Women In Tech Talk Of Embedded Biases

11428735Aimee Chan is the CEO and president of Norsat, a satellite communications company in BC. She recently went with the company’s purchaser on a buying trip in Asia. Noticeably, their hosts gave solicitous attention to the male purchaser – opening doors for him and pouring him tea – but Chan received no such attention.

The CEO laughs off the incident, but it illustrates what she calls “micro inequalities” – not overt discrimination but traditional or subtle biases.

“It’s embedded in the way people think,” says Chan.

In Canada, less than one in four workers in the information, communications, and technology sector is a woman. An even smaller percentage are in executive roles; in fact, less than five percent of board positions are held by women. Considering this, it is not so surprising that people would expect a visiting CEO to be male.

Women who have successfully forged careers in the technology sector agree that there are indeed ‘built-in’ biases in this field. However, there is a silver lining: despite the embedded biases, opportunities abound for women in tech. Here are what some female tech leaders are saying.


Judi Hess, CEO at CopperLeaf Technologies

11428743Hess graduated from the University of Waterloo with a mathematics degree and on the dean’s honour roll. She immediately got a job offer, only to find out that a male Waterloo student was offered $2,000 more in salary for the same job. Hess stood her ground, asserting that she was a more valuable asset, until the recruiter matched both offers.

Hess has since held executive positions in companies such as Eastman Kodak, and now, she leads CopperLeaf, where about 35 percent of the employees are women.

“Women are definitely underrepresented in the tech sector,” says Hess.


Elizabeth Croft, Associate Dean at the UBC Department of Mechanical Engineering

11428738For Croft, it’s not that there aren’t women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM); it’s that the women in this field are “invisible”. In addition, she believes that the sector is “not inviting women”, and that female applicants have more reservations about applying for a job in STEM than male applicants do.

“If you have a party and you don’t invite people, they don’t show up,” she illustrates.

Croft emphasizes that hiring a diverse talent pool is important to get the best solutions not just in the field, but in the Canadian economy in general. But employers have to be deliberate about diversity. “We have to have a diversity plan,” says Croft, “because if you’re not intentional about doing it, it won’t happen.”


Lisa Shields, Founder of Hyperwallet Systems

11428739“I never wanted to be a woman engineer – just an engineer; I never wanted to be a woman CEO – just a CEO,” admits Shields. But today, the award-winning tech entrepreneur speaks up about being a female in STEM, because a study has found that the number of women in tech is declining.

“It means something is definitely wrong,” says Shields, who believes that there is a “frat-boy culture” in the field. She says this is evident when seeking funding, when she realized that the entrepreneurs who got financed were those who had frat brothers in venture capital companies.


Sandra Wear, Co-founder of The docSpace Company

11428744Wear echoes the observations of Lisa Shields regarding disparity in finance opportunities between men and women.

“At the end of the day, the power brokers are men,” says Wear.

But she wants to see women stand their ground in tech. Her advice for the female players in this field: “Network with people outside of your group.”


Gail Murphy, Associate Dean at the UBC Faculty of Science, and Co-founder at Tasktop Technologies

Dr_Gail_Murphy1Murphy has another perspective on the lack of women in STEM: for her, there are more male engineers because that’s what has been available. She adds that there is actually fierce competition for female software engineers who graduate.

But the reason there are few such women is that women themselves don’t see their career options in technology.

Murphy herself almost dropped out early into her computer science course. “I think the early courses in computer science don’t really show the breadth of the kind of careers you can have in the field,” she ponders.

Now a professor and a tech entrepreneur, Murphy wants women to discover their true opportunities. “You can be hardcore into development… you can be a designer – there are just so many outlets,” she says. “It really is quite a large and varied industry.”

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City Of Vancouver To Open Data, Standards After Motion Passes

The City of Vancouver has moved closer to making its data, standards, and software accessible to the public, after a motion on open data and open source passed Thursday (May 21, 2009).

“It’s so great. The local online community [is] very, very happy,” said city councillor Andrea Reimer, who proposed the motion.

Reimer’s motion called mainly for “open and accessible data”, which means the City would share as much of its data as possible with citizens; “open standards”, meaning that standards and formats of documents would be usable by more people; and “open source software”, which means that the City would consider using publicly usable systems as much as commercial ones.

All this will respect security and privacy concerns, the motion specified.

Reimer highlighted that the motion would allow the city to increase its transparency, cut costs, and enable its people to use the open data in creating new and useful products. She also noted that taxpayers are paying for data collection in the first place.

The motion went through as proposed. Some 15 members of the public signed up to speak, all in favour of the motion.

Reimer said the City will now figure out the implementation, but that there are likely going to be immediate changes. For example, videos of council meetings may change format so that they can be viewed by the greater public instead of only being viewable by people who have the latest version of Internet Explorer.

To implement such changes, the motion has suggested that Vancouver’s city manager identify immediate opportunities to distribute more data, publish data on the internet, and ensure that formats are open standard, among others.

In addition, the motion proposed that Vancouver share its information with the Integrated Cadastral Information Society. The ICIS is a non-profit group that already shares information among several BC provinces and municipalities.

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3 of the Best Open Source CRM & Marketing Automation Suites You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

Pimcore Open-Source Marketing CMS


pimcore_logo_2013_bigPimcore is the perfect toolbox for every marketer. Create any type of website, campaign or landing pages or use pimcore as your connected and integrated email marketing platform.

Compoenents include: web content management, e-commerice framework, product information management, multi-channel & web to print, customer experience & engagement, digital asset management, marketing & campaign management, targeting & personalization.

Pimcore’s rich marketing features keep you on target. With pimcore, Search Engine Optimization is built into everything you do. Within pimcore you can easily manage every type of SEO aspect. Handling titles, meta tags and rich snippets is a piece of cake. Pimcore even integrates SEO quality assurance functionalities (SEO diagnostics) to monitor and analyze the most important SEO metrics.




x2engine1X2CRM is a fast and compact marketing, sales, and customer service application powered by an easy to use workflow engine and process management framework.


Full Contact Relationship Management including Key Contacts, Action History Charts, Logged Calls, and Email Correspondence. Track Deals with Opportunity Management. Forecast your Upcoming Deals using the Process Pipelines & Sales Funnels. Account Management allows you to Create One-To-Many Relationships between Contacts and Accounts. Send Quotes and Invoices via Email. Reporting and Charts gives you Insight into Your Sales using X2CRM Analytics. Drilldown, Summation, and Performance Reports.


CRM For Your Website, Embed Web Lead Capture Forms, Track Website Visits, and use X2Identity Browser Fingerprinting Technology. Email Templates, Draft Email Newsletters and Templates Using Variables to be Automatically Replaced With Contact-Specific Details. Email Tracking so you can See When Contacts Open Emails. Create Targeted Campaigns to Market To Specific Contact Segments using Dynamic Attribute Lists. X2Flow Automation so you can Model Drip Email Marketing Campaigns.


Service Case Management allows you to Manage and Distribute Service Cases For Your Support Team. Design Service Case Routing Rules so you can Escalate Cases to Users Within Your CRM. Notify Service Representatives of New Cases via Automated Email. Service Web Forms that you can Embed Service Response Forms on Your Website. Design Forms to Integrate with Your Brand. Case Updates let you know Know Where You Stand with a Service Case Using Customized Service Process Stages.




Zurmo-logoZurmo describe’s it’self as “The New Open Source CRM” and it’s key differentiation is it’s built in “Gamification” it’s features include:

Contact Management

Full view of Contact details, 360 view of Accounts, Lead Management, Quickly find info with Global Search

Activity Management

Meetings, Tasks, Notes, and Attachments all in one place, Roll Up to see activities from related records, Latest activities widget, easy view of historical information

Deal Tracking

Sales Force Automation, Create and Manage Opportunities, Track Sales Pipeline, Probability of Closure


CRM Gamification rewards end users, Scores & Badges, Achievement & Status, Proven to improve User Adoption


Report on virtually any set of records, Drag and Drop Filters, Customize, save, share Reports, Charting includes 3D Bar Graphs, Donut, Pie, etc.


Create custom Workflows with drag and drop wizard, Trigger email alerts or actions, Keeping track of events as they occur, Get notified on upcoming or elapsed events

Marketing Automation

Create and send Email Marketing campaigns, Schedule Autoresponders, Build and embed Web Forms that link directly to CRM, Manage Campaigns

Product Management

Create Product Catalogs, Integrate Products with Opportunities, Accounts, Contacts, Manage Product Items and quantities

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