Level Up with Heather Payne


When: Tuesday November 7th 2017 from 7:15am to 9:30am

Where: Hamilton Convention Centre – 1 Summers Lane, Hamilton, Ontario

Organizer: YWCA Hamilton

Cost: $50 individual, $500 table of 10

Register: bruha.com/event/2087



YWCA Hamilton is pleased to present Level Up, a speaker event focusing on advancing women’s skills, diversity, and leadership in the workplace. This breakfast event offers attendants the opportunity to learn about barriers women face in the workplace, while at the same time exploring tools and tactics that will be useful to overcoming obstacles.



7:15 am – Registration Opens

7:15-8:00 am – Breakfast Buffet

8:00-8:30 am РMcMaster University Presents the EXCLerator Project Results Summary: Women & Diversity in Executive and Community Leadership

8:30-9:30 am – Keynote Speaker: Heather Payne Presents Digital Literacy: Why We Need to Know How to Make Tech


McMaster University Presents the EXCLerator Project Results Summary

Women & Diversity in Executive and Community Leadership

This 2017 report is the second installment of the Women & Diversity EXCLerator Project, the first comprehensive investigation into diverse leadership representation in Hamilton and Halton. This report analyzes findings against our initial 2014 benchmark data, allowing us to evaluate progress and identify setbacks in women’s leadership trajectories across nine employment sectors.

The 2017 EXCLerator project expands the scope in two key ways. First, this edition quantifies the racial diversity of Hamilton and Halton‚Äôs top leadership. Second, it adds a ‚Äėyouth sector‚Äô to gain insight into the diversity of the regions‚Äô youngest leaders. These additions are critical to understanding the differing experiences of ‚Äėdiverse‚Äô leaders beyond the gender facet, as well as state of the leadership pipeline and activism in the struggle for gender and racial equity.


Keynote Speaker: Heather Payne, Founder of Ladies Learning Code and CEO of HackerYou

TECHNOLOGY – Digital Literacy: Why We Need to Know How to Make Tech

In this keynote, Heather Payne focuses on technology education, entrepreneurship, and women in tech. She addresses major issues such as why children aren’t learning about technology from making and maker perspectives at school, and why women are still underrepresented in the tech industry. She draws on her experience with Ladies Learning Code to give real-life examples of teaching methods that inspire students and provide innovative, hands-on learning. She tells young people and recent graduates how learning how to code can make you a more valuable and desirable employee. And, she gives us insight into how we can work to create technology that will serve us individually, as well as the much broader population. With grace, optimism, and experience seemingly beyond her years, Payne not only changes the way we view our relationship to technology and the web, but she inspires us to see what each of us is truly capable of.


Opportunity to help new Coding Bootcamp program


This Fall IEC Hamilton and Mohawk College have been running a new pilot Coding Bootcamp program for 30 adults. Over 12-weeks the participants learn HTML/CSS/JavaScript, the goal is to create opportunities for individuals that may not typically have access to knowledge economy jobs. These types of Coding Bootcamp programs have been popular with private sector for-profit educational organizations, but this is the first of its kind to my knowledge that is non-profit run and targeting this demographic.

Preliminary results have been fantastic, adults who didn’t know about text editors 5 weeks ago are now creating fairly complicated web front-ends! Each Wednesday participants hear “community talks” representing different career and educational pathways (e.g college vs. university, UX, social media manager, etc.). For example, here’s Suzanne Zandbergen at The Generator with some of the students in the program!

IEC Hamilton is applying for another Future Fund grant (due tomorrow) from the City of Hamilton to continue the program. If you would be willing to sign-up here today to say “yes, I’m interested in giving a talk at next year’s Coding Bootcamp”, we would be very grateful! It’d be an excellent show of interest/support, next year we’d reach out to make sure it works out for everyone scheduling-wise!

Thank you so much! Previous “calls to action” I’ve blasted out like this have resulted in *major* support, and we have reason to believe that support from the Hamilton tech community has made a critical difference in obtaining these grants. We really appreciate it, and will be organizing an event I’ll be sending details about in the near future to explain how companies can get involved in these exciting and growing “learn to code” programs!


Hacking Health Meetup tomorrow


When: Thursday October 19th 2017 from 6:30pm to 9:30pm

Where: McMaster Centre for Continuing Education at 1 James St. North, Hamilton

Organizer: Hacking Health Hamilton

Register: meetup.com/Hacking-Health-Hamilton/events/243534073


Nik is a Mathematics student at McMaster University with a background in data-science and machine learning. Over the past three years, he has worked in health analytics and software development in the GTA. Winner of the MedHacks – Adherence Track at Johns Hopkins University, Nik created a iOS application using a neural net model.

Yasir is working at Trillium Health Partners as a Quality and Patient Safety Consultant. Yasir’s focus is on quality improvement by incorporating human factors approach and identifying system and process opportunities during patient safety incidents. Yasir competitively play basketball in house leagues and have deep affection for Nutella.

Yasir will present: A paperless solution to communicate patient’s infection status upon admission from the emergency department.


Internet of Things Meetup with Colin Cagich


When: Wednesday October 18th 2017 from 6:30pm to 8:30pm

Where: The Cotton Factory at 270 Sherman Ave North, Hamilton, ON

Organizer: Hamilton Internet of Things Meetup

Register: meetup.com/Hamilton-IoT-Meetup/events/243585436


Our first meetup this fall we be hosted by Colin Gagich of CENG Technologies (formerly NVC Software Solutions). He’s also one of the creators of Hitchbot. He’s graciously offered us access to the Cotton Factory and his new office space for this meetup. Colin will also be providing beer. Yes that’s right. Finally, beer at an IoT meetup!

So join us for some great conversation, maybe some quick lightning talks, and beer. Also, Colin will be offering up close looks at Hitchbot.

If you want to give a quick talk or presentation, let me know. See you there.


HamOnt UX conference on October 28th

Photo Credit: @naelshawwa


When: Saturday October 28th 2017 from 10:00am to 5:00pm

Where: CoMotion On King – 115 King Street East (3rd floor), Hamilton, ON



The HamOnt conference series continues with HamOnt UX on Saturday October 28th!

HamOnt UX is filling in for Embrace UX this year… low cost and kick ass, featuring experts from within and abroad for a full day of talks… we would love for you to join us!

Check out the schedule of talks below! HamOnt UX attendees can also expect morning coffee & snacks, lunch, afternoon drinks & snacks, and an after party!

Tickets are just $20 regular, and $10 for students.




Stephanie Shuster (@stephshuster)

Director of Operations, WDW Magazine

Talk: A Great, Big, Beautiful Tomorrow: When UX Works Like Magic in Disney Parks

Bio:¬†As¬†Director of Operations for CTSA LLC, Stephanie oversees the international team behind DadsGuideToWDW.com, WDW Magazine, WDW Discount Club, and The Best of WDW, sits on the expert panel for Get Down to Disness and runs the It’s A FanGirl World vlog. ¬†Stephanie holds a combined honours BA in Cultural Studies, Critical Theory, and Communication Studies from McMaster University, and has performed marketing, communications, and operational roles at Theatre Aquarius, Innovation Factory, and Kitestring Creative Branding Studio. ¬†She’s also a co-founder of Startup Weekend Hamilton and a recipient of the Hamilton/Halton 40 Under Forty award. ¬†Whether she’s writing, researching, designing, or strategizing to help others plan, experience, and remember their perfect Disney vacations, her life is all Disney magic, all the time.



Abeiene Nejar (@its_abn)

UX Consultant @ Stories & Design Consulting

Talk: Reality goes beyond numbers

Understanding Human Data to Optimize Your Product/Service

Companies are obsessed with numbers! It’s the soul of most strategic planning to forecast markets and growth. But what happens when the numbers only tell you half the story and you’re left with more questions than answers? How can we have a better understanding on how to drive growth, improve sales, and expand our markets?

Abeiene will show us how quantitative data de-contextualizes human behavior and illustrate its effects on companies. She’ll also talk about things that you can start doing today to start seeing the reality behind the numbers.

Bio: Abeiene is the founder of Stories and Design, a training and consulting company. She educates social enterprises and purpose-driven companies on how to increase funding and customer reach using compelling stories based on high-impact research.



Adam Waselnuk (@AWaselnuk)

Front End Developer Lead at Shopify

Talk: Prioritizing UX work: a set of lenses

UX professionals are required to build elegant digital experiences out of an enormous set of possibilities. Whether you work at a startup or a large company, you will often find that you have to make tough decisions about where to spend your time at work. In this talk, we will explore a set of lenses we can use to frame the problem of prioritization. Each lens will help us evaluate whether we are working on the right things and provide us with strategies to aim in the right direction for ourselves and our users.

Bio: Adam blends his experience in UX design, full stack web development, and teaching, into a technical leadership role that is ideal for digital product teams. As a Front End Developer Lead at Shopify, he has learned to build teams and navigate the challenges of a company that is scaling fast. On the technical side, Adam specializes in UI development on the web with JavaScript, HTML, and CSS. He is interested in software design, functional programming, and creating delightful interfaces. He believes that the user experience comes first.



Janna Cameron (@JannaCameron)

Senior UX Designer at the Manulife RED Lab

Talk: Getting the details right

‚ÄúThe details are not the details; they make the product‚ÄĚ – Eames.

People with disabilities can be more sensitive to inefficiencies and inconsistency in design. Refine your design details by involving these people in your process. In this talk, Janna will introduce several questions you should ask people with disabilities about your designs – to make your designs better for all.

Bio: While Janna has spoken across North America on the topic of accessible design, she is local to Kitchener-Waterloo. Janna works as a Senior UX Designer at the Manulife RED lab, located in the Communitech Hub. She is passionate about introducing others to how they might design more inclusively, and how inclusive design thinking can trigger innovation.



Jennifer Juste (@JennieJuste)

Program Manager, Transportation Demand Management at City of Guelph

Talk: Taking to the streets: how UX of cyclists is transforming how we design urban streets

The problem with North American road design is that it assumes only people in cars will use them. This talk will reveal some alternative approaches to how we engineer our roads, such as tactical urbanism and gamification, which integrate and improve the user experience of people on bicycles.

Bio: Jennifer has been planning cycling routes and programs in Guelph for over a decade. Her research, experience and travels have shed light on the various approaches to street design and transportation behaviours. Her role as TDM Program Manager involves the review of road and development designs, policy writing, and master planning, providing opportunities at all scales to consider how best to build cities for the end users.



Other speakers more details will be posted on on very soon…



Purity & Decay Indigenous cybernoir indie game


Check out the Indigenous cybernoir themed indie game Purity & Decay by Hamiltonians Meagan Byrne (@byrne_meagan) and Tara Miller (@seaohso)! The game was spun out of a Dames Making Games hackathon in Toronto, and they’ve since released the game as a single chapter prototype, with a full version potentially to follow in 2019.

Description: The year is 2262 and you’re a tough as nails P.I. working in the slums of one of the last major cities in North America. Life is all missing kids and cheating spouses until a dame from the Upper-District barges in and changes your life.

Murdered sisters and flying cities, this case goes way farther than the banks of this one detective’s little slum in this indigenous cybernoir. A narrative (choose your own adventure) detective game that lets you solve who did it.



DemoCamp27 demo line-up announced

Check out the demo line-up below for this Saturday’s DemoCamp!

DemoCamp is an event for the regional technology and startup community to come together and share what they’ve built, give each other feedback, and connect with one another. ¬†The event involves a series of startup topic talks, followed by a series of 5 minute live tech demos + 5 minutes of audience Q&A.

Everyone interested in locally built technology is welcome to attend. Entrepreneurs, makers, developer, students, non-technical and technical, funders, marketers, salespeople, lawyers, accountants – anyone who is interested in regionally built tech and startups!


When: Saturday October 14th from 1:00pm – 5:00pm

Where: CoMotion on King at 115 King Street East, Hamilton, ON (3rd floor)

Cost: $10 early bird





Emily Walsh
Vice President at Georgian Partners
Talk: VC funding

Emily Walsh (@emilymwalsh) is Vice President on the Georgian Partners Investment Team. She supports deal sourcing, executes the due diligence process, and helps companies with operational effectiveness and strategy, with a particular focus on people and culture. Emily currently works with Fusionops, WorkFusion, Top Hat, Precision Lender, Signpost and Bluecore on a variety of projects. These span people analytics, benchmarking, org design, and team dynamics and culture. Prior to joining Georgian Partners, Emily worked at McKinsey & Co. as a management consultant, and on the first management team of NYC-based investment firm Archer Gray. Emily holds an MBA in Finance from The Johnson School at Cornell University, is a member of the Cornell Entrepreneurship Advisory Board and provides support for Canada Learning Code.


Justin Joseph
Marketing Strategy Consultant
Talk: Startup Marketing Strategy 
Consultant working with startups on M&A’s, software/product development, marketing strategy, design and production. ¬†Recent projects include the¬†most accurate sports projection and analytical platform on the planet, the world’s top SaaS predictive modelling cloud software for asset management, and the fastest growing green-tech company in the country. ¬†Justin was previously Director of Marketing at Construction Specialities Company, Business Development & Operations Manager at LivClean Carbon Offset Solutions, and General Manager at Carmens. ¬†He completed a Bachelor of Science in Pre-Health at the University of Waterloo.


Tej Sandhu
Co-founder of Merit Brewing
Talk: Craft Brewery UX 

Tej Sandhu (@merit_tej) is the co-founder of Merit Brewing, a brewery, kitchen and bottle shop located in the heart of downtown Hamilton on 107 James North. ¬†Tej is also co-organizer of the¬†Lower City Runner group. ¬†Tej completed his Bachelor of Commerce degree at McMaster University’s DeGroote School of Business. ¬†Tej’s talk will be followed up with drinks from Merit Brewing during our break before the demos!






Are you interested in demo-ing?  Fill out the application form to demo at this or a future DemoCamp event!





12:30pm – 1:00pm – Arrival

1:00pm – 2:30pm – Talks

2:30pm Р3:00pm РBreak with craft beer served by Merit Brewing

3:00pm – 4:30pm – Demos

4:30pm – Networking


Drinks for the event will be from Merit Brewing. ¬†We’ll have some good snack food out throughout the event too.





KiCad EDA night at electronics meetup tomorrow


When: Wednesday September 27th 2017 at 7:00pm

Where: CoMotion on King at 115 King St East, Hamilton, ON

Organizer: Electronics Meetup

Register: meetup.com/Electronics-Hamilton-Meetup/events/242678442


Have you ever wanted to design an electronic PCB but not known how? Join us for another Hardware night.

For this meetup I thought it’d be interesting to run an EDA (Electronic Design Automation) night. Basically we get together and learn how to design a simple PCB from scratch. We’re going to be using KiCad (as its free and open source) but the basic principles are transferrable to pretty much any EDA software you might use. The circuit we’ll design isn’t overly complicated but is a great start for those who want to learn how to design PCB’s. If you already know how to use EDA software come along and help me explain how! ūüôā

I’ll be walking through KiCad on the projector (I’m no expert but I have designed many PCB’s in KiCad). You’re more than welcome to download the latest version of KiCad on your laptop and bring it with you to follow along.

Looking forward to what should be a great night as we return to Co-Motion for our 5th, yes 5th meetup. That’s gone quick!


Learning Technologies Symposium

October 11th-12th, 2017 ‚Äď McMaster Innovation Park, Hamilton ON

Have you remixed traditional teaching practices using innovative technologies like open resources, social media, or VR? Are you exploring digital solutions for teaching and learning such as video, animation, interactive media, flipped approaches, or online and blended classroom environments? Or, are you thinking about accessible learning, conducting research on digital pedagogies or the impact of technology on learning?

Share your methods, experiences, and research¬†at the Learning Technologies Symposium 2017.¬†Join us as we explore an ‚Äėeducation remix‚Äô¬†that is making its way into classrooms everywhere.


Learn more about LTS2017 and register at: http://mi.mcmaster.ca/lts2017/


Justin left a major positive mark

I’m very sorry to write that Justin Policarpio passed away last night, having lived graciously and courageously with cancer.

Justin was a key community builder, entrepreneur and leader in the Hamilton startup community.

I first met Justin when he was running Women Entrepreneurship, an event series focused on celebrating female entrepreneurship, and working on his Campus Helper education company. He next co-founded and led edtech robotics startup Roboteurs as CEO.

His work with Women Entrepreneurship and his startups was already impressive enough, but where I feel he left a major positive mark on our community was his work with Spectrum / The Forge.

It wasn’t very long ago at all that people talked about a divide between the McMaster community and the Hamilton startup community. There was a “gap” in the pipeline between innovative McMaster students and the business community in Hamilton. There was also a “gap” in terms of support for student entrepreneurs on campus… there was no Velocity or Ryerson DMZ equivalent, and the existing efforts were more informal, sporadic, grassroots.

Justin was the manager of the new Spectrum program that started in 2014, intended to foster and encourage entrepreneurship on campus, and to act as a pipe into a formal incubator program (“The Forge”). This was a very important job, at a critical time. If the Spectrum program flopped, which was a real possibility given the state of things at the time, I don’t think we’d have the energy and number of startups that you see further up the pipeline today. Justin was the perfect person for this role, and he hit it out of the park. A slew of great events and regular programming, much of it done in partnership with others, made his work a complete success in terms of fostering entrepreneurship on campus and building a bridge from McMaster to the broader Hamilton community.

He was a great community builder in that way. He had an infectious positive energy, was wise beyond his years, kind and always eager to help other people, was a great listener, and knew how to make great things happen fast. I met with him before he took on the Spectrum role, and you could tell he really “got it” in terms of the bigger picture. He was really keen on partnering and working together with everyone. Beyond the programming he developed that supported startups, he would always find time to support various other initiatives happening around the city, whether it was a Startup Weekend or a new healthtech meetup group.

People from other communities have noted a collaborative spirit in Hamilton, they’ll say things like, “in Hamilton, you guys really work together compared to X”. Justin played a major role in creating that spirit and culture. His good work and good spirit will live on.

This is the second time I’ve written an article like this in the last year. I’m upset because Justin was so young. It’s really not fair at all. We should use the time we’ve got to make a positive impact the way Justin was able to do so.


And speaking of the time we’ve got, I was reading over some of Justin’s old posts, and I came across this video of life tips he gave to graduating McMaster students. I’ve posted the text of his life advice below, it feels like advice that’s relevant for everyone.


I’d like to take this time to talk about just that, time. It’s something we all have a limited amount of, we never get any more of, so in reality it’s our most valuable asset. That said, why would we ever want to waste it?

A lot of you are going to be graduating from McMaster or have graduated, and you’re starting to think, “you know, what do I spend my time on? Do my masters, my PhD? Do I get a job or travel the world?”.

And in reality you got to do whatever you want to do because it’s something that you want to do, and not something that you feel like you ought to do. And you’re going to get a lot of pressures from your friends, your family, your parents and society as a whole.

I look at the time I spend on my stuff, on my startup company, on this new initiative at McMaster that I’m spearheading called Spectrum for McMaster entrepreneurs and startups. I look at the countless hours I put into this stuff, and you know what? I love it.

It’s time that I feel is well spent because it literally makes me happy, and I see all the value I get out of it. So when I think about the time I spent I think of three main things, and I guess these can be my two minute tips for you.

One is have no regrets. Have no regrets on the time that you’re spending on the things that you want to do.

Two, you know, in a nutshell: be fearless. You’re going to come across a lot of obstacles, not just in your school, and not just in work, but also in life. And they’re going to hit you, but you’re going to have to get through them. So be fearless, be strong.

And three, you really just have to start. You have to start doing what you want to do, and that said you also have to finish it and get it done.