How CIOCAN members celebrated International Women’s Day 2019

Together with women all over the world, we honoured and celebrated International Women’s Day with our peers, colleagues and teams. Here are how 4 of our women in technology leaders spend the day, in their own words:

Christine Day | CIO | Questrade Inc.

This photo captures the spirit of what International Women’s Day looked like –  our ladies in technology as well as people from across the firm dressed in purple as the internationally recognized colour to symbolize women. We handed out chocolates and congratulated all the strong and brilliant ladies who propel our business forward. We feel very honoured to have the opportunity to work with such smart and dedicated women at Questrade.


Women’s Day is important to me because it is the opportunity to celebrate the advancements of women, to acknowledge the incredible contributions of women and to acknowledge the need for continued efforts to propel women and embrace diversity. This is especially true within IT.

Yasemin Sezer | Head – Technology & Operations | LTI Canada

At LTI Canada, we celebrated today with a number of events organized by Women4Women Network. We started with pictures of strong women we took across our teams in Canada and India.

Then we had opening speech from our Women President and myself putting up some stats to provoke thinking. We had an external speaker, Zaynah Bhanji, who is also the keynote closing speaker for the CIO Peer Forum. She is an inspirational speaker, entrepreneurial and smart. This was followed by a panel discussion on diversity  amongst diverse employees. Finally we had games and cake to close.

Women’s day is both a celebration and a trigger to provoke questions in everyone’s mind on what they can do to change the inequality. With the diverse program we ran, I am confident we achieved that goal.

Arlene McDonald | VP, Corporate Technology Solutions | PointClickCare

We at PointClickCare have an exciting day planned with thought-provoking external keynote speakers, an interactive workshop and networking opportunities for our people. A day filled with some laughs, maybe tears, and definitely feelings of excitement and empowerment. Guest speakers include; Barb Stegemann, Dr. Paula Williams, Michelle McGuire, and Susan Kerr.

Sarah Bettencourt, Chief People Officer, PointClickCare summarized how we need to move forward when said, “I don’t think the rise of women is about the fall of men. To achieve gender equity, we need to work together; it needs to be a paradigm and mindset shift.”

Lan Nguyen | Retired Deputy Chief Information Officer | City of Toronto

This year’s theme for International Women’s  Day is Balance for Better. So the Women Network of  City of Toronto (TPSWN) which WITNet  (Women In Technology Network) that I founded three years ago as a chapter and is growing well,  has partnered with Women in Government (WIG) and EY on an event titled #BalanceforBetter at EY’s head office to support Toronto Women Network’s wish in joining the global movement to build a gender balanced world. The event featured a panel discussion about representation and diversity of gender intersectionality in the workplace. It was great too that webcast and webex were  available at all Civic Centers and offices for staff to attend remotely. Heather Taylor, city’s new CFO was moderator with a panel of Sofie, Captain Fire Services Division, City Toronto, Tiki Cheung, EY Partner and National Co-Leader of EY’s Entrepreneurial Winning Women Program.  The event was exciting and well attended with many passionate conversations and very good questions.

You could feel the sharing of emotions, provoking thoughts and feeling of empowerment across the room.  The city has also a great Rebranding session this morning at the Council Chamber to rebrand the women network from Toronto  Public Service’s Women Network (TPSWN) to TOnow (Toronto Network of Women). The WITNet is planning to expand the network including mentorship program across governments and agencies  including municipal and provincial to expand the membership and the forum and to prepare for  a large Women Network Symposium hosted by City of Toronto in 2020.

I did my part in connecting with my WITnet team, many of my colleagues and friends across the world and of course my two daughters to wish them a Happy Women’s Day with this message:

One woman that I admire the most and has been my model is my 89-year old mother so I spent two hours this afternoon talking to her to hear again her usual calm voice of wisdom, patience and advice from her from her life experience, endurance, perseverance, determination and a will power that brought both pains and successes in her life. She was and is a Woman of Strength and Wisdom (WSW).