Posts Tagged ‘women in technology’

GGDOttawa Season Social June 25

girl geek dinner ottawa, geekfest, ggdottawa

Calling all Girl Geeks! You’re invited to our Season Social (a.k.a. last event of the season) for a night of fun, food and networking!

Join us for a Geek-fest on Wednesday, June 25 to mix and mingle with your fellow Girl Geeks and past speakers, and take part in some geeky games and activities! Did you miss an event and topic you wanted to learn about? This is a great opportunity to connect again or for the first time with past speakers and learn more about their expertise. Unlike past events, we will provide food instead of ordering individually from the menu. If you register and have dietary restrictions or preferences, please email us at And as always, we will have amazing door prizes!

Seats are limited, register now! 

When: Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Where: Maxwell’s Bistro (340 Elgin St.)

Time: Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

Thanks to our door prize sponsors!



NEW DATE! GGD Ottawa presents: SuperSHEroes of Tech, March 19

On Wednesday, March 19, Girl Geek Dinners Ottawa welcomes long-time member Diana Cantú to discuss the SuperSHEroes of Tech! Diana will discuss the unsung ‘sheroes’ of STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) and introduce members to some of history’s women pioneers and leaders.

Diana CantuDiana describes herself as a woman who “works in high-tech and grew up in a world where Linda Lovelace is better known than Ada Lovelace.” By sharing stories and reconquering our history, she feels that women can look forward to a future where we are all just PEOPLE in tech.

Diana is a career technology evangelist, currently responsible for international business development at Newtec, a Belgian satellite broadband infrastructure company. A specialist in the intersection of art, culture, and new technology, her professional background features a mix of tech and the arts including: pioneer satellite broadband networks (for digital broadcasting, IPTV, digital cinema, and distance learning), a 3D technology company in Montreal, running an arts-oriented graphic design practice in NYC, commercial and non-profit art galleries… and even a small opera company.

As an enthusiastic long time social media “netizen”, she is found blogging, Tweeting, networking and hanging out online in a variety of places — cataloged here: Her passions span geek culture, street & graffiti art, travel, hacking (the creative/good kind), languages, food, wine, technology, dance, social media, 3D, social justice, mentoring, all things nerdy, and art.

Event details:

When: Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Where:  Fox and Feather Pub (283 Elgin St., upstairs)

Time: Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

Event starts at 6:00 p.m. (including food order)

Event ends at 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $10.00 (does not include meals and drinks)

CLICK HERE to reserve your spot.


Thank you to our door prize sponsors!



January 15 Event: The Internet – Privacy, Identity, Reputation and You!

The internet is more and more a part of our everyday lives. Email, web browsing, location-based services, social media—these are all powerful tools for work and play, but they also offer unprecedented opportunity for abuse. Privacy law and best practices are evolving rapidly. On Wednesday, January 15th, we kick off the new year with privacy scholar Dr. Jennifer Barrigar (@jennbarrigar) as she discusses developments in online privacy — asking (and answering) some thought-provoking questions.

  • Did you know it would take (by recent estimates) 72 days per year to minimally review policy privacies/user agreements the average individual interacts with on an ongoing basis?
  • Do you know when/how/why/whether employers, insurance companies, governments have the right to use information you post on social media against you?
  • Is the “stupid user” to blame when their privacy is violated?

Bring your questions and concerns for a lively Q&A discussion!

Dr. Jennifer BarrigarDr. Jennifer Barrigar (LL.D, University of Ottawa) is a longtime scholar and writer on reputation as a means of surveilling and shaping people’s identities online, as well as the law’s treatment of reputation—online and off.  Dr. Barrigar has lectured and written on these issues for more than a decade, throughout the rapid evolution of social media and increasing online surveillance. For several years she served as Legal Counsel at Canada’s Privacy Commission where she participated in the initial application and interpretation of Canada’s 2001 private sector privacy act (PIPEDA) and international standards for privacy and data protection. She has also taught law courses at the University of Ottawa and Carleton University.  She holds an from the University of Ottawa, an LL.B. from Dalhousie University, and an Honours B.A. from Carleton University. Learn more about Dr. Barrigar at


Event details:

When: Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

Where:  Johnny Farina Restaurant (216 Elgin Street)

Time: Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

Event starts at 6:00 p.m. (including food order)

Event ends at 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $10.00 (does not include meals and drinks)

CLICK HERE to reserve your spot.


Thank you to our door prize sponsors!




Event Recap: Data for #MentalHealth, Nov. 20, 2013

1472099_368812726588188_1368693414_nOn November 20th, Girl Geek Dinners Ottawa wrapped up the 2013 season with guest speaker Shelley McKay. Shelley is a strategic consultant who is leading a pilot project that will use social media, analytics and predictive models using keywords and phrases associated with known risk factors, to identify youth suicidal behaviours/ideations at the earliest possible point. Shelley launched this project after her daughter tried to take her own life and subsequently experienced first hand how fractured our health care system is when it comes to youth mental health.

What Shelley is proposing with her pilot project is to utilize existing government monitoring tools to monitor social media channels for our at-risk youth. The program, she explained, can process 85,000 word a minute. A minute!! And it’s able to place context to the key words being processed. Meaning, the program knows the difference between someone saying they are going to “bomb a city” and a comment such as “that show was the bomb!” In the context of monitoring our youth, the program can analyze their mood, track mood trends and language patterns so parents, schools and hospital can take a proactive care approach rather than a reactive one. This is the first goal of the project. The second goal, Shelley explains, is to reduce the pressure on our region’s emergency rooms by proactively identifying youth in crisis and directing them to appropriate treatment.

Now as a marketer, you might be asking how it is possible to monitor people with our current privacy laws. Attendees asked just that. This, of course, is one of the hurdles that Shelley is currently taking on. Partnered with SAS, a leading company in ‘big data’, Shelley and her team are working with our government, schools, hospitals, such as The Royal Ottawa, and health officials to make this project concept a reality.

If you’d like to learn more about Shelley’s project, give her a tweet: @McKayShelley.






Thank you again to our door prize sponsors! 





GGD Ottawa presents The Maker Movement, October 24

GGD Ottawa is kicking off the 2013-2014 season on Thursday, October 24th, with guest speaker Britta Evans-Fenton from Artengine, as she discusses the rise of the ‘Maker Movement’ and how it harnesses ideas and empowers creative communities.

What IS the Maker Movement? It is BrittaEvansFentonthe ultimate Do it Yourself (DIY) movement! It’s an evolution of millions of people who are starting their own projects, creating their own businesses, making and selling self-made products. Modern technology, such as 3D printing, has made it easier than ever for a single individual to create and distribute items that are customizable and unique without having middlemen like manufacturers.

Britta will delve into the new Maker and Hacker movements, globally and locally here in Ottawa. She’ll discuss how local women and artist organizations (like Ottawa’s Artengine) are creating hackerspaces; as well as how the media and other cities have affected the Ottawa Maker trend. Participants will also get to see a 3D printer in action “making” something and be able to do their own DIY mini-project to take home!

Britta Evans-Fenton is the Technical Coordinator at Artengine, a technology based Artist Run center located in Ottawa. Well known in the Maker Movement of Ottawa, Britta is the host of Modlab, Ottawa’s only hackerspace, and a co-organizer of the Ottawa Mini Maker Faire. By night, she is an emerging electronic artist with works shown in the Ottawa Art Gallery, Gallery 115, Interacess (Toronto) and commissioned for Nuit Blanche Ottawa + Gatineau 2013.

Event details:

When: Thursday, October 24, 2013

Where: Black Tomato (11 George Street)

Time: Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

Event starts at 6:00 p.m. (including food order)

Event ends at 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $10.00 (does not include meals and drinks)

Click here to reserve your spot for Thursday, October 24th. We hope to see you!

Thank you to our door prize sponsors!





Event recap: Engineering Meets Personality “Typewatching” with Jennifer Ng Ain Kin

How do you know who to put on what projects and why? Do you often hear you come across too abrupt at meetings or you don’t speak up enough? Or, do you prefer people that are like you or people that are different?

jennifer-compressedOn Wednesday May 29, attendees dug deep into their minds to discover their Myers-Briggs Temperament Indicators (MBTI) and learn how to be aware of their personality traits for better results at work and at home. MBTI(1)

Jennifer Ng Ain Kin, a senior member of the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) and CATA WIT (Women in Technology) Mentor of the Year Award winner, has analyzed and implemented MBTI throughout her career and even uses MBTI when interviewing candidates at her current job.

After learning about MBTI and examples of Jennifer’s personal and work-related situations where personality traits are affected, attendees were given this MBTI questionnaire to help determine their personality traits and learn how they can handle situations effectively and for better results. Attendees then compared their results with those of Star Wars characters.


MBTI(3)Complete the questionnaire and click here to see which Star Wars character you’re alike!

Jennifer recommends the following resources:

Type Talk – The 16 Personality Types That Determine How We Live, Love and Work (book)

Type Talk at Work (book)

Please Understand Me II (book)

Gifts Differing – Understanding Personality Type (book)

Unofficial online MBTI Test (website)

The official MBTI site (website)

To view Jennifer’s full presentation, click here. 











Thank you to our door prize sponsors!




Event Recap: Geek-fest on March 26, 2013

legosmallWhat do you get when you put a group of smart women in a room with LEGO, food and a microphone?

A Girl Geek Dinner Geek-fest!

On Tuesday March 26, we hosted a Geek-fest in lieu of a traditional dinner. This fly-by-the-minute event idea turned out to be a huge success and it seems attendees want more! Check out photos from the event on our Facebook page.

Thanks to Ellen Grove, everyone had the chance to take part in LEGO® Serious Play® (LSP).

What is LSP?

LEGO® Serious Play® is a powerful thinking, communicating and problem solving technique that can help you and your team do serious work through structured play activities using a popular and playful 3D modeling toy. Through a facilitated process of building models that, storytelling and reflection, every person at the table is engaged and actively participating in the discussion. Whether the topic is individual aspirations, team relationships, developing a new product or solving a wicked organizational problem, everyone builds and everyone tells their story, unlocking new perspectives and exposing the answers already in the room.

Nine attendees completed three builds: a warm-up, one to answer the question “what made you happy in the past week?” and a final build on the topic of “what do you get out of participating in Girl Geek Dinner Ottawa?” It was great to hear some of the responses such as “an opportunity to meet and learn from successful and talented women,” and “this is my first time coming to GGDOttawa. I’m glad I joined,” and also “constantly learning new trends and hot topics to help me in my career.”

If you participated in the LEGO activity, feel free to leave a comment about your experience or if you’re interested in learning more, you can email Ellen at ellen(dot)grove(at)gmail(dot)com or send her a Tweet @eegrove.

Although LEGO was a huge highlight of the evening, we still kept some tradition with door prizes, community announcements and a good ol’ mind trap question for a grand prize:

Q: What is unwanted by the maker, not used by the buyer, and never seen by the user?
A: Coffin

Congratulations to Patricia Saravesi for knowing the answer and winning free access to a webinar courtesy of The Conference Board of Canada.

Congratulations to the other door prize winners:

Olga Dewar – two vouchers for The National Arts Centre.

Yayoi Akita-Brunet, Janet Hockey and Basia Vanderveen – $30 gift card for CanvasPop.

Mary Beth Baker – $25 gift certificate for Rinaldo’s Spa Services.

Lisa Leves – 50% off coupon to Crepella’s.

And last, but not least, save the date for our next event! We also asked our GGDOttawa community what’s coming up in Ottawa, so why not save all these dates!

Next GGDOttawa event:

Speaker: Shari Graydon, founder of Informed Opinions
Date: April 16 (to be confirmed)
Time: 5:30 p.m . to 7:30 p.m.
Location: (to be confirmed)

Ladies Learning Code is hosting a workshop on Saturday April 6 called “Introduction to App Design for Beginners”. If you have any questions, you can contact Nicole Belanger by email at nicole(at)ladieslearningcode(dot)com or on Twitter.

IABC Ottawa is hosting their final professional development event for the season on April 11 at the Black Tomato restaurant. “A Successful Lesson in Social Media Crisis Communications” will be presented by Melissa Carroll, the wizard behind the Montreal’s Police Service (SPVM) Twitter account who communicated with civilians of all stripes and in both official languages during the 2012 student protests.

OpenData Ottawa is also planning an event in April. No date has been confirmed just yet, but you can follow their blog for updates or follow them on Twitter.

Canadian Public Relations Society Ottawa chapter is hosting their National Conference June 9 to 11 which features a combination of keynote speakers and workshops.

Have a great long weekend!

‘Til next time,

Your GGDOttawa Organizers

Join us for a Geek-fest on March 26


Hello Girl Geeks!

We’re back again with another event, but this time we’re switching it up and making YOU our guest speakers.

Ok, in all honesty we weren’t able to book a speaker for this month (who knew March Madness really existed!) So, we decided to improvise.

On Tuesday March 26, join us for a Geek-fest to mix and mingle with your fellow Girl Geeks and past speakers and sponsors. Did you miss an event and topic you wanted to learn about? This is a great opportunity to connect again or for the first time with past speakers and learn more about their expertise. Unlike past events, we will provide food instead of ordering individually from the menu. If you register and have dietary restrictions or preferences, please email us at And as always, we will have amazing door prizes!

So, how are YOU the guest speakers? We’re giving the mic to anyone who would like to announce a local event, fundraiser, workshop or initiative/project in the making. If you’d like to speak, email us your topic and a few details. Please refrain from sales and marketing tactics. We’re not afraid to yank the mic out of your hand!

Would you like to promote your company’s products/services? Be a door prize sponsor! Email us at

When: Tuesday March 26, 2013

Where: Fox & Feather Pub (283 Elgin St.)

Time: Doors open at 5:30 p.m.



Thank you to our door prize sponsors!




Upcoming event: Hacking is a mindset, not a skillset.


The idea of hacking has a very specific — and wrong — definition in present culture. Born at MIT, hacking was originally a mindset shared by an intellectual community to infuse creativity and an element of fun into their lives. Somewhere along the way, this message got lost.

For Girl Geek Dinner Ottawa’s next event, Tanya Snook (a.k.a. spydergrrl) will teach us the core tenets of hacking and how it can be applied to non-hacking uses. Whether you’re a developer, a designer, a project manager or even an accountant, spydergrrl will seek to either convince you that you’ve been hacking all along or that you really should be adopting a hacking mindset.

Bringing 5 principles of hacking and a ton of real-world examples, we will explore when and how you can hack challenges and opportunities to infuse some creativity and fun both at home and at work.

When: Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Time: 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Where: The Lunenburg (14 Waller St. – downtown)


5:30 – Doors open

6 – 6:30 – Introduction and food order

6:30 – 7 – Speaker presentation

7 – 7:20 – Q’s & A’s

7:20 –  7:30 – Closing remarks and announcements




Thank you to our event sponsors!












Would you like to promote your business or products/services? Contact us about being a door prize sponsor!

A Re-Cap on Amanda Shendruk’s “What to do with all that data?”

When Amanda Shendruk took the stage, she wasted no time by showing us the good, the bad, and the ugly of data visuals. We were hardly experts on the matter, but the audience could unanimously agree on the infographs that we understood, and those that left us staring blankly. That’s because regardless of its effectiveness, its purpose was clear. Data visualization is about helping the audience understand complicated concepts- at a glance. What we would learn was this carefully considered tool strikes a balance between creative design and data integrity. It manages to be accurate and objective, but also fun and underwhelming.

Most of us social media users think of data visualization as the marketing infographs we’ve seen on Twitter or Facebook. However, good data visualization avoids stating an opinion, lets the data do the talking, and the viewer explore the information. While the concept seems simple enough, Amanda taps into a background in journalism and her knowledge of psychology and design theory to put it all together. Thankfully, she has this process down to an art and provided us with a list of considerations she calls, the six pillars of infographic design…

6 pillars of infographic design:

1. Know the purpose, know your audience. Are you telling a story? Have a question that you’re trying to answer? Visualize what would work best for your audience. Don’t make assumptions about your audience. Rather, make it appealing to a large group. It should be fun to look at and not overwhelming. It’s complex information and it needs to compete against the 8 hours of data we’re exposed to in a single day.

2. Maintain the integrity of the data: think about the form that you’ll use to present your data. However you jazz up your infographic, the focus should be on the data. Consider its appropriate format: line chart, pie graph, histogram, plot, etc. One thing is for certain, she tells us to leave the pie in the kitchen! Pie charts are difficult to accurately represent data and compare to other charts. Almost anything in a pie chart can be better shown through a bar graph.

Also, don’t forget some of those basic rules that we all learned in elementary school. Ensuring your numbers actually add up makes all the difference to properly educating your audience. This means your pie graph shouldn’t add up to over 180%. You may laugh- but we’ve seen it.

3. Balance form and function: should a graphic look pretty or be accurate? How do you balance design with accuracy? We know from a Poynter Institute EyeTracker study that, on average, readers will overwhelmingly ignore plots and graphs, and are exceptionally drawn to visualizations, and infographics. We also know from academic studies that the most accurate way to present data is usually the most boring: bar chart, and scatter plots. Unfortunately, these do not make pretty graphics.  Some are of the philosophy that, “the data doesn’t matter if people are not looking at it”. This is where chart junk comes into play.

Chart junk is the visual elements in charts and graphics that are unnecessary to understanding the information. This type of cluttering can detract from your message but, “chart junk is okay sometimes. People will remember more of the data if some chart junk is used”, says Amanda. However, please use discretion.

4. Allow for exploration: the best infographs allow for exploration of data. She believes everything should be gained “at-a-glance”. Work with colour, form and annotation to ensure that your audience doesn’t have to work too hard to get something out of it. But from there, let them explore! Infographics and data visualization aren’t about simplifying concepts, which is a common misconception; it is about clarifying them.

5. Work with the brain, not against it: In 1956, Gelsault published a paper that suggests the number of objects the average human can hold in working memory is seven, plus or minus two. So don’t make it difficult for people because they have a limit on the information they can process. Help them by using what we know about how the brain perceives visual information.

6. Keep it Simple- keep it basic: The Data itself is beautiful, so let it speak for itself. You’re not doing it any favours by cluttering it with useless images or suggestive adaptations.

While there continues to be an aesthetics vs. analytics debate, it all comes down to knowing your purpose. Data visualization cannot express everything, nor are they meant to. The purpose of it is to offer those quick representations of data but not the whole story.

Amanda left us with her inspiration when she said: “not every story needs to be conveyed through word”. Thank you Amanda for a fantastic presentation.

For more information, visit her website Aesthetic Intelligence and see the power of infographics for yourself. We’ve also put together tweets of the night for you to check out.

Our Sponsors

Special thanks to our sponsors Canvas Pop, the National Arts Centre and Kinki/Mambo for donating amazing prizes for our Girl Geeks! We won’t see you again until January so have a very safe and happy holiday.