Meet Tutu Joy Ilelaboye, Chapter Lead at Canada Learning Code (Toronto, Canada)

July 1, 2020

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Tutu Joy Ilelaboye’s biography

Tutu Joy Ilelaboye is a Chapter Lead at Canada Learning Code, a national non-profit organization that delivers tech education for youth and adults. She runs the Toronto Digital Skills for Beginners program where adult participants learn code and web development skills, including HTML, CSS, JQuery, SEO, Design, and UX.

Tutu is also a project manager with 10+ years of digital production and client services experience. She has managed diverse geographically dispersed teams, including UX, design, copy, and dev to execute builds for mobile (web + app) and desktop. As a project manager, Tutu has led the delivery of best-in-class digital solutions for companies like Jeep and Citibank, along with managing internal and external client relationships. You can learn more about her here: http://www.22inspired.com/hackeryouprojectresponsive 

 

Why did you get into STEM? 

My passion for all things digital began when I was in high school where I learned to code and built my first website. I turned my interest in the world wide web into a career that includes work for the tech & digital media industry’s leading organizations, including Critical Mass, Amazon, Huffington Post + AOL + Yahoo!, Toronto Star, Virgin Mobile, and Microsoft.

 

What do you consider your greatest achievements? 

At Huffington Post + AOL + Yahoo!, I was recognized as a company Builder with a “Raise The Bar” award based on exemplifying the core company value of breaking routine and redefining what is possible. My work at Toronto Star earned me recognition for excellence in managing and delivering projects.

I have significant experience in both the corporate and non-profit space. My non-profit work includes strategic leadership across digital literacy, adult literacy and professional mentorship with development organizations.

 

What challenges have you faced as a woman in STEM and how did you overcome them? 

In STEM, there is often a lack of diversity, inclusion and representation for people who come from underrepresented groups. As a woman who codes and as someone of African descent, I am passionate about diversifying tech by encouraging girls, women, and other underrepresented groups to explore opportunities in tech & digital. I started volunteering as a Mentor with Girls Learning Code, Kids Learning Code, Teens Learning Code and Ladies Learning Code in 2013. In July 2018, I took on a strategic role at Canada Learning Code as Chapter Lead, managing the Digital Skills for Beginners program in Toronto.

 

What is your advice to budding women in STEM?

For budding women in STEM, my advice for overcoming barriers includes engaging in lifelong learning, volunteering, networking/relationship building, and mentorship. Professional and personal development has provided the knowledge, experience, confidence, and connections/contacts I needed to build my career. Additionally, I advise aspiring STEM professionals to be diligent, reliable, honest, respectful, fair and kind at work. I must also add that you should advocate for yourself – you are your own best champion!. As you climb the career ladder, reach back to help others coming up behind you. I embrace the Shine Theory (www.shinetheory.com) because when we lift each other up, we collectively shine.

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