She-TO Boost: Sharn, COO

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The tech industry is vibrant and growing, yet we still don’t hear that much about everyday women working in tech. We felt it was important to share the experiences of all the wonderful women we work with and their careers in the tech industry this far.  This is the first instalment of our new blog series, She-TO Boost!

We’re thrilled to introduce Sharn, our beloved COO! Vigorous and dynamic, she lives for equipping businesses with game changing data, to work it harder, better, faster, stronger. Sharn is a powerhouse in Toronto’s tech scene – in addition to steering the ship at CTO Boost, she’s the Director of Startup Grind Toronto. Our team know she is the nicest person in the world, but we all know she would wipe the floor with us in a rap battle. 

What inspired you to get into tech? 

Starting out as a way to provide efficiency, scalability and consistency to the world of manufacturing and transportation, technology has exponentially evolved to connect people, systems and ideologies.    Technology has broken barriers and as it grows and develops it gives opportunities to those who wouldn’t otherwise have them.   Technology is life-changing and inspiring, but also a great equalizer –when used in that manner. 

If there was a such thing as a “typical day” in tech, what would it look like for you? 

The ‘typical’ day is one of surprises and unexpected twists and turns – which is how we stay sharp and on our toes!  If there is one constant, it is that we are always solving problems… BIG $&!# Problems.   

What was your first job in tech?

My first experience in tech was as a technical support representative for an internet service provider.  I was 20 years old and helping consumers troubleshoot their internet connections, set up email addresses etc. Not a dream job by any means but at that age, I did learn about communicating concepts that are foreign to individuals in a way that educates them and empowers them. 

What has been the most unexpected thing about working in tech?

I don’t think I fully understood at the beginning how quickly technology evolves and how quickly the most innovative solutions become obsolete.  

When you’re not COOing, what do you enjoy doing? 

Anything creative gives me a balance.  I love to sing, paint, dance and laugh with family and friends. Also, a little more sleep would be nice. 

Do you think that being female has impacted your role in tech? 

I’m sure there have been blockages along the way but in all honesty, I haven’t looked back to think about where my gender may have limited my progress.  Each individual has their own strengths and there are some characteristics that are stronger in males over females but at the end of the day, capability is what matters. I’m currently actively working with some amazing women both at CTO Boost and in external organizations to further the growth of females in the technology space.  That is something that I have a responsibility for. 

What do you think women bring to tech? (i.e. why do we need more women in tech?) 

It’s important to have more women in the field today so there will be more girls growing into these roles tomorrow.  Women and Men approach problems differently and while it’s not just about gender specifically, we want to ensure that those women who want to be in a tech-focused careers, feel that they can be and that they are supported. 

What would be the music soundtrack for your life?  

Eminem Lose Yourself.  The opportunities come, we have to let go of the fear and just get it done.

Follow Sharn and her startup adventures on twitter! @gursharn