Past Meetup

Mentorship and women in tech: how to find it, learn from it & pay it forward

This Meetup is past

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Price: CA$10.00 /per person
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A mentor can be an invaluable part of your career. They can push you to be your best self when the going gets tough, contribute their experiences and knowledge to help grow your knowledge, connect you with key contacts in your field, or be an honest voice of reason when you need it (tough love, baby).

One challenge many women working in software development face is a lack of mentorship, whether because of fewer women in senior engineering roles or just not knowing how to ask for help.

For May's Girl Geeks Toronto we’re gathering a panel of technical women at different levels of their career to have an open, honest discussion about mentorship for women software engineers.

Some of the topics we'll tackle: Why is mentorship important for software developers? How do you seek out mentorship? How do you define what you want so you can ask for help? How can you start being a mentor for someone else? Do mentors need mentors? (and much more...)

MODERATOR: Monika Piotrowicz - Director of Front End Development, Shopify

Monika Piotrowicz is a Director of Front End Development at Shopify. Focusing on FED throughout most of her career, Monika is passionate about using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to build exceptional and inclusive UX. She is committed to helping teams and disciplines collaborate more closely to make smarter decisions about product and technology. At Shopify, she helped establish and now leads the Front End practice within Growth and Marketing teams, and oversees new theme development,, and other product growth initiatives.


Karen Bennet - SVP Engineering at Cerebri

Karen is an experienced senior engineering leader with more than 25 years in the software development business in both open and closed source solutions. She is currently focusing on AI / machine learning at a new startup company. Previously she worked as a senior engineering leader at IBM, Yahoo, Trapeze and as well with two startups: Cygnus and Red Hat which have grown into sustainable businesses.

Karen has been mentoring young women for many years and encouraging them to achieve success in their lives. She sees mentoring as a role model to help young women to make the right choices for them to live their life in a positive way. Karen is also a mother of two with both son and daughter having completed their education in the STEM area.

Vanessa Williams - Sr. Lead Developer at ThoughtWire (@fridgebuzz (

Vanessa has over 25 years of experience in software development and technology management, and has worked in areas as varied as industrial process control, scientific simulation, interactive 3D animation, enterprise web publishing & e-commerce, computational biology, and enterprise software. Her current interests are in distributed computing, scalability and high-availability. She has been a developer, a consultant, a technical executive and an entrepreneur. These days Vanessa works primarily as a senior software engineer and architect on problems that interest her. She also enjoys building teams and mentoring junior developers.

Tina Goyal - Engineering Manager, Terapeak (@TinaGoyal (

Tina has over 11 years of experience in Agile, software project management and product development. She has worked with various teams helping them adopt Agile practices through training, facilitation and coaching and as a result, helped the teams produce software that achieve more business and customer value. Tina is committed to building teams and products that people are proud to be a part of.

Christina Truong - Web Developer & Educator (@christinatruong (

With a decade in the tech industry, Christina has worked at agencies such as Teehan+Lax and Razorfish. She has also taught more than 900+ students at Humber College, HackerYou and Ladies Learning Code. As the former Director of Curriculum for Ladies Learning Code, she developed and managed the course content for the adult programs and provided instructor training for all Canadian chapters, focusing on techniques for creating an inclusive and engaging learning environment. These days, she is working independently to offer services such as workshops and coaching to support new and current developers to help bridge the gap between leaving school and entering the workforce. She also writes and speaks about code, technology, diversity and teaches BODYPUMP at Goodlife Fitness.

Bhavana Srinivas - Developer Evangelist at PubNub (@bhavana1110 (

Bhavana is a developer evangelist at PubNub, focusing on creating compelling content to excite developers about realtime technology. She combines hardware and software in interesting ways to engage developers. Bhavana is a seasoned speaker, panelist and an avid technology blogger. Prior to working at PubNub, she was in LA, getting her Masters in Computer Networks at USC.