Pressing For Gender Diversity

By Karna Gupta, President & CEO, ITAC

In our continuing drive to encourage companies in the ICT sector to attract and retain more talented women, ITAC recently hosted the ‘Women in Leadership Diversity’ event at Microsoft in Mississauga with more than 170 in attendance.

Our guest speaker, Microsoft Canada President Janet Kennedy, gave an inspiring talk about her first 100 days as Microsoft’s leader, during a time of dynamic transformation for the company. She encouraged her audience to “learn, innovate, and make career decisions that will have meaning and impact,” and said that “women need to hone their negotiation skills and promote win/win opportunities to their managers.”

The host for the event, Hewlett-Packard Canada General Manager Lloyd Bryant, who co-chairs ITAC’s Diversity Forum, strongly supported the need for male leaders to join the dialogue and act as champions and sponsors of rising women leaders within their respective organizations.

ITAC is also involved in another important initiative to promote diversity in the ICT sector. Along with Ryerson University, ITAC is partnering with Girls Raising – a New York-based group that supports, educates, and encourages female entrepreneurs – to develop women leaders. Our first joint event, ‘Start, Build Fund & Grow,’ was held in Toronto, aimed at bringing together funders and startups.

As reflected in both these initiatives and ITAC’s groundbreaking study of gender diversity on the boards of directors of Canada’s ICT companies, we are committed to making Canada’s ICT community a true reflection of our larger society, and we are encouraged when we hear positive messages about more women becoming involved in shaping the future of our digital economy.