CATA WIT National Newsletter Summer 2010
July 14, 2010

Summer greetings Women in Tech!

On behalf of the CATA WIT Executive team, I would like to wish our members and subscribers a wonderful and relaxing summer! CATA WIT had a tremendous Spring this year, full of growth! The theme for this newsletter, "Mentorship – Critical for Career Advancement", reflects this year’s focus on Mentorship.

One of our biggest initiatives this past year has been BringITon, our website and interactive outlet for young women between the ages of 15 and 25. We had a great deal of help from our BringITOn Guest Blogger extraordinaire, Robin Levinson. Robin was instrumental in maintaining valuable content and raising awareness for the site; thanks for all the great help this year Robin!

CATA WIT is also thrilled to announce its participation in the consultation process on the future of Canada’s Digital Economy with ICTC’s Digital Economy initiative. CATA WIT is pleased to be making recommendations to address the role of women in advancing Canada’s digital economy. For more information on this initiative, please visit:

Our chapters’ ended this season in success, having offered a plethora of well-attended events and programs. Check-in with our various chapters for this fall’s exciting line-up. Wishing you all a well-deserved break over the summer months! Enjoy the sun!


Lynda Partner
VP Social Networking, CATA WIT


  BC Chapter
BC Chapter is pleased to announce that Sandra Horvath will be joining the executive team as the new VP Programs, welcome aboard Sandra!

We would like to thank our members and those who participated in our last Breakfast Club of the season on June 16th, it was quite a success. The topic for the last session was Tips & Tricks for Succeeding at Challenging Conversations. Participants learned new approaches, tools and skills to prepare for and navigate their most challenging conversations. The featured speaker was Diane Ross - an experienced lawyer, facilitator, and executive coach also trained as a mediator at Harvard Law School's Program of Instruction for Lawyers in Advanced Negotiation. You can expect another great batch of events and programs from our BC Chapter in the fall – stay tuned!

Twitter Stay connected with the BC Chapter, check us out on Twitter.

  Ottawa Chapter
CATA WIT Ottawa wrapped up its successful Leadership Series this Spring after delivering five informative and well-attended sessions. Whether our members are leading as managers or contributing team members, we made sure every session was collaborative, creative and focused on skills development, peer-learning and professional networking.

Some of the top take-aways from this season:
1. We all make mistakes. Learn from them and make an improvement plan based on objective feedback and your personal beliefs.

2. Each person learns differently and each person leads differently. Determine your style and be true to yourself.

3. To increase your influence, ensure that you are projecting confidence, professionalism and calmness.

Thank you to all our members for their participation in the sessions. A special thanks to all our speakers who made the season so successful: Ruth Gmehlin & Jill Geddes, Trillium Teams Inc; Kim Dixon, TalkSwitch, Dale Gantous, InGenius; Colleen Francis, Engage Selling; Barbara Callaghan, Barbara Callaghan & Associates.

We wish you a great summer season and will be in touch with all our members about our upcoming sessions and opportunities!

  Toronto Chapter
Reserve space in your calendars for the CATA WIT Toronto 2010/2011 Professional Development Series Launching this Fall!

The CATA WIT Toronto Chapter is pleased to offer the Leadership Seminar Series by SkillSoft as part of its 2010/2011 professional development program. This six-part speaker series on Leadership includes discussions facilitated by local experts and thought leader videos featuring best-selling authors, experts and CEOs. The thought leader videos are provided by SkillSoft, a global supplier of comprehensive e-learning content and software products for business and IT professionals.

The series begins on September 29, 2010 and will include sessions on innovation, leading growth, performance management, adapting to change, team building, coaching, and strategy execution. The topics selected for this speaker series are designed to meet the professional development needs of women at all stages of their career.

More details on this speaker series are available online,

(Women in Technology) Forum is a community network designed to boost women's participation and advancement in the high-growth technology sector.

For more information about CATA WIT Forum please visit

CATA WIT Forum National Partners
MTS Allstream       ICTC

Microsoft      Helix Commerce International Inc.

National Research Canada, Industrial Research Assistance Program        Xtreme Productivity


  Welcome Aboard!
CATA WIT would like to announce new members to its dedicated Executive Team this year, welcome aboard to the following new WIT ladies:

VP of Public Sector Engagement
Michele Lejeunesse - Director, MP³ Solutions, Maplesoft Consulting

VP of Growth and Strategy
Fawn Annan, President and Group Publisher, IT World Canada Inc.

VP of Marketing
Shann McGrail, Director of Education, Microsoft Canada

VP of Finance and Administration
Kelly Hagan, President, Favormark

  CIO Association and CATA WIT’s eMentoring program launch
The CIO Association and CATA Women in IT Forum (CATA WIT) launched an eMentoring pilot program in November 2009. The program is designed to give female IT managers access to experienced CIO mentors. CIO volunteer mentors were paired with young women aspiring to be IT leaders at a breakfast kick-off event at the Hockey Hall of Fame.

The program recognizes that women are significantly under-represented in the IT profession, and that mentorship is one of the critical ways in which women can be coached for management roles. Many CIO mentors and their mentees have been introduced and meet for effective mentoring sessions on a regular basis. With its success, the program is expected to be continued this fall!

  Microsoft Joins WIT as Gold Sponsor Partner
Microsoft Canada joined CATA WIT this year as a Gold Level Sponsor, focusing on sponsoring CATA WIT’s Mentorship programs.

  CATA WIT Mentor of the Year Award
CATA WIT is pleased to announce the creation of the CATA WIT Mentor of the Year Award , recognizing the outstanding achievements of an IT or business professional who has demonstrated - either formally through a corporate mentoring program or informally - a record of consistent outreach toward young women in the IT field or who wish to pursue a career in advanced science and technology.

Deadline for applications is August 11th, 2010

For more information or to submit your nomination, please visit:

  2010 Sara Kirke Award Winner
Congratulations to Carol Leaman, CEO, PostRank Inc. was announced as the winner of the 2010 Sara Kirke Award at the 25th Annual CATAAlliance Innovation Awards Gala.

left to right: John Reid, President and CEO, CATAAlliance; Carol Leaman, Sara Kirke Award Winner and CEO, PostRank Inc., Dr. Jerry Tomberlin, Dean, Sprott School of Business, Carleton University.
Ms Leaman has been instrumental in the turnaround, growth, and sale of several tech companies (including growing virtual reality company Fakespace from $3 million to $30 million in revenue before orchestrating its acquisition). As CEO in Residence at Communitech, she had the opportunity to work with many local startups, including a number of companies housed at the Accelerator Centre, and maintains an enormous network of strong relationships throughout the local tech community.

Please view this short video with Carol Leaman from CATANet TV:

  Fawn Annan, Appointment Announced
Fawn Annan has been appointed President and Group Publisher for ITWorld Canada Inc. Fawn has been with ITWC for 15 years serving at various times as GM, for Executive Events, Marketing Director, Publisher of the Enterprise Division and VP Operations and Chief Strategist. Prior to her work at ITWC Fawn owned her own animation company and an events company which produced the Open Systems Shows in Canada. Fawn has been an innovator throughout her business career and will bring the same entrepreneurial flare to her new position as she has to her previous endeavours.

Please visit for more information on recent appointments.

  Sandra Saric, CATA WIT VP Mentorship, featured in ITWorld
Coach like a pro: Why women in IT need mentors
CATA WIT launches a program that will pair young female technology professionals with a more experienced IT leader to help their career development.
Read the full article from IT World.

  Ask the Expert Series
CATA WIT launched a professional development program series this year under the guidance of Anne Raymond, VP of Professional Development, CATA WIT. Our "Ask the Expert" Teleforum series provided participants with the opportunity to hear from industry experts on topics ranging from "What is takes to be a CEO in today’s world?" and "Strategies to Grow Canadian Technology Firms." Find out success tips on leadership, networking, and work-life balance with this exciting series. New programs coming this fall!

  Shann McGrail - An Education in Leadership

Shann McGrail Professional Goals
Shann McGrail is currently the Director of Education for Microsoft Canada. Being responsible for all sales and programs for the education market, she is directly linked to students, administration, and faculty involved in Canada’s education sector; a core sector linked to the advancement of women in advanced technology. Shann is on the front-line of this sector and represents a positive role-model for young women interested in High Tech.

"A lot of my professional goals are related to making an impact on students, educators and the organizations that are responsible for educating the next generation of leaders," says McGrail. "I’m pretty excited about the breadth of the technologies, programs and partnerships we have and I feel privileged to have an opportunity to link that to education, which in turn links to the economic competitiveness and innovation of Canada."

As an advocate for mentorship programs and initiatives, Shann recognizes the role that her mentors have played in her career and the benefits it can provide younger women. McGrail also took the time to point out what many do not, that learning what "not to do" from poor managers and ineffective leadership is a valuable tool for many women early on in their careers. "I’ve had some excellent managers who have helped to teach me a lot, challenged me, supported me and whose input has shaped me as a leader," says McGrail. "It might sound strange, but I’ve also learned as much from those managers who were less than excellent and that’s also shaped my leadership."

Keys to Success
Looking back on what she’s accomplished, Shann identifies three specific keys to success that have been an asset in her professional life. Offering her insight to young women just entering the industry, she emphasizes the importance on knowing oneself and being aware of where one’s strengths and weaknesses lie; working with individuals that complement your strengths to enhance team dynamics; and having confidence in yourself. "Own your decisions, trust in them," adds McGrail.

McGrail has recently joined CATA WIT’s Executive Team as its VP of Marketing, continuing her dedication and commitment to encouraging the advancement of women in advanced technology.

Making IT Happen with BringITon

The proportion of women working in science, math, or technology is at an all-time low. Female students studying computer science or engineering are more likely to drop-out than their male counterparts, and those that do finish their degrees are more likely to switch to a non tech-related field after graduation. The term "role model" can sound so trivial, but it is exactly what these young women need. Young women need to see that not only is a career in tech possible for them, but it is also fun and rewarding.

Being a mentor is more than adding someone to your network on LinkedIn. Mentorship provides guidance, advice, and personal insight into the advanced technology sector. You can do it by answering a question, taking a mentee out for coffee, or writing about your own experiences navigating the high-tech field. At BringITOn, we provide forums to ask and answer questions, and the opportunity to blog and have your voice heard by young women ages 15-25. You can interact with young women just starting out in their careers. Interested in becoming a mentor? Turn an island into a community and check out! Share your story, take a few moments and post a blog on BringITOn!

Robin Levinson, BringITOn Guest Blogger

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