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Women in Tech World is embarking on a journey to put together an extensive report on the current state of Women in Tech across Canada.
Women in Tech World is embarking on a journey to put together an extensive report on the current state of Women in Tech across Canada.
87 backers pledged CA$ 32,320 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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CA$ 32,320

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"It's an opportunity to be a part of something truly impactful for women in Canada; it's about connecting with community members and giving them a voice to communicate what's going on in their backyard - what unique challenges have they encountered and how can we work together to create a tailored solution for their community. Going on this tour means that I have this magnificent chance to facilitate change from the ground up...and that's everything to me. It's the trip of a lifetime." 

- Melanie Ewan (Director of Community Based Research and Co-captain on this Canada-wide tour)

The Driving WinTech Journey

This fall, Women in Tech (WinTech) is conducting a Canada-wide research tour to understand and record the experiences of women in technology and to promote vibrant women in tech communities across the country. 

This adventure will take us from BC to Newfoundland over a two month period. In this time we will:

  • Facilitate 50 community forums across the country. 
  • Connect with over 10,000 people from diverse communities and sectors. 
  • Create and share a National Report on the experiences of women in tech in Canada (barriers, challenges, successes, resources).
  • Create a set of Playbooks (regional recommendations) to facilitate more inclusive and diverse tech communities in Canada.
  • Share our findings with community members and stakeholders to ensure active steps are taken as a result of Driving WinTech.

While there are smaller qualitative and quantitative studies and lots of anecdotal evidence of women's experiences in tech in Canada, no one has taken on a project of this magnitude or mandate before. Let's do this! 

Driving WinTech: Connecting with women in tech across Canada
Driving WinTech: Connecting with women in tech across Canada

Who were those people in the video? In the video above, you met the co-founders of WinTech, Alicia Close and Elena Yugai, and the Director of Community Based Research, Melanie Ewan. Alicia and Melanie will be hitting the road September 1st, 2017, with Elena and other members of the team joining them along the way.

What would success look like?

Great question! Our answer is two-fold:

(1) For tech ecosystem members and stakeholders to adopt policies and programs that are informed by our findings and recommendations (i.e. the experiences of women in tech, as reported by community members), and; 

(2) To create a network across Canada of organizations and people who are working to elevate women in tech.

Why is this important?

We are living in an increasingly tech-enabled world, which means that there are more and more jobs opening up in the tech sector. Problem is, while the Computer Science workforce has grown by 60% since 1991, the percentage of young women going into the industry has declined (Stats Canada 2011). And this isn't a matter of gender differences in education or interests: 

As reported in Macleans, "Despite an increase in women with STEM degrees, the percentage of women working in the fields has barely changed in almost 30 years."

Women in STEM: Educations v. Workforce (Stats Canada)
Women in STEM: Educations v. Workforce (Stats Canada)

What's going on here?

That's precisely what we are wondering. To date, there have been no large-scale qualitative research projects conducted on the lived experiences of women in tech in Canada. What are the existing resources and services available? Are there particular gaps or barriers that they face? What kinds of tools does a community need to create more inclusive tech communities?

As women in tech, we believe that every woman should have the opportunity to succeed in the tech industry. 

Change starts by understanding what is really going on and by creating opportunities and tools for women in tech to connect with each other and meet women in leadership positions. Fostering these connections is incredibly empowering, allowing women to envision new possibilities for their careers in tech.

Youth Tech Day - WinTech Week 2017
Youth Tech Day - WinTech Week 2017


This is why we are dedicated to increasing the knowledge of what is really going on in Canadian tech communities. 

Creating change in the tech industry

The information we gather will be used to create a National Report and set of guidelines for Canada. The report will be qualitative, based on the interviews, focus groups, and community conversations that we facilitate. We will present this report to provincial and federal governments and will encourage groups to use it to launch local initiatives.

Our National Report and guidelines will:

  • Bring attention to key findings from the road trip, with the aim of increasing awareness across all sectors;
  • open doors for collaboration and funding opportunities for organizations in this field;
  • create best practices for how to mobilize communities, duplicate existing successes, and create inclusive and diverse tech communities across Canada.
Kickoff Breakfast - Women in Tech Week 2017
Kickoff Breakfast - Women in Tech Week 2017

It's also important for us to celebrate and share the stories of the women and tech communities that we connect with. We plan to do this through our social media channels, blog posts, podcast and visual content. Creating a documentary from the road trip is definitely on our wish list as well!

About the Community Forums

We get that every community is different, with their own unique set of stakeholders, goals, and challenges. As such, we are creating a set of research activities that we can offer:

  • Community Conversations (e.g., breakout groups discussing the current ecosystem, including gaps and ideal outcomes) 
  • The above + panel discussions (e.g., on current state of women in tech community, what resources and challenges exist) 
  • Focus Groups with industry experts and officials 

Each activity will provide a unique and interactive way to dive into important questions about the challenges and experiences held by women in the tech industry.

Youth Day - WinTech Week 2017
Youth Day - WinTech Week 2017

Why us?

WinTech is a truly unique organization made up of 140+ outstanding women in tech. The women leading this group are passionate and driven; they are professionals from diverse backgrounds in marketing and STEM who are dedicated to actively promoting, empowering, and celebrating women of all ages in tech.

Women in Tech Volunteer Team
Women in Tech Volunteer Team

We have organized over 22 events in seven cities across North America this year alone, and have given away $50,000 in tech scholarships to young women. We believe that by creating inclusive, collaborative, and diverse communities, we will be better equipped to take on new challenges that are thrown our way.

Women's Pitch Night - Women in Tech Week 2017
Women's Pitch Night - Women in Tech Week 2017

We count ourselves lucky to have a strong leadership team, and an extensive network of partners across Canada to support us on our mission. We couldn't do this without you!

Our Core Mission at Women in Tech

To work with communities, nationally and internationally, to define and execute actionable steps to increase the quantities of women in the technology sector, as well as the quality of roles available to these women (i.e., leadership positions).  

Our Core Values:

Community – To create a vibrant and collaborative network of women who work in tech communities across Canada (e.g., through research and events).

Empowerment – To promote and provide access to mentorship and technical education, and sponsor high qualified, underrepresented tech talent.

Thought Leadership – To showcase trailblazing women, create opportunities for community discussion, and commit to ongoing reporting and tracking of data on women’s experiences.

Leadership Team

Alicia Close, Co-Founder and CEO, WinTech

Alicia is an outstanding leader with a passion for social entrepreneurship; she has a strong background in program development and has had a blast leading the Women in Tech team. With a love for tech and analytics, Alicia drives the operational strategy and scalability for WinTech. She also happens to love running (just did her first marathon!) and pretty much every type of cheese...although, who doesn't? Follow Ali on twitter.Follow Ali on twitter.

Elena Yugai, Co-Founder and CGO, WinTech

Connecting and inspiring people comes naturally to Elena. She's well known as a strong leader in the tech community, and has made it her personal mission to build and engage WinTech’s global audiences and create an exceptional experience for WinTech’s 140+ volunteers. She is also the Head of Operations at tech startup, Contiq, and is a self-professed dog lover, foodie and all around nerd. Follow Elena on twitter.

Melanie Ewan, Program Director, Community Based Research

Writer and consultant for startups in Vancouver, Melanie (or Mel) brings a background in research and communications to the WinTech team. She is passionate in her mission to foster community and empower women to pursue their dreams. Mel is a food reviewer, travel writer, and proud aunt who's working on her pull-ups game (can almost do one!). Follow Melanie on twitter.

From left: Elena Yugai, Melanie Ewan, Alicia Close
From left: Elena Yugai, Melanie Ewan, Alicia Close

Tour details.

Five WinTech volunteers are going to drive across the country in a branded RV, starting on the west coast (Vancouver headquarters), before heading north to the Canadian territories, and then east across the country to the Maritime provinces. 

We will be hitting all capital cities and major tech hubs, as well as any spots identified by our community (let us know if you want us to come to you!).

Our road trip team will be supported by a network of volunteers throughout the country, including provincial ambassadors who are plugged into the tech communities in their region.

Note: while Canada is the perfect place to start, being our home and headquarters, we intend to work with women in tech communities worldwide to identify other hubs that are keen to organize a Driving WinTech initiative.

What does the Kickstarter fund?

The biggest expense of any road trip are the hidden costs of simply being on the road. Funds raised from this Kickstarter will cover the following costs for our two-month mission:

  • Power Up - Fuel to get us across the country ($2,500)
  • Keep A Float - Ferry costs over the water to Newfoundland ($1,300)
  • Stay Safe - CAA membership and auto insurance to ensure assistance is readily available ($3000)
  • Lunch Money - Food for our volunteers on the road ($12,200)*
  • Rest Up - Accommodations for our volunteers from camp sites to couch surfing to bed and breakfasts ($4,575)*
  • Hot off the Press - print and facilitation resources for the tech communities we visit ($6,550)

*every effort will be made to keep costs to a minimum. We want to ensure we can focus on our mission while having enough financial flexibility for those volunteering their time to reasonably continue the two-month tour.

We are actively seeking funds from sponsors and grants to pay for the upfront vehicle costs and the costs to run the town halls and produce the National report on the Status of Women in Technology. These costs are not included in our Kickstarter goal but are referenced in the video ($50K total mentioned to get us on the road).

WinTech in the Media

Youth Day - Women in Tech Week 2017
Youth Day - Women in Tech Week 2017

 Stay in Touch!  

Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram and join the conversation using #DrivingWinTech!

Find us on Angel List

Check out our website to learn more: drivingwomenintech.com  

Or send us an email at hello@drivingwomenintech.com  

Your support and suggestions mean the world to us!

 

Risks and challenges

Our two key challenges are funding and people. The minimum that we need to go on this road trip is $30,000, however, that will just get us on the road. The more funding we can raise, the more communities we can visit, and the more resources we can put into creating truly impactful content. We are reaching out to past partners, setting up meetings with potential sponsors, and getting out the word on what we are doing through local events, networking, and the launch of our new website and brand.

In terms of people, this will be a huge undertaking. We are grateful to have two solid team members who can be part of the entire two-month road trip, but they will need support along the way. We are currently working with the Women in Tech Directors to define teams and conduct interviews for our volunteer positions nation-wide.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 1 or more About $0.74

    Virtual High Five!

    Who doesn't love a high five? We'll make sure to gather our strength to send you the most epic high five, as well as an 'I backed Driving WinTech' jpg.

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    Pledge CA$ 10 or more About $7

    Roadtrip 101: Driving WinTech Supporter

    We couldn't do this without you! To show our appreciation, we will proudly display your name on our website's Hall of Fame, as well as provide you with EXCLUSIVE UPDATES from the team, chock full of behind the scenes pics, tech trivia, and campaign updates and insights as we prepare for this epic trip.

    Includes:
    • Sponsor shoutout on the Driving WinTech website
    • Exclusive updates via email.
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    Pledge CA$ 25 or more About $18

    Limited Edition Bumper Sticker!

    5 members of the WinTech team are going to be driving across Canada, so it's only fitting to show your support with a limited edition bumper sticker!

    We'll also throw in the same rewards as in Roadtrip 101.

    Includes:
    • Limited edition bumper sticker
    • PLUS same rewards as Roadtrip 101.
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    13 backers
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    Pledge CA$ 35 or more About $26

    Notes from the road: Notebook + Pen

    Based on feedback from our WinTech community, we've opened up a new tier: Notes from the Road. This tier includes a special edition Driving WinTech Notebook and Ballpoint pen, perfect for jotting down ideas, recipes or notes, or for use as a sketchbook, daily planner, or travel journal for your next road trip!

    Includes:
    • Driving WinTech Prestige NotePad (black leather with embossing)
    • Slim Twist Ballpoint Pen
    • PLUS same rewards as Roadtrip 101.
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 50 or more About $37

    Hit the Road: 1 Year WinTech Membership

    *Exclusive Kickstarter Offer*

    Join the WinTech community with a One-year Community Membership! This includes:

    1) Personal invite to 2 Quarterly AMA’s
    2) Admission to our virtual mentor program (i.e., 'office hours' and 'ask-me-anything' sessions)
    3) Access to exclusive WinTech Community Scholarships and events
    4) A warm welcome and introduction to our network of incredible women in tech across Canada.

    You'll also receive our limited edition bumper sticker and the same rewards as Roadtrip 101.

    Includes:
    • One year WinTech Community Membership
    • Limited edition bumper sticker
    • PLUS same rewards as Roadtrip 101.
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    17 backers
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    Pledge CA$ 50 or more About $37

    *EARLY BACKER* VIP WinTech Pack

    *This offer is exclusive to Kickstarter, and is only available for the first 48 hours of the campaign*

    Perfect for those wanting to join the WinTech Community and meet the team! The Early Backer reward includes: VIP access to the Vancouver Driving WinTech launch party (August 2017) OR a special invitation to attend a Community Meetup with the Driving WinTech crew in Calgary, Winnipeg, Montreal, Toronto OR Halifax (Fall 2017).

    PLUS: A One-year WinTech Community Membership including:

    1) Personal invite to 2 Quarterly AMA’s
    2) Admission to our virtual mentor program (i.e., 'office hours' and 'ask-me-anything' sessions)
    3) Access to exclusive WinTech Community Scholarships and events
    4) A warm welcome and introduction to our network of incredible women in tech across Canada.

    You'll also receive our limited edition bumper sticker and the same rewards as Roadtrip 101.

    Includes:
    • VIP access to Driving WinTech Launch Party or Community Meetup
    • One year WinTech Community Membership
    • Limited edition bumper sticker
    • PLUS same rewards as Roadtrip 101.
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    Ships to Only Canada
    Reward no longer available 6 backers
    CA$
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 100 or more About $74

    Letter from WinTech: Personal Postcard

    Love getting letters? Who Doesn't. Get your own personalized peek at life on the road with one handpicked, handwritten postcard from our road trip team.

    In love with a particular province? Let us know and we'll do our best to grab a card from that region!

    Your Letters from WinTech reward also includes a 1 yr membership to WinTech, a limited edition bumper sticker, and the same rewards as in Roadtrip 101.

    Includes:
    • One handwritten postcard from the road
    • One year WinTech Community Membership
    • Limited edition bumper sticker
    • PLUS same rewards as Roadtrip 101.
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    9 backers
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 250 or more About $185

    Gear Up: Driving WinTech Merch Kit

    *Exclusive Kickstarter Offer*

    Women in Tech will be creating exclusive Driving WinTech T-shirts, for backers and WinTech members only! T-shirts will be available in men's and women's styles, sizes XZ, S, M, L, XL.

    We'll email you after the campaign to chat details.

    Includes:
    • Exclusive Driving WinTech T-shirt
    • Limited edition bumper sticker
    • One year WinTech Community Membership
    • PLUS same rewards as Roadtrip 101.
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    4 backers
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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 1,000 or more About $739

    Meet a Trailblazing Woman in Tech

    Ever wanted to sit down with an industry influencer or trailblazer in the women in tech community? Curious how they got started and what their big tips are? Maybe you just want to get to know the person behind the persona?

    Here's your chance!

    We'll set up a virtual chat* between you and a 'trailblazing woman in tech' in your region. You will have the chance to choose from one of the following:

    - serial entrepreneur who has launched a number of tech companies
    - advisor with international exposure (e.g., Silicon Valley)
    - senior management or C-suite professional in the tech industry
    - engineer or VP of Tech

    We're also giving you access to the WinTech Community (virtual mentoring, scholarships & events), and will mention you (or your company) on our podcast!

    PLUS all of the rewards in ROADTRIP 101.

    *depending on proximity and schedules, there may be an opportunity for an in-person meeting.

    Includes:
    • Meet a trailblazing woman in tech
    • Podcast sponsor shout-out
    • One year WinTech Community Membership
    • PLUS same rewards as Roadtrip 101.
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    Pledge CA$ 2,000 or more About $1,479

    Roadside Assistance Kit

    Take your brand on the road this fall with the WinTech team! With the Roadside Assistance Kit we'll put your name on the back of our RV, guaranteeing your brand a unique opportunity to be viewed across Canada.

    We're also throwing in a limited addition bumper sticker, one year of access to the WinTech Community, and the same rewards as Roadtrip 101 of course.

    Sponsor 5,000 kilometres of the journey!

    Includes:
    • Name on back of RV
    • One year WinTech Community Membership
    • Limited edition bumper sticker
    • PLUS same rewards as Roadtrip 101.
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    Pledge CA$ 5,000 or more About $3,697

    Dedicated Detour

    For that special place that you hold near and dear to your heart, sponsor a town hall as a pit stop on our journey! Your name will be credited on the event material, and you will receive a special invitation to receive a speaker spotlight at the town hall.

    Includes:
    • Town Hall sponsorship (credit)
    • Sponsor spotlight at town hall
    • Podcast sponsor shout-out
    • One year WinTech Community Membership
    • PLUS same rewards as Roadtrip 101.
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Funding period

- (38 days)