Leah Elzinga’s life changed forever this year when her husband died after a tragic farming accident. After weeks in hospital, he was taken off life support on Valentine’s Day.
“It destroyed me, but the love of community has brought me back,” she says. “And I’m more dedicated than ever to making this world one my girls deserve to live in.”
For Elzinga, that’s a world where the technology industry welcomes women and girls and those with money and influence lift up others who are struggling — because it wasn’t so long ago she was in that position herself.
In 2013, Elzinga lived in a small Alberta town, a mother of two young children and a self- described “two-time college dropout” with no clear professional future, until she attended a six-hour coding workshop for women run by Canada Learning Code.
Over the next several years, Elzinga went from being in the Canada Learning Code class to the force behind the largest National Girls Learning Code Day event in Canada for three years in a row.
“I talk to so many women who feel they’re becoming irrelevant. But they’re brilliant and they just need some direction. They hear ‘technology industry’ and they dismiss it because they assume that only means ‘coder.’”
She is not a coder herself, but she successfully straddles the worlds of technology and people at ATB Financial, linking developers with clients and ensuring each side understands the needs of the other.
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“I’m a problem solver and people will always be the most fascinating problem to solve; you’ll never uncover a more complex puzzle. And where it’s interesting is when you layer on technology.”