#DialMovers Part 2
Dr. Kim Jones
Ontario Network of Women in Engineering
Most of us have more than one #DialMover. For Kim, her STEM journey started with tech geek, feminist parents. As she grew up, invested teachers kept her engaged and fostered her development. Today, a supportive partner encourages her to grow her career.
“Personal success cannot be my goal. That’s not enough to make me persist.”
As the Chair of the Ontario Network of Women in Engineering, Kim is trying to give that same support structure to all women considering a career in engineering. She believes that diversity leads to innovation.
“Doing something that aligns with your values is helpful in getting you through the difficult times.”
She’s at once excited and concerned about new and emerging technologies like AI. If the people designing the systems aren’t representative of our communities, they could be building in and amplifying their own biases. An easy way to change this is to get people of all genders and races in the room.
“If we don’t spend time examining structurally what is preventing inclusiveness, what’s preventing equity, then it’ll only be the people who are the most privileged who succeed.”
On the weekends Kim likes to get in as much quality family time as she can. They’re either on their bikes, in a park or in the kitchen, together.
When you ask Hamoon his greatest accomplishment, his response is, “TBD”. It’s not an answer many people would give, but it’s fitting coming from Hamoon. He’s so focused on the future and making it better, that, of course, he feels the best is yet to come.
“Our work is about ensuring every human on earth has the opportunity to thrive in an AI world.”
His latest venture, FutureFit AI is looking at how AI-driven automation will impact every job and the opportunities every person has access to in the years to come with a special focus on women and marginalized communities. He’s hoping to figure out how to use AI to build a Google Maps for the future of work & learning. Basically, a GPS for your career that gives you the agency and capacity to discover your talents and skills.
“If access to education was the human right of the 20th century, access to quality work and lifelong learning must be considered the human right of this century.”
Hamoon wishes the tech sector would stop trying to solve niche problems and instead start solving humanity’s grand challenges. Imagine what the world would look like if we shifted from growth metrics to impact metrics?
“Prioritize relationships over work, every time and all the time.”
And in what little downtime remains? You’ll find Hamoon hoping space exploration advances quickly enough that he can get out there before he dies, even if it’s the very last trip he ever takes.
Janelle is trying to make sure that youth are engaged in their communities. She wants them to be active citizens who feel empowered to speak up for themselves and others.
“You’re not calling me out, you’re calling me in.”
With her Helping Hands app, Janelle is connecting people under 30 with meaningful volunteer and leadership opportunities while also giving them a chance to showcase their experience and skills.
“I saw a lot of youth who had a lot of potential that was untapped.”
Janelle’s biggest tip for the next generation of #DialMovers? Learn to take feedback. You can always evaluate it later and decide if it’s right for you, but in the moment, listen and say thank you. Also? Go vote. Yours counts and it matters.
“Giving back is the best way to feel like you’re a part of a community.”
If you’re taking her out for a meal, try to find a seafood place. It’s her favourite. You should also be prepared to spend that meal getting your problems solved and your life in order. It’s kind of her super-power. Just know that a weekend breakfast is going to be a no-go. Janelle wakes up early Monday to Friday, but on Saturday, you’ll find her living up to her childhood nickname of Sleeping Beauty.
The Upside Foundation
Jennifer has always wanted to make the world a better place, ever since she was a little kid.
But at that age, it’s hard to know where to start and how to make it happen. Luckily, as an adult, she found The Upside Foundation. They’re focused on making the Canadian tech community a force for good.
“We should be thinking about our impact, we should be thinking about how we’re giving back.”
As The Upside Foundation’s Executive Director, Jennifer reaches out to start-ups in their infancy. She gets them to pledge a small amount – generally 1% - of their stock options or personal proceeds and then, provided they get bought or go public, that amount pledged gets donated to their charity of choice. So far, about 250 start-ups have joined forces with The Upside Foundation.
“The day you realize that nobody knows what they’re doing, and everyone is just making it up as they go, is the day you can start living your life to the fullest.”
Jennifer is passionate about making sure all of the different voices in Canada get heard. She #movesthedial for others by having a list of diverse founders, professors and experts at the ready when she’s asked who should appear at conferences and on panels. She also asks people to go out of their way to make connections for others.
“It’s okay to give yourself space and you’ll likely be even better and do better work for it. You need to take breaks. You need to take vacations.”
These days, reading and her new garden are her escape from her computer and phone. She’s always got a number of books on the go – at latest count 6 in various stages of completion – but she’ll finish a couple of dozen before the end of the year.
Jennifer spends her days trying to remove the barriers that Canada’s most underserved and underrepresented youth face. She wants to make it easier for them to pursue a higher education and career in science and technology.
“Canada cannot afford to have a talent pipeline that doesn’t include the underrepresented segments of our population if we want to continue to compete in an innovation-driven global economy.”
Jennifer wants parents and educators – those who influence youth the most – supporting them and encouraging them to pursue their interests. And not just inside the classroom. Canada has tonnes of coding, science and engineering clubs and camps all across the country.
“We need to establish a culture where all youth can see themselves in important roles.”
Jennifer’s proudest accomplishment is engaging more than 35,000 Indigenous youth each year in partnership with First Nation, Metis and Inuit communities. Well, that might be a very close second to her two tiny humans who happily call her Mom.
“We need to provide youth with more experiences that allow them to take risks, understand the value of failure, and what it takes to be a great leader.”
Actua started out as a team of one and has now grown to more than 50. That’s not to say things don’t occasionally go off the rails, but when they do, her team and board of directors are there. They push her forward, help her pivot and keep her motivated. And, if that’s not enough, they know they’ve got the support of all of the youth they serve.