By Dolores Montavez-Ruz
“Once Upon a Time…” is how fairy tales begin. Behind the charm of these words lays the prelude to a jolly story that turns gloomy and very quickly falls in desperate need of a hero to slay the dragons and save the day. The tale of how the Women in Trades and Technology (WiTT) app came to be also follows this trajectory of being jolly, gloomy with both dragons and heroes.
It began in 2018 at a meeting where YWCA Toronto Women in Trades and Technology (WiTT) team wanted to remain in contact with the graduates from our training programs. The footprints of the women attending our skilled trades and information technology programs remain with us long after they leave, and so did our need to stay connected, share news and resources, job leads, networking opportunities, and inspirational stories. Our creative juices took us down many paths, and from all the options, we settled on developing an app to build our community, stay relevant and connected. This is where the jolly part of the tale winds down.
The gloomy clouds came in swiftly as we embarked on the journey of creating an engaging app. Our journey was filled with complexity as we quickly realized we could not afford the market fees to have the development of the app outsourced. Even more discouraging was finding our way through a minefield of technical regulations by Android and iOS, the two insatiable dragons in constant battle for the dominion of the mobile app kingdom.
As with any heroine story, there were days when we had to fight the temptation to give up. One day, however, we received a voice message heralding the arrival of our champions. They were three graduates from our Mobile Application Development training program. Some were already working in the field and others had begun their careers but all three women were equally committed to our shared vision of creating an app for our unique community of Skilled Trades and Information Technology learners, partners and employers. An app built by women – who were alumnae of our program – for women interested in technology and the skilled trades – it was perfect. Our fairytale ending was in sight.
Individually, our heroines were great at their craft, but together, they became a creative force that no dragon could withstand. Given our limited resources and lack of experience in the field, it took us almost two years to break down all the barriers and get the WiTT app published by Android and iOS.
Developing the WiTT app was a labour of love as much as it was a commitment to community development. As we now prepare to embark on the new quest of building the app’s community, we are reminded that most tales come to an end celebrating victory and “… living happily ever after.” And that’s exactly how the WiTT App’s tale ends as well.
To download the WiTT app please visit your Google Play or iOS store.
Funding for this project has been provided by the Government of Ontario.
Dolores Montavez- Ruz is the Manager of Women in Skilled Trades & Technology and Newcomer & Refugee Services (JUMP Etobicoke) at YWCA Toronto. She is an entrepreneurial spirit who values creativity, growth and courageous choices. Dolores believes in collaborative, solution focused approaches to developing projects, leading teams, achieving goals, and building engaged communities. Her work is best known for a transparent leadership style and the balance of empathy, purpose and commitment she brings to creating learning communities and supporting women’s advancement in the workplace.