Mission Of New Board of National Women's Network
October 12, 2010


Mission Of New Board of National Women's Network: Attract More Young Women To High Technology
Create conversations that make a difference to young women in technology

Ottawa, October 12, 2010 -- Attracting more young women into Information Technology (IT) and providing support programs for young women IT professionals are the twin goals of a new slate of Board Directors announced today by Canadian Women in Technology (CanWIT). CanWIT, a division of CATAAlliance, is a national community network founded in 2005 which promotes and supports the advancement of women in tech sectors. It appointed new co-chairs, Shann McGrail, Director of Education, Microsoft Canada and Sandra Saric, Program Director, Information and Communications Technology Council.

Enrolment of young women in post secondary education technology programs is down significantly from its peak in 2001/2002. For example, in 2008/2009 the % of females enrolled in university programs in Ontario in computer science was 15% in engineering 10-20% (COU 2009). And 56% of young women in technology companies leave at the mid-level point in their careers according to a study by the National Centre for Women and Information Technology in the U.S.

Role models and mentors are two proven programs for attraction and retention of young women in IT, and these are two areas the CanWIT National Executive will concentrate its efforts in 2010 and 2011. "Role models are critical to demonstrate to girls and young women the value and attractiveness of a career in technology" says Joanne Stanley, Executive Director, CanWIT. "Mentors can prevent the feeling of isolation for young women in IT and also help them navigate the path to promotion."

Dr. Cindy Gordon, CEO, Helix Commerce Int'l, will act as past chair of CanWIT and takes on a new leadership position as VP of Intelligent Canada. In this role she will work at the CATA National Board level, and also at CanWIT to encourage women interested in intelligent communities to support this vision, and in their local communities to develop projects to help Canada become a more intelligent nation. Under Dr. Gordon's leadership, CanWIT has grown its membership and partnership base, developed programs such as Circle of Wisdom to create conversations that make a difference in young women in IT lives and created the www.bringiton.ca website to encourage and support young women in the technology profession.

Other new CanWIT directors are:

VP of Marketing - Caroline Kealey, CEO, Ingenium Communications Inc.

VP of Finance and Administration - Kelly Hagen, Asset Planning Group Ameresco Canada

VP of Mentorship - Suzie Labonne, Organization Management Consultant

Canadian Women in Technology (CanWIT)
Canadian Women in Technology, previously called CATA WIT Forum www.catawit.ca, is a division of CATAAlliance www.cata.ca . Its mission is to assist women in technology advance in their careers through professional development, mentorship, networking and advocacy. With chapters in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and BC , CanWIT has more than 200 members and a national network of volunteers who provide programs and events to attract and support women succeed in technology positions, technology companies and to start companies. CanWIT's partners include Microsoft, MTS Allstream, IRAP, Information and Communications Technology Council, Deloitte, Telus and Lawson Lundell.

For more information, contact

Joanne Stanley
Executive Director and Co-Founder