#DialMovers Part 4
Scale without Borders
A true global citizen, Nouhaila has lived in four different countries and speaks four languages. It’s this unique eye on the world that led her to start Scale Without Borders, a one-stop shop for Canada’s newcomer tech entrepreneurs.
“I think we’re really in a spot where we have all the ingredients, people and resources to lead globally.”
Canada has lots of resources to help you launch and scale your startup, but they aren’t easy to find or navigate. If not for the countless people who helped her #movethedial, Nouhaila wouldn’t have succeeded like she has. Scale Without Borders is how she’s giving back.
“I’m really excited that the next wave of newcomer tech entrepreneurs is committed to using technology for the good.”
Nouhaila has a degree in Politics, Sociology, and French Literature from the University of Toronto, but it’s Ryerson University getting most of her attention these days. She’s creating and implementing programs that accelerate startup growth at their DMZ.
“The things I wish I’d done differently are the very things that got me to where I am.”
Nouhaila is an avid distance runner and if the weather is nice, you’ll find her on a trail along the water. And while she’s a tech leader, she still likes to keep a few things in her life completely offline, namely her meditation practice. She doesn’t even use an app for that.
Rochelle de Goias
Girls E-Mentorship (GEM)
We’re going to get you there.
When Rochelle was finishing up her post-grad degree, she looked around at her classmates…. The men were scheduling meetings with their mentors. The women? They didn’t have mentors.
“We’re all in this together. If we’re going to move forward, let’s help each other.”
With GEM, Rochelle is creating that mentorship culture for girls. What started as a pilot program with just 22 high school students in Toronto’s Flemingdon Park neighbourhood, has grown much larger. Today, she can reach almost 100 girls a year, but she has her eyes set on the rest of Canada.
“We want to have that community connection on top of the program.”
Rochelle is hoping emerging technologies will allow her to take the same one-on-one mentoring approach into Canada’s remote communities. It’ll be tricky to replicate the full experience but she’s excited for the possibilities. She’s also planning a career fair - one where large corporations tell her girls what they’re looking for in future employees. That kind of guidance early on is sure to have a huge impact.
“You will make it. We’re going to get you there. And then, turn around and help someone else.”
When it all gets a little overwhelming, Rochelle and her family get out of the city to their hobby farm. A few days with the chickens, pigs, rabbits and ducks, and her determination to do more for Canada’s young women is back.
VP of Online Technology, TD Bank
Sladjana’s mission is to make TD the company of choice for women – a place where they can not only work but thrive. In her ideal world, people aren’t surprised when women say that they’re engineers or developers.
“We don’t want to miss out on half of our workforce.”
She’s happy to see universities and companies starting to tailor more opportunities towards women. The next step is to reach critical mass. As more women have a voice, as more women are listening, that can only translate into even more role models and progress.
“We need to stop thinking about barriers. We need to recognize where we want to be, and then just go for it.”
Sladjana’s #DialMovers have all helped her to dream bigger and push harder. Many saw more potential in her than she saw in herself. If you’re just starting out, she wants you to ask for help- often. It’s something she feels would have helped her find clarity since asking for help forces you to be clear about your goals.
“Once you recognize that problems are merely stepping stones on your path - and you learn that every time you pass them - then you don’t see them as hard, you see them as opportunities to learn and elevate yourself.”
If she’s not in the office, Sladjana is hanging off the side of a mountain. An avid climber, she’s summited Kilimanjaro and tries to get to at least one range every year. But since there aren’t mountains all that close to Toronto, she keeps busy the rest of the time with cycling, skiing and hockey.
Tech Spark Canada
Tamar has a phone full of pictures of students grinning from ear to ear. Their eyes are lit up, their hands are shot straight in the air ready to answer a teacher’s question, and they’re clearly inspired by what they’re learning. Their energy jumps off the screen. She wants every student to feel that way.
“We exist to impact, shape and change and someone else’s life.”
At its core, Tech Spark Canada wants to reach the students who feel forgotten and left behind. The innovative program hopes to #movethedial by using culturally relevant lessons that are student-focused.
Admit it, you might remember more of the Periodic Table of Elements if you learned it with the help of some hip-hop cyphers.
“It’s about looking at where the students are and meeting them there.”
This serial entrepreneur is constantly looking for ways to streamline. If there’s a way to do more in less time, Tamar will find it. She knows that every dollar they save in the office can go towards getting another kid in their program.
“Show people how to create and innovate whatever is in their minds.”
Tamar starts every day by giving thanks for her life and all of the good in it. Whenever she’s debating the next step or feeling a little overwhelmed, she gets outside to find peace and clarity in nature. Good thing then that she gets to call Canada’s Flower Town home.
Shadib Bin Newaz, Ruben Tjhie &; Rachel Shi
Venture Out is building an LGBTQ+ tech and entrepreneurship community of students, professionals and mentors. Their goal is a more diverse and inclusive future. Rachel, Ruben and Shadib are helping to lead that charge.
“You can’t just get someone to the table and expect them to succeed, especially with the complexities we all bring.” - Shadib
At a very young age, growing up in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Shadib realized he wouldn’t be readily accepted in this world.
By navigating his own self-identity, he realized the need for safe spaces so that people can be all that they are. He hopes that the next generation of people in tech really take the time to flesh out what it means to be successful and how to get there with diverse perspectives and people.
“Success comes as a result of doing the hard thing every day, consistently, without excuses.” - Rachel
Rachel knows the importance of #DialMovers. She credits hers with helping her build a community after moving to Canada. Now, with Venture Out, she’s looking to do the same for others. To her, teaching people the importance of doing what is best in the long term – for people – instead of for short term profits, is crucial. She’s not one to live with regrets. Instead, she takes heart in knowing that no one else is responsible for the direction her life takes.
“Give the next generation your time, money, platform and audience – concrete things to support them.” - Rachel
Ruben sees entrepreneurship as a vehicle for social change. There’s a lot of wealth being generated in tech these days, but he wants to see that dispersed among a wider, more diverse group of people. He knows that’s not going to be easy, but that’s what he finds so exciting about Venture Out. The group highlights tech leaders and ground-breaking projects then, connects people to new opportunities and new people.