Alicia Close, 28
FOUNDER AND CEO
WOMEN IN TECH WORLD
Life Story: Alicia Close has loved math since she was a child, when her father, a self-employed financial adviser, would have her solve tough problems during car rides. Close, who was born in North Vancouver and raised near Toronto, earned a BBA from Wilfrid Laurier University, majoring in finance and international business. She began her career in 2011 at mutual fund firm AGF Investments in Toronto, working with international clients on the reporting side. “What I always look at and lean toward is looking at the data to see how it can help and how it can make an impact,” Close says.
She returned to Vancouver in 2015 to join global identity and business verification outfit Trulioo, helping to build its data team and managing customer support. The following year, she and Elena Yugai founded non-profit advocacy group Women in Tech World (WiTWorld) and launched Women in Tech Week, which grew to seven cities in 2017. The event was a success, but Close saw a knowledge gap: data about female participation in the tech sector was from the U.S. “[I] wanted to focus on understanding what was happening in Canada to support women further,” she recalls.
So in late 2017, WiTWorld assembled more than 150 volunteers, and Close and COO Melanie Ewan embarked on a national tour in a 1991 Winnebago. In two months, they held community conversations with some 1,600 female and male Canadians. “It’s such a wide landscape but quite a small tech community,” says Close, who also works as a data consultant.
Bottom Line: Last October, WiTWorld released Canada’s Gender Equity Roadmap, a report focusing on the five major barriers faced by women in tech, the resources available to them and an action plan for change. It followed that study with a similar report for B.C. This year, the group will launch virtual peer-to-peer mentoring for women across the country, and there are plans for a Netherlands tour.