Posts Tagged ‘leadership’

Fireside Chat with Leading Female Entrepreneur, Camp Tech’s Avery Swartz

Join us along with event partner WCT National Capital Region (@wct_ncr) for an evening with esteemed entrepreneur and founder of Camp Tech, Avery Swartz. (@AverySwartz / @CampTechCo)

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Learn about Swartz’s journey as a female entrepreneur in the tech space, and how she has built one of the nation’s foremost tech training companies.

The evening will include:

6 – 7 pm – Networking
7 – 7:30 pm – Fireside Chat with Avery Swartz, Founder Camp Tech
7:30 – 8:00 pm – Open Q&A session with Avery Swartz
8:00 – 9:00 pm – Networking

Wine will be provided.

When: January 21st, 2016

Time: 6:00 PM  – 9:00 PM

Location: HUB Ottawa, 71 Bank Street, Ottawa, ON K1P 5N2

Event Fee: $20 (all GGD members register at Member rate)

CLICK HERE to register.

Next event: Engineering Meets Personality “Typewatching”

JenNgAinKinOn Wednesday May 29 , join us at our next Girl Geek Dinner as Jennifer Ng Ain Kin gives us an overview of MBTI (Myers-Briggs Temperament Indicators) personality traits and how being aware of them would be helpful in the workplace, and even at home!

As a manager or team lead, how do you know who to put on what projects and why? A team member always takes over every meeting, how do you get others to also participate? Do you find that people from other departments tend to take matters more personally and less objectively than your engineering team? Do you often hear that you come across too abrupt at meetings?  Do you prefer people that are like you or people that are different?

Jennifer will share her experiences dealing with such situations and will interact with the audience to do some “typewatching” on their own.

Jennifer started her career in Ottawa as a software engineer writing embedded diagnostic code for submarines, light armored vehicles, fighting jets and tanks. She moved to the United States to gain more industry experience and eventually made a career change from software engineering design to medical devices. After a decade in the U.S., she returned back to Ottawa and joined Abbott Point of Care in Regulatory Affairs.

Jennifer is a Senior Member of the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) and has been an IEEE member for over 20 years while serving as a volunteer in various roles, sections and regions for more than a decade. She received the prestigious CATA WIT (Women In Technology) Mentor of the Year Award in 2010 for her outstanding work with the IEEE student branches in Ottawa and for promoting organizational flatness that appeals to both professionals and students alike, as the  IEEE WIE (Women in Engineering) Ottawa Chair.

Jennifer obtained her Bachelor of Electrical Engineering from McGill University in Montréal. She also holds a Management Certificate from the Boston University Corporate Center.

Date: Wednesday May 29, 2013

Location: Maxwell’s (340 Elgin Street)


5:30 p.m. – Doors open

6:00 p.m. – Introduction/food order

6:30 p.m. – Speaker presentation

6:50-7:15 – Q&A

7:30 p.m. – Event close

REGISTER HERE! Only 35 seats available.


Thank you to our sponsors!




Event Recap: “Overcoming anonymous in search of more fully clothed role models”

Shari Informed OpinionsAt our most recent dinner on April 16th, Shari Graydon, founder and catalyst of Informed Opinions, presented “Overcoming anonymous in search of more fully clothed role models.” Shari stressed the importance of the female voice; drawing awareness to the obstacles faced by influential women who speak up. Shari reminded us that we all have informed opinions, knowledge and experiences worth sharing. The unfortunate truth is women are more likely than men to give up the opportunity to voice an opinion when given the opportunity. When Shari polled our attendees if they ever declined the chance to speak because “they weren’t the right person to ask” or because “someone else would be better suited to comment,” more than half of us raised our hands.

Sometimes it seems we are our own worst enemy, allowing self-consciousness and doubt prevent us from expressing our opinions. Statistically speaking, men’s opinions out-number women’s at least four to one in the media. Empowering women to express themselves is not only important for the individual, but also for the collective. Shari spoke from the heart when she said “it’s a sad day when a woman remains silent.” Women experience things differently from men – in regards to sexuality, appearance, safety and maternity ­– which need to be considered in public discourse.

However, operating in a position of influence and having a strongly informed opinion isn’t a walk in the park. There’s still gender-specific challenges which affect influential and opinionated women today. Shari offered a number of examples of inspirational women who chose to speak up, be powerful in their own right, and influence others. While these “fully clothed role models” are an inspiration, their presence in the media reveals that strong and opinionated women still face gender discrimination – gender-specific criticisms, harassment and cruelty – not typically experienced by male counterparts. Female leaders contend with public focus on their looks and wardrobe, rather than their opinions. Marissa Mayer, President and CEO of Yahoo! was heavily scrutinized for taking her position during her pregnancy. Hilary Clinton was slammed in the press for her wardrobe choices. Sexism is still prevalent, despite living in these “modern times.”

The good news is, as more women choose to have a public voice, the more these opinions will become the focus of discussion. We all benefit from women in power. When women are included in senior corporate positions, companies perform better and operate with higher ethical practices. In countries where women are educated, the quality of life is raised for everyone.

Shari inspired us to find our voice. As Alice Walker once said, “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” The next time you have the opportunity to speak, be confident that your voice is as strong as those around you. If you have an informed opinion, share it. What if you really are the best person to ask?

If you’d like to purchase Shari’s book I Feel Great About My Hands…And Other Unexpected Joys of Agingplease contact Ashley Armstrong at ashley(at)informedopinions(dot)org.

You can also check out photos from the event on our Facebook page and read what attendees posted on Twitter.

Our Sponsors

A special thank-you to our sponsors for their generous door prize donations:















And, congratulations to our door prize winners!

Kate Wetherow

Camille De Baets

Jennifer Turner

Lysanne Sacoutis

Lara Bender

Ghostly Greetings Girl Geeks! Another FANGtastic season with GGDOttawa

In September 2009, three ambitious women launched Ottawa’s first Girl Geek Dinner. Melany Gallant, Kelly Rusk and Veronica Giggey spent months preparing and collectively used their expertise to form a Girl Geek community Ottawa could call its own. Three years later, these women were able to build a community of 1,300 Girl Geeks and it continues to grow with each passing season. They’ve been dedicated to organizing these events so women can meet and learn from some of the brightest women in the city, over good food and great company.

While it’s been an amazing three years for the team, Melany, Kelly and Veronica  are passing their dinner plates over to a new set of inspired Girl Geeks: Samantha Hartley, Dynimul Mao, Nyree Costello, and Amelia Stein. Working with a strong foundation in place, these women will make up the new GGDOttawa planning team:

Samantha Hartley is a second-year co-organizer who had the pleasure of working with and learning from the original three musketeers. By day, she works at The Conference Board of Canada as a direct marketer and by night, she also volunteers for Big Brothers Big Sisters Ottawa and the International Association of Business Communicators Ottawa Chapter. Samantha loves writing and playing sports, and she’s very excited to hang out with the Girl Geeks for another season.

Amelia Stein is a past volunteer for GGDOttawa and a huge fan! She’s a tech-comms junkie and research enthusiast, working at Ramius Corporation as support for its online qualitative research software.  As a self-professed foodie, she’s pumped to try the different restaurants this season has to offer.

Nyree Costello has been a professional communicator for over 10 years. She is an active blogger (, photographer and mother to two dogs. In her free time she plays competitive roller derby, volunteers with the Canadian Public Relations Society and plays a mean air guitar.

Dyni Mao is studying at University of Ottawa and will be graduating soon with joint Honours in Computer Science and Mathematics.  She’s a member of the IEEE-WIE and loves to play badminton, soccer, and beach volleyball. She’s excited to lend a hand to a good cause and looking forward to having fun in the process!

On behalf of the new planning team, we’re very passionate about kicking off the fourth season and it’s shaping up to be interesting and engaging! To give you a little sneak peek, our first event will feature Amanda Shendruk, founder of Aesthetic Intelligence and a leading expert in data visualization. Amanda believes data is a driving force to decision-making and it should reflect visual creativity to improve understanding and clarity.  Save the date for our next event: Wednesday November 21, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Black Tomato. Stay tuned for our official event announcement in the next couple of days.

We’d like to leave you with a video of GGDOttawa’s claim to fame back in 2009. Thank you again Melany, Kelly and Veronica for putting food on our plates and knowledge in our brains!






Event recap with Girl Develop It Ottawa

Last Wednesday, Serena Ngai of Girl Develop It Ottawa presented her case about the revolution of women in technology. From Mattel’s Barbie career innovations to five-year old girls dreaming of being astronauts, Serena pointed out the large social gap between girls and boys in the field of computer science and everything related.

When you Google search “computer scientist”, what’s the first image that appears? Is it a guy with glasses and a plaid shirt? Trust us, we’re not being biased. In fact, research has shown the number of women with bachelor degrees in computer sciences has decreased rapidly over the past 20 years from 37 per cent to less than 20 per cent. Today, less than one per cent of women would be interested in studying computer science as an elective in university. But, there is hope!

In 2010, Mattel posted a public survey asking girls which career they would like Barbie to pursue. To everyone’s surprise, the number one career was computer engineer. Are women beginning to see technology as a fun, innovative, career savvy form of income?  Let’s hope so!

To help regain the number of women in computer sciences, Serena and Gail Carmichael founded Girl Develop It Ottawa to bring back the flare and fun of building websites in a supportive environment. Serena taught us how technical skills can be valuable for your career and any career, why this “women in technology” thing really matters, and how their upcoming workshops can help you become the next Marissa Mayer. Well, in part.

Girl Develop It is hosting their next workshop Intro to HTML and CSS on Nov. 29 and Dec. 6, from 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. They’re also looking for volunteers to help teach workshops and share technological skills with Ottawa women. If you or someone you know likes to teach and is tech savvy, contact Serena or Gail.

And lastly, congratulations to our Girl Geek prize winners who went home with fabulous gifts from our event sponsors – the National Arts Centre, Media Miser, and Ingrid Aesthetics.

To read more about this month’s event, check out the following reviews from our Girl Geek attendees:

Amy Campsall (blog post)@AmyCampsall

Alexandra Reid – @TechAlly

Mel Gallant – @MelGallant

Hana Abaza – @HanaAbaza


Introducing Lead to Win for Women

I first heard about the Lead to Win program while I was a graduate student at Carleton University.  Professor Tony Bailetti used the program as an example of what being a serial entrepreneur meant.  He talked about a group of people who had been part of lay offs during the burst of the tech bubble and who got tired of waiting around for their next job.  They took action and decided to create their own jobs.  The results were outstanding!  The first class of the Lead to Win program (2002) created over 50 business in the national capital region, raised over 90M in VC money and created over 300 full time technology jobs.
You can imagine my excitement when our friend Natasha D’Souza approached us with the news of Lead to Win for Women (LTW-W).

LTW-W provides women entrepreneurs with resources and expertise essential to business prosperity and success. LTW-W supports women founders at any stage of entrepreneurship who share a common goal to build a business with significant growth potential. There is an opportunity for women to learn, access critical resources, and network with like-minded entrepreneurs and successful business owners. LTW-W aim is to be a catalyst for growth for Canadian women entrepreneurs. LTW-W is unique and will have a positive impact on the success of women owned business in the National Capital Region and Canada.
Is Lead To Win for Women Right for You?

  • Do you have a great idea, but don’t know how to turn it into a business?
  • Do you already have a business, but growth is stagnating?
  • Are you interested in attending an intensive free bootcamp that will help you set business goals and achieve them? 
  • Want to help LTW-W reach their goal of making Canada the best place for women to launch and grow their businesses?  If this sounds like something you need to be a part of, you can start by attending the info session at the Code Factory on September 30, 2011 from 12:00pm-1:00pm.  Then you can apply at
    Good Luck!  And make sure to let us know how it goes.

    Join us Jan 26 for a panel discussion on leadership!

    Join us Wednesday, January 26th at The Black Tomato for a panel discussion featuring three female business leaders, representing both the public and private sector. The panelists are:

    Our panelists will share their career journey to the top, including lessons learned in striving for work-life balance, setting career goals, mentorship and more. Please join us for an insightful and engaging discussion on leadership and coaching in the workplace!

    What: Panel discussion on career journey, leadership and coaching

    Where: The Black Tomato, 11 George Street at Sussex (get directions)

    When: 6 p.m.

    Register now: To register, please visit our event registration page.

    More About Our Speakers

    Sherry L. Noble

    A native of Waterloo, Ontario, Sherry Noble joined Export Development Canada (EDC) in 1977. Since joining EDC, Sherry has held positions of increasing responsibility in the Corporate Communications, Treasury and Business Development & Operations groups. Effective July 2003, she was appointed Senior Vice President, Business Solutions & Technology, a newly created group.

    With oversight of the information technology function at EDC, Sherry is responsible for ensuring alignment of the corporate IT strategy and architecture with business objectives; reliability of the technical and communications infrastructure for clients and employees; and effective project management and application development.  Her Group is also looked to for leadership in the areas of Business Process Management, and Enterprise Information Management.

    Ms. Noble has an undergraduate degree in Science in Language (French and Spanish) and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Ottawa. Travelling is something Sherry has always enjoyed, and working at EDC has given her the opportunity to visit interesting cities around the world.

    Jennifer MacKinnon Jennifer MacKinnon

    Jennifer is the founder and CEO of Fenix Solutions Inc. a web software development company specializing in online application development and the use of emerging technologies & trends.

    A previous Top Forty Under 40 win ner, Jennifer is a businesswoman who counts her role as mom the most rewarding.

    Janet Harris-Campbell

    Janet is CIO for The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions Canada (OSFI). Janet Harris-CampbellJanet joined this federal government agency, which is responsible for regulating Canada’s banks, insurance companies and federally regulated private pension funds, in 2009. As the organization’s first CIO, Janet established and is now leading a five-year information and technology renewal program that supports the agency’s ability to respond to the increasingly complex regulatory environment.

    Previously, Janet had been the CIO at the City of Ottawa for five years. Under her leadership, in 2008, the City’s IT Services team won four GTEC awards for technology innovation in the public sector. Janet focused her career on IM/IT ten years ago; before then her management experience with the municipal government had been in areas outside the IT field.

    Aside from work, Janet is mom to a competitive soccer playing daughter, and enjoys golf, yoga, skiing and volunteering.

    Our Event Sponsors

    Logistics and door prizes for our January GGD Ottawa event  is made possible by the generous contribution of our sponsors – a big thank you to the following organizations.


    Beyond Events

    Blend-Creations-Modern Jewellery

    Blend Creations


    The National Arts Centre

    Sara McConnell Photography

    Sara McConnell Photography


    The Lemon Kitchen