• Humaira Ahmed posted an article
    This startup used its tech to help women recover from the economic impact of the pandemic. see more

    When Humaira Ahmed, the Founder & CEO of Locelle Digital, a networking and mentorship platform for women, began hearing from her app members about the struggles they were facing as a result of the pandemic, she got curious about the impact it was having on women in particular. When she encountered the startling findings of McKinsey Global Institute’s regressive effects of COVID-19 on gender equality, as the leader of a social impact startup, she knew she had to move fast. She sent out a survey to explore the type of support her members needed during this time. The survey results revealed that 85% of women using the Locelle app wanted mentorship and 30% wanted to be mentors. Ahmed and her team quickly developed a mentorship program unlike any other. 


    "With a focus on action rather than conversation, we wanted to develop something concrete to help women recover from the economic impact of the pandemic. We started with matching technology to curate connections for mentees that aligned with their career goals. Then we measured the impact in quarterly reports to provide a tangible way for our mentees to see how mentorship has influenced their professional development and growth,” says Ahmed.

    Locelle’s new mentorship program, Mentor Moments, is a fully-managed, 1:1 mentorship program designed to empower women in the workplace with tailored guidance aligned with their individual career goals and vision. What makes this different from most mentorship programs is the emphasis the Locelle team puts on professional development and career advancement. The team is dedicated to making space for mentees and mentors to get the most out of this relationship by taking the heavy-lifting off their hands in these 4 ways:










    Locelle does mentorship a little differently. With the Mentor Moments program, mentees have access to a team of world-class leaders who they can rely on based on their individual career goals and needs. Locelle’s community of mentors include industry leaders like:

    • Manpreet Dhillon, CEO & Founder of Veza Global, who recently launched a free online resource for Canada’s technology industry that provides access to best-in-class Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) resources and tools.

    • Stephanie Redivo, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Program Lead, Translink, who is an active member and speaker in the global women in tech community. She regularly inspires employees to be their best selves and do their best work through inclusive behaviour.

    • Hurriya Burney, Vice President at RBC, Commercial Banking, who is dedicated to helping new immigrants, minorities, and ambitious women build confidence in the Canadian workplace. 

    • Nataizya Mukwavi, Founding Executive Director of Black Women Connect Vancouver, who has created a collective of women who leverage their strengths, embrace their diverse experiences, build meaningful relationships, and celebrate Black excellence in B.C.

    “My mentor really helped bring more clarity to the direction I want to go. Her approach was just what I needed to carve out an initial path to my purpose. I’m so glad I took a chance on being a part of this program and look forward to more sessions,” says one mentee, a Sales & Marketing Manager at a tech company.   

    You’re invited to The Power of Mentorship Panel & Info Session on Thursday, October 1 at 12pm PDT. This FREE virtual event is ideal for professional women who want to find a mentor, and who are interested in exploring ways the Mentor Moments program can help them advance in their careers. Attendees will hear from a panel of mentees and mentors who will share their mentorship stories, along with tips on how to get the most out of this program. Reserve your spot for this event before Oct. 1. 


    About Locelle Digital, Inc.

    Locelle (pronounced Lok-elle) is a global platform created to connect, empower and advance women.  Through mentorship and career development opportunities, Locelle delivers professional growth to individual professionals and teams. Locelle’s private networking and fully-managed mentorship program is powered by matching technology. Becoming a member gives women in the workplace the chance to instantly start growing their communities, take steps toward advancing their careers, and begin making meaningful connections with like-minded women and industry leaders – all on one platform! The Mentor Moments program manages all the heavy-lifting of scheduling, feedback, matching and impact reporting, that way professional women can pour all their focus into their career development goals. Locelle is excited to announce that it was recently selected to be part of the 4.0 Cohort of the Women in Cloud (WIC) Microsoft Cloud Accelerator.

    For more information, contact Humaira Ahmed, Founder & CEO

    T: 250.514.8182 | E: humaira.ahmed@locelle.com

    Website URL: Locelle Digital Inc.

    Social media: Facebook | LinkedIn | Twitter | Instagram  

  • Humaira Ahmed posted an article
    A next-gen location-based networking app for women to meet up with like-minded women has launched! see more

    First of Its Kind, Women-Only Networking Platform Launches in App Stores

    For immediate release

    Victoria, B.C., October 12, 2018: Locelle – a next generation location-based social networking platform for women to connect and meet up with like-minded women – has launched in the app stores today.

    "It's been an incredible nine months for our team as we worked tirelessly on customer discovery, market validation, product design and development," said Humaira Ahmed, Locelle's founder.

    Networking is hard, and Locelle is taking the "work" out of it.

    As women go through various life transitions – moving to a new city, career change, caring for a baby, new relationship status, coming back from maternity leave or illness – the need to make meaningful connections arises. The challenge typically is not being able to easily find and meet up with like-minded women who live nearby and share similar interests and activities.

    Locelle aims to change that. With months of beta testing with real users, the platform is now available in the app stores and is already making meaningful connections for women in Victoria and Vancouver. Powered by machine learning, Locelle’s proprietary matching algorithm connects women based on interests, activities and location.

    “I just downloaded Locelle and super excited to have already made three connections with like-minded women in tech space!! In a pretty male dominated industry, I’m stoked to see an app like this to help build my tribe. Thank you for creating!” wrote Sarah Boland, a Locelle user.

    Locelle is also working with a handful of B.C. technology companies that wish to hire more women as part of their diversity and inclusion initiatives. These companies offer Locelle as an onboarding package to their female staff. "With Flytographer and RingPartner already on board, this is just the beginning of a social health movement," said Ahmed.

    "Here at RingPartner, we value connecting people with opportunities, and Locelle makes it easy for our female team members to get involved in the tech community and forge relationships with like-minded individuals," said Sarah Gulbrandsen, COO and president of RingPartner.

    The app is available on Android and iOS and free for now; it will be available for US$1.99 per user, per month earlier next year. Interested companies can contact Humaira Ahmed, while interested users can download the app.


    About Locelle Digital Inc.:

    Locelle (/lōk-el/) is a location-based networking app for women offering safer and easier way to meet like-minded women nearby. Powered by machine learning, Locelle’s proprietary matching algorithm connects women based on interests, activities and location.


    Media Contact:

    Humaira Ahmed

    Founder and CEO





    Social Media:





  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Nominations for B.C.'s outstanding business women in private or public sector companies see more

    2019 Influential Women in Business Awards: Nominations Open

    It’s that time of year again! Business in Vancouver is seeking nominations for B.C.'s outstanding business women in private or public sector companies. 

    Our intention is to give worthy individuals the recognition they deserve as well as to use their example to inspire other Influential Women in Business to achieve similar success. Five winners and one Lifetime Achievement Award winner will be profiled in a February issue of Women in Business Magazine and honoured at a special awards luncheon in early March 2019. Each winner will share their leadership lessons to an audience of Vancouver’s business community.

    Honourees are influential leaders in their industry and the business community at large, committing time and resources to mentor other women in business and contribute their expertise on corporate and not for profit boards. They are chosen based on the criteria of professional accomplishments, influence, and business community involvement. For more information about the awards process, visit www.biv.com/iwib




    As a prominent lawyer and community activist, Michelle Pockey dedicated herself to making a positive difference in the world – from energy, mining, environmental and Indigenous issues to increasing the economic success and impact of women. Michelle worked tirelessly for 20 years advancing women in business, law, First Nations and non-traditional sectors. She was an inspiration to others every day of her life until her passing from cancer in June 2016.

    To help support Michelle’s legacy and advance other women along their leadership journeys, Business in Vancouver and Minerva BC have partnered to recognize this exceptional female leader through the creation of the Michelle Pockey Leadership Award. This Award will give first priority to an Indigenous woman and single parents, and second priority to women pursuing law, justice, Indigenous or environmental studies. The Award is intended to support the successful nominee's tuition, housing or childcare in the pursuit of post-secondary education or entrepreneurship. 

    The Award and a donation cheque will be presented at Business in Vancouver's Influential Women in Business Awards in March 2019. For more information about the awards process, visit www.biv.com/leadership-award.  


  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    A merit-based scholarship to encourage more women to continue their studies in tech & engineering see more

    Help Shape a Scholarship for Women in Computer Science and Engineering 

    Island Women in Science and Technology is working with the Victoria Foundation and the Irving K. Barber Foundation to build a merit-based scholarship to encourage more women to continue their studies in technology and engineering fields. 

    We are looking to apply industry experience to support academic achievement. 

    The survey is short but your contribution and direction will help shape a long time legacy: http://survey.constantcontact.com/survey/a07eeshy9hyj9i23qk6/start

    Bonus reward: iWIST is hosting a social mixer on Tuesday November 14 at Glo as part of the Leading the Way conference November 15. Ten lucky survey participants will win a ticket to this great event! (Value $22)

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    This week’s highlight is on Christina Seargeant. see more

    Source: HaroVentures.com

    Haro Ventures Mini Series: An Interview with Christina Seargeant

    For the month of December, Haro Ventures is launching a mini series highlighting and celebrating awesome female leaders / movers and shakers in our tech community. We will be publishing one interview weekly to share insights into the roles, goals, and vision of these individuals in order to help us all grow a better understanding of who's shaping our community.

    Between working as HR business partner with Workday and volunteering with Ladies Learning CodeVIATEC, and networking community PeopleOps, Christina is a quintessential (and busy!) member of our tech community. We were thrilled to sit down with Christina to learn about what she does with Workday, her childhood role models, what keeps her inspired, what mistake she’s most learned from, and her vision of diversity in our community.

    • What is your role at Workday and how did you come into that position? / Your involvement with Ladies Learning Code?

    I’m an HR business partner at Workday, supporting everyone from the frontline employees to the VPs of Workday Canada. We have an offices and teams that comprise 150 employees all over Canada in Victoria, Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal. I’m meant to be the first point of contact for all things HR related and position myself as a champion for Canadian benefits and the different programs we offer in Canada.

    I came into the role because Workday offered me the position during its acquisition of MediaCore in August 2015. I was the director of people operations at MediaCore, which meant I oversaw anything to do with people and general business operations including facilities, legal and some finance.

    I got involved with Ladies Learning Code (LLC) just before the chapter launched in Victoria. I met Erin Athene at Discover Tectoria where she told me about the organization being based in Toronto with chapters popping up all across the country. I was instantly intrigued and wanted to help out. She needed to raise $1000 to get things started and kick off the first workshop. MediaCore wasn’t in a financial position to offer the funds but we wanted to help in other ways. When Erin started a Tilt campaign to rally the funds through the community, within just a few hours Dan Gunn of VIATeC said he would match any fundraised money up to $5000 dollars. I instantly called Erin and suggested we needed to change our goal from $1000 to $10,000 knowing how these funds would help us do great things for our chapter. In the end, we raised $11,000 and became the poster child chapter for LLC when it comes to harnessing community support. The companies we spoke with along the way were so interested in supporting us and loved what we were doing.

    After that I took on the role of chapter lead with Erin. She manages our sponsorship, fundraising and community partners while I lead the workshops and logistics and make sure we have a programming pipeline for the year. We work with a number of other amazing ladies that have helped us make our Victoria chapter what it is today.

    • What’s the most satisfying part of your role there?

    The most satisfying part of working with LLC is definitely being able to support people who are otherwise unfamiliar with technology or don’t feel confident they could do well in that field. To see their confidence increase from the moment they walk through the door in the morning to when they leave the workshops at the end of the day is really empowering. We help people realize their goals, whether they’re looking for a new role in their current workspace or re-entering the workforce.

    I’m personally passionate about helping people pursue their careers in technology, which is largely why my role at Workday is so satisfying to me as well. I love helping people take on challenges when it comes to career or the workplace, and I work with a number of managers that are really supportive and want to see good things for their employees. I especially enjoy recruitment because I get to be a part of helping to build a strong team, and the team we’ve created so far is so great.

    • What did you want to be when you were a kid? Who were your childhood role models?

    When I was a teenager I wanted to be a photographer. I actually pursued this dream and started a freelance photography business when I was 16 and which I still own and operate to this day. The reason why I don’t do photography full time, however, is because I don’t want my passion and hobby to turn into the source of pressure it might be if I relied on it to make a living. For me, it’s important to keep photography as a hobby business that’s there for me when I feel the need for a creative outlet. Im passionate about what I do as a career as well, but in a very different way.

    As an only child, I played a lot of video games as a kid and would relish in that escapism it provided. As I look back now I think a lot of those characters I played as then could be considered my role models. They commanded their presence, their powers, chased demons, and created magic. They definitely had an ensemble of traits I aspire towards.

    • What or who inspires you the most?

    I think what I draw most of my inspiration from is our tech community. I think we have a number of really fantastic people here who are really passionate about making our industry as vibrant as it can be and I’m personally really interested in helping this community grow and flourish as much as I can.

    In 2013, I founded a networking group in Victoria called PeopleOps. It stemmed from my interest in finding other people who are in HR roles in startups to learn from and grow with. I didn’t have a full grasp on what our community really entailed back then, so the amount of interest I received was really overwhelming. Lots of people responded saying “I’m figuring this out for the first time too”. We’re now at 65 members and run a vibrant and active Slack channel where we discuss the professional and developmental events we run on a monthly basis. We see people in HR grow and push themselves professionally while helping their respective teams grow and be successful. They want to be better to help their companies. Their passion is very inspiring and it inspires me to give back.

    Much in the same way, LLC is a vibrant community of women who want to grow and learn and be a part of the community as both learners and mentors.

    The passion both these groups show is very inspiring and reminds me to give it back.

    • With F@#% Up Nights becoming a popular community event, we’re witnessing a positive trend of being open about your failures and mistakes. What mistake have you made that you wouldn’t go back in time to change if you had the chance? What did you learn from it/them?

    What comes to mind for me isn’t a mistake, but something pivotal I experienced that yielded several learning opportunities: the work surrounding MediaCore’s acquisition. While overall I consider the acquisition a success, it wasn’t easy and there were many bumps along the way.

    It was the case of a startup company being purchased by a public company in San Francisco that has many accolades and strong revenue and is a solid contender in the market place. As far as acquiring companies are concerned, it probably couldn’t have got much better. The whole process of being acquired and of exiting, however, proved to be quite difficult and taught me a lot.

    It taught me about communication, how people deal with change, about self-balance, about advocating for employees, advocating for the company being sold and the company doing the buying. I learned that the due diligence process is extremely important, and about many intricacies that come with selling a company.

    While I wouldn’t go back in time to change anything, I’ll definitely use the knowledge I gained to benefit me and the company I’m with the next time I’m involved in a similar process.

    I look forward to the day when we do it all again.

    • Do you see a positive trend of expanding the diversity in tech in Victoria?

    I think there’s a lot of opportunity for us to create a more diverse tech community in Victoria. Things can always be better, and we could always be trending up. It can tend to be a matter of whether or not a community has the champions that are willing to put in the effort to make that happen, and I think that we do here in Victoria. More than ever, people are willing to have the conversation about what their companies need in order to attract diverse talent and engage them in a meaningful way. Change like that isn’t derived from one meeting to decide on strategy, but has to be a continuous conversation and continuous community goal.

    Stay tuned for more interviews with awesome leading women in our community by following us onFacebook or Medium

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    A new study ranks Victoria as the best city to be a woman in Canada see more

    Source: Times Colonist
    Author: The Canadian Press

    TORONTO — A new study ranks Victoria as the best city to be a woman in Canada, while Windsor, Ont., rated last of the country’s 25  largest metropolitan areas.

    The study by Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives senior researcher Kate McInturff looks at the gaps in men and women’s access to economic security, personal security, education, health, and positions of leadership in Canada’s biggest cities.

    McInturff’s report says the biggest factor in Victoria’s standing is the level of representation of women in politics — Victoria has a female mayor and is the only city in the study to have more women than men on its council. Victoria also topped the rankings in 2015.

    The study says Windsor placed last due to its large gap in women’s representation in leadership roles, its larger than average employment gap, and the fact that Windsor has the highest gap in the percentage of women living in poverty, compared to men.

    Canada’s largest cities fall in the middle of the rankings, with Vancouver at ninth and Toronto in 11th, due significant gaps in employment levels, while to Montreal placed sixth.

    The Ontario cities of Kingston and London, and Quebec City and Gatineau, Que., rounded out the top five, while Saskatoon, Edmonton, Calgary and Oshawa, Ont., joined Windsor on the bottom of the rankings.

    The report said Ontario’s Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo-area moved from the bottom of the list to the middle of the pack, due in large part to gains women made in winning local elections and increasing their share of senior management jobs.

    The study also found that women are more likely to be victims of violent crime than men.

    “For the first time on record, women are now more likely to be the victims of violent crime than are men — a result of persistently high rates of sexual assault,” McInturff said.

    She said the statistics in the study are “the beginning of the conversation, not the end,” noting that “there is much that cities have to learn from one another.”

    The study also indicates some gaps are closing.

    Women in Canada now make up 48 per cent of the labour force, they are as likely to have some form of post-secondary education as are men, it found.

    The report said the OECD projects that narrowing the gap between men’s and women’s employment in Canada could contribute an additional $160 billion or eight per cent in GDP by 2030.

    “We live together, we work together and when we close these gaps, we all share in the benefit of more secure and more stable lives and communities,” McInturff said.

  • Tessa Bousfield posted an article
    Two Victoria businesswomen have been named to a list of the top 100 female entrepreneurs in Canada. see more

    Source: Times Colonist
    Author: Andrew Duffy

    Two Victoria businesswomen have been named to a list of the top 100 female entrepreneurs in Canada.

    Sarah Blackmore, a founder of Bin 4 Burger Lounge and Lot 1 Pasta Bar, and Mandy Farmer, chief executive of Accent Inns and Hotel Zed, were named to the PROFIT/Chatelaine W100 this year.

    Blackmore placed 17th on the list in her first year applying, while Farmer, who has made the list six straight years, placed 25th.

    “I was blown away,” said Blackmore, who helped start Bin 4 in 2011 and is about to launch Lot 1 Pasta Bar at the Island Home Centre in July. “I am so honoured to even be on that list, but to be that ranking? Wow, I really just wanted to be in the 100.”

    Farmer, who has been ranked as high as 12th and as low as 50th in the past six years, said the honour “is very cool, but honestly I can’t wait to hit No. 1, I’ve got a lot of work to do in the meantime.”

    Farmer noted the recognition is really more about the company than herself.

    The top-100 rankings are now in their 18th year and place female entrepreneurs by a composite score that takes into account the size, growth rate and profitability of the companies they own and manage.

    Blackmore, who is expecting her first child in August, said she was inspired to get involved by Farmer, who she has worked closely with to establish Bin 4’s third location beside Accent Inns’ Blanshard Street hotel.

    “I think it’s really cool that they honour females in business across Canada and even the application process and going through the questionnaire was pretty empowering,” Blackmore said. “I love being on that list to show my staff what I have worked toward.”

    Farmer is quick to give credit for her position and success to her family. Accent Inns has been family owned since it started in 1986 by her father, Terry. She said there is still far to go before the number of women in power starts to make a dent in the boy’s club.

    “I belong to a group of CEOs out of Vancouver and the room is filled mainly with men,” Farmer said. “Perhaps one of the hardest things for women is the family/career struggle. Thankfully, nowadays men are playing an equal role in the upbringing of their children and I think this will dramatically alter the number of women entrepreneurs.

    “If it weren’t for my husband, Geoff, there is no way I could be doing what I’m doing.”

    Farmer said being on lists like this do set women up as role models, a position she relishes.

    “I’m very comfortable with that. I love speaking engagements where I get to razzle up people’s inner entrepreneur, hopefully sparking them to take the next step,” she said.

    Another Victoria entrepreneur appears to be close to taking that next step, according to PROFIT/Chatelaine. The competition singled out five women who didn’t quite crack to the top-100, but who should be watched over the next few years, including Nicole Smith, founder of Flytographer.

    Flytographer, an online marketplace connecting travellers to photographers in 160 cities around the world in order to capture important memories, has grown more than 200 per cent over the past two years.