While technology leaders in this country have typically been male, over the past decade Canada has seen a dramatic increase in the number of women who are doing everything from running digital companies to building communities on Twitter. For the next five consecutive Mondays, Trending Tech will shine a spotlight on women who are breaking new ground in the tech industry, from mobile marketers to software evangelists, and beyond.
Melody Adhami, President & COO, Plastic Mobile
If you're ordered pizza from an iPhone app this month, you should probably thank Melody Adhami. As President & COO of Plastic Mobile, she is responsible for the strategic direction of this small but influential mobile agency.
Their hot new app for Pizza Pizza is winning over fans with its easy-to-use ordering functionality, the ability to save favourite orders and a method to track the chain's delivery time commitment.
The iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad download isn't just getting attention north of the border, it was recently nominated for a Webby Award (think the Oscars for the wired crowd). The app is sitting pretty in the Shopping category at the Webbys (the only Canadian nominee in the group), among four others including Target's Android app and Walgreens consumer app.
"Being a woman in the mobile space has its challenges, specifically because I find myself in the minority in most of my daily interactions," says Adhami. "It's unfortunate that the ratio is very skewed between men and women in the mobile industry. The key to overcoming the challenge for me has been to equip myself with knowledge, current mobile trends and the confidence to prove that I deserve the same respect and belong in this industry."
Adhami has been with Plastic Mobile since its launch in 2007. Aside from spicing up the pizza world, she has also worked on apps for news outlets and pharmaceutical companies. Her company recently collaborated with agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky to launch a mobile game for Axe Twist, a fragrance from Unilever. However, her main focus for 2011 is making it easy for anyone to expand into the mobile space.
Plastic Mobile is working on a platform called Joomo, which enables any content creator to build an app for free, with ad support. Essentially, a blogger or website owner will be able to push an RSS feed or website copy into the mobile-making tool. The software's potential is vast: imagine turning something such as app creation into a simple task, accessible to the masses.
Adhami is just one of many women across the country shaping our mobile future, including Canadian Lisa Bettany selling a whopping two million Camera+ downloads or PR whiz Dee Jones churning out apps that have been downloaded almost three million times.
"My plans for the future involve encouraging and mentoring more women to enter the mobile space in order to build a more unified and equal environment," says Adhami.
"Hopefully Plastic Mobile can aid in nurturing that kind of environment and the intimidation will lessen over time. I would love to see more women leaders in this industry."