By Clarissa Evans
Dr. Laurelle Jno Baptiste is a Canadian technology entrepreneur who has broken through many glass ceilings. You could say she left a trail of shattered glass – immigrant, woman of colour in leadership, woman entrepreneur, woman in technology – just to name a few.
Under Laurelle’s leadership as co-founder and COO, ScholarLab is now one of North America’s leading developers of online learning and conferencing solutions for organizations across the continent.
Hugely successful in every right and a leader on all fronts, Dr. Jno Baptiste is now on a unique sort of mission.
Call her a trendsetter, a champion for change.
You see, Laurelle was born in Dominica – an island of 70,000 located in the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean Sea. Because of her own life experiences she has set her sights on creating a movement. It is a movement that will see more women of colour entering the science and technology profession—becoming leaders and influencers who make a difference.
While many women have overcome the barriers that have long existed in science, technology and entrepreneurship, Dr.Jno Baptiste believes there is still much more work to be done for all women, in particular women of colour, to level the playing field in these male dominated spaces.
As a successful woman in science and technology, Dr. Jno Baptiste still remains a minority in her field—something she is passionate about changing.
“I have always been the minority in my technology classes and in technology and entrepreneurship overall. This is why I am now advocating for more women leaders in science and technology,” says Dr. Jno Baptiste. “Most importantly, I am advocating for more women of colour so that they too can make a difference, help create change, and have a prosperous future.”
For example, numerous statistics from Canada and the US have placed black women in science and technology at numbers that are well below the national average.
So, how does Dr. Jno Baptiste plan on getting more women of colour involved in Science and Technology?
Her plan involves more visibility in the media for women of colour. In addition, educating, mentoring young women, and promoting the cause through a variety of channels with other leading organizations (government, corporate, and higher education institutions), as well as through mass and social media.
“Addressing the need for more women of colour will get people talking,” she says. “This is a tall order as so much work needs to be done, but it’s a cause I am passionate about and I am determined to bring more positive change to our industry.”
Dr. Jno Baptiste has a Bachelor of Computer Information Systems as well as a Masters and Doctorate in Education.
ScholarLab has implemented online learning platforms for some of the largest associations in North America, including the Canadian Mental Health Association- Ontario division, the American Pharmacists Association, the Iowa State Bar, and the National Association of Bar Executives – among many others. ScholarLab’s Adaptable Learning Desktop (ALD) is a patent-pending, mobile friendly platform for creating webinars, webcasts, online conferences, workshops and self-directed online courses. ScholarLab is accessed by almost a million learners in more than 50 countries.
Dr. Jno Baptiste has won numerous awards for technology and innovation.She is an advisor to educational institutions and technology associations worldwide, such as advisor to Canadian Women in Technology (CanWIT) and acting Membership Committee Chair for the Open Courseware Consortium. Last year she was awarded with Canada’s Pioneer for Change Award (Outstanding Entrepreneur) and also selected as one of Canada’s top women in technology.
She adds, “It’s time for change and it’s time for more women of colour to bring their talents and leadership to the science, technology and entrepreneurship sectors. Change is never easy, but I know through my efforts and with the help of others change will happen…persistence is the only way.”