Growing Canada’s Tech Talent


Thursday, November 8

2:40 – 3:30 pm

Gold / Silver Room

Plenary Session

Growing Canada’s Tech Talent From Inside and Out

There is no question that a country’s ability to be globally competitive is now reliant on the innovation and tech skills of its population. For Canada to keep up, in all sectors, we need to develop a highly skilled, talented, and adaptive workforce to diversify our economy. This means not only attracting outside talent, but also building up the skill sets of existing students and workers.

But with national technology program enrollment not at the level we need it to be, and the allure of higher salaries (and warmer climates) abroad, how can Canadian institutions compete? And even with all this in place, how do we ensure we are targeting the right skill sets for the future?

In this panel, representatives from tech industry, higher learning, government, and business incubators will share ideas on ways to expand the country’s skills pool, as well as identify the hidden talents already within our organizations.


Barb Carra
Chief Operating Officer, Cybera

With a background in multidisciplinary research, spatial statistics and data modeling, Dr. Barb Carra brings a decade of experience in data analytics, ICT policy and strategic guidance to Cybera. She spearheaded the development of the policy and strategic initiatives team at Cybera, and elevated the company’s involvement in ICT advocacy. She sits on the Government of Alberta's Talent Advisory Council on Technology.

Solange Gagnebin
Data Scientist, Stream Technologies Inc.

Solange Gagnebin is an experienced scientific project manager and young entrepreneur. She co-founded High Level Analytics in 2014, a consulting company which uses predictive modelling and deep learning to enable faster and more informed decision making. Taking a sabbatical from her company, she joined the team of Stream Technologies in 2017 to support the development of a deep learning engine for hyper-spectral images. Solange holds a Ph.D. in Physics from ETH Zurich, Switzerland.

Heather Herring
Principal, Make It So Inc.

Heather is a professional engineer who has worked in the oil and gas sectors, and in real estate development for private companies, public companies, and academia. Her expertise includes natural gas processing, oil sands mining, thermal recovery methods, and partial upgrading. Most recently, she was manager of research and technology for Total E&P Canada and manager of innovation for Laricina Energy where she led teams evaluating and testing new technologies. She is the chair of the board of TECTERRA and a board member with Innovate Calgary, and holds an MBA from the University of Calgary.

Tracey Johnson
Industry Workforce Partnerships Officer, Alberta Labour

Tracey Johnson, CD, BSc, is an Industry Workforce Partnerships Officer with Alberta Labour. She is the provincial lead for workforce planning in IT and Tech. She partners with industry associations, large, provincial employers and other industry stakeholders to develop innovative and timely projects to address current and future workforce needs.

Sheila LeBlanc
Director, Continuing Education, University of Calgary

Dr. Sheila LeBlanc, DBA, has a wealth of industry training and academic program development experience from the first wave of telecoms’ transition from voice to data technologies, as a talent development consultant and as an academic educator. She is committed to leading the conversation regarding continuing education’s role in building a robust pipeline of adaptable tech talent by leveraging big data to inform future programming decisions, mobilizing knowledge to help build an adaptable and skilled workforce, and supporting a coordinated effort between government, post-secondary institutions and industry to drive the diversification of Alberta’s and Canada’s economies.