TakeOver, a Conference Celebrating Tech, Innovation & Diversity

By Jay Rosenzweig, Founding Partner, Rosenzweig & Company

As Hillary Clinton once said,“women’s rights are human rights; and human rights are women’s rights”. These are universal principles. Equality and fairness are values and rights we need to all fight for, promote, and protect.

As head of a global talent acquisition firm, and advisor to dozens of frontier technology businesses, I have the opportunity to attend many meetings and conferences brimming with bright minds and sparkling ideas. But few, if any, have left me as energized as the recent TakeOver Innovation Conference in Toronto organized by TribalScale.

TribalScale brought together business and tech leaders from all over the world to showcase how technology and innovation are reshaping our world. From changing how we consume content, to how we drive our cars, to whether we wear VR headsets or not, TribalScale asked the hard questions on innovation for every industry–and the Toronto tech community responded.

I was honoured to kick things off at Arcadian Court in front of an enthusiastic audience and to be part of a lineup of speakers from various industries. The lineup included Joe Mimran, founder of Club Monaco and Joe Fresh, Chaki Ng, Head of Viacom NEXT, Kirstine Stewart, CSO of Diply, Candice Faktor, Founder of Faktory Ventures, and Jodi Kovitz, CEO of AceTech Ontario, just to name a few.

For 12 years, The Rosenzweig Report has charted the progress of women in corporate Canada. This report includes hard facts and real numbers that put gender inequality talk into perspective. We looked at the gender split of leadership roles in 100 of the largest publicly traded companies in Canada, based on revenue. The results for the 2017 report emphasizes the possibility and necessity of change in this corporate culture. In this time frame, the number of women in the top executive positions, has risen to 48 from a low 23. We still have a long way to go, but conferences like TakeOver remind me that we are moving in the right direction. It is heartening to know how much emphasis was placed on diversity at the conference with 52% of speakers being female.

Examples of some of these females include Kai Haley, from Google, who ran an incredible session on design sprints and how businesses can take a more human-centric approach to product design, as well as an all-female blockchain panel, including Hilary Carter from the Blockchain Research Institute and Iliana Oris Valiente from ColliderX, that drew in an audience with standing room only. Having female speakers at conferences like TakeOver allows for more diverse and insightful discussions on important topics around tech and innovation today.

Equally impressive, TribalScale offered five Diversity Scholarships to cover the cost of attendance for those who might otherwise not have been able to go. These scholarships were given to deserving attendees from diverse backgrounds who were passionate about taking part in this conference. TribalScale helped move the diversity conversation forward at an important time.

No wonder I left feeling so energized. It’s because of conferences like this that there is a growing societal sea change in attitude when it comes to innovation and diversity.

Here are some notable stats from The Rosenzweig Report:

  • Of the 532 executives we analyzed in the report, 48 are women and 484 are men, showing a year-over-year increase of 14.3% of women in executive positions.
  • Women now hold 9.02% of executive roles compared to 7.98% a year ago and only 4.62% in 2006
  • Of the top 100 companies, 39 now have at least one woman in a top leadership role (up from only 34 companies in last year’s report.
  • Read the full report here.
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    About the author

    Jay Rosenzweig, the founding partner of Rosenzweig & Company, is an expert in designing, building and attracting world class executive leadership teams. He is currently invested in and advising over 30 frontier technology businesses predominantly across California, New York and Ontario. Jay is a champion of the cause of gender equality. He has been actively advocating on behalf of women for decades, including through his Rosenzweig Report on the Status of Women, and has invested in several prominent and successful female founded businesses.

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