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.

 ?? ?? Panel discussion: Advancing Gender Parity and Inclusivit­y Through Technology
Panel discussion: Advancing Gender Parity and Inclusivit­y Through Technology
 ?? ?? Panel discussion: Rising Above: Women Leaders Navigating Challenges
Panel discussion: Rising Above: Women Leaders Navigating Challenges

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