The 2013 Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winners were announced this morning and a few women in tech were named among the victorious. They include Ladies Learning Code and HackerYou founder Heather Payne, MaRS CEO Dr. Ilse Treurnicht and Broadband TV founder Shahrzad Rafati.
The annual ranking is compiled by the Women’s Executive Network (WXN), community of 19,000 women who inspire other woman to lead. The WXN awards celebrate and highlight the professional achievements of women across the country in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors at a time when corporate Canada is under growing pressure to promote more female leaders into senior management and corporate director roles. Over the last decade the WXN has celebrated the accomplishments of 728 female leaders, inducting 93 of those who were inducted into WXN’s Hall of Fame.
The theme for this year’s Top 100 Awards is “What Glass Ceiling?”
Payne won an award in the “Glencore Trailblazers & Trendsetters” category, for “groundbreaking” women who “fearlessly navigate through new territory and lead by example”. An early investor in Shoplocket, Payne founded Ladies Learning Code in August 2011. Today the organization features chapters in Halifax, London, Vancouver, Ottawa and Calgary, and over 5,000 Canadians have taken part in the coding workshops.
Meanwhile Rafati, the founder of Broadband TV, was recognized under the “Sunlife Financial Arts & Communications Award”. These women are “visionaries” and “have had an immeasurable impact on the arts and communications community”. Rafati closed a major partnership and investment contribution in June with RTL Group, Europe’s largest media conglomerate. The $36 million investment was the largest private placement into an Internet media company in Canada since 2007.
MaRS CEO Treurnicht was also recognized as one of the Canada’s 100 most powerful women. As a four-time recipient of the award, and in recognition of her longstanding contribution to Canadian innovation, she will also be inducted into WXN’s Hall of Fame this year.
“Ilse possesses that rare combination of keen intellect, acute business sense and celebrated leadership skills, so I think it fitting that she will be inducted into WXN’s Hall of Fame this year,” said Gordon Nixon, President and CEO of RBC. “This honour, coupled with WXN’s Top 100 Award—her fourth since 2009—recognizes her as a consistent and key driver of Canada’s innovation agenda, both here at home and internationally.”
On the evening of December 4, over 1,100 attendees will honour the 2013 Top 100 Award Winners at a Gala dinner where the keynote speech will be delivered by Dr. Roberta Bondar, who shattered the glass ceiling when she became the first Canadian female astronaut and neurologist in space aboard NASA’s 1992 space shuttle Discovery. Returning for the second year as the Gala Emcee is Anne-Marie Mediwake, news anchor and co-host of CBC News Toronto and 2011 Consumer’s Choice Awards’ GTA Woman of the Year.
“Every year we see the high quality of female leadership in this country as we review the applications for these Awards,” said WXN founer Pamela Jeffery. “The 2013 Top 100 Winners are a testament to the broad range of talent and leadership found in Canada and we believe that by recognizing and sharing the accomplishments of these women, we are encouraging the next generation to reach higher so that one day there will be no ceiling, just possibility.”