ConnectHer Women in Technology Summit brings together Canadian industry and individuals during the month of International Women’s Day

March 8, 2023 — Spearheaded by YYC-founded Chic Geek, the summit arrives when the sector is experiencing a shockingly disproportionate number of women being laid off in tech roles compared to men amid the ongoing recession

YYC, March 08, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- As technology companies make massive cuts (beginning in 2022 and into 2023), research shows women and people of colour are losing their jobs disproportionately. According to Layoffs.FYI and 365 Data Science, an estimated 56 per cent of those let go in the recent wave of tech sector downsizing are women; even more alarming when one considers that two-thirds of the tech workforce consists of men, meaning this further impacts the gender gap in the sector. 

“Taking into account that women hold less than 25 per cent of technology roles to begin with, this is a devastating trend,” says Chic Geek Founder and Executive Director Kylie Woods.

Chic Geek will host a number of Canadian-based tech companies, organizations and individuals in March at the ConnectHer, Women in Tech Summit to combat this trend.

“In the last few years, we’ve seen companies investing in equity, diversity and inclusion work. Now is the time to commit to that work, not let it slide, or we risk losing the progress we’ve made,” adds Woods.

The Summit:

Chic Geek, an organization with over a decade of experience supporting women in technology and STEM fields through programming for individuals and businesses, will host the SOLD OUT ConnectHer Summit on March 21, 2023, at TELUS Spark Science Centre. This event is funded through federal support from PrairiesCan in addition to the Province of Alberta working in partnership with the Government of Canada to provide employment support programs and services.

“We’re proud to support the ConnectHer: Women in Tech Summit initiative led by Chic Geek as it creates opportunities for Albertans to succeed in the workplace and supports our province to build an increasingly diverse workforce and economy,” says The Honourable Brian Jean, Minister of Jobs, Economy and Northern Development. 

Organizations focused on diversity and equity will be in attendance, including technology companies and their leadership teams, female-focused technology startups, women in technology advocacy businesses, investors and venture capital general partners, as well as individual women in technology careers.

“What better way to open the dialogue up and work together in positivity to address these staggering statistics than by gathering together in the spirit of International Women’s Day 2023, a movement that encourages us globally to  #EmbraceEquity,” Woods says. 

Why ConnectHer?

With a focus on #EmbracingEquity, the more than 250 ConnectHer attendees will have opportunities to participate in discussions and workshops designed to promote DEI while building meaningful connections and finding inspiration and guidance in their careers as well as a community of support.

EDI expert speakers from Calgary-based GEDI Hub (Gateway to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Hub) will provide valuable insights, tangible and practical strategies for integrating EDI for businesses and individuals, and keynote speaker Shannon Pestun, co-founder of the Finance Cafe, one of Canada’s respected finance consultants, voices on women’s entrepreneurship and advocates for Indigenous economic prosperity will speak to workplace equality, sharing her personal experience around self-advocacy, as well as top tips for women to effectively advocate for themselves at work.

“Investing in building capacity and knowledge in workplace EDI is a tangible and proven way to futureproof your workplace and your business’s overall success in the future,” says Sean McEwen, Director of the GEDI Hub. “Employers and workplaces need to build those skills now to attract and retain talent, especially as our workforce demographics continue to and are set to shift significantly over the next 10 years. This event will provide some of these strategies and best practices that attendees can utilize right away.”

Industry, startup and investment sector

Partnering technology companies and senior teams across Western Canada (including Helcim, CISCO Secure, and IncluCity) in attendance will host tables where they will actively speak to and participate in open discussion and workshopping with women in roles, including Product Management, Software Development, Data Science and Engineering, UI and UX, Engineering, IT and more including adjacent roles such as marketing and sales.

“Creating a pathway for diverse tech teams and ensuring more women feel supported to join and stay in the tech industry is a very important part of the culture at Helcim,” says Margorie Juno-Read, Helcim CFO. 

Helcim, a long-time Chic Geek partner and supporter, launched a fundraising t-shirt in celebration of International Women’s Day. The t-shirt was designed by Gina Gong and depicts a fierce lioness surrounded by binary code to symbolize the strength of diverse teams. Proceeds from sales go directly to Chic Geek to support the mission of attracting more women into technology roles and can be pre-ordered online Here.

“This support and involvement from Helcim, as well as many individuals and groups across Canada, especially lead by those in Alberta, is a symbol of what this region is made of and illustrates that Calgary’s tech companies, founders and individual women in tech careers are coming together to address the ongoing challenges our sector faces around diversity and inclusion,” Woods says. 

For attendees who snapped up the sold-out tickets, such as Meredith Wasney, founder of Rallie, a cryptocurrency and Web3 finance learning platform that focuses on empowering women financially in the crypto economy, ConnectHer is a catalyst for women in the sector and building community.

“At Rallie, we’re on a mission to get more women learning about and investing in the crypto-economy. Cryptocurrency literacy and empowerment is a key part in making sure underrepresented communities do not get left behind in the crypto and Web3 revolution,” Wasney says. “ConnectHer is an important summit to help shed light on the systemic issues our sector faces and a chance for us to rally together and explore.”

Danielle Brewin Graham, Co-founder of the Firehood and General Partner of Phoenix Fire, one of Canada’s first female General Partners in Venture Capital focused on early-stage women-led startups, Indigenous representation, as well as BIPOC founders and investors, will speak at ConnectHer about the challenges as well as positive traction women and people of colour are making in both private investment and startup ecosystems.

“The ConnectHer Summit is an amazing example of what’s happening in Alberta and a showing of grassroots and industry groups who are leading in addressing the inequality in technology for founders, investors, and companies alike,” says Graham, who, as a first-time fund manager, raised capital focused on women in tech, with all investors and investees being women, and over 50% women of colour.  

“No one thought we could do it across Canada. They thought women investors with this much experience didn’t exist. Not the sector, the other VCs or even many of the startup founders. We proved them wrong ... we proved ourselves right. Women in technology matter now more than ever, and when an event such as ConnectHer sells out in Calgary, this sends an important message to the world that we aren’t going anywhere.”

ConnectHer evening event will include sponsors Gateway to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Hub, CISCO Secure, Helcim, Toast, the Government of Alberta, in-kind sponsors Badass Creative, Start Me Up Public Relations and Willow Park Wines and Spirits. This event is supported by The Province of Alberta working in partnership with the Government of Canada to provide employment support programs and services.

With a focus on #EmbracingEquity, ConnectHer is not only about learning and networking, but also about taking action to create a more inclusive and equitable tech sector. All gender identities are welcome

Tickets are sold out; partner tables are still available through

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About Chic Geek
Chic Geek is an organization committed to building gender diversity in technology. Chic Geek curates people, content and companies to build a supportive community where women techbuilders can advance their careers. Its Career Pathing initiative is designed to help women in technology build strategic networks and achieve greater career visibility. Learn more at

About GEDI Hub 
The Gateway to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (GEDI) Hub is Alberta’s first and only workplace Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion hub. Their province-wide, virtual resource center is a “one-stop-shop” in helping Alberta workplaces begin and continue to build their EDI capacity and knowledge. GEDI Hub offers a variety of EDI learning opportunities and services free of charge, such as customized workplace consulting, workshops, strategy, resources and more. Proudly funded by the Government of Canada, the GEDI Hub is proud to offer these services free of charge to Alberta workplaces.


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