The First Annual #HerHalton International Women’s Day Breakfast

Moderator Claire Green and panelists having a lively discussion with the engaged audience. From left to right: Claire Green, Karen Grant, Emily Moore, Lily Lam, Ruta Stauskas, and Kimberly Calderbank.

On International Women’s Day 2018, TechPlace joined forces with co-location partners Haltech Regional Innovation Centre and Angel One Network to celebrate female leadership during their inaugural #HerHalton Women’s Day Breakfast. The inspiring morning was filled with breakfast, networking, a panel discussion of powerhouse female leaders (moderated by TechPlace’s own Claire Green) and a lively Q&A.

The panel included Karen Grant, Executive Director of Angel One Network; Emily Moore, Managing Director of Innovation for Hatch; Lily Lam, Senior Director of Portfolio Investments for Ontario Centres of Excellence; Ruta Stauskas, Vice-President of Human Resources of Boehriger Ingelheim Canada and Kimberly Calderbank, Co-Founder and Director of Marketing & Communications at Yellow Robot Marketing. The group brought incredible insights to the discussion, drawing on years of experience and perspectives on topical issues related to women’s leadership.

So, let’s talk about what we learned…

Messing up is okay, so long as you learn from it

“You live that, you own that and you learn from that” – Kimberly Calderbank of YellowRobot recounts one of her cringe-worthy mess ups that happened early in her career. This mess up helped her realize the importance of slowing down, and other important lessons about getting back up. Big mistakes are a part of life but as the panelists noted they teach you resilience, build self-confidence and invaluable problem-solving skills. As long as you bounce back, own up to it and make sure it never happens again —  messing up doesn’t mean a make it or break it situation for your career.

Ask for it!

“Women wait until they have 100% of the qualifications to apply for a job, whereas men only have 50% but still go for it.” According to some of the panelists, this unwillingness to ‘ask for it’, whether it be the job, a raise, or a project, stems from lack of confidence. Lam emphasized the need for ladies to get out there and ask for what they want because women are just as qualified as their male counterparts. They’re just not always as vocal about what they want, and what they deserve it.

You don’t need to do it all

Another point the panel brought up was about taking on too much at once, especially when you’re just starting out in your career. Everyone on the panel related to this, the urge to be ambitious, and the temptation to say yes to everything in order to establish yourself. The panel described this as a problem as it often leads to “over promising and under delivering.”It seems saying no can be a good thing, since it’s better to do a few things very well than a whole bunch of things just “OK”.

At the end of the event, Haltech and TechPlace announced they would be launching a new Peer-to-Peer Network called #HerHalton for women to connect and share their experience as a way to provide support, mentorship and exchange ideas. If you would like to participate in the new Peer-to-Peer network, please send an email to

We want to thank everyone who came out to this event! We were flooded by its success and could not have done it without our wonderful guests, panelists and partners.

Not a member of #HerHalton? Join today.

Did you miss the event? Watch the live stream here: