2019 Conference

2019 Venture Out Conference

Save the Date!

March 14 and 15, 2019 in Toronto

Are you interested in sponsoring or partnering with us in 2019? Please email ventureout@startproud.org.

Venture Out is Canada’s first conference for LGBTQA+ students and young professionals interested in careers in tech and entrepreneurship. Every year, we gather together with startups, speakers, and thought leaders from across Canada at MaRS Discovery District for workshops, receptions, panels, and networking opportunities.

Join us, and help build a more diverse and inclusive future.

2019 Keynote Speakers

Andreas Souvaliotis

Andreas Souvaliotis is the founder of Carrot Rewards, Canada’s most popular wellness app and the world’s first national health rewards program. A decade earlier he started Green Rewards, the world’s first mass eco-loyalty platform, which was acquired and fused into the popular AIR MILES program.

Andreas has been recognized globally for his achievements and thought leadership in harnessing nudge theory to promote positive behaviour shifts on a mass scale. 

As a bestselling author and prolific speaker, Andreas is a leading Canadian advocate for innovative approaches to address public health, climate change, diversity and citizenship. 

He serves on the Boards of the Institute for Canadian Citizenship, Windmill Microlending and the Young Presidents’ Organization, and also advises a number of academic institutions and NGOs.


Kiana ‘rookz’ Eastmond is an award-winning entrepreneur. She is also the founder of Sandbox Studios–one of the most successful Urban Music Artist Development and Recording Facilities in Toronto, Canada. Sandbox has opened its doors to A-list celebrities such as Cardi B, Tory Lanez, Kid Ink and many more of the city’s up and coming acts.
rookz is currently the Executive Director at Manifesto and splits her time with appearing at special events that speak to her expertise while simultaneously serving her community. Though she is not an overnight success, rookz continues to share story in hopes of inspiring others to push through their current circumstances.
So far, she has been featured in The Globe & Mail, ELLE Magazine, The Toronto Star, FLARE and Complex just to name a few. rookz has also partnered with numerous brands such as American Express, Live Nation, Nike, Jordan, Google & YouTube Music.

2019 Schedule

Stay tuned for more information!

2018 Workshops

Dispelling Myths and Incorporating Gender Diversity in the Tech Industry

Given recent societal and legal changes, companies are becoming more aware of and responsive to the needs and issues of transgender employees and customers. This is an emerging area of consideration for the tech industry, especially as companies face and respond to labour shortages. This presentation focuses on defining key terms, issues, and challenges facing transgender people in the workplace. The presenters will also provide workable tools and solutions related to gender diversity, including policies, gender data, communications, benefits, washrooms, and gendered programs. The session is intended to be interactive and informational with practical and inclusive measures to improve employee experiences.

Design Thinking

Design thinking is a key skill in tech across all disciplines.

What you’ll learn: This workshop will give you a foundational understanding of the design thinking mindsets and process (empathizing, defining the problem, ideating, prototyping, testing).

What you’ll do: You will experience the value of working as part of a diverse and cross-discipline group, practice design thinking hands-on, and create and ‘test’ on a preliminary low-fidelity prototype.  

Using Culture to Scale from Start Up to Unicorn

Your company’s culture is created with input from every team member, regardless of position or relationship. Using a Design Thinking Approach, Deanne Harrison, SVP, People & Process at 24-7 Intouch will lead an interactive workshop, exploring how culture and diversity best practices can help you scale while maintaining what makes your company unique.   
You will learn how to: 

  • Create a flexible plan that gives voices and channels for your people to contribute to the culture conversation.
  • Design a scalable strategy that will ensure your team grows stronger together.

Oh Baby! Navigating Parental Leave Policies to Support All Families

Ella Gorevalov, Culture Specialist at Nulogy, and Larissa Holmes, Head of People Operations at Borrowell will discuss implementing inclusive parental leave and parental support policies, and how companies can give consideration to individual needs and diverse family structures.

How to communicate for maximum impact – with minimum stress

This is about providing you with basic techniques for communicating your message clearly to any audience. The tips presented here will work whether you are writing an email, preparing a video or crafting anything from a blog to a major report. You will leave with a better idea of what it takes to communicate clearly, and equipped with the basic tools for getting your message out.

Strategies of a Corporate Ally

How can a company make positive impact externally on the LGBTQ community (hint: it starts at home).

How I Fu*@d Up My Career Twice And Found My Calling In Tech

The path to finding the right job and feeling fulfilled by our careers is less about fitting in into a predetermined narrative and more about living authentically. It starts by knowing and loving who we are, by keeping a pulse on the things that makes us feel most “alive,” and following those signals. In this interview-style session, Jose Sanchez, a gay immigrant with decades of experience in tech and Director of Marketing at Limelight, will explore his journey of epic failures and self-acceptance, how he fast-tracked his current career (and helped others), as well as offer practical steps to make your way forward.

Navigating a global career while LGBTQA+

Best practises, considerations and advice when working and interacting with people outside Canada in a work setting.

Attending Venture Out as an ally? More strategies on how to level up your solidarity

Given your response to our blog post, Venture Out staff wanted to dedicate a space to further explore the topic of allyship and what can look like in a workplace. We’ll also touch on topics about risk, politics, and power dynamics that often feel out of your control. If you’re committed to level up your allyship game, but nervous on how to start or even WHERE to start, this workshop is for you!

Technical Interviews: What You Need To Know

This workshop will focus on tactics and strategies to navigate the world of technical interviews. Topics covered will include mindset, answering difficult questions, common scenarios, study resources, and how to get a into a technical interview in the first place.

Blockchain, Crypto, Bitcoin, oh my! A plain language approach to understanding what this fuss is all about

The aim of this workshop is to spread ideas that can help the general public understand the basic fundamentals of cryptocurrency, how it impacts the economy, its history, and more. Let’s learn together.

Creating an inclusive workplace with Uberflip!

The past year Uberflip has been working to create an inclusive, diverse workplace. Today they share their challenges, successes and tips on how everyone can work towards making their workplaces, schools and lives more inclusive. They’ll also be sharing their resource hub they’ve created to ensure you keep the conversation going.

Journey to a Flexible Career

Are you considering starting or changing to a career in tech or embark on an your own entrepreneurial undertaking? You will be interested in this interactive talk where the speaker will share valuable lessons he learned from following an unconventional career path.

“The panelists were very open and honest…
I appreciated the realness.”

“It was really great to see so many companies in the tech community come out in support of something so important to workplaces and inclusivity.”