CanWIT, a division of CATAAlliance Fall 2010 Newsletter
November 24, 2010

This Fall - You CAN do IT!

We would like to welcome new and old members alike to this fall’s CanWIT, a division of CATAAlliance newsletter. That’s right, we’ve got a new name! We are re-branding the CATA WIT Forum as Canadian Women in Technology (CanWIT), a division of CATAAlliance  to encompass and emphasize our National perspective. You can expect our new website and releases to reflect this change in the coming months.

It is CanWIT’s goal to build awareness of our new brand and to continue the vision we had with CATA WIT. We seek to boost our collaborative networks and partnerships to provide greater support to Women in Tech. Through our national and regional initiatives, we hope to enhance the professional community and encourage mentorship. CanWIT as a division of CATAAlliance will continue to advocate on the importance of diversity and inclusiveness to ensure Canada’s competitiveness in the global economy.

Check out our chapter updates and news section for more information on the upcoming programs and events for the 2011 year. We also have some exciting announcements from women in technology who are leading the way (including a profile piece on Ingenium Communications’ CEO and Founder, Caroline Kealey)!

We wish you each a fantastic Fall season and send warm thoughts as the air grows colder!

Best wishes,

Sandra Saric and Shann McGrail,
CanWIT National Co-Chairs for 2010 and 2011


  Toronto Chapter
The Toronto Chapter is planning its 2011 calendar of events and programs this fall. The New Year will start on a networking note with a “Meet and Greet" networking event for members and non-members. Information around the event and registration will soon be available on the CanWIT website.

The eMentorship pilot program with GTA mentors from the CIO Association is going strong and will complete its full year late March. The program is likely to be expanded across the country for its second year of existence.

  Ottawa Chapter
The Ottawa Chapter would like to welcome Sheri Finlay to the Executive Team as its new Vice-Chair, welcome aboard Sheri! This past week Ottawa held its first fall event with a Wine and Cheese fundraiser for ovarian cancer, Vanessa Simmons, Cheese Sommelier, was the evening guest speaker. The Ottawa team is planning another great year of professional development and networking events for its members, with its next event scheduled for early December. Stay tuned to for details!

  BC Chapter
The BC Chapter has had a busy fall thus far with two events already under its belt. They recently held their signature season launch Oct. 20th, consisting of an engaging lunch panel with women leaders in the technology industry. The discussion surrounded their roles in key strategic positions within their organizations. A breakfast event was also hosted by the BC Chapter on Sept. 30th, the discussion topic for this event was Maximizing Your Strength for Success.

BC Chapter’s 2011 programs are set to be just as successful as this fall’s. Keep your calendars clear for their next event, to be announced in the near future on!


    Waterloo Chapter
CanWIT, a division of CATAAlliance is pleased to announce that the region of Waterloo is launching a new CanWIT chapter. Please contact Joanne Stanley at for more information or how to get involved in the Waterloo Chapter.

  Atlantic Chapter
CanWIT, a division of CATAAlliance will be launching an Atlantic Chapter in 2011. For more information on how to join the Executive Team or to become a member, please contact Emily Boucher at

National CanWIT “Ask the Expert" Teleforum Series 2010-2011 Season

Our successful “Ask the Expert" series continues this season with two new sessions announced.

Nov. 24th – 12 noon ESTB
Maximizing Your Strengths for Success
Register: Online

Dec. 8th – 12 noon EST
Create a Personal Brand and Stand Out From the Crowd!
Register: online


CanWIT would like to welcome its newest members to our Forum:

Mary Lynn Manton
Elisabeth Vanderveldt
Machivei Danha
Italia Corigliano
Catherine Alexson
Sarah Malcolm
France Desjardins
Gisele Salazar

We wish you a very warm welcome!

CanWIT, a division of CATAAlliance is a community network designed to boost women's participation and advancement in the high-growth technology sector.

For more information about CanWIT please visit

CanWIT National Partners
MTS Allstream       ICTC

Microsoft      Xtreme Productivity

National Research Canada, Industrial Research Assistance Program        


  Youth in Action

CanWIT Participates in Because I Am a Girl Event
Ella Mar, Ottawa Chapter Co-chair, recently spoke at Plan Canada’s Because I Am a Girl Event. She discussed the work CanWIT is doing to encourage young women in pursuing careers in the technology sectors and the research into why so few women choose these careers. Ella also discussed the creation of the web community BringITon, our bilingual web-based and social media driven community which connects girls in high school and university to each other and to women already in technology fields. Its mission is in stimulating mentor/mentee relationships, and providing educational content and profiles of successful women in tech to promote careers in technologies.

For more information on Plan Canada’s Because I Am a Girl campaign please visit:

Gen INC – Celebrating “Geeky" Girls
Genvieve L’Esperance, an 18 year-old from Montreal, is making big waves in Canada’s high tech world at a very young age. At the age of 15 she launched the first ever Teaching Kids Programming Course for young girls. She also runs Gen INC., a web channel for young girls and women. Targeted towards those who are tech savvy, the channel is a great blend of tech news, fun forums, events, and much more. In addition to being an online hang-out place for self-professed “geek" girls, it also acts as a platform that recognizes the exciting and not-so-stereotypical opportunities found in the world of technology. Gen INC. also reaches out to girls to discuss important topics such as social etiquette on the internet, how to stay safe and ways they can help their peers and themselves thrive through the difficult teen years.

Check out Gen’s interview with Avatar Director, James Cameron:

  Women’s Leadership in CATA’s Intelligence Canada (i-Canada) Initiative
Dr. Cindy Gordon is leaving her three year post as Chair of CanWIT and will now assume the National Vice Chair for CATA’s Intelligent Canada (i-CANADA) initiative. In this role she will support Bill Hutchison, Chair of iWaterfront Toronto, to advance the vision of Canada in becoming a leader of intelligent city capabilities from coast to coast, following in the footsteps of other countries like Copenhagen, Singapore, and Taiwan.
See more...

  CanWIT, a divsion of CATAAlliance Mentor of the Year Award Winner
CanWIT would like to congratulate Jennifer Ng Ain Kin, winner of the CanWIT Mentor of the Year Award at the 2010 IT World IT Leadership Awards Ceremony. Jennifer Ng is the chair of the IEEE's Women in Engineering organization, dedicated to inspiring, engaging, encouraging and empowering women in engineering worldwide. For more information on the award winners, please visit:

  CanWIT Participates in Microsoft’s Tech Days
Microsoft Canada partnered with CanWIT at their recent Tech•Days 2010 event in Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa, and Halifax. Cheers to Microsoft Canada and Rick Claus, Senior Technology Evangelist, for hosting a luncheon event for the CanWIT (Women in Technology) and the women in IT that recently attended Tech•Days 2010 in the various major cities across Canada. A dynamic group of women met over lunch and discussed their challenges and success in the IT field. It was a great opportunity to meet other women in IT, network, and make some new friends.

Tech•Days 2010: Canada’s premier skills development conference, Tech•Days gives the most current technical training on Microsoft-based technologies with over 50 sessions across 6 technical tracks. TechDays made stops this year in Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto, Halifax, Ottawa, Montreal, Winnipeg & Calgary.

  Dr. Wendy Cukier Wins Globe and Mail Community Transformational Award
Congratulations to Dr. Wendy Cukier, part of CanWIT’s family, who won one of the Globe and Mail Community Transformational Awards. Here is the piece written about Wendy recently in the Globe. It chronicles her amazing dedication and persistence to standing up for one's beliefs and values.

  Taking it to the top – Breaking the Glass Ceiling with the Taskforce for Women’s Business Growth
Female-owned enterprises are a vital part of the Canadian economy and play a significant role in job and wealth creation. Yet, many female-owned enterprises experience less than optimal growth. Many also lag male counterparts in terms of profitability, employment and export performance. Evidence suggests that female-owned enterprises represent significant untapped potential in the Canadian economy.

CanWIT’s VP of Research, Dr. Barb Orser is leading a Taskforce for Women’s Business Growth , a national and non-partisan consortium of prominent women business owners, SME service agencies, academics and industry associations. CanWIT is a founding member of the Taskforce whose goal is to grow women’s enterprises through the creation of public policy, advocacy, applied research, collaboration and sharing of best practices.

A Blueprint for Economic Growth was recently released by the Taskforce and calls for Action Strategies to facilitate the growth of female-owned businesses and maximize the impact of women-owned enterprises as a significant growth engine for Canada’s economy at a time when Canada’s economic growth is essential for both economic well-being and deficit reduction.

Through a series of Business Growth Roundtables taking place across the country, the Taskforce for Women’s Business Growth seeks to identify policy and program opportunities and response strategies to stimulate Canadian economic growth through women’s entrepreneurship.

Caroline Kealey, CEO, Ingenium Communications Inc.
   What does it take to be a successful entrepreneur?

Caroline Kealey As a single mother of two, Caroline Kealey has her hands full. In addition to that, she’s also juggling an around the clock career as CEO and Founder of Ingenium Communications Inc. Welcome to the life of a leading woman in High Tech. In her professional role she wears many hats; she provides direction and guidance for the company, product development, content management, and heads sales. It’s not hard to imagine why she would say that the biggest challenge to being an entrepreneur is that there are only 24 hours in a day.

With years of experience in the government and working as a communications consultant, Caroline recognized the need for an online communications strategy tool. It took approximately six years of development and marketing for Caroline and her strategic team to launch her idea into a an incredibly impressive product, the Results Map, an online strategic communications planning tool. Providing comprehensive services, including facilitation, training and organizational development, the Results Map is a tool that Caroline hopes will have a global impact on communicators.

Know Your Market
"One of the difficult things a company can do is shift from selling a service to a product. My advice to those that try it, make sure you can handle what you take on. Financing is always difficult to manage as well, so it’s important to know where to focus your time and effort. The sheer learning curve for an entrepreneur getting their product out in the market successfully is tough, there’s a lot of lessons learned along the way," says Kealey.

There were a few lessons in particular that stood out to Caroline throughout her own journey as an entrepreneur. There may be a stereotype that entrepreneurs are harshly competitive, but Caroline has found a great deal of generous support from other entrepreneurs. One individual that had quite an influence on Caroline was her investor and now friend, Debi Rosati, who became a real source of support, and both a mentor and an ally.

Reach-out for Guidance
“Entrepreneurs really shouldn’t be shy to reach out to other entrepreneurs. It can be intimidating to ask for guidance, but it’s impossible to do it alone. It’s imperative to tap into guidance and support. I think it’s been a huge help to me, having that support system that knows exactly what I’m going through,” says Kealey.

Acknowledge Your Capacity
Another tip Caroline offers from her experience is the need for entrepreneurs to do their homework, and to not necessarily go after a hobby or create a business for unrealistic financial gain. It took Caroline years of preparation with a keen focus on market research to know what the needs were for her target audience and the market culture. It’s also been integral to Caroline’s own success to focus on her core competency, communication. It’s important to stick to what you know and partner for strategy outside of your core competency. “Lightbulb moments need preparation,” adds Kealey.

“At the end of the day, all of this adds up to a dream to have a transformative impact on a field I love, and to really change and improve the way communicators do their job. I also want to be a great example to my kids, so that they know it is possible to go after what they want in life.”