More than 100 people turned out to Mitel’s offices at 350 Legget Dr. on International Women’s Day in March for a special panel discussing the importance of gender equity.
Stratford Managers’ Louise Reid moderated a panel featuring Mitel’s corporate diversity officer and vice-president of strategic communications Amy MacLeod, Martello Technologies CEO John Proctor, Magnet Forensics engineering manager Thusha Agampodi and Qlik development evangelist Tamimi Ahmad.
The hour-long discussion was focused entirely on business – not just women in business.
Reid and the panelists broke down data that showed how valuable having a more diverse company can be in building a company.
Proctor, who acknowledged that he perhaps stood out on a panel showcasing diversity, noted the importance of different skills and approaches to conflict resolution. MacLeod put it succinctly: men’s and women’s styles may be different, but the substance is the same.
Ahmad, who spends many of his days at trade shows looking for feedback on Qlik’s products, says having a diverse representation at public exhibitions draws people to the company. In turn, being more welcoming to a multitude of people means the company receives a wider range of feedback.
Since launching Magnet Forensics’ Kanata R&D offices a few years ago, Agampodi has built the engineering team to more than 20, some 40 per cent of which are female. She noted the importance of hiring women leaders in an organization to show prospective candidates that there’s a place for people who look like them. Once they’re in the organization, she added, elevate them – employees who feel like they belong will stick around and become role models for the next generation.