Inclusiveness Key to Keeping Female Employees in Science, Tech

Policies required for success: Istuary Innovation Group hosts talk tomorrow

Make the Change: Women in STEM Talk

The Make the Change: Women in STEM talk at Istuary Innovation Group tomorrow will focus on the need for employers to make proactive decisions to build a more diverse, inclusive workforce. The talk will highlight specific tools that can be used in any organization to reduce bias in the recruitment process for female candidates and provide career development once they are hired.

The 2015 McKinsey Report Diversity Matters indicates companies committed to diverse leadership are more successful culturally and are 15 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians. Companies such as Google, Cisco, Microsoft and GE, the Canadian divisions, have been investing in STEM programs for children as a reflection of a growing need for more talent in the industry. Some companies such as Airbnb have policies to attract more women and a racially diverse workforce.

"I believe diversity is the starting point, but to make diversity sustainable, we also need to promote inclusion as well as equality. ... That is the path to success."

Christin Wiedemann, President of the Society for Canadian Women in Science and Technology (SCWIST)

Istuary grew from zero women when it first started in 2013 to 20 percent in less than three years. Francois Guay, Director of Talent and Culture, Istuary Innovation Group, says a diverse workforce makes good economic sense not only in work culture but employee satisfaction and retention. “We implemented internal hiring policies that take into account how Istuary finds candidates and how candidates find Istuary, but we need to do more,” said Guay. “We are launching the Sponsored Leadership Program where we make a conscious effort to focus on top female talent and assign leaders to sponsor them in a one-to-two-year program. We need to reach our goal of 50 percent women in leadership roles in two years.”

Christin Wiedemann, President of the Society for Canadian Women in Science and Technology (SCWIST), recalls her early days studying and working in male-dominated environments with few female role models. Wiedemann said, “I believe diversity is the starting point, but to make diversity sustainable, we also need to promote inclusion as well as equality. Diversity, inclusion and equal gender representation are interconnected concepts that companies need to develop and promote. That is the path to success.”

Getting women to join a company starts with preparing them for workplace opportunities by building skills that employers require. Harriet Chicoine, Program Manager of SIAT and Faculty of Applied Sciences, Simon Fraser University, has 17 years of experience in providing guidance to students through the university’s Cooperative Education program. Chicoine cites the importance of inclusive education, from elementary to post-secondary, as essential to keeping girls interested in STEM.

“The dilemma starts at a very early age when girls opt out of pursuing a STEM education as being too nerdy and that STEM is heavily male-dominated in both academia and internships,” said Chicoine. “What will attract females toward STEM education and careers can be role models, but more importantly, a transformation in how we expose females to STEM.”

Getting hands-on experience through co-ops and internships can give students an advantage, but knowing how to highlight the skills that employers seek can make a difference in your approach. In a networking skills match session, Cheryl Kristiansen, MakePossible Diversity by Design workshop facilitator, initiates an employee/employer needs assessment session. Said Kristiansen, “What I can tell you is that diversity drives innovation, collaboration and creative solutions. With 80 percent of future jobs requiring STEM skills, we need to advance more women in STEM.”

Istuary hosts Make the Change: Women in STEM talks on a regular basis. All are welcome tomorrow (Thursday, June 8) at Istuary’s Vancouver office, 7th Floor, 1125 Howe St. from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. To register, go to

Istuary Innovation Group

Istuary Innovation Group is a Canadian technology company with a mission to connect local technology to global markets through globalization for sustainable innovation. Istuary focuses on identifying and filling technology gaps in foreign markets by leveraging Canada’s world-class design and engineering talent. Operating in three countries and 30 cities, Istuary has more than 1,500 employees worldwide. Go to for more information.


Shirley Wong Walker
Manager, External Relations

Istuary Innovation Group
Phone: 604 299-0388

Source: Istuary Innovation Group