About 100 influential women executives participated in the 2nd annual Women of the IT Channel luncheon at the Toronto Hunt Club yesterday.
The event was hosted by CDN and sponsored by Ingram Micro Canada.
The luncheon featured keynote speaker prima ballerina Veronica Tennant. Tennant, who reached the top of her performance art dancing with superstars Rudolf Nureyev and Mikhail Baryshnikov, spoke about reinventing herself as a producer/director and filmmaker while expanding her skills as a communicator, performer and author. Her message resonated tremendously with the audience and it led to a standing ovation.
The event also took time out to honour five senior level women executives in the Canadian channel:
Barb Cummings, director of business development for London, Ont.-based Brodie Computes Inc.;
Bonnie Huckstep, business development manager for Insite Computer Group Inc. of Markham, Ont.;
Cheryl Stookes, director of sales for SHI Canada in Toronto;
Laura Tsingos, director of operations for Toronto-based HighVail Systems Inc.; and
Cathy Vankesteren, senior vice president of End to End Networks of Toronto.
Also at the event was an informative panel discussion hosted by IT World Canada journalist Christine Wong on if Cloud Computing can spark more interest in young women to join the IT industry.
The panel consisted of Gina Thompson is the Senior Manager Cloud and Services Division North America for Ingram Micro, IT editor and journalist Vawn Himmelsbach and area director of Dimension Data Canada Wendy Lucas. Dimension Data recently introduced their own cloud solution. The panel offered new ideas on how women entrepreneurs can get more involved in the cloud computing space. The global cloud computing market is expected to grow at 30 per cent reaching $270 billion in 2020. According to Gartner Research, the current market worldwide for cloud services is more than $70 billion and that should double by 2014. All three panelists agreed that there is no question that cloud is an incredible market opportunity. The adoption rate for cloud in North America is at 18 per cent. That’s a big market gap that needs to be filled; why not by women entrepreneurs.
Jodi Bonham of Eaton Power Canada said the event produced an inspiring day. “It was probably the best IT event I’ve attended in a long time,” she said.
Fawn Annan, president of IT World Canada, echoed Bonham’s statement saying the Women of the IT channel luncheon was one of the best events IT World Canada has ever produced.
“The standing ovation given to Veronica Tennant on her tremendous keynote was truly inspiring as well as all the other stories told by women executives at this event,” Annan said.