Women in IT Canada Awards 2023 winners revealed

The Canada edition of the Women in IT Awards 2023, in its fifth year, celebrated the contributions and achievements of diverse tech talent

The awards ceremony, presented in partnership with premium sponsors Deloitte Digital, EQ Bank and Sun Life; and award category sponsor PwC, raised awareness of the importance of DEI across the tech industry, and showcased the best examples of innovation happening across Canada.

Taking place at the InterContinental Toronto Centre, this year’s Canada edition of the Women in IT series was further supported by BMO, Colliers, Crowdbotics, EY, Soroc Technology and Splunk, with event partner The IT Media Group also on hand.

With women and BAME tech talent still being underrepresented in the C-Suite, and making up 40 per cent of the total global workforce according to The World Bank, initiatives like the Women in IT Summit and Awards Series look to encourage further diversity, equity and inclusion throughout the tech sector.

15 winners were announced in total on the night, ranging from notable tech leaders, to schemes aiming to encourage diverse talent, and companies particularly succeeding in boosting DEI.

Woman of the Year: Kelley Irwin

The 2023 Woman of the Year at the Women in IT Canada Awards is Kelley Irwin, member of the board of directors at Descartes Systems Group.

Kelley has been instrumental in promoting and mentoring female talent across IT and finance spaces, having co-authored the award-winning book ‘Please Stay: How Women in Tech Survive and Thrive‘.

Additionally, Kelley succeeded in increasing the IT team representation of women from 17 per cent to 52 per cent at the Electrical Safety Authority, while serving as the company’s CIO.

According to awards judges, “Kelley demonstrated not only her talents in the tech industry as a senior executive, [but] her selfless dedication to women in technology, in promoting women, mentoring and book writing dedicated to female — it is impressive to see her works.

“Kelley’s accomplishments over her career and life are worth celebrating. The financial services and IT worlds are some of the most difficult, and Kelley has been able to prosper while celebrating and encouraging diversity and inclusions throughout everything she touches. A well deserved recipient of the Women of the Year of award.”

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CI/TO of the Year: Uma Gopinath

Uma Gopinath, chief information officer at Metrolinx, was awarded as the CI/TO of the Year, with her work in leading a successful IT team transformation and boosting hiring of female staff being recognised.

As well as raising women in senior management at Metrolinx to 40 per cent, Uma established the company’s Go Tech Women group, and initiated its TechTrax program to develop skills of high potential new graduates.

“It’s always amazing to see high achieving women who open the door for others as they fight through the ranks,” commented the judges.

“Not only has Uma successfully navigated the transformation challenge at Metrolinx, she’s also ensured that through her efforts the hiring and diversity of the IT organisation improves significantly.

“What stood out in her submission was her exceptional leadership in transforming several areas within the Innovation and Information Technology (I&IT) team. She successfully led a dynamic and comprehensive transformation, improving project delivery, building trust with business partners, establishing a strong cybersecurity and disaster recovery program, and optimising the team structure.”

Security Leader of the Year: Ariane Siegel

The stand-out in the security space, in the view of the awards judges, was 2023 Security Leader of the Year, OntarioMD general counsel and chief privacy officer, Ariane Siegel.

Ariane singlehandedly developed a privacy & security training module for physicians and their staff, which saw participation from around 4,000 employees, leading to further training roll-outs for the entire health care sector beyond physician practices.

Judges commented: “Ariane’s delivery and dedication in the health care space as a privacy and security trainer has made significant impacts in making Ontario a better, secured province.

“Her contribution continues to expand into virtual care. This continues to serve a pivotal role to upload security best practice at scale.”

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Women in IT Canada Awards 2023 Winners

See the full list of winners of the Women in IT Canada 2023 Awards below:

Advocate of the Year

Janet Lin, EQ Bank

Ally of the Year

Tim Fell, TELUS Communications

CI/TO of the Year

Uma Gopinath, Metrolinx

Data Leader of the Year

Lynda Partner, Pythian Services

DEI Initiative of the Year


Digital Transformation Leader of the Year

Lily Gobovic, Bank of Montreal (BMO)

Diversity Lead of the Year

Angely Vatcher, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS)

Employer of the Year

Pythian Services

IT Team of the Year

Daisy Benipal, Bank of Montreal (BMO)

Lifetime Achievement Award

Monique Allen, OMERS

Mental Health Initiative of the Year

Ingram Micro Canada

Next Generation Leader of the Year

Charmi Chokshi, Mila & UdeM

Security Leader of the Year

Ariane Siegel, OntarioMD

Tech Start-Up of the Year

Samrin UX Studio

Woman of the Year

Kelley Irwin, Descartes Systems Group


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Aaron Hurst

Aaron Hurst is Information Age's senior reporter, providing news and features around the hottest trends across the tech industry.