With the help of creative communications agency Eighty-Eight and the many participating organizations, girls from the YWCA Toronto’s Girls’ Centre between the ages of 13 and 18 were educated and inspired by a day of exploration, visiting Toronto-based organizations across media, fashion, wearables, professional services, education, finance, and other industries.
“What I want to get out of this is to learn how to take care of myself and how to be independent in the future,” said Aadheyo Roy, student and regular visitor to the Girls’ Centre.
The girls participated in multiple conversations led by female professionals who excel within technology and science-related careers.
The girls visited Ratehub, “Canada’s leading financial product comparison website,” Zoocasa, a partnering organization that “helps people make smarter home buying and selling decisions,” and Kanetix, the search engine that “compares rates from over 50 insurance companies.”
They participated in interactive group activities, discussed strategies for app and multimedia creation, and tackled mock business and communications tasks, all while learning and applying analytics and user-centered thinking.
A 15-minute walk took the girls to the shared offices of Betakit, “a media publication covering Canadian startups and tech innovation in Canada,” and Lighthouse Labs, the coding hub and educator of web and iOS developers.
An intensified discussion with Jessica Galang from Betakit and Jessica Vomiero from Mobile Syrup informed the girls on content strategy and how to create and maintain meaningful connections within the tech industry.
Following thereafter was a thrilling front-end coding session with web development coach Maggie Moss from Lighthouse Labs, who taught the girls how to use their coding powers “for good, and not evil.”
“It was cool to learn that there are ways to use technological aspects to cater to your needs,” said Erum Hasan, current volunteer and former attendee at the Girls’ Centre, when she saw how easy it could be to make changes to a website through code.
“It was cool to learn that there are ways to use technological aspects to cater to your needs.”
~ Erum Hasan
At Ecobee, home of the smart thermostat, the girls got to see how many different roles they could aspire to working on connected hardware, form industrial design, to engineering, to apps, and beyond. Women from each department shared their day-to-day responsibilities, and the group was exposed to the team’s planning, brainstorming, agile, and user-centered strategies.
As a break from hardcore digital technology, the girls toured the integrated offices of Nuvango and Gelaskins Inc., where they experienced a day in the life of designers and related roles in fashion and technology, from idea to end-to-end production, online shop to delivery.
Muse, the adored meditative space for a brain sensing headband was the tour favourite. The girls assumed meditative positions, sitting on colourful cushions in a peaceful room.
“I’m not really a tech person but after visiting Muse, I found HoHoTO’s Girls’ Tech Tour quite interesting because the technology that they develop there is a brain sensor and I really want to go into psychiatry in the future so I felt that I could totally explore that,” said Cathy Shen, who was on her first Girls’ Centre excursion.
HoHoTO’s Girls’ Tech Tour not only showed girls what a day in the life of a digital industry professional looks like, but ultimately became a source of empowerment to an aspiring and capable next generation of digital professionals.
“Seeing more and more women in these fields really makes me optimistic that in the future it will be a world of equality.”
~ Cathy Shen
“Seeing more and more women in these fields really makes me optimistic that in the future it will be a world of equality,” said Cathy Shen.
HoHoTO is proud to call this initiative our own, and confident that its expansion in the coming years will greatly impact young women across Toronto, and help set the stage for a more diverse and inspired workforce.
HoHoTO invites you to show your support for this and our other workplace diversity initiatives by purchasing a ticket to our Dec 1 holiday event, donating, or sponsoring HoHoTO, so we can continue to produce these kind of hands-on events for young women and minorities.