For International Women’s Day, BetaKit has highlighted of some of the many women in Canada’s tech community building strong companies, creating strong networks, and taking no bullshit. Amplify their voices.
Of course, this is not a definitive list! Share in the comments below the women in the Canadian tech community that you’re celebrating today.
Janelle Hinds, founder of Helping Hands App
Why you should follow: Hinds works with Equal Voice to help elect more women to political office, and is a #DaughtersoftheVote delegate, making recommendations on how the gov’t can encourage women into STEM.
Jeanette Stock, founder of VentureOut
Why you should follow: Stock is creating an inclusive space for LGBTQ people and giving them the network to learn more about navigating the tech world.
Shyra Barberstock, Okwaho International founder
Why you should follow: Okwaho International is an advocate for Indigenous business in Canada and around the world, acting as a social network for entrepreneurs. Follow for highlights on Indigenous businesses and diversity.
Karen Schulman Dupuis, George Brown instructor
Huda Idrees, founder at Dot Health
Why you should follow: Besides taking the lead on product at fast-growing Toronto companies like Wealthsimple, Idrees is a well-known advocate about issues related to women and people of colour in tech.
Melissa Sariffodeen, co-founder/CEO of Ladies Learning Code
Melissa Nightingale, head of creators at Wattpad
Why you should follow: Nightingale works across teams — from engineering to design — to make the Wattpad storyteller experience what it is. She’s also the co-editor of The Co-Pour, giving advice to all the startup managers who are figuring it out.
Nadia Hamilton, founder of Magnusmode
Why you should follow: While Hamilton doesn’t have Twitter, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t follow what Magnusmode is doing. Magnusmode develops apps that help adults living with autism become independent in their daily life by guiding them through tasks like shopping and cleaning.
Heather Anne Ritchie, co-founder of Repable
Why you should follow: Named one of CIX’s top 20 startups in 2016, Repable provides analytics for entertainers in the video game industry. Ritchie has gone from a recovering publicist to a startup mentor in her own right.
Ashley Jane Lewis, programmer/diversity advocate
Why you should follow: Lewis spent a year leading development of Girls Learning Code, and has made diversity in tech education a key part of talks at forums like TEDx, FITC, and International Women’s Day.
Saadia Muzaffar, founder at TechGirls Canada
Why you should follow: TechGirls Canada supports women of colour, LGBTQ+, and Aboriginal women, and advocates for resources and public and private-sector partnerships on their behalf. Follow her if you love no-bullshit conversations around supporting marginalized people in tech.
Maayan Ziv, founder of AccessNow
Why you should follow: AccessNow’s app allows users to pinpoint areas in their city that are accessible to people with disabilities, and Ziv, a recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal, is an outspoken advocate for creating a more accessible world.
Kylie Toh, founder of ChicGeek
Why you should follow: Calgary-based Chic Geek is a non-profit that works to build a community for female entrepreneurs. In 2016, Toh represented Alberta in the prestigious International Visitors Leadership Program and was a voice for women in STEM on an international stage.
Shahrzad Rafati, founder and CEO of BroadbandTV
Why you should follow: Rafati is behind the largest multi-platform network in the world and was recognized as one of the 100 most creative people in business. She thought of the idea to help brands tackle the problem of piracy and turn it into a lucrative business opportunity.
Chakameh Shafii, founder and CEO of TranQool
Why you should follow: TranQool is a platform that makes accessing mental health services from licensed therapists easier and more affordable. In early February, TranQool donated 20 sessions for students at the University of Guelph after a high rate of suicides were reported.
Arlene Dickinson, CEO of Venture Communications
Why you should follow: The former Dragons’ Den star and Venture Communications CEO is on the way to closing her first fund, setting herself up to continue supporting Canada’s entrepreneur community.
Alyssa Atkins, marketing lead at CareGuide.com
Sarah Stockdale, founder of Stockdale Consulting
Why you should follow: Following Tilt’s acquisition, Stockdale splits time between growth consulting and TEDx speeches. Follow for more feminism in your timeline.
Aisha Addo, founder of Power To Girls Foundation
Why you should follow: Power To Girls is a nonprofit that empowers Afro-diaspora girls in the GTA and across the world. Addo also developed the ridesharing Drive Her app, which connects women with female drivers.
Elena Yunusov, founder of Communicable
Why you should follow: With experience as an editor at Yonge Street Media, StartUpHere, and BetaKit, Yunusov is in the know when it comes to Toronto’s startup scene. She also runs Communicable, a marketing agency specializing in startups.
Ria Lupton, founder of WomenWhoCodeTO, community manager at Rightsleeve
April Dunford, CEO at Sprintly
Why you should follow: If you’ve ever seen Dunford speak at public events, she’s both hilarious, yet on-point when it comes to giving entrepreneurs advice on growing startups thanks to years of experience as a founder.
Emma Williams, director at Notman House
Why you should follow: Leading one of Montreal’s most popular startup hubs, Williams has a daily role developing the city’s startup ecosystem.
Avery Francis, director of people at Rangle.io
Why you should follow: While the head of HR at Rangle, Francis is also outspoken about encouraging inclusion in all tech companies. Follow for conversations on combating bias in the workplace.
Eva Wong, COO of Borrowell
Why you should follow: Though she doesn’t come from a financial background, Wong is leading one of Toronto’s fast-growing FinTech startups. She’s also a frequent public speaker on behalf of the company thanks to Borrowell’s policy of not participating in all-male panels.
Heather Payne, CEO of HackerYou
Why you should follow: A co-founder of Ladies Learning Code, Payne’s reputation for fostering women in tech has followed her to her coding school, which enrolls 70 percent female students.
Eva Lau, co-founder of Two Small Fish Ventures
Why you should follow: Lau worked on Wattpad with husband Allen Lau since the beginning. Lau left the company in September 2013, and now supports early-stage internet companies in the Toronto and Waterloo region through Two Small Fish.
Malgosia Green, Chief Product Officer, TopHat
Vicki Saunders, founder of SheEO
Why you should follow: Saunders’ SheEO works to get more funding for women-led companies, by asking 1,000 women to commit $1,000, which is pooled into a fund dedicated to investing in female entrepreneurs.
Nadya Khoja, director of marketing at Venngage
Why you should follow: Khoja started part-time at Venngage with a theatre and digital media background, and climbed up the ranks as marketing director. She now regularly speaks at conferences around the world on SEO.
Carol Leaman, CEO of Axonify
Sarah Marion, analyst at iNovia
Why you should follow: iNovia doubled down on its Waterloo presence by hiring Marion; at the time, managing partner Chris Arsenault said it felt like Marion, at only 23, had been there for five years. She was a founding team member of the Lazaridis Institute.
Haidee Thanda, founder of Hacking Health Ottawa
Why you should follow: Thanda is passionate about health promotion. Through Hacking Health, Thanda connects people to solve health problems through tech, and also acts as lead educational technologist at the Council of Ontario Universities.
Jennifer Moss, co-founder of Plasticity Labs
Why you should follow: Plasticity Labs is helping workplaces foster happier and healthier employees, and Moss is often recognized for these efforts. In 2014, Moss was recognized as international female entrepreneur of the year at the Stevie Awards.
Lauren Robinson, COO of Highline Beta
Why you should follow: Robinson leads business operations at Highline, a startup co-creation company that launches new ventures. She is also a member of the Board of the Canadian Acceleration and Business Incubation Association, which grows early-stage businesses.
Béatrice Couture, GM at Innocité
Why you should follow: Innocité is a startup accelerator that brings businesses and cities together to solve urban issues. A corporate lawyer by trade, Couture was also part of the BIXI business development team which implemented the system in major Canadian and American cities.
Annalea Krebs, CEO of Social Nature
Why you should follow: After the acquisition of her previous business, EthicalDeal, Krebs has continued her mission of helping consumers find deals on natural products with Social Nature. Her platform has a community of 100,000 influencers and raised $1 million in funding.
Kathryn Loewen, founder and CEO of Control
Why you should follow: Loewen has been working in the payments space for more than 15 years on solutions for Apple, Toyota, and Oakley. She is at the helm of Control, which helps businesses monitor their Payments from services like Stripe and PayPal, and consolidate metrics in one app.
Natalie Cartwright, co-founder of Finn.ai
Why you should follow: Through Finn.ai, Cartwright is part of a growing FinTech movement of embracing AI to create intuitive financial solutions. Cartwright has been recognized among the top 40 under 40 by Business in Vancouver, and was a 2017 Women of Distinction Nominee by YWCA.
Anna Foat, director at Future Design School
Why you should follow: Through her work, Foat encourages entrepreneurship in future generations; Foat is an entrepreneur in residence at Communitech and director of executive education at Future Design School.