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Melissa is a social entrepreneur, leader and big thinker. As Co-Founder and CEO of Ladies Learning Code and Canada Learning Code, Melissa has established a reputation as a fierce advocate for women and youth. She is dedicated to ensuring that they have the critical skills, confidence, and opportunities that they need to become passionate builders - not just consumers - of technology and to thrive in our increasingly digital world.
Since 2011, Ladies Learning Code has championed digital literacy for Canadians, working nation-wide and across all sectors to equip women and youth with technical skills. To date, the organization has taught over 50,000 Canadians code through their programs, which are offered in over 29 cities across the country. In 2016, Melissa and her team launched their most ambitious initiative to date: Canada Learning Code - a ground breaking cross-sector coalition to create 10 million technology learning experiences for Canadians over the next ten years.
Her efforts to promote digital literacy in Canada have garnered attention from national media outlets like CTV, CBC, and the Globe & Mail - and landed her a spot on Elle Canada’s list of 9 Canadian Women Making a Difference. She also recently hosted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to participate in a coding workshop!
Melissa holds an HBA degree from the Richard Ivey Business School and is currently pursuing her Master of Education Policy at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto.
Growing up in a time when few women were encouraged to study science and mathematics, Sherry Shannon-Vanstone has innovated and thrived as a mathematician, entrepreneur, inventor, philanthropist, mentor, board member and tennis player. Her latest role as Chairman, President, and CEO of TrustPoint Innovation Technologies leverages her years of experience providing leadership in impactful and valuable companies.
TrustPoint is not her first experience with a start-up. Certicom, founded by her late husband Scott Vanstone and with contributions by Sherry as VP of Sales and Marketing, grew to be very successful. In the late 1990’s Certicom provided RIM/Blackberry with its internationally proclaimed security before being acquired by RIM/Blackberry in 2009.
TrustPoint’s focus is trust, and under Sherry’s leadership, the company provides an innovative solution to difficult trust problems. How can we trust that the information being transmitted is accurate or authentic? Using Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC) to issue security credentials for the billion devices that populate the internet of things (IoT), TrustPoint is making its mark by authenticating and verifying machine-to-machine communication. TrustPoint’s solution authenticates billions of interactions, helping to keep people healthier, safer and more secure.
Shohini Ghose is a Professor of Physics and Computer Science and Director of the Centre for Women in Science at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Canada.
Shohini is a theoretical physicist who examines how the laws of quantum physics might be harnessed to transform computation and communication, and for novel protocols such as teleportation. She and her co-workers made the first movies of cesium atoms demonstrating a connection between chaos theory and quantum entanglement.
She has taught physics to over 2000 students and has co-authored a textbook that is used in universities across Canada. Shohini is the recipient of several awards including a TED Fellowship in 2014 and a KW Woman of the Year award in 2016.
Shohini is an affiliate of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics and the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo, and is a Fellow of the Balsillie School of International Affairs.
Following the keynote sessions, students will steer the conversation with their own questions for a panel of women currently working in different STEM-related careers.
The 2017 panel includes:
Maria Franke, Curator of Mammals, The Toronto Zoo
Maya Burhanpurkar, Research Assistant, Perimeter Institute
Tracy Rogers, Assoc. Professor, Anthropology & Director, Forensic Science Program, University of Toronto
Attendees will then engage in small-group discussions with women in STEM careers.