Techopia Live: Kanata North panelists make the business case for gender equity

It’s about business – not women in business. That was the key takeaway from a panel discussion held at Mitel on International Women’s Day this past week, in which more than 100 people gathered to hear insights into the value of gender equity in growing their companies.

Techopia Live stuck around with a few of those panelists afterwards to record a special episode recapping the major lessons that came out of the event.

Louise Reid, panel moderator and senior HR consultant with Techopia sponsor Stratford Managers, broke down what the panel’s theme meant to her. When executives consider the fundamentals of business – adding new customers and growing revenue, for example – recently released data show that having a more diverse team improves a company’s performance.

“Finally we have the research that shows, so clearly, that having women in business improves business results dramatically,” Reid told Techopia Live.

Panelist Tamimi Ahmad, a development evangelist with Qlik in Kanata, shared how diversity and inclusivity have improved the company’s bottom line. In his job shopping Qlik’s products around at conferences and expos, Ahmad said that having a diverse team on the floor attracts a variety of people to the firm’s booth. As a result, Qlik’s products receive a wider range of interest and feedback from the firm’s prospective customer base.

“It polishes our product,” Ahmad said.

Thusha Agampodi, the engineering manager of Magnet Forensics’ Kanata outpost, shared her tips in attracting a diverse mix of applicants to a company. It’s an area in which she’s been highly successful: Of the more than 20 people in Magnet Forensics’ local offices, some 40 per cent are female.

For Agampodi, the difference is in how jobs are marketed and how candidates are welcomed into the hiring process. Writing job postings that remove superfluous requirements will make women just as likely to apply as their male counterparts, Agampodi argued, and having a woman in the room for the interview itself helps applicants to imagine themselves working at the firm.

“Having a female leader definitely helps,” she said. “If you can see her, you can be her. I firmly believe that.”

To hear more of Techopia Live’s panel on International Women’s Day 2019, watch the video above.