Highlighting Last Year’s 2020 Winners: Akram Al-Otumi

Akram Al-Otumi seamlessly switches between leading and executing – dreaming big about what could be in our tech community and then making it happen.

An active contributor to Nova Scotia’s thriving tech community, Akram was our 2020 Digital Diversity Award Change Maker Winner, is the current Director of ShiftKey Labs, and a member of the Dalhousie Faculty of Computer Science.

Within Akram’s award nomination, the one word that we kept seeing was, passion – when he does something, he does it well and with great enthusiasm and dedication. He infuses much of his time and passion into events, initiatives and directly supporting our future talent pipeline. A born collaborator, Akram is always seeking opportunities to work together, build bridges and engage different members of the community, with a drive to increase diversity and inclusion across our sector. In 2020, Akram shared his insights on the barriers and changes we as a community can implement to broaden the economical ecosystem revolving around diversity and inclusion via Entrevestor.com.

With a strong belief that diversity unlocks innovation and drives community and economic growth, Akram always tries to apply a lens of diversity and inclusion to his work. He ensures that the work he is involved in represents diverse perspectives, and offers space and opportunities to members of underrepresented groups in the technology and entrepreneurship space. Taking his mindset and outlook beyond his everyday role, Akram also contributes to the Dalhousie Diversity and Respect committee, to drive policies across the university as a whole.

In his role with Dalhousie University, his Technology Innovation Course continues to grow year after year, and is still gaining a waitlist, so you can grasp how engaging Akram can be as a leader. Intake for the winter 2020 term course saw a 43% increase from winter 2019, highlighting the demand from students to develop practical and hands-on skills in technology innovation and entrepreneurship.

“Our students have so much potential and the knowledge and talent to change the world. By linking the course to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, I want them to see firsthand how their technology innovation and entrepreneurial knowledge can be used to change the world, one startup at a time to create a better tomorrow for everyone.” – Akram Al-Otumi, Turning Idea’s Into Reality

Akram’s leadership and innovation does not only pertain to the classroom setting but also the tech sector as a whole. Last year, he brought together more than 130 participants to develop tech-based solutions to overcome barriers related to(dis)ability, socio-economic issues, hiring bias, racism, and female empowerment through Dalhousie’s first Diversity and Inclusion Hackathon.

According to Akram the changes in the tech sector will continue to unfold, highlighting how supporting diversity and inclusion should be a part of our everyday lives due to the fact that it is a very important part of our Canadian identity. We should expect faster government programs to attract and retain international tech talent, and increase the support of females in technology professions, especially in leadership roles.

When asked what it meant to him being a winner of this award Akram stated the following;

“It means a lot to be recognized with this honour. We need to raise awareness about the importance of diversity and inclusion in our country, as it fundamentally defines the Canadian identity in these modern times.” – Akram Al-Otumi

 

The 2021 Digital Diversity Awards are now open! Nominate someone deserving today! 

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