Second annual event welcomes tech leader Dax Dasilva and Canadian Actress Natasha Negovanlis
Conference connecting LGBTQA+ youth in tech saw over 300 students attend in 2017
TORONTO, Feb. 15, 2018 /CNW/ - Canada's tech community will unite again at Venture Out, the country's only conference aiming to build an inclusive and diverse future for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Asexual/Aromantic (LGBTQA+) youth and professionals. From Thursday, March 15 to Friday, March 16 the second annual event will return to Toronto for two full days of programming, connecting early-career professionals with industry experts and thought leaders at MaRS Discovery District. This year's action-packed schedule will welcome keynote speakers including Dax Dasilva, CEO of Lightspeed, the leading cloud-based point-of-sale software solution for independent retailers and restaurateurs, Natasha Negovanlis, Canadian digital superstar, Paul Grossinger, co-founder of Gaingels, and more.
"We couldn't be happier with this year's lineup of speakers, partners, and sponsors, and it was all made possible thanks to the overwhelming response we received from the community last year," said Taylor Bond, Chair of Venture Out. "The community support enabled us to expand Venture Out to two full days, and we look forward to welcoming even more LGBTQA+ youth to the conference this year."
This year's programming includes Dasilva in conversation with Newstalk 1010 radio host John Moore. The fireside chat will highlight Dasilva's involvement in the community through Never Apart, his not-for-profit organization that aims to ignite positive social change and spiritual awareness through cultural programming. Venture Out 2018 will also shine a spotlight on one of Canada's digital superstars Natasha Negovanlis, who won the Fan's Choice Award at the 2017 Canadian Screen Awards for her title role as the lesbian vampire in the web-series-turned-movie Carmilla. Negovanlis will take the stage with Chris Studer, co-founder of the Get REAL movement, to discuss the importance of queer representation in media.
"Just like in the tech industry, there is a great lack of positive LGBTQIA+ representation in film and television. What I love about Venture Out, like many of the projects I work on, is that they give a voice to underrepresented people," said Natasha Negovanlis, Canadian actress and star of Carmilla. "We're driven by the same mission to connect LGBTQIA+ youth with the role models they deserve and can identify with so I can't wait to take the stage at Venture Out to spread this important message."
With over 22 different panels, breakout sessions, and workshops, other speaker highlights this year include:
- Social scientist Kai Scott, MA, will host an interactive and informative workshop on transgender involvement that will dispel myths and discuss the advantages of incorporating gender diversity in the tech industry.
- Ella Gorevalov, Culture Specialist at Nulogy and co-founder of The Expecting Playbook, will discuss implementing inclusive parental leave and parental support policies, and how companies can give consideration to individual needs and diverse family structures.
- Highlighting his personal journey being a gay immigrant, Jose Sanchez, Director of Marketing at Limelight, will share how he broke into the tech scene and landed his dream job.
- Entrepreneur, angel investor, and founder of Gaingels, Paul Grossinger will explore the importance of investing in LGBTQ founders.
In the lead up to this year's conference, Venture Out will host Pride Hacks, a two-day hackathon that brings together developers to solve issues for LGBTQA+ not-for-profits. The hackathon will take place at RBC Waterpark Place on Friday, February 23 from 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. and Saturday, February 24 from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Participating organizations include Rainbow Railroad, Pride at Work Canada, and Canadian Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.
Venture Out 2018 will be presented by title sponsor Shopify. The conference is also sponsored by some of Toronto's most recognizable companies including Hubba, Tulip Retail, Uberflip, Lyft, Rangle.io, Intelex, RBC, EventMobi, and is put together with the help of community partners including MaRS, Venture for Canada, Get REAL, Startup HERE and more.
Additional programming details and the full conference agenda will be released in the coming weeks.
To purchase tickets and to learn more about Venture Out, please visit: www.ventureout.ca
Our thanks to Cision for sponsoring this announcement.
About Venture Out
Venture Out is a summit that connects Canada's dynamic startup sector with the country's most innovative, engaged and entrepreneurial Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Asexual/Aromantic (LGBTQA+) students. Venture Out is an initiative of Start Proud, the not for profit that facilitates the professional development of students as they transition from school to career in order to build a national network within the LGBTQA+ community.
About Start Proud
Start Proud is a Canadian registered non-profit that provides resources and opportunities for LGTBQA+ students, young professionals, and pro-LGBTQA+ organizations across Canada. Formerly known as Out on Bay Street, the non-profit provides members of the LGBTQA+ community with the necessary tools, resources and knowledge needed to transition through school to career. Start Proud works toward empowering institutions to embrace inclusiveness within the workplace and diversity within the workforce.
SOURCE Venture Out
For further information: and interview requests, please contact: Jamie Gillingham, Eighty-Eight, [email protected], 1-416-944-2722