Female leaders and diversity champions working in ICT were recognized last night during the Digital Diversity Awards presented by Digital Nova Scotia, a non-profit that focuses on the growth and development of Nova Scotia’s digital technologies industry.

“Since 1843, women have led major advances in programming and software development, yet today women still represent less than 25 percent of the industry,” Ulrike Bahr-Gedalia, President and CEO of Digital Nova Scotia, said at the Halifax event.

“Our awards were established to address the gender gap, and actively promote role models and champions of diversity in our ICT sector.”

Held in partnership with the Centre for Women in Business Spring Finale, and sponsored by Maplewave, a provider of software and retail optimization services for the telecommunications industry, the event saw awards presented in three categories. The winners were:

Harbr, an owner-oriented construction tech platform based in Halifax, won Diversity Champion of the Year.  Harbr manages construction-scheduling data to create insights, analytics and predictions that help projects stay on-time, on-budget and reveal opportunities. Harbr wants to help drive the construction industry towards more efficient and thoughtful construction. Working within two male-dominated industries, construction and technology, Harbr is committed to gender parity, and achieved their goal in 2017.

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Dr. Rita Orji won the award for Women Leaders in the Digital Economy. Dr. Orji is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Dalhousie University where her research focuses on investigating how interactive systems can be designed to help people move towards improved health and wellness. She has won many awards both nationally and internationally. In 2017, she was named one of the top 150 Canadian Women in STEM by the hEr VOLUTION.  She was among the top 50 Young Most Influential Best Brains in Enugu State, Nigeria.

Sarah Ryan won the award for Next Generation Leadership. Ryan is the Program Director at Brilliant Labs, a non-profit established to grow creativity, innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit in youth. She has participated in events, panel discussions and been a guest speaker at conferences at which she discussed the gender divide in science and technology, digital literacy, the opportunities of technology and entrepreneurship, and youth tech education.

Through Digital Nova Scotia’s partnership with the Women in Communications and Technology (WCT), all award recipients will also be automatically vetted and nominated for WCT’s national awards program held in 2019.