Introducing Together, our new year-round volunteer organization shaping a more inclusive digital community.

Together logo

We’re so grateful for all of your support over the years and are thrilled to announce Together, our new organization name and identity that brings together all our year-round initiatives made possible by the money raised at our HoHoTO events, sponsorship, and our other events.

HoHoTO has been our trademark name since 2008, but with year round initiatives that shape a more inclusive digital community, we need to bring all these efforts Together, and move away from being seen as just a holiday party.

HoHoTO will remain as the name of our annual holiday party, bringing our great community of influencers and doers together in support of the YWCA Toronto’s Girls’ Centre and our other year-round initiatives.

Save the date: HoHoTO is back December 8, 2017

HoHoTO Dance Moves

On December 8, 2017, HoHoTO is back in full effect! A night of celebration, food, drinks, fellowship and donations towards the YWCA Toronto’s Girls’ Centre, this annual holiday party is one to marker. Clear your evening schedule and join us at the Mod Club Theatre from 7:30pm to 1:30am.

Women in STEM: engineer and project manager Staphesa Richards

As a child, Staphesa Richards had always been a big fan of the TV series, Transformers, but it wasn’t until she saw engineers working on hydroelectric plants in Niagara Falls that she knew engineering was a profession in which she wanted to work.

In high school, her math teacher—who trained as an electrical engineer—told her that she wasn’t fit for engineering. Though one might think this discouraged her to shy away from her dream, Staphesa instead took this comment as a challenge she would gladly meet.

“If you don’t pursue (your dreams), you won’t figure out the best of yourself…”

So she decided to pursue a career in engineering.

During the fours years of her program in electrical engineering at Queen’s University, Staphesa discovered her gift of communication and project management. After graduating, she found a position at a small consulting firm that specialized in construction engineering. Here, she grew a particular interest in building and planning for projects. This prompted her to transfer her career focus, later becoming a project manager for a construction company.

Today, Staphesa is a project manager for Industrial Electrical Contractors. Her day-to-day responsibilities require ongoing communication between teams on projects, whether emailing clients, or holding meetings with her team, suppliers, and distributors, all to ensure the success of these complicated endeavours.

On women in STEM

As she began pursuing her STEM-related career, Staphesa was surprised by the scarce representation of women in her field.

At Queen’s “there were only five women out of a class of 40,” she said, “Since you are a female, you find as if it is thought you have to push that much harder and demonstrate or prove that you are knowledgeable in the field that you work in,” said Richards.

She encourages young women to stay the course, chasing after their goals and dreams relentlessly, even if it means they encounter obstacles along the way.

“I would never recommend, suggest, or tell women or anyone to limit themselves based on the idea that something is hard. In any and every field that you go into, there are obstacles that you’re going to have to face and challenges that you’ll have to overcome,” she said. “You can’t run away from the board meetings and the communication meetings, otherwise, you won’t learn how to deal with it.”

“I would never recommend, suggest, or tell women or anyone to limit themselves based on the idea that something is hard.”

~ Staphesa Richards

Harassment is one of many obstacles some women in STEM face.

As sensitive and intolerable as this topic is, Staphesa encourages women to avoid stagnancy, never allowing these tendencies to shy them away from their passions.

“Women are not islands.”

As a way of addressing the negative stigma around women in STEM, Staphesa says that women should make the effort to be more honest and open so that younger women can enter into the field more prepared.

Staphesa is doing her part through personal mentorship with young women. She also tutors math students.

“If you’re open and honest, maybe the girls who are deciding to go into these fields can make more well-informed decisions around it and create environments that aren’t unbearable for the next generation.”

Stay tuned for our next installation of Women in STEM with Camille Mitchell.

Disrupting with Digital June 20 2017, with a focus on organizational change

Disrupting with Digital photo.

With digital transformation a driving force for change in organizations, Disrupting with Digital is a must-attend event to get your organization up-to-date with organizational capabilities and improving customer experience.

We’ve partnered with Say Yeah and Eighty-Eight to host an inclusive professional event series which highlights enterprise organization efforts to realize the impact of digital transformation.

Join us June 20, 2017 at Soho House Toronto from 8:00am to 10:00am

Join us for a networking breakfast, keynote talk about the burning platform for transformation & change within a big organization with Lauren Ledwell, and a panel discussion about overcoming challenges with organizational change.

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Following the keynote will be a panel featuring:

Erika Bailey, Innovation Designer, The Moment

Shelisa Bainbridge, President, PointPath Canada; Agile Coach, Agile by Design

Anne Matthews, Director and Lead, Business Readiness, Ontario Digital Service at Ontario Government

HoHoTO’s co-chair, Lee Dale, will lead a panel discussion on overcoming challenges with organizational change.

Location

The Disrupting with Digital breakfast event will be held at the Soho House Toronto (192 Adelaide St W, Toronto at University Ave and Adelaide St W) from 8:00am to 10:00am on June 20, 2017.

Ticket and community support

Tickets are $49 each with revenue going towards HoHoTO and YWCA Toronto’s Girls’ Centre.

An inclusive professional event

We are focused on making this an inclusive and accessible event, highlighting top professionals across a variety of backgrounds, including women, people of colour, and members of the LGBTQ community.

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We encourage you to purchase your tickets as soon as possible as this event is in high demand and is expected to sell out! Tickets will cover admission, breakfast, and proceeds will contribute to HoHoTO and YWCA Toronto’s Girls’ Centre.

Buy tickets