Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka)
SLASSCOM and IFC hold inaugural Women in Tech Conference 2023
Women in Tech Conference 2023, the first-of-itskind event within the IT/BPM sector, was held recently at Shangri-la, Colombo, convened under the theme ‘Advancing Gender Parity and Inclusivity Through Technology’.
Organised by SLASSCOM in partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and supported by the Government of Japan, the conference featured an impressive line-up of speakers, including corporate leaders, academics, start-up founders and representatives from non-profits, who shared their insights on how technology can be leveraged to promote equity and inclusion in the workplace and digital spaces.
With an audience of members of the IT/BPM corporate sector, female technopreneurs, academics and representatives from like-minded chambers and associations, the conference aimed to inspire and motivate women in tech, representing businesses of all sizes, from start-ups to established corporations.
The diverse line-up of local and global speakers included Anna Kalm (Sweden), founder of Ascentic, speaking on driving equity and change through technopreneurship, Cathrin Andersen Ødegård (Norway), co-founder/ceo of Piwot, who defined key moments from her 22-year career in tech, discussing how diversity played a central role. Ruchira Shukla (India), Head for South Asia, Disruptive Technologies - Direct Equity and VC Fund at the IFC, presenting on embracing equity through venture capital and accelerating equality and empowerment and Urmila Chandrasekera, Co-founder/coo of Mint Pay, previous winner of the Emerging Women Technopreneur of the Year award at the SLASSCOM Ingenuity Awards, on taking risks and making sacrifices as a technopreneur.
The conference featured two engaging panel discussions that addressed gaps in the industry, including the lack of female talent and opportunities for technopreneurs in Sri Lanka. These insights were gained from the first-ever Women Technopreneur report published by the Women Technopreneurs Forum in collaboration with the IFC.
The first panel discussion titled ‘Rising Above: Women Leaders Navigating Challenges’ comprised of panellists, Sandra De Zoysa, CCO, Dialog Axiata, Sanjini Munaweera, Regional Head, ADA, Professor Arosha Adhikaram, Chair Professor in Human Resource Management, University of Colombo, Denver De Zylva, Senior Vice President and Global Head of Facilities and Sustainability, Virtusa Corporation, moderated by Cassandra Mascarenhas, Head - Global Employer Branding, Fortude.
The second panel discussion on Advancing Gender Parity and Inclusivity through Technology included panellists, Shehani Seneviratne, COO, 99x, Haridhu Abeygoonaratne, Director, Simcentric, Prof. Visaka Nanayakkara, Snr. Lecturer, University of Moratuwa and Rakhil Fernando, Managing Director, Daraz. The discussion was moderated by Yusra Aziz, Head of Digital Consultancy, Digiterina.
The conference also featured a discussion on SLASSCOM and the IFC’S efforts to bridge the gender gap through tailor-made programmes and opportunities, where two participants shared their journey and how they benefited from this support.
The event concluded with an interactive learning and engagement segment facilitated by Fortude, to help the audience reflect on the day’s learnings, followed by a raffle draw, facilitated by Ticket Gadget, where two lucky participants won return air tickets to Dubai.
Conference partners included Daraz as the online shopping partner and sponsor, Fortude, the learning partner, Ticket Gadget, corporate travel partner, Emojot, live audience engagement partner and Articulate, the digital media partner.