Coinchange Financial CMO, Linda Montgomery recently led a panel discussion featuring the experiences and insights of four enterprising women founders on starting and building their own tech company. It was the first event to focus on diversity and women hosted by the Toronto tech community organization, Bitcoin Bay.
The speakers featured Pam Draper, President and CEO of Calgary-based cryptocurrency exchange Bitvo who spoke about leaving a comfortable bank job to become a founder. Nelia Teixeira, Founder of Legal by Design, talked about her journey from lawyer to entrepreneur and challenges of being an innovator within a very traditional industry. Stephanie Andrews, Founder and CEO of Origins Media Haus outlined what she learned from her prior business that she was able to leverage in her new Startup, as did Jessa Molyneux, Founder of technology services company, Digistax.
The Old School House restaurant turned out to be a unique and intimate event location that set an atmosphere geared to engagement for the 60 or so attendees. The audience was a mix of both men and women at various points in their careers working in the tech and blockchain sectors. Attendees included other tech founders and those considering starting their own companies, and many shared stories and asked questions regarding their own company scaling or funding roadblocks during the Q&A session that followed.
The theme of the event was “BadAss” Women in Tech, so the panelists provided views on the definition of this word and how it applies to them. It can be used to describe to a tough, uncompromising or intimidating person, or it could also mean a person you admire and find impressive. The panel clearly favoured and indicated they hope to aspire to the second and more positive definition of this word as company leaders.
The panelists spoke about their founder journey from the beginning, and the guts and risk-taking they undertook to start their companies. When asked who or what most inspired them, a consistent theme was relationships- specifically with men in their lives. Either their father, or a relationship with a male mentor or supporter was the most inspiring and helpful while making their decision to jump into entrepreneurship.
A couple of the panelists had interesting responses to their way of dealing with the extreme pressure of being the founder- they found meditation helpful. Perhaps not the usual answer you’d expect, particularly if you asked a group of male Startup founders.
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