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Women for STEM Summit

Brave The Future

Thursday, October 17 

Early-bird pricing extended to October 4
Join us for a one-day conference bringing together industry and university leaders, academics, students and alumni in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers to celebrate and share their experiences. The event will feature distinguished speakers and panelists exploring the challenges women face in STEM disciplines and how gender diversity will build a better future. Discussions will also focus on the benefit of greater diversity for research, innovation and the future of our society as a whole.

Proceeds from the Summit will go towards the Women for STEM Scholarship Fund.

Ontario Tech University
61 Charles Street Building, second-floor Atrium
Oshawa, Ontario 



8:30 to 9:15 a.m.
Registration and continental breakfast
9:15 to 9:30 a.m.
Summit welcome

Nancy Shaw, Chair, Women for STEM Council

9:30 to 10:45 a.m.
Panel session 1

The STEM Challenge: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Women tend to choose professions more focused on life sciences and social sciences, which results in a wide gender gap in fields such as computer science and engineering. This panel of women in STEM will discuss what the past has been and what the future can look like for STEM.

Farzia Khan, Strategic Manager of Research and Development, BMO
Dr. Lori Livingston, Provost and Vice-President Academic, Ontario Tech University
Bruce G. Matthews, P.Eng., Chief Executive Officer, Consulting Engineers of Ontario

Vanessa Vakharia, Founder and CEO, The Math Guru

10:45 to 11:15 a.m.
 Networking break
 11:15 to 11:45 a.m.
Women for STEM at Ontario Tech University

Hear about the Women for STEM program and the goal to help increase gender parity from our Provost and students enrolled in STEM disciplines at Ontario Tech University.

Noon to 1:30 p.m.
Keynote speaker and lunch

Speaker: Beth Wilson, FCPA, FCA, Canada Chief Executive Officer, Dentons

1:45 to 3 p.m.
Panel session 2

Designing Equality in the Workplace

There is a drive to get more women interested in STEM fields, but keeping them there might be the challenge. This panel will discuss the role of organizations in moving towards a workplace without bias, the efforts needed from hiring practices to retention and leadership advancement opportunities for women.

Xerxes Cooper, General Manager, Global Technology Services, IBM Canada
Glenn Laverty, President and CEO, Ricoh Canada
Stephanie Smith, P.Eng., Deputy Site Vice-President, OPG
Aneela Zaib, Founder and CEO, emergiTEL

Lisa McBride, Manager, Stakeholder Relations, OPG

3 p.m.
Closing remarks

Dr. Steven Murphy, President and Vice-Chancellor, Ontario Tech University

Beth Wilson, FCPA, FCA

Beth Wilson

Beth Wilson, FCPA, CPA and Canada Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at Dentons, is leading the firm through an aggressive and targeted focus on exceeding clients' expectations of value and results, and a commitment to an inclusive culture that empowers diverse teams and supports an entrepreneurial spirit and performance-based culture. A respected senior strategic business leader, Beth is focused on ensuring Dentons continues to be a workplace of choice for leading talent in Canada. She is widely known and respected in the Canadian business community, and is an accomplished and dedicated community leader, exemplified through her extensive board and community involvement and her commitment to the advancement of women in business.

Xerxes Cooper

Xerxes CooperXerxes Cooper, General Manager, Global Technology Services, IBM Canada Ltd., leads the country’s largest enterprise technology provider to design, build and run the foundational systems and services that Canadian organizations rely upon.

Over the course of his IBM career, Xerxes has held a number of financial leadership and executive roles in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. Most recently, as Chief Financial Officer, IBM Canada, Xerxes oversaw all aspects of the company’s financial planning and analysis, performance management, tax, pensions, and operations, providing financial and strategic business counsel to IBM Canada’s president.

Xerxes is focused on giving back to the community. He serves as chairman of IBM's Employee Charitable Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting communities across Canada, and the advancement of young women in STEM. In addition, Xerxes is a member of the Board of Directors for Markham Stouffville Hospital, where he is also a member of the Finance and Audit Committee. 

Xerxes is a registered CMA/CPA and member of the Financial Executives Institute of Canada. He holds an honours BBA specializing in finance and accounting from the Schulich School of Business at York University. 


Farzia Khan

Farzia Khan

Farzia Khan is a Strategic Planning Manager of Research and Development, Employee Tech Experience at the Bank of Montreal (BMO), where she focuses on shifting the culture at the bank by bringing innovative technologies to the workplace that will improve the employee technology experience. Her journey at BMO started after she was selected as one of the top 30 female students to advise the CEO on how to promote inclusivity at the workplace. Since then she has lead initiatives such as the Women in Technology program, Tech Engagement initiative, BMO Hackathon, Walk-up IT support service and Employee Tech Experience Labs, to name a few. She has also won the Best of BMO award twice in a row.

Khan graduated with bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Lassonde School of Engineering, York University, as one of the top award-winning students in leadership. She won Microsoft's Top Community Influencer award and founded the first student-run all-women hackathon in Canada, which was featured on Metro News.


Glenn Laverty

Glenn Laverty PhotoGlenn Laverty serves as President and Chief Executive Officer, Ricoh Canada, Inc. Appointed to the role on January 1, 2008, Laverty is responsible for Ricoh’s entire business in Canada, with duties ranging from providing executive leadership and direction to charting a pathway for Ricoh Canada in the company’s overall evolution centered on delivering an exceptional customer experience. He brings more than 30 years of industry experience to the role, with a strong focus on aligning and positioning Ricoh’s portfolio of hardware, solutions and services that empower digital workplaces to the unique needs of the Canadian market.

Laverty also serves as Senior Vice President, Strategy Office supporting Ricoh’s strategic partnerships in North America. Most recently, he was Senior Vice-President, Marketing for Ricoh in the Americas, where he successfully brought U.S. and Canadian marketing teams together to increase collaboration and continually enhance the customer experience.

Beyond Ricoh, Laverty is a recognized customer experience leader throughout the industry, having provided the foreword to The Intuitive Customer by Colin Shaw and Ryan Hamilton. He has served and/or serves on numerous boards and committees, including: the Board of Directors of Excellence Canada; the Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC); and the advisory board of The Learning Partnership. He is a member of the CEO Global Network and gives back to the community, working with the United Way and Covenant House (Toronto).

Laverty has a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Western Ontario.


Dr. Lori Livingston

Lori Livingston Photo

Dr. Lori Livingston is the Provost and Vice-President, Academic at Ontario Tech University. Prior to her appointment in July 2019, Dr. Livingston served as the university's Dean of the Faculty of Heath Sciences since 2015.

Dr. Livingston is a noted university administrator and scholar, whose research has spanned a broad range of topics including computer-based learning, the human-computer interface, clinical biomechanics, and most recently her Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)-funded research program in the area of sport officiating. 

Prior to joining the university she served as the Dean of the Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences at Lakehead University (Thunder Bay, Ontario) from 2009 to 2015. Her administrative appointments have also included a stint as the Director of the School of Health and Human Performance at Dalhousie University (Halifax, Nova Scotia) from 2000 to 2007. She was also the Chair of the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education at Wilfrid Laurier University (Waterloo, Ontario) where she began her academic career in 1991.

She received her PhD in Educational Psychology from the University of Calgary. She also earned her Master of Science in Biomechanics and a concurrent Bachelor of Arts (Biology)/Bachelor of Physical and Health Education (with distinction) from Queen’s University (Kingston, Ontario).    


Bruce G. Matthews, P.Eng

Bruce Matthews Photo

Bruce has been Chief Executive Officer at Consulting Engineers of Ontario (CEO) since February 2018.  A graduate of Systems Design Engineering at the University of Waterloo, he began his career as an engineer working on aerospace, defence and nuclear power systems, designing control and display interfaces for complex operational environments.  In the year 2000, he joined the staff of Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO) as an investigator in the Complaints, Discipline and Enforcement department.  In 2008 he was named Deputy Registrar, Regulatory Compliance at PEO.  Prior to joining CEO, Bruce worked for other regulatory organizations in either a staff capacity or as a consultant, including the Real Estate Council of Ontario, the College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta, and the Ontario College of Trades.

During his career, Bruce has served on the Boards of Directors of the Human Factors Association of Canada and the Council on Licensure, Enforcement and Regulation (CLEAR), and served as faculty for CLEAR’s leadership training and governance programs.  Bruce believes that while initial personal and organizational success can come from many factors, continued success is a function of embracing change.  Since joining CEO, Bruce has penned several articles addressing diversity in the engineering realm and highlighting the problematic “perspectives gap” that results from a lack of real diversity.


Stephanie Smith, P.Eng

Stephanie Smith

Stephanie Smith is the Deputy Site Vice-President at the Darlington Nuclear Power Generating Station. She has 29 years' experience in the nuclear industry, including many firsts: first woman certified by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission as a shift manager at the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station; first woman maintenance manager; and first female plant manager at a Canadian nuclear power plant.

Smith just returned from a six-month secondment to the Institute Of Nuclear Operations located in Atlanta, Georgia where she travelled to U.S. nuclear facilities assessing organizations in the area of organizational effectiveness, leadership effectiveness and nuclear safety culture.

She has been a long time resident of Newcastle, Ontario and is the proud parent of two daughters. She is a graduate of the University Of Toronto in Engineering and is a professional engineer. 



Aneela Zaib

Aneela Zaib

Aneela Zaib is a 13-year veteran in the recruitment industry with a master's degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Toronto. She is currently the CEO at emergiTEL, an ace recruitment agency, recognized as one of Canada’s Best Managed companies for several years now. EmergiTEL has continuously served the telecommunications and the IT industries with hard-to-find skilled talent. 

Aneela's exemplary prowess as a leader ranked emergiTEL twice in PROFIT 500 as one of Canada’s fastest growing companies and positioned her as one of the Top 100 female entrepreneurs, in the industry-acclaimed Profit magazine, for a successive period from 2014 to 2016. She was also recognized in 2015 with the prestigious Ernst & Young EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women award along with four other Canadian women leaders. Aneela is a Catalyst Canada Honours Champion for 2018 and a YPO member since last year.


  • Early bird: $75* per person/$650* for a table of 10
  • Regular price: $100 per person/$850 for a table of 10

*Early-bird pricing  extended until 11:59 p.m. on Friday, October 4.

Proceeds will go towards the Women for STEM Scholarship Fund.

Register Now


From the east:

  • Take exit 418 from Highway 401 West.
  • Take Ritson Road South/Durham Regional Road 16.
  • Turn right onto Toronto Avenue.
  • Turn left onto Ritson Road South.
  • Turn left onto Bruce Street.
  • Turn right onto Charles Street.

From the West:

  • Follow Highway 401 East to Bloor Street East/Durham Regional Road 22 in Oshawa.
  • Take exit 418 from Highway 401 East.
  • Take Ritson Road South/Durham Regional Road 16.
  • Turn left onto Bloor Street East/Durham Regional Road 22.
  • Turn left onto Ritson Road South/Durham Regional Road 16.
  • Turn left onto Bruce Street.
  • Turn right onto Charles Street.



Guests may park at the Mary Street Garage. Note: This is a municipal, paid parking garage.

Thank you to our Presenting Sponsor:

OPG Logo

Thank you to our Gold sponsors:                                                   


Ricoh Logo          Scotiabank Logo


Thank you to our Silver sponsor:
 Durham Logo