Leaders and Diversity Champions in Tech Celebrated at Digital Nova Scotia’s 6th Annual Digital Diversity Awards
HALIFAX – OCTOBER 21, 2021- Diversity champions in Nova Scotia’s tech sector were recognized earlier today at the 6th annual Digital Diversity Awards presented by Digital Nova Scotia, hosted in partnership with the Centre for Women in Business’s INNOVATE event. These awards celebrate leaders and organizations that are leading and promoting diversity and inclusion in the rapidly growing digital industry.
“This year, we had an overwhelming number of nominations, each impacting and driving change in our industry, working towards a shared goal of advancing diversity and inclusion in tech.” says Wayne Sumarah, CEO at Digital Nova Scotia. “We know that diversity drives innovation, a key ingredient for the continued success of our sector – which is why we continue to bring focus to leaders and champions of diversity. Our winners are making a positive impact, they are proactive, and we are honoured to have a platform to recognize them. Diversity and inclusion allows our sector to expand perspectives, increase access to talent, and build welcoming and world-leading companies here in Nova Scotia.”
Our 2021 Award Winners:
Next Generation Leadership: Liz Gosselin, Creative Director at R&G Strategic Inc.
Fueling the Digital Economy: Dora Jonah, VP Consulting – Delivery at CGI
Change Maker: Rose Wagner, President of Rose Wagner Media
Diversity & Inclusion Champion: MOBIA Technology Innovations
Shaping the Future: SuperNOVA
The Digital Diversity Awards highlight people and organizations that are working to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion in our sector. This year, the awards evolved to encompass a wider range of diversity champions, so that we continue to represent the expanding digital workforce in Nova Scotia! Historically designed to celebrate women in tech, the eligibility criteria has now broadened to include members of underrepresented communities. Underrepresented communities include women (female-identifying), Indigenous Peoples (First Nations, Inuit and Métis), persons with disabilities, members of visible minority/racialized groups, and members of LGBTQ2+ communities.
“The Centre for Women in Business (CWB) is proud to collaborate in celebration of diversity and innovation, both of which have been particularly valuable during the pandemic.” Tanya Priske, Executive Director of the CWB says. “Over the past almost two years, the CWB has helped more than 160 women – 75% of them with digital adoption – innovate new ways to approach their business. While tech played a significant role in helping these entrepreneurs through the pandemic, it also demanded that we at the CWB look for more diverse and innovative way to deliver our own programs and services. In keeping with the theme of today’s celebration, and central to our speakers’ talks, innovation can be woven through everything we do.”
Congratulations to all of our 2021 finalists and award winners!
Next Generation Leadership
Celebrating an emerging leader or entrepreneur from an underrepresented community in Nova Scotia’s tech sector who are actively growing their career or advancing their company in the industry, while they develop their leadership skills.
- Cody Allen-Romkey, Alpha Dog Games
- Kes Morton, Pisces Research Project Management
- Liz Gosselin, R&G Strategic Inc.
- Aleysha Mullen, MOBIA
Winner: Liz Gosselin, Creative Director at R&G Strategic Inc.
Liz Gosselin is the co-founder of R&G Strategic, a marketing agency specializing in sustainability frameworks and communications. As Creative Director, she delivers a unique blend of strategically informed branding, graphic, interaction, website and app design that delights clients and their customers. She’s developed a policy to dedicate resources to female-led businesses, is the recipient of a United Nations Global Compact SDG Award and has been recognized as one of Corporate Knights 30 under 30 sustainability leaders. Liz is also a founding member of the board of the Circularity Forum, a World Economic Forum Global Shaper and the East Coast ambassador for TFF.
“I am incredibly honoured to be recognized through the Digital Diversity Awards. At R&G, we strive to create an environment where we foster a sense of trust and belonging among individuals of all different cognitive styles, backgrounds and demographics. More than ever, the tech sector serves stakeholders from a diversity of life experiences. Building teams that can serve those stakeholders better will be the strategic advantage that will drive the most impactful and creative tech companies to the forefront of the sector, and will help create a more sustainable future for all”
Fueling the Digital Economy
Recognizing a leader from an underrepresented community, in a senior-level executive position for a tech or digital company, division, or organization who has made a significant contribution to Nova Scotia’s tech sector and is an active champion of diversity in their community or organization.
- Emily Smits, Modest Tree
- Jennifer Faulkner, Proposify
- Dora Jonah, CGI
- Carrie Forbes, League Data Ltd.
Dora is Vice President Consulting Delivery and has 30+ years of experience in the IT industry working predominantly in financial services, Dora has been with CGI’s Global Delivery Centre in Halifax since 2003 and currently overseas all delivery services provided to the Canadian Financial Institutions and Federal Government sector. Dora’s experience covers desktop & infrastructure support, managed application services, transition management, business development, financial management and leadership / member development.
Over the last 20 years with CGI Dora has held multiple leadership roles and has developed deep knowledge and proven abilities in Transition and Global Service Delivery Management she is passionate about implementing quality processes with a focus on continuous improvement. Dora’s extensive experience in the Technology Industry helps her to serve as a trusted advisor to clients in formulating and executing successful business strategies that leverage technology, exceptional talent and performance management tools to drive business value and strategic market advantage. Dora is an advocate for Women in IT and Women in Leadership, she is committed to working in her community to promote and support women in IT.
“I’m absolutely humbled and honoured to have been selected as the winner of the Fueling the Digital Economy Diversity Award. I’m incredibly proud to have been nominated and overwhelmed that my contributions to this very important dynamic of our society is having an impact.”
The importance of Diversity in Tech is such a great question which can be answered in so many ways I’d like to focus on 2 points, first perspective, people around the planet are consumers of technology and we are all unique with different experiences and cultural backgrounds in order to optimize the user experience technology companies must bring different perspective and ideas to the table to keep up with their customers evolving needs. And second as a women I’m a huge advocate for women in IT and women in Leadership roles our industry is still very much male dominated and with 50% of the world population female its critical technology companies prioritize their female representation as we bring a perspective on female gender and technology sector issues which help achieve better outcomes for all.”
Acknowledging an individual who has proactively inspired diversity in tech through community engagement, working with underrepresented groups, and creative initiatives.
- Amy Conrad, Volta
- Ashley Burke, Wave HQ
- Dr. Devan Kronishch, Proposify
- George Hanna, Smart Income
- Jo Napier, Great Women Productions
- Kes Morton, Pisces Research Project Management
- Rose Wagner, Rose Wagner Media
- Laura Bohnert, Modest Tree
For the past thirty-two years, Rose has been building her professional network as well as her skill-set, and has become a self-made leader in Atlantic Canada’s media industry. Having started her own business in 2011, Rose’s media knowledge extends far beyond a few great campaigns – regional, national or international. It’s rare to find an industry or channel that Rose hasn’t had marketing experience in – and, if there’s one she hasn’t, that’s all the more exciting. Her dedicated work ethic, modest approach and thorough understanding of media trends have made her a standout in the Halifax marketing scene. The rare times when she’s not building a media strategy, researching media tendencies, or reading up on Canada’s agency landscape, Rose enjoys spending time with family and tending to her backyard garden. Rose is a founding member and Co-Chair of the Atlantic Chapter of Women in Communications and Technology (WCT).
“It is such an honour to be recognized and presented with this Changemaker Award. I’m very proud of my role within the Atlantic Chapter of Women in Communications and Technology and the inspiration and support that this Chapter provides to Atlantic Canadian women in ICT fields. I was immediately drawn to the WCT organization for their approach and programs which support women and individuals of diverse backgrounds in the digital and communications economy on a national level. I was surprised to read studies that indicate that women represent less than 25% of the workforce in this growing sector, with management roles hovering around 5%. As co-chair of the Chapter, I’m honoured to be able to work with an exceptional group of women business owners, leaders and members to further the conversation, provide connections and access to a Mentorship Program to help increase these numbers within our region.”
Diversity & Inclusion Champion
Celebrating a company or organization that actively promotes the importance of diversity and inclusion in Nova Scotia’s tech sector by implementing strategies for welcoming workplaces, diverse hiring practices, and inclusion initiatives.
Winner: MOBIA Technology Innovations
MOBIA is a systems integrator. Our business units (Broadband Wireless Services, Managed Services, Infrastructure Solutions, Cybersecurity and Digital Transformation Services) work collaboratively to deliver outcome-based technology solutions. Whether our customers are launching a new product or service, or modernizing an existing one, MOBIA focuses first on the business objectives of our customers and then works to operationalize new technologies and processes that drive business agility and efficiency from the inside out.
Since our inception, we have grown from a small Nova Scotia based company with just 6 employees, to a national company with 5 locations and over 500 employees. As an employer, we pride ourselves on being flexible, kind, and approachable. Our people are what make the things we do for our customers possible.
“MOBIA really appreciates being recognized through the Digital Diversity Awards. It tells us that we are moving in the right direction; we are learning and growing every day and working to affect positive change in our organization and in our communities. Diversity and inclusion in the tech sector is so important; technology is prevalent in our day to day lives and it needs to be developed by diverse teams in order to properly reflect and include diverse end users.”
Shaping the Future
Recognizing a company or organization that has taken a proactive interest in shaping the future workforce in Nova Scotia’s tech sector by working with underrepresented groups, rural communities, and/or new immigrants, by promoting and inspiring youth working in tech, and by recognizing transferable skills in the workplace.
- Sherry Scully, SES Workforce Research and Consulting
- Sarah Ryan, Brilliant Labs
- Prag Ravichandran, CloudKettle
- Lumi Studios
- Kevin D’Aguiar, Matters of Data
- Chantal Brine, EnPoint
- Carrie Forbes, League Data Ltd.
SuperNOVA is a not-for-profit initiative of Dalhousie University that promotes science, engineering, technology and mathematics (STEM) to youth in Atlantic Canada. Based out of Halifax, Nova Scotia, SuperNOVA offers engaging and innovative workshops, summer camps, clubs, and community events throughout Atlantic Canada that provide youth with rewarding experiences in STEM and nurture a life-long love of exploration, creativity, and academic achievement.
“We are honoured to be considered for the 2021 Digital Diversity Awards. There are so many fantastic organisations working hard to make sure that opportunities in tech and STEM are available to youth to build their skills and look to the future. It is so important for youth to see themselves represented in the tech sector and other STEM fields – for them to recognise that it is a place for them and that they are welcome and valued there. That’s what makes diversity and inclusion so important within those industries and why we will continue to develop programs and connect with community partners to work with underserved youth across Atlantic Canada.”