Geek Speak: Tabitha Creighton, chief operating officer of Women Powering Technology
Tabitha Creighton wants to hear from women-led technology businesses across Canada. Specifically, she would like to know if there’s anything preventing them from growing and what she can do to help.
Born in Toronto, Creighton is the 41-year-old chief operating officer of Women Powering Technology. A year ago, Creighton cofounded the nonprofit organization with Angelique Mohring. WPT now has chapters in Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, and Waterloo, and several hundred members.
Both Creighton and Mohring were previously involved with Canadian Women in Technology. WPT arose because they wanted to go beyond the mandate of that organization and focus on increasing the number and revenue of women-led tech businesses in the country.
On November 12 and 13, WPT plans to bring up to 10 Canadian companies to its first international trade development event in New York City. The agenda for Doing Business South of the 49th includes networking, pitching, and a panel discussion.
The Georgia Straight reached Creighton by phone at the Vancouver office of Knowledgetech Consulting.
What is the goal of Women Powering Technology?
It’s really to drive to the top line and bottom line of women-led technology businesses.
Who should join the organization?
Any woman who wants to increase the revenue and profitability of the businesses that she either is participating or running in the tech industry. So, we see a lot of senior business leaders that are part of the organization—a lot of the COOs and CEOs—but we also see women who are just really passionate about helping to drive forward the success of their companies.
How are you helping women to succeed in the tech sector in Canada?
Our first major program that we’ve launched is the international trade development [event] in collaboration with DFAIT [Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada]. We’re starting off in New York City in November. We’re bringing about 10 women-led digital media businesses down to New York City to meet with several really high-profile potential customers, sponsored by the Canadian consulate.
What do you hope to achieve with this first international trade development event?
Well, the first thing we are hoping to achieve is some business deals for the attendees. That’s first and foremost. We spent a lot of time working with the trade commissioner for digital media to carefully select the businesses that are coming down, as well as the ones that are going to be participating from the U.S. So, we feel we have good matches....But we’re also really hoping that we create enough positive results that we expand the program.
Our hope is to continue to develop these programs. We’ve already got one tentatively scheduled for San Francisco in the springtime. Angelique [Mohring], my cofounder, is just on her way back from England, where she was part of the C100 event there, trying to do a smaller version of what we’re doing in New York in the U.K. So, we’re hoping to launch an international version in Europe in the summer of 2014.
How do you think you’ll be able to help women achieve higher revenue in the tech sector?
One of the ways that we’re hoping to be able to do that is by creating new trade avenues for them, like with these international events. By being able to utilize our connections with either foreign partnerships, like with U.K. WIT [women in technology] groups, or with the government, like the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, we can actually create new trade channels for them. If we can bring them new potential customers in the international marketplace, we really are expecting to see that increased visibility—that increased access to new businesses that they hadn’t been able to engage with before—going to drive that top-line revenue increase.