Beyond the Code celebrates diversity in tech

Some of North America’s leading entrepreneurs and high-tech trailblazers will converge in the capital Monday for a conference aimed at promoting diversity in the technology sector.

Beyond the Code is a day-long event featuring workshops and more than a dozen guest speakers and presenters. They include Hilary Mason, the New York-based founder and CEO of Fast Forward Labs, and Lauren Long, the co-founder of on-demand storage service Boxit.

Shopify launched the conference last year as a way to provide support and encouragement to groups that are underrepresented in the world of tech, such as women and minorities. 

Organizers are expecting about 250 people to take part in the 2015 edition at the Shaw Centre.

“Promoting diversity in technology is the main theme,” said Anna Lambert, talent acquisition lead at Shopify and the driving force behind Beyond the Code. “We wanted to create an inclusive environment to learn new skills and build long-lasting professional relationships in various areas of technology.”

A University of Ottawa graduate, Ms. Lambert said the idea for the conference came to her after she noticed the lion’s share of key participants at technology events tended to be men.

“I found at some conferences … there was a lack of representation of female leaders in tech who were presenting or running workshops,” she told OBJ last year. “So I thought it would be a really neat idea to get a number of excellent women in technology from different fields and different areas to come and talk about what they knew best and how they got there.”

Speakers and workshops will focus on a range of topics from marketing and design to launching startups. The event will close with a discussion featuring six panelists from various tech backgrounds followed by a reception at Shopify’s new headquarters on Elgin Street.