Nominated anonymously, Clara was surprised when she found out she won. “It is always a happy surprise when you are recognized for your hard work,” she said. “But I was sincerely honoured to be chosen amongst 50 incredible IT leaders from global companies such as Google, Microsoft, Salesforce, Blackberry, State Street, eBay, T-Mobile, Oracle, Facebook, Xerox and IBM, just to name a few. There is no shortage of female entrepreneurs, but there are not many female entrepreneurs in the technology space. I think this is another factor in my selection as one of the Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Technology.”
Clara’s firm Next Pathway Inc. is doing leading-edge work in the field of cloud computing. “We are solving some of the biggest technical challenges in this field,” she said, “which is the translation and migration of legacy code and data to cloud architectures. We have seven patents in this area, and I am so proud of the fact that our technology is all home-grown in Canada.”
On seeing a trend of more women in technology lately, which she finds encouraging, she notes, “I see it at our own firm, and nothing makes me happier than when we hire a qualified woman to work at Next Pathway,” she said. “I’ve also seen more women with higher levels of education in technology such as PhDs and Masters degrees.”
The field of technology is changing quickly and this change is now blending many different fields together. “The field of ‘technology’ has changed a great deal,” she said. “Partly because technology is so essential and integral to business and to our day-to-day lives. And, as a result, we see that this field is no longer defined by pure coding, but also by software design, the user experience and the economics of conducting business online. Even the legal field is influenced by the movement and emphasis that technology plays in our lives. There is this incredible melding of science, art, computing and design that is happening now. This opens the technology field for so much more than simply writing code, [and] into disciplines that shape the way people work, play and live. It is a super exciting time to be in technology.”
What does Clara think are the most important qualities to foster in young women so they feel confident being leaders?
“The traditional ideas of a ‘leader’ are being redefined,” she said. “The best leaders in my opinion are subtle and thoughtful in their guidance, and have the confidence to influence people without dictating. In my opinion, important qualities for young girls include self-awareness, self- respect, empathy, curiosity, good judgement, and gratitude. And of course, a healthy dose of competitiveness, fearlessness, and the desire to be great.”
When reflecting on why she chose Branksome Hall for her daughter, it was her observation of the way the students felt while being at school.
“When my husband and I were considering schools for our daughter, I remember walking through the halls of the Junior School during our tour,” she said. “I was so impressed with the confidence of the young girls; how happy they were to be in school and how relaxed the environment felt. I looked at my husband and said, ‘This is what I want our daughter to be.’ Fast forward nine years later, and we are thrilled with our experience at Branksome. It is truly a remarkable place to nurture, educate and develop young women into future world leaders. I am very grateful to Branksome and so very hopeful about the future of the girls that attend Branksome Hall.”