Founded in 2011 as Island Women in Technology, the groups initial mission was to offer a positive and supportive environment where women who worked in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) could connect and build a community. A common concern from members of the group was that they felt like the “other” at work. The goal was to counter that and help women flourish and grow their networks, careers and personal skills.
In 2016 the decision was made by an ad hoc committee to change the name to include science since so many members were active in research, academic and corporate science roles.
Today there are over 400 women who subscribe to the iWIST event invitation email newsletter. iWIST hosts networking and professional development events six times a year. The locations and themes vary but the core function is always building the women in STEM community on Vancouver Island. On October 31, 2016 iWIST was granted official status as a not for profit society by the British Columbia government and a new Board of Directors was created. The directors were iWIST founders Janet Sime and Jenifer Chilcott, the serving Chair Robyn Quinn and Andrea Buttterworth. Great events will always be the heart and soul of what makes iWIST such a solid success – from the annual fun events like our holiday breakfast and the Geeky Girls Patio Party to the many impressive professional development initiatives : Best Advice I Ever Ignored CEOs Panel, Leading the Way conference and so many more.
As the STEM sector continues to grow and more jobs are created – iWIST wants to be there to support and encourage the women who work in STEM.