Women in IT Summit Canada Agenda

Thursday, October 19th 2023

All timings are in EDT

Networking Breakfast & Registration
08:00  to  09:00
Welcome & Opening Remarks
09:00  to  09:15
Tania Ferreira. Director of Events. Women in IT Global Series.
Kristina Cleary. Founder and Chief Leadership Coach. ACCELLE.
Keynote Panel: From Great Reflection to Great Reinventions
09:15  to  09:55

Time after time we see global events and economic climates influencing industries and people, pushing us to adapt and think outside of the box. What has also been proved time and time again is that ‘crisis is the mother of opportunity’ and ‘necessity the mother of invention’. It is not all doom and gloom.  

There are new needs to fulfil with products and services. There are new ways of working and the need to create space to reflect and act. These are times that often provide the “push” we need to re-evaluate priorities and look for more fulfilling work experiences and/or for ways to truly influence the industry, the country and/or the world. What will you do in this time? 

Discussion Points: 

  • How can you use this time to your advantage? 
  • How will you negotiate compensation, work-life balance, and career growth? 
  • How will you seize this opportunity to change directions in your career? 
  • What new fields of expertise are needed, and how will you upskill? 
  • How can you explore the possibility of launching your own business? 


Nasheen Liu. Partner and SVP, CIO Program Strategy. The IT Media Group.
Claire Lam. Co-Founder. Padder.
Karen Chan. Executive / Project Lead - Agile Consulting & Coaching. ADAPTOVATE.
John Comacchio. SVP and CIO. Teknion.
Charmaine Wong. Partner, National Deloitte Digital Leader. Deloitte.
Impactful Ideas Stage: Tech For Good
10:00  to  10:50

It’s competition time! Prepared to be Wowed Women in IT Community as you hear about some incredibly impactful and innovative ideas to boost representation in the Canadian tech industry, and tech for good applications that support underrepresented groups across industries.   

We will be showcasing 3 creative and impactful projects or business born in challenging times (pandemic, recession, industry challenges). These project leaders and/or entrepreneurs will have found gaps and opportunities to support communities, underrepresented groups and/or the environment when it was most needed.  

Our top 3 contestants will be pitching their ideas live on stage to our esteemed judges and summit attendees. They will have just 5 minutes each to demonstrate the life changing impact they are creating for people.  

And the best part? You get to ask questions and vote for who you think has the most impactful idea! 

Neelima Mangal. Council Member. Forbes Technology Council.
Eyra Abraham. Founder. Lisnen.
Neil Grunberg. Managing Partner. Storytime Capital.
Ross Davidson. Chief Information Officer. SCI Group Inc..
Marlina Kinnersley. CEO. Fortay.ai.
Maria Julia Guimaraes. Founder. Totum Tech.
Morning Breakfast – Speed Networking
10:50  to  11:25
Debate: How to Guarantee your Place in an AI Future
11:30  to  12:10

In this engaging debate, we will explore how to secure your place in an AI future, addressing concerns and opportunities surrounding AI platforms.  

Join us in discussing the ethical development of AI, balancing speed and control, ensuring security for all users, and promoting inclusivity for women and underrepresented groups in shaping AI. 

Discussion Points: 

  • During the Development Phase 
    • How is AI currently being developed, and is it ethical? 
    • What are the crucial questions to ask about AI's impact on individuals and businesses? 
    • How do we ensure AI's security for all users? 
    • How can we create opportunities for women and underrepresented groups in AI development? 
  • During the User Phase 
    • How can businesses and leaders encourage the workforce to embrace AI platforms? 
    • What is the importance of awareness and education in AI adoption? 
    • How can we upskill the workforce to adapt to AI advancements and address potential displacement? 
Janet Lin. Vice President, Lending and Payments Technology. Equitable Bank.
Christine Dikongue. Founder and Managing Director. Akwaa Consulting Agency.
Tracy Lagasse. Industry Advisor, Financial Services. Microsoft.
Smita Challu Tulsani. CEO & Founder. Upsidio.
Skills Lab: Be the MUST Have
12:15  to  13:10

In this Skills Lab, we will focus on developing the must-have skills for the tech industry's future. Discover how to combine technical expertise with essential soft skills, making yourself an invaluable and unstoppable candidate.  

Join us to learn about networking, inclusive design, project management, problem-solving, and communication & conflict resolution - skills that organizations and team leaders are actively seeking. 

Key Skills to be covered:  

  • Networking: Enhance your professional connections and expand your opportunities. 
  • Inclusive Design: Understand the importance of inclusivity in tech and how to implement it. 
  • Project Management: Master the art of managing tech projects efficiently and effectively. 
  • Problem Solving: Develop critical thinking skills to tackle challenges in the tech industry. 
  • Communication & Conflict Resolution: Hone your communication abilities and navigate conflicts. 
Sana Abou-Shaaban. Leader of Environmental Policy and Planning. Canada Border Services Agency.
Ross Cadastre. Founder. BIPOC Jobs.
Annayah Jean (AJ) Fernandez Rivera. Managing Director. Accenture.
Networking Lunch & Meet the Speakers
13:10  to  14:00
Panel Discussion: Thriving during uncertainty
14:05  to  14:45

In this invigorating panel discussion, we will explore how women can thrive during times of uncertainty and rapid change. Join us to discuss strategies for leading in uncertain times, maintaining work-life balance, fostering productivity, and addressing the impact on ambitions and dreams. 

Discussion Points: 

  • Highlighting ongoing areas of struggle in uncertain environments. 
  • Strategies for effective leadership and self-support during turbulent times. 
  • Creating a balance to promote productivity and mental well-being while embracing newfound freedoms. 
  • Workplace and workforce strategies to navigate and adapt to the future. 
  • The impact of uncertainty on individual ambitions and dreams, and how to overcome challenges. 
Michelle Joliat. Senior Vice President, Product and Delivery. Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan.
Marie Wiese. Host. Women Talk Tech.
Ellie Myers. Vice President, Digital Strategy and Transformation. OMERS.
Joanna Lewis. Partner. PwC Canada.
The People’s Choice: Q&A Lightening Round on Leadership
14:50  to  15:25

Discover the essential skills of impactful leaders, including agility, communication, empathy, creativity, and strategic thinking. Take control and have your burning leadership questions answered by our popular speakers. Gain valuable insights and advice to become a GREAT and IMPACTFUL leader. 

This is your opportunity to hear examples, lived experiences, receive advice and recommendations that could help you prepare or tackle a conversation or decision that has been on hold.  

Vicki Bradley. Founder and CEO. Women in Leadership Empowered.
Twiggy Lemercier. Chief Operating Officer. Allstate Insurance Company of Canada.
Carol Carr. Chief Financial Officer. Soroc Technology.
Closing Keynote: Be the Advocate you want to see for yourself and for others
15:30  to  15:50

Advocacy for women in tech is essential for fostering inclusivity and belonging, breaking barriers, and driving positive change in tech roles, teams and tech space as a whole. This is a multi-stakeholder effort, and everyone is accountable for creating an equitable and thriving industry for everyone. 

By enacting rules that support gender equality, offering mentorship and leadership programs, and ensuring varied representation in decision-making positions - businesses and organizations promote inclusive cultures. This is a call to action for all. 

Discussion Points: 

  • Explore the career journey of a successful C-suite executive, providing insights and inspiration for aspiring leaders. 
  • Discuss the crucial support needed to overcome challenges and achieve success, emphasizing the importance of mentorship and advocacy. 
  • Understand the impact of reaching the top in the tech industry and how it leads to broader positive change. 
  • Reflect on the power of support and advocacy, creating an inclusive tech space for future generations. 
Laura Money. EVP and Chief Information and Technology Officer. Sun Life.
Closing Remarks
15:50  to  15:55
Tania Ferreira. Director of Events. Women in IT Global Series.
Kristina Cleary. Founder and Chief Leadership Coach. ACCELLE.