on topics of the day.