Life is so fast-paced that we take too much for granted, whether it is the Internet which has now practically become a basic right or the growing role of women in positions of power, which is an outcome that has not come easily. All these giant leaps in progress have been the result of
visionary leadership, incredible conviction and relentless hard work.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created significant challenges and opportunities for the future of business in Canada. On the one hand, we have witnessed devastating health and economic impacts, while the push to work remotely and transact digitally has created a variety of opportunities for the tech industry. Once the health impacts are mitigated through public health measures, a steady and sustainable economic recovery will require measures that address social inequities that disproportionately affect women and minority groups, as well as efforts to support small businesses to adapt to the changed normal.
Role of Women in Tech and Business
“When a woman does stand up, it’s imperative that outsiders champion her; we also must nurture institutions to protect such people.” – from “Half the Sky”, a book by Nicolas Kristof and Sheryl WeDunn.
As a co-founder of Webnames.ca, along with John Demco, the inventor of the .CA domain extension, I have seen the Canadian economy transformed by the Internet. As Webnames.ca has grown over the last 20 years, I remain grateful to women leaders and role models that have paved the way for my success and am conscious of the responsibility I have, to advocate for gender equality in all aspects of life, including the tech industry in Canada.
Today, I serve on the boards of the Royal Canadian Mint, BC Automobile Association (BCAA), Science World and a number of other organisations and bring a perspective informed by my experience as a serial entrepreneur as well as my lived experience as a visible minority woman leader in technology. I am conscious that the path to my success has run through the success of my predecessors, opportunities from my mentors and my own work ethic. I speak widely to women in technology and entrepreneurship about overcoming limiting feelings of impostor syndrome, something I struggled with myself. I hope that I can inspire and support the new generations of young women to chart their own path to success through my involvement with initiatives such as Vancouver Women in Tech, Science World Girls and STEAM, Women’s Executive Network, Women Get on Board among others, as a speaker, mentor, advocate and organizer.
Innovation in Vancouver
Vancouver has long had a reputation as an ecosystem that supports innovation and sustainable development in equal measures. As resource extraction becomes a shrinking part of the economic pie, Vancouver is well placed to play a central role in leading Canada into the knowledge economy. Blessed with a vibrant multicultural population, well-regarded educational institutions and located in the same time zone as Silicon Valley and Seattle which are crucial hubs of the knowledge economy, I see a bright future for Vancouver that echoes the value-based model for growth that we prize at Webnames.ca.
Cybele Negris, ICD.D, is a Serial Entrepreneur, Board Member, Business Leader, Mentor, Speaker and Columnist based in Vancouver, BC. She is the CEO of Webnames.ca Inc. Canada’s leading domain registrar for small businesses and corporations alike.