Female Foundry presents: Forging New Frontiers

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Join us for a week of conversations, mentorship, and workshops with Canadian female entrepreneurs and founders.

About this Event

Dentsu Canada’s recent study of women in business found that they are fundamentally treated differently when attaining funding for their business.


Conference Schedule

Monday, March 8: Women in a Post-Covid World

12:00pm | Opening & Welcome

12:15pm ET | Keynote: Women in a Post-Covid World with Michelle Scarborough (Managing Partner, BDC Capital's Women in Technology Venture Fund)

12:30pm - 1:30pm ET | Panel Discussion featuring: Alex Panousis (CEO, Carat Canada) Alana Kayfetz (Founder & CEO, MomsTO), Lily Tse (Founder & CEO, Think Dirty), Kishawna Peck (Founder, Womxn in Data Science), and Aashni Shah (Founder & CEO, Hype Docs) Moderated by: Sarah Armstrong (SVP, Client Solutions Dentsu Canada)

1:30pm -2:00pm ET| Keynote: Women in a Covid World with Dawn Desjardins (Vice President, Deputy Chief Economist, RBC Economics)


Tuesday, March 9: The Future of Work

12: 15pm ET | Keynote: The Future of Work with Takara Small (CBC Technology Journalist, Founder of VentureKids)

12:30pm - 1:00pm ET| Panel Discussion featuring: Melissa Sariffodeen (Co-Founder & CEO, Canada Learning Code), Melissa Kartick (Co-Chair, Canada's Next Top Ad Exec), Jeffrey Yateman (Co-Chair, Canada's Next Top Ad Exec), and Jeff Greenspoon (CEO, dentsu Canada) Moderated by: Helen Kontozopoulos (Chief Evangelist & Co-Founder ODAIA Intelligence)

1:00pm - 2:00pm ET | Open Panel: The Challenges of Funding Women-Led Technology Companies

Session Focus: Women founders face many of the same challenges their male counterparts face when raising venture capital: demonstrating the strength of the tech, market, team, strategy and so on.However, women face additional challenges when facing venture capital. For example, women are underrepresented in VC firms, women-led technology companies raise significantly less then their male-counterparts. This session will address these challenges head-on, and highlight the experience and knowledge of women technologists, investors and advisors, to help attendees find and raise the right capital for their firm and their future.


Wednesday, March 10: Scaling For Growth

12:00pm - 12:30pm ET | Fireside Chat: Scaling for Growth with Michelle McBane (Managing Director, StandUp Ventures)

12:30pm - 2:00pm ET | EXCLUSIVE Workshop: Leading A Scaling Company

Session Focus: A founder-led session, with female founders who either currently lead a company or have attained an exit. We believe this session should be focused on leadership.


Thursday, March 11: The Power of Your Network

12:00 - 12:30pm ET | Fireside Chat: The Power of Your Network with Anar Simpson (Board Member, CARE Canada)

12:30pm - 2:00pm ET | EXCLUSIVE Workshop: Building A Company You Don’t Want To Sell

Session Focus: Venture-funded companies tend to reorient themselves to a liquidation event, which is usually an acquisition. We think that orientation is limiting and causes some founders to focus on the wrong metrics (like users and growth) without building the company itself.


Friday, March 12: The Week In Review

12:15pm - 1:15pm ET | Keynote: The Week In Review Panel Discussion featuring Simren Deogun (VP Solutions, Dentsu Canada), Marissa Bronfman (Founder & CEO, Shot of Turmeric Gold and We Are Womxn), Takara Small (CBC Technology Journalist, Founder of VentureKids), Lily Tse (Founder & CEO, Think Dirty), and Kishawna Peck (Founder, Womxn in Data Science) Moderated by: Helen Kontozopoulos (Chief Evangelist & Co-Founder ODAIA Intelligence)


Interested in joining the Female Foundry mentorship program?

The Female Foundry is a global initiative developed by iProspect and powered by dentsu Canada to drive diversity and inclusion in business. It provides access to tools, training, connections, and resources, empowering female entrepreneurs to build successful businesses for the digital age.

Spaces are limited, mentors are motivated – don’t miss out!

Download the application form HERE.


Meet The Hosts

Helen Kontozopoulos, Chief Evangelist & Co-founder at ODAIA Intelligence

Helen co-founded, an AI-powered customer segmentation, commercial automation and predictive analytics SaaS platform for Pharma and eCommerce in 2018 out of the University of Toronto. As Chief Evangelist, she brings her understanding of AI, customer analytics, and digital transformation, to help sales and marketing teams adopt artificial intelligence in their work.

She has been teaching product development, design, and entrepreneurship for 8 years at the University of Toronto at the Department of Computer Science (St. George Campus), and the Department of Computer and Mathematical Sciences (UTSC).

Helen co-founded UofT's Department of Computer Science Innovation Lab (DCSIL), an incubator that supports students and faculty to commercialize their innovations in emerging technologies.

In her spare time, she teaches women about AI, data and digital skills, and is leading program development for Forging New Frontiers.

Kate Dobrucki, VP Communications Dentsu Canada

A lifelong storyteller, brands can count on Kate to get to the point and spread the word.

Kate is an industry-leading VP, with 15+ years of strategic PR experience across experiential, social and digital. Kate balances her tenacity with a distinctly collaborative approach to execute award-winning programs for beloved brands. As a champion for female empowerment, Kate is also the founder of Womxn Who, a dentsu initiative dedicated to the empowerment and elevation of female leaders. Her prowess as a marathon runner is mirrored in her positive working relationships.

Sarah Armstrong, SVP Client Solutions Dentsu Canada

A collaborative, optimist who embraces change, Sarah has spent her career leading multi-agency teams for some of Canada’s largest blue-chip accounts.

Sarah has built a solid reputation for providing strategic and integrated marketing solutions while also driving innovation and collaboration with clients to drive business growth. Her experience in strategic planning through activation nails client KPIs time over time. An active mentor in the industry, Sarah has served as a judge for the Ad Club of Toronto’s OOH competition, the Canadian Young Lions Media competition as well as Canada’s Next Top Ad Executive. She is also on the Steering Committee of Womxn Who, a dentsu initiative dedicated to the empowerment and elevation of female leaders.


Please note this event will be held via Zoom Webinar.

You will receive a daily email with the agenda and Zoom link.

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