SLASSCOM and International Finance Corporation holds the inaugural Women in Tech Conference 2023
The Women in Conference 2023, the first-of-its-kind event within the IT/BPM sector was held on March 24th at the Shangri-La in Colombo, convened under the theme of “Advancing Gender Parity and Inclusivity Through Technology,” aligning with the global theme for International Women’s Day 2023.
Organized by the SLASSCOM in partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) supported by the government of Japan, the conference featured an impressive lineup of speakers, including corporate leaders, academics, startup founders, and representatives from non-profits, all of whom shared their insights on how technology can be leveraged to promote equity and inclusion in the workplace and digital spaces.
With an audience that included members of the IT/BPM corporate sector, female technopreneurs, academics, and representatives from like-minded chambers and associations, the conference aimed to inspire and motivate women in tech, representing businesses of all sizes, from startups to established corporations.
The diverse lineup of local and global speakers included Anna Kalm (Sweden), founder of Ascentic, who spoke on driving equity and change through technopreneurship. Cathrin Andersen Ødegård (Norway), co-founder and CEO of Piwot, defined key moments from her 22-year career in tech and discussed how diversity played a central role. Ruchira Shukla (India), Head for South Asia, Disruptive Technologies – Direct Equity and VC Fund at IFC, presented on embracing equity through venture capital and accelerating equality and empowerment. Urmila Chandrasekera, CO-founder and COO of Mint Pay and previous winner of the Emerging Women Technopreneur of the Year award at the SLASSCOM Ingenuity Awards, discussed on taking risks and making sacrifices as a technopreneur.
The conference featured two engaging panel discussions that addressed gaps in the industry, including the lack of female talent and opportunities for technopreneurs in Sri Lanka. These insights were gained from the first-ever Women Technopreneur report published by the Women Technopreneurs Forum in collaboration with IFC.
The first panel discussion titled “Rising Above: Women Leaders Navigating Challenges” comprised of panelists, Sandra De Zoysa, CCO, Dialog Axiata, Sanjini Munaweera, Regional Head, ADA, Professor Arosha Adhikaram, Chair Professor in Human Resource Management, University of Colombo, Denver De Zylva, Senior Vice President & Global Head of Facilities and Sustainability, Virtusa Corporation, moderated by Cassandra Mascarenhas, Head – Global Employer Branding, Fortude.
The second panel discussion on Advancing Gender Parity & Inclusivity through Technology included panelists, Shehani Seneviratne,COO, 99x, Haridhu Abeygoonaratne, Director, Simcentric, Prof Visaka Nanayakkara, Snr. Lecturer, University of Moratuwa, Rakhil, Fernando, Managing Director, Daraz. The discussion was Moderated by Yusra Aziz, Head of Digital Consultancy, Digiterina.
Additionally, the conference featured a discussion on SLASSCOM and IFC’s efforts to bridge the gender gap through tailor-made programs and opportunities, where two participants shared their journey and how they benefited from the support.
The event concluded with an interactive learning and engagement segment facilitated by Fortude, to help the audience reflect on the day’s learnings. This was followed by a raffle draw, facilitated by Ticket Gadget, in which two lucky participants won two return air tickets to Dubai.
The conference partners also included Daraz as the online shopping partner & sponsor, Fortude as the learning partner, Ticket Gadget as the corporate travel partner, Emojot as the live audience engagement partner and Articulate as the digital media partner.