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Tech, Pride & Progress: Navigating Inclusion & Innovation in 2023 and Beyond

September 20 @ 8:00 am 10:00 am MDT

Join panelists from Thin Air Labs, PurposeMed, Shopify, VOTO, and EasyRedir for a look back on Pride 2023: what did Canadian tech companies do well, what went badly, what needs to change? Hear from multiple queer perspectives and lived experiences as they discuss the complexities, contradictions and challenges that tech companies, startups, VCs and stakeholders faced during Pride 2023, and how we must evolve for Pride 2024.

Brought to you by VMSA and EasyRedir, this event promises engaging insights and vibrant discussions that explore:

  • The journey of queer history within the tech sector, spanning from the 90s to the present day.
  • Analyzing both the positive and negative aspects of tech companies’ involvement in Pride, shedding light on the risks beyond rainbow washing.
  • Unveiling strategies for tech companies to authentically embrace allyship year-round, while evading token gestures.
  • Identifying the beneficiaries of Pride 2023 and the groups that continue to face marginalization within the Pride landscape.
  • Assessing the strides taken within the tech sector and addressing the road ahead to accomplish lasting change.
  • Unpacking the equity initiatives that warrant the attention of tech companies in 2023 and 2024.
  • Empowering individual leaders to adopt thoughtful and sustainable approaches toward these crucial topics.

Register for in person or virtual attendance!

Moderator and panelist bios

Casey Reid (they/she), Thin Air Labs

Casey is a Product Growth Lead at Thin Air Labs, where they play a pivotal role in driving product growth and strategy. She is passionate about leveraging technology to solve complex problems and drive business success. As a seasoned professional in the tech industry, Casey has successfully launched Travel Visas at sherpa and financial products at Borrowell. She is a strong advocate for helping startups utilize data to tell their story. They believe in fostering a culture of continuous learning and actively mentors aspiring product managers and contributes to the industry by sharing her expertise through posting on Medium.

Ameera Ladak (they/them), Shopify 

Ameera is a gender non-conforming advocate for Queer and trans inclusion based in Calgary, AB on Treaty 7 territory. They are a Senior Product Operations Manager at Shopify and Freelance Writer focused on mental health, business, and tech. Ameera has been involved with a number of LGBTQ+ initiatives and events with organizations such as Gradient Spaces, Venture Out, Start Proud, and hErVOLUTION. In addition, Ameera is an active mental health advocate, publishing over 60 stories for The Mighty, a health publication and community, reaching millions of people with over 100,000 interactions with their pieces. They served as an Equity Consultant and Founding Board Member on the Mood Disorders Society of Canada’s National Youth Advisory Committee, and as a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Educator and Facilitator with the Ismaili Council for Canada.

William Richards (he/him), EasyRedir 

William is a serial entrepreneur with 25+ years of experience building web-based technology systems for startups, scale-ups and enterprise. He is the founder and CEO of EasyRedir, the world’s leading URL redirect manager, trusted by the world’s biggest brands to deliver 18B+ secure redirects every year. He was formerly CTO at BlackSquare, the global leader in digital and ecommerce solutions for wine and spirits brands.

Ange Paye (she/her), VOTO

Ange is the Co-Founder of VOTO, a customer engagement platform for social good. She has over 5 years of experience as a Product Manager working on banking and customer engagement softwares. In 2021 she transitioned into entrepreneurship to lead and support tech innovations that serve to give back. In her spare time, Ange is a fitness enthusiast, borderline gourmet cook and often moonlights as a DJ.

Dr. Caley Shukalek (he/him), PurposeMed 

Caley is the Chief Medical Officer at PurposeMed, a health tech and service company that operates the brands Freddie, Frida, Foria Clinic, and Affirming Care Pharmacies. Caley is also a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Calgary and a General Internal Medicine physician with Alberta Health Services with clinical and academic interests in health system innovation using implementation science and mixed methodologies in HIV and STI medicine. Through his work with PurposeMed and the University of Calgary, Caley continually focuses on creating ways to understand, promote, and improve the health, wellness, and representation of queer persons.

Mike Morrison (he/him), Panel Moderator

Mike is a writer, speaker, and community builder. His passion for storytelling led him to establish Mike’s Bloggity Blog in 2005, paving the way for a successful online career. Through his platform, he advocates for various issues such as urban cycling, accessibility, and LGBTQ rights. Additionally, he is also the creator of SocialNext, which includes SocialWest, Canada’s largest digital marketing conference, held right here in Calgary. Mike has become a media personality renowned for his authentic voice and unwavering commitment to truth while actively engaging with politicians and promoting positive change.


September 20
8:00 am – 10:00 am MDT
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