CanWIT makes appeal to young women with new advisory board

Canadian Women in Technology has named 17 new members to its advisory council, including Fawn Annan, president and group publisher of CDN’s parent company IT World Canada.

CanWIT, a division of the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATA), today unveiled members of the new council who will advise the group on its programs and services. The new council is part of a move to broaden participation in the group from younger women and forge new ties with organizations like Startup Canada and U.S.-based Springboard Enterprises. The former is a non-profit exploring ways to support Canadian startups, while the latter helps female entrepreneurs gain access to financing.

IT World Canada president Fawn Annan (pictured), at right, with former CanWIT chair Cindy Gordon.

CanWIT emphasized the push to appeal to a new generation of young females in its announcement by stating that new advisory council “members range from both Gen Y and executive level demographics.” New appointees falling into that age niche include Startup Canada founder Victoria Lennox and Sarah Prevette, founder and CEO of Sprouter/BetaKit.

The appointment is just the latest milestone in Annan’s longstanding involvement in leadership activities within the Canadian IT sector. She also currently sits on the Ontario board of the Information Technology Association of Canada, the iCanada advisory board, and works on two strategic committees at the Interactive Advertising Bureau.

“I’m very honoured to have been chosen from such a talented array of female leaders in our sector,” Annan said. “There is a lot of work required to improve our overall standing in the world community, especially given recent studies clearly showing an even greater need for knowledge workers. We must tap into the talent base in our country and begin to shape our youngest generation of girls to embrace the sciences to ensure we can man all the future jobs this country will require.”

Michael Atkins, chair of IT World Canada Inc., congratulated Annan on her appointment.

“IT World Canada has been at the centre of technology development and news in Canada for more than 20 years and we’re delighted to have the chance to play a role in helping women benefit from and exploit technology. No one is better placed than our president Fawn Anna to give a helping hand,” Atkins said.

In her own lengthy career, Annan has forged her way to the leadership ranks as a female within Canada’s media and IT industries. Educated at Boston’s Babson College and York University in Toronto, Annan was the CEO of Communications 2000 Inc. (which produced the Open Systems shows) from 1985 to 1992. In 1993 she was contracted to create a telesales force for Hewlett Packard’s Panacom Division.

She joined IT World Canada in 1995 as general manager of executive programs and became publisher of its government portfolio in 1997. Annan was named vendor of the year in 1998 by the Municipal Information Systems Association for her groundbreaking work in bringing three levels of government together to discuss citizen-centered services.

Annan became chief strategy officer of IT World Canada in 2008 and was appointed president and group publisher in 2010, becoming one of only three female presidents within International Data Group’s (IDG) global publishing network. (IT World Canada is the Canadian affiliate of IDG, which owns or partners with media properties in 97 countries.)

In her current role at IT World Canada, Annan oversees operations at, IT World Canada, Computer Dealer News, Direction Informatique, ComputerWorld Canada and Canadian CIO.

A complete list of the new advisory council members at CanWIT can be found here.

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