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Denise Shortt

Denise's Biography

Denise Shortt is Vice-President, Industry Development for Information Technology Association of Canada. She is an internationally respected writer, researcher and speaker specializing in information technology, gender issues, entrepreneurship and innovation. Denise co-authored Technology with Curves: Women Reshaping the Digital Landscape (HarperCollins, 2000) and Innovation Nation: Canadian Leadership from Java to Jurassic Park (Wiley & Sons, 2002). Denise is also a former faculty member of Ryerson University’s School of Information Technology Management and helped to found Ryerson’s Diversity Institute which specializes in gender research. Denise was co-founder and President of Wired Woman Toronto and currently sits on the Board of Directors for Women in Communications and Technology (WCT). She has an Ed.M. in Technology from Harvard University and studied gender and technology at MIT. Denise was recently awarded a CWC Leadership Award for her life-time of work as a champion for the advancement of women.

Vice-President, Industry Development for Information Technology Association of Canada. Toronto.

I am currently Vice-President of Industry Development for ITAC. In my role as Vice-President, I look after all of our engagement with the Ontario government and help our members advocate for a strong ICT sector in Ontario. I also look after our Diversity Initiative which strives to help ITAC member companies leverage Diversity as a solution to deliver prosperity and competitiveness.

My favourite part of my job is to act as a champion for gender diversity in the ICT Sector. I work with our member companies to develop and recommend measures and initiatives to raise awareness and increase diversity in the sector. We engage our organizations to actively assist in driving visible and meaningful action around workplace diversity and create programming to support women throughout all stages of the Career Life cycle. I also work hard to give a platform and speaking opportunities to female leaders in the ICT sector in order to inspire the next generation of female leaders.

ITAC is a national industry association for the ICT Sector. As the trusted and authoritative voice of the ICT industry, ITAC’s mission is to promote and enhance the significant contribution that digital technology can make to Canada’s economic prosperity.

One example is my work with colleagues in the BC Cancer research agency – our methods can help to determine appropriate treatments for various cancers.

I believe it is critical for us to work together to demystify the negative stereotypes that exist in the ICT sector. These stereotypes act as a barrier that prevents women from being invited into the sector and taking advantage of the exciting careers within IT. I believe that giving a platform to female leaders who can share their personal career stories and successes is one way to help invite women into the sector.

I also believe that leaders of our existing ICT organizations need to act as champions for diversity within their workplaces and help to sponsor young emerging leaders within their organizations and give them the opportunities that will help them grow and prosper as leaders. Finally, I also endeavour to encourage Board diversity in Canadian ICT companies.

I think the best career advice I’ve ever gotten is to be authentic. To bring genuine strengths and passions to the workplace regardless of what career you choose and stay committed to the ideas you care most about even if you don’t see immediate change or progress. I also came to my career in IT via a non-traditional pathway. I was an English major and didn’t get into IT until I started doing multimedia work in my first career in publishing. I went on to do a Masters in Technology and my first book, Technology with Curves, is devoted to inspiring women to embrace technology careers even if they don’t have a computer science or engineering degree. Careers in digital media, social media, fashion and technology, as well as technology entrepreneurship await you!



Through outreach and professional development activities, research, partnerships, thought leadership and online initiatives, we work with industry and academia to educate on the value of diversity for innovation, to inspire women to thrive and to celebrate the contributions of women in science and engineering.
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