Women Lead Tech in Mississauga / Peel & UofT

Women leaders are the driving force of innovation and tech in Peel Region & UofT Entrepreneurship.

On January 18, 2017, the Globe and Mail published a special article by Jodi Kovitz (CEO ACETech Ontario) titled, “For Canada to succeed on a global stage, we need more women tech leaders.” The article portrays grim numbers of women leaders in tech and innovation as a problem requiring a challenge to readers to mobilize a movement to increase the number of women in tech leadership based on a relatively select sample size of ‘Canada’ and ‘MaRS’.

While it is important to look at the top of leadership structures when evaluating inclusion and diversity, it is often equally, if not more important to look at the development cycle of leaders in tech / business to grow awesome leaders into these roles. If one were to investigate the data of how many women start / finish undergraduate degrees in engineering, computer science and perhaps even certain strains of business, and then pair that with how many women have interest in pursuing leadership track careers, I propose one would find similar proportions to match the number of leaders listed in Jodi’s article.

From a data perspective, looking at the amount of job transitions most innovators in the tech space face, if 5% of undergraduate classes are women and 3% of the ‘tech industry’ is led by women, that could be a huge success. If you want to #MoveTheDial at the top, you must move the dial throughout the entire cycle of development.

UofT Mississauga is in a great position to move the dial in this area as all of the core programs; Management, Communications, Culture, Information and Technology, Mathematics & Computer Science, Masters of Management of Innovation, Masters of Science in Sustainability Management and ICUBE – Entrepreneurship at UofT Mississauga have incredible women leaders, team members and recruiters to help welcome young women into these tech roles and start them on the path to tech leadership.

The data that ICUBE UTM (incubator at UofT Mississauga) controls, points very positively to future women leaders leading tech in Canada (numbers from 2016):

47% of venture founders who were accepted into the ICE program were women.
72% of the applicants received by ICUBE UTM to work as part of ICUBE’s support team were women interested in being involved in tech.
– –  75% of ICUBE UTM’s student support team is young women interested in entrepreneurship.
57% of female students surveyed stated they were interested in starting their own business.
100% of student clubs in Math/ComSci, DEM/CCIT and Business have either a female president of VP.

As a 30-something year old male, I may be what you see when you think ‘tech.’
Kinda skinny, glasses, wears a hoodie and tie to investment meetings… however when I think of ‘tech leader’ I see a very different picture.  My upline reporting structure, mentors and peer network is stacked with women leaders.

Jodi, please consider this a personal invitation to visit the UofT and Peel Region Entrepreneurial Ecosystem and see what’s happening here as you prepare to launch #MoveTheDial.

Here is a list of just a few of the awesome leaders (who happen to be women) that are driving innovation in ICUBE UTM’s entrepreneurial ecosystem!

Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs Peel Region

  • City of Mississauga:
    • Mayor – Bonnie Crombie
    • Director, Economic Development – Susan Amring
    • Manager, Sector Development & Economic Partnerships – Bonnie Brown
    • Manager, Small Business & Workforce Development – Heidi Brown
    • Life Sciences Business Consultant – Andrewa Mulder
  • Regional Innovation Centre (Peel)
    • Executive Director – Pam Banks
    • Operations Manager – Mariya Leslie
  • City of Brampton
    • Entrepreneurial Services Manager – Denise Mcclure
  • Town of Caledon
    • Executive Director, Strategic Initiatives – Laura Johnston
    • Director of Employment Development – Cathy Perennec Mclean
  • Humber Centre for Entrepreneurship
    • Professor / Program Coordinator – Cheryl Mitchell
    • Senior Program Manager – Laura Keeting
  • Ontario Centre of Excellence
    • Business Development Manager – Dr. Julie Lukkarila
  • UofT Mississauga (ICUBE UTM)
    • Director – Donna Heslin

University of Toronto Entrepreneurship

  • Managing Director – Keri Damen
  • Founder & Director, Impact Centre – Dr. Cynthia Goh
  • Director, ICUBE UTM – Donna Heslin
  • Co-Director, Department of Computer Science Innovation Lab – Helen Kontozopoulos
  • Entrepreneurship Librarian – Carey Toane

ICUBE UTM – (Board Members / Think Group Members)

  • Director, Graduate Programs & ICUBE at IMI UofT – Donna Heslin
  • Executive Director, RIC Centre – Pam Banks
  • Executive Director, Angel One Investor Network – Karen Grant
  • Associate Director, Velocity (UWaterloo) – Nancy Heide
  • Senior Investment Manager, Ontario Capital Growth Corp – Brenda Hogan
  • Lawyer, Pallet Valo – Andrea Brinston

ICUBE WorkStudy TeamTEAM ICUBE (WorkStudy Start-Up Support)

  • Blog / Events – Cheng Siew
  • Events & Student Engagement – Stephanie DiNucci
  • Lead Designer – Alyha Shahrukh
  • Social Media / Special Projects – Kineta WirahardjaIf women leaders in tech is a measurement of future success of a tech industry.Peel Region, UofT Entrepreneurship, and ICUBE UTM is definitely heading in the right direction and paving the way for the rest of Canada.


Updated on March 8, 2018 – International Women’s Day to reflect and celebrate some of our new awesome Women Leaders and Partners:

ICUBE Founders:

Avalife –  Aishwarya Babu, Founder
CarbonQ – Lulu Li
Cleanopy – Natalia Mykhaylova
CubioCo – Jennifer Dodds
Dalriada Therapeutics – Diana Kraskouskaya
KWETech – Natalie Sokoloff
Participaid – Erica Tatham
SmartCane – Riya Karumanchi
SOCITY – Palak Purir, Rhea Puri
Stunlock Security – Christine MacDonald
UDimensions – Christina Guo

Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (Peel Region)

Manager, Entrepreneurship and Changemaking,  Sheridan College – Renee Devereaux

ICUBE CREW (Startup Support)

Aliza Betsis
Katherine Zdanowski
Maryem Abbas
Shanen Lautan
Taylor Walker

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Indigenous business training program created by RedBird Circle Inc. in partnership with UofT Libraries, ICUBE UTM and The Bridge at UTSC

An experiential learning program that follows the school 3 semesters schedule, for anyone with a great idea who wants to make it happen.

A boutique-style remote program to support your business development and help you grow through one-on-one support. This program is open all year.

A student-led creative studio with intends to serve the prototyping and design needs of our ventures and small businesses in our community.

This 2-day retreat is designed to help you reflect on your journey, what drives you, all the hats you wear and what is next for you and your social enterprise.