Top Geek-Worthy Events in Toronto

By definition, I guess you could say I’m a geek. I enjoy the finer things in life, like sipping a glass of Chianti while watching Marvel movies. That’s how I celebrate life on a budget. There are times however, when an event approaches that I’m willing to clear my entire lazy-day schedule for.

Fan Expo Toronto

Fan Expo isn't your grandad's Comic-Con. This event is so large is takes up the entire Metro Convention Centre (approx. the size of 2 major league baseball fields). Imagine walking 20 minutes through a crowd just to get to the other side of the building in hopes of spotting Jason Mamoa and taking in the rest of the attractions and booths this geek-fest has to offer. Definitely worth it.

Gourmet Food & Wine Expo

A little bit of wine, a touch of caviar and a few celebrity chef appearances. If the Gourmet Food & Wine Expo isn't a place for you, then I think you may need to re-evaluate your priorities. Though the day can get expensive between the entry fee and additional drink tickets you'll have to purchase once you're in, I'm on the side that believes the experience makes it worthwhile.

Elevate Tech Fest

 Image by  BlogTo

Image by BlogTo

If you're interested in connecting with like-minded tech followers and some of the largest influencing companies in the tech space, you need to start taking notes. Elevate is one of Toronto's largest city-wide innovation festival that features speakers from all around the globe.

What are your top three favourite events in the city? It’s important to step out of your routine every now and then to enjoy and revel in your passions with others who share the same interests. When you attend events like these you’re sure to learn something new and make some connections. In the end, isn’t that what life’s all about? Sometimes you have to stop thinking, and just live it.

 

Women in Tech Toronto

A Panel Discussion with Female Digital Leaders

Toronto's an attractive city, but the one thing that really gives this place its status and vibe are the people who occupy its streets. Those who are working hard to pursue their passions and are recognized for growing in their individual fields, despite the barriers they face on a day-to-day basis. I'm talking about my female leaders here, and my question for them is simple. 

How. Do. You. Do It?

BrainStation, a digital learning company located downtown around King St. & Spadina St. recently hosted a panel discussion with inspiring female leaders in Toronto's technology space. They shared details about their career journeys, and some personal/professional advice on how to achieve 'leader' status when faced with stereotypes and workplace barriers. This talk was all about empowerment.

The Speakers

BrainStation Panel.jpg

Though there are similar events that occur sporadically throughout the year, it's always nice to share encouragement. Here are the major lessons the audience took away from the discussion. 

Own Your Story

Listen, we've all had our barriers and setbacks, some of which are embarrassing. Maybe you got fired, or you didn't receive that promotion, or it took you a year to find a decent paying full-time job. Whatever your story is, you have to own it. Discovering who you are outside of the job title that is given to you is an imperative step to bringing value to both yourself and your workplace. Nathalie Crosby, UX Lead at Shopify, shared an important realization during the discussion. She said, "I wish that I had not expected myself to be perfect." That's a point many woman can relate to. Knowing that you may not be a 100% fit for a role, but believing in your potential will take you farther than you'll originally suspect.

Speak Up

You have to realize the value of your thoughts and ideas, especially if you want to overcome that impeding sense of imposter syndrome. Your actions inspire and teach more people than you think, and confidence is associated with trust. Ted Talk speaker Amy Cuddy said it best, sometimes you just have to fake it until you become it

Help Others

Panelist Swapna Malekar, Senior Product Manager at RBC believes that harnessing the ambition of your team is critical to the success of any workplace project, but sharing encouragement and supporting those around you should also be a basic practice. Everyone possesses unique and amazing qualities, so it's important to observe the skills, work ethic and positive attitude of others. Networking is also very important, especially since what goes around, often comes around. Pay it forward, you could always stumble upon an opportunity to help a friend or colleague as you grow in your career. Perhaps you received more than one job offer, and you know a friend who would be perfect for one of the positions. These good acts comes back to you in very unexpected ways. 

Keep Learning

Industries are constantly evolving, so it's important to keep up with the trends. Some people commit to reading a book every week or attending as many conferences in the city as they can. If you're looking to develop within the technology field in Toronto, here are a few events that may interest you. 

Inmar Givoni, Manager of Autonomy Engineering at Uber ATG encourages aspiring career professionals to use job interviews as a good opportunity to network. Givoni also suggests applying for roles (and attending conferences) outside of your area of expertise/field, because you always end up learning something new that you'll most likely apply later on in your career. 

It's great to see this panel come together to encourage other young women to move forward in their career. This is just a sprinkle of the talent occupying the city of Toronto, and even more are making their debut. I can't wait to hear about the amazing things my fellow female leaders are working towards.

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