At a #MoveTheDial event in Toronto on Thursday morning, women founders and tech leaders gathered to learn how to amplify their stories in the media, and connect with like-minded entrepreneurs in the community.
#MoveTheDial was launched earlier this year by Jodi Kovitz, CEO at AceTech Ontario, as a way to address the lack of women’s representation at tech events.
“We believe that advancing the full diversity of our talent pool will ultimately increase our nation’s economic growth and prosperity,” said Kovitz. “We started this initiative to encourage people to take real action to advance the representation and success of women within Toronto’s tech sector. I am thrilled that the Mayor chose our event to make this important pledge.”
This is #MoveTheDial . Forever inspired by our incredible mentor @jodilynnkovitz cc: @stacywoloschuk #womenintech pic.twitter.com/S4rg8We3RX
— Anna ???????????? (@whatsupanna) June 15, 2017
The event included a talk from Raquel Urtasun, who is leading Uber’s new research hub in Toronto. Toronto Mayor John Tory, who can often be found in the city’s many tech meetups, also stopped by to make a pledge to prioritize attending events that have diverse representation in their programming.
“As a city and as a growing innovation economy, diversity and inclusion are a huge part of our value proposition and I will be supporting and championing those events that help build that reputation at home and globally,” said Tory. “I want us to understand that diversity and inclusion are a big part of what we have to offer, not just to each other as residents of Toronto, but to the world.”
Listen up people: The city pledges to prioritize #tech events that have a strong #diversity mandate ????????No more excuses! #MoveTheDial pic.twitter.com/wNHsd83QJK
— Nora Bieberstein (@NoraVBieber) June 15, 2017
Tory also took the opportunity to shout out initiatives like theBoardlist and Women and Color as examples of grassroots initiatives also tackling the issue of equal representation, and pointed to Urtasun’s story as an example of what the city is “all about.”
“The fact that Raquel is doing that here, in Toronto, not by accident but by design — by choice — is a huge moment, and one that we must all reflect on and celebrate and work to support,” said Tory. “I really believe stories like Raquel’s show that Toronto’s technology and innovation sector is having a moment.”
Mayor Tory’s pledge was shared with Toronto’s Economic Development Chair Councillor Michael Thompson and Councillor Michelle Holland, the Mayor’s Advocate for the Innovation Economy.
“Toronto’s diversity is a big part of what makes our economy unique and competitive,” said Thompson. “As a city, we’re invested in advancing the economic prospects of all our businesses and all our residents and I support all those who champion diversity in their events and programming.”