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Mar 29, 2017

Broadening Representations in Tech

When I stepped into MaRS on Monday morning and approached the Venture Out event space, I (a coat-tailing GenX-er) instantly got the sense I was walking into an exceptional benchmark for Canadian tech 🇨🇦 .

For some, this would be the first opportunity to have long over due conversations about diversity and inclusion - specifically those identifying as LGBTQA+ 🌈 , female, of colour, allies or all of the above . While we all may be invited to lean in, the concept of leaning in has been over-simplified. Why would you lean in when you (your reputation, your safety) feel at possible risk?

For others, this would be another opportunity to share personal experiences or exchange rewarding, tangible practices aimed at creating quality workplaces that disarm the homophobic and transphobic behaviour that is so unfortunately ingrained in tech culture.

For all, I suspect this will not be the last Venture Out - because as Lina Ismail from Fundserv reminded us "Diversity doesn't just happen."


The lunch panel discussion summarized in the post above ☝🏽 was particularly memorable. A notable remark from Lydia Sarkovski of Salesforce revolved the assertiveness of millennials to pursue fair treatment for what in previous generations had been considered uncommon. This was not limited to LGBTQA+ topics. Throughout the day, sessions covered challenges with mental health and integration of diasporic 🌎 🌏 🌍 experiences as well. Many applauded this generation for speaking out against racism, homophobia, transphobia and misogyny.

The future of work is not solely about
technology after all. It's also about the
human capital powering innovation.

Another talk, as covered below 👇🏽 by Ria Lupton, explored how LGBTQA+ entrepreneurs intersect, form allies and develop a personal brand.

This inaugural event was a giant success, seeing over 400 attendees 👏🏾 throughout the day and spent some time trending #1 on Twitter Canada 🐣. A myriad of perspectives and practices were shared and below are just a few resources you may be interested in clicking to learn more.

"We will work to continue to broaden representations at events and at planning tables."
Jeanette Stock, Chair of Venture Out

Keep the conversations going, get in touch with the Venture Out team and see you next year! 💙