Technology, Innovation, and Equity
Join Lawrence Eta, Chief Technology Officer, City of Toronto, Beth Coleman, University of Toronto, Caroline Grammer, Seneca College and Paolo Granata, University of Toronto as they discuss how academia, government and industry can work together to understand and address the barriers faced by equity deserving groups in accessing and benefiting from technology and innovation.
Dean, Seneca Innovation, Seneca Polytechnic
Ben Rogers has primary accountability for facilitating and growing a culture of innovation at Seneca. He is responsible for building and aligning the mission, vision and strategic directions for Seneca Innovation with Seneca’s overall strategic direction and priorities. He leads collaborative efforts with Seneca faculties and departments to execute on the mission and, as Dean, Seneca Innovation, is responsible for developing and nurturing relationships within the innovation ecosystem including all levels of government and their agencies, national and provincial college and polytechnic associations, other postsecondary institutions and strategic industry partners.
Rogers is an industry-academic partnerships leader with over 15 years of experience in strategic planning, developing innovation partnerships and building high-performance teams. He holds a master of business, entrepreneurship and technology degree and a bachelor of science (biology and business), both from the University of Waterloo.
Dr. Beth Coleman
Associate Professor of Data & Cities, Institute of Communication, Culture, Information and Technology and Faculty of Information, University of Toronto
Dr. Beth Coleman researches experimental digital media, and specializes in race theory, game culture, and literary studies. She is currently working on two books and has previously published Hello Avatar: Rise of the Networked Generation, a critically acclaimed examination of the many modes of online identity and how users live on the continuum between virtual and the real. Dr. Coleman has also curated numerous art exhibitions and media installations within North America and in Europe. Her current research investigates aspects of human narrative and digital data in the engagement of global cities, including aspects of locative media/mobile media and smart cities.
Chief Technology Officer, Technology Services Division, City of Toronto
Lawrence Eta serves as the Chief Technology Officer for the City of Toronto. Over the span of his career, he has been involved in a wide range of technology industries, holding various senior leadership positions including Global Director of Customer Success within the Internet of Things (IOT) sector; Vice President of Technical Architecture and Director of Business Technology Solutions for an international business process outsourcing organization; and Director of Information Services for one of Canada's top 60 pension and benefits plans. He holds a successful track record of leading large transformative business and technology initiatives.
Mr. Eta is a TEDx speaker and one of the founding members of Coalition of Innovation Leaders against Racism (CILAR). He is a passionate advocate of diversity and inclusion, creating equity and prosperity for communities. He has served on not-for-profit boards and sponsors STEM-related inclusion and diversity initiatives.
Professor, Faculty of Applied Arts & Sciences, School of Community Services, Seneca Polytechnic
Caroline Grammer is a Professor at Seneca Polytechnic in the Faculty of Applied Arts & Sciences, School of Community Services. She has also been cross-appointed to the Social Service Worker – Gerontology diploma program and the Honours Bachelor of Therapeutic Recreation program since 2005. She has an Honours Bachelor of Psychology degree (with neuroscience focus and biomedical ethics) from the University of Toronto, a Bachelor of Social Work degree from the University of Victoria, and a Master of Social Work degree from the University of British Columbia.
Grammer has been a practicing psychotherapist for the past 20 years, working with individuals, families, and couples using cognitive behavioural therapy with focus on trauma, depression, anxiety, grief, and geriatric and caregiver issues. She has also been a gerontechnology consultant (one of Canada’s few) for the past 25 years while engaged with global think-tanks on how technology can allow for aging in place. Grammer designs and implements studies to test industry-developed technology with older adults and runs clinical trials on medical-grade technology that assists older adults in maintaining or improving their mobility and independence.
Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator of Book & Media Studies
St. Michael's College, University of Toronto
Paolo Granata is an educator, innovator, and a cross-disciplinary media scholar. With an over 20-year academic career in research, teaching, and public engagement, he has held positions at the University of Bologna, the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna and Turin, and recently at the University of Toronto.
In 2019, Granata founded the Media Ethics Lab, a research hub that studies the ways in which digital media practices and emerging technologies are marked by ethical issues and decisive political, societal, and cultural questions. Serving since 2018 as a board member of the Executive Committee at the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, Granata’s advocacy efforts are focused on digital equity and digital sustainability, to explore the potential that information and communication technologies hold for enacting positive social change.