Montréal-founded QueerTech, a not-for-profit advocacy group for gender, sex, and sexual minority professionals in the technology sector, has launched its first-ever hybrid conference as part of the organization’s nationwide expansion plans.
Named QT Qonference, the event will be hosted at Microsoft Canada’s headquarters in downtown Toronto from November 10 to 11. Presented by the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), the conference is also receiving support from sponsors that include Microsoft, Accenture, BDC, Canadian Media Fund, National Bank, Telus, TD Bank, and Google Chrome.
“As we grow QueerTech across Canada, we know that these moments and safe-spaces … are important [for] our QTs to thrive and find their Queer power.”
– Naoufel Testaouni, QueerTech CEO
In its first year, the event will be themed around Finding Your Queer Power. in which attendees will get access to facilitated workshops, presentations and expert panel discussion.
Some of the speakers include Chris Barry, president at Microsoft Canada; Caroline Tutakiewicz, senior director of fraud and security risk oversight at RBC; as well as AJ Fernandez Rivera, managing director at Accenture.
The event will also feature BetaKit senior editor Meagan Simpson in conversation with Jean-François Ouellet, president at QueerTech, about the current state of the Canadian tech ecosystem and its latest trends, challenges, and opportunities for tech workers, leaders, and entrepreneurs.
Other panels at QT Qonference this year include discussions about the queer experience in tech and entrepreneurship, learning from failure, doing business with the federal government, digital branding, and avoiding burnout, among others.
As a hybrid event, the physical components will take place in Toronto, while the virtual experience will be powered by Brella, an online event and networking platform.
Founded by Naoufel Testaouni and Eustacio Andy Saldaña, QueerTech connects startups, corporations, and 2SLGBTQ+ technologists to increase diversity, inclusion, and representation in the tech industry. Since 2016, the organization has grown to a community of more than 7,000 people.
In addition to events, QueerTech offers educational training, runs job fairs, and has teamed up with researchers from Montréal’s post-secondary institutions to better understand the experiences of 2SLGBTQ+ individuals in Canadian tech.
QueerTech previously told BetaKit that it wanted to expand its non-profit organization to the entire country. As Pride Month kicked off in June, QueerTech debuted in Toronto with a hackathon.
The majority of QueerTech’s membership come from outside of Montréal, according to the group, with 30 percent from Toronto, 28 percent from Montréal, and 42 percent from the rest of Canada.
“As we grow QueerTech across Canada, we know that these moments and safe-spaces, both in-person and virtually, are important to encourage learning and growth allowing our QTs to thrive and find their Queer power,” said Testaouni.
Feature image courtesy QueerTech.