March 27, 2018

The 2018 Venture Out Conference recap: a trailblazing event for the digital LGBTQA+ community

It’s a good day when your true self and your professional passions come together, and it’s a bonus when they are freely accepted and accommodated. The 2018 Venture Out Conference offered just that from March 15 and 16, 2018.As the conference that connects the LGBTQA+ tech community, youth, and digital professionals, Venture Out continues to be the only conference of its kind in Canada that highlights LGBTQA+ industry leaders and inspires the next generation of professionals.

Conference organizers Jeanette Stock and Taylor Bond said their decision to start the 2018 Venture Out Conference birthed from the industry’s inability to connect queer folks from across the digital community. There was a disconnect, and they chose to bridge the gap.

“We wanted to create a venn diagram and build communities of folks in tech who were queer, and could share those experiences,” said Stock.

Building innovative shopping bags in a workshop at the 2018 Venture Out Conference.

Hundreds gathered at this year’s event at Toronto’s MaRS Discovery District for an evening pitch battle, and a day of digital insight, networking, but most importantly, acceptance and empowerment—encouraging the queer community and other minority groups to rightfully share their successes.

“Venture Out has been a very deeply personal experience. It’s been the first time that I’ve found myself surrounded by people like me. Hearing both their entrepreneurial stories and tech stories, their successes and the challenges that they face, resonate with me so strong.”

~ Andrea Ross, Shopify

Powerful afternoon panel

The panel discussion, In Our Words: Transgender Stories and Experiences in the Tech industry was an attendee-favourite at the conference, filling the main auditorium.

Panel discussion on inclusivity in the workplace at the 2018 Venture Out Conference.

Transgender men, women, and non-binary individuals from Security Compass, Natural Element, NEWFRDM, and Deloitte sat on the panel, discussing their challenges and triumphs as minorities in their field of work, from coping with bathroom restrictions, to receiving acceptance and support from leadership on the job.“Even though there are open-minded companies, education is still required because not everybody understands it all,” said Sam Naylor, Salesforce transformation consultant at Deloitte and panel moderator.

Inspiring future tech professionals

Members of Together’s youth delegation had the opportunity to engage in workshops with employees from across the digital industry, with one transgender and their mom being inspired by future career opportunities.“The people at this event survived some challenges and they came out of it as successful entrepreneurs, loving their jobs, being accepted, and making the world an easier place for younger kids like them to get jobs,” said his mother, Tanya Aeri, “It’s always nice to go to something where you feel like you’re not the only person and there are choices for you out there.”If you’d like to join a future youth delegation to get connected with leaders and inspire your child to pursue a career in science, technology, engineering, arts, or math, get in touch at


Conferences like Venture Out set the example in promoting inclusion and diversity at work, and Together proudly stands by their efforts as we inspire youth to explore careers in these fields and continue to support amazing professionals from all backgrounds.


Next up for Together, 15 girls will be joining us at FITC Toronto, from April 8 through 10th to connect with an amazing group of speakers and attendees over the three day conference.

Join us there and save $200 with the discount code: SayYeah.

GET YOUR TICKET or learn more.