IEEE International Conference on Communications
14-23 June 2021 // Virtual / Montreal
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Although LIVE events are now over, registrants will continue to have access to recorded sessions until the end of July. Registration is still open.


“Women In Engineering: The Journey Continues”

14 June 2021

Time: 10:00-12:45 (GMT-4)


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Sonia Aïssa, INRS (IEEE WIE Montreal, Founder)


Maïté Brandt-Pearce, University of Virginia (ComSoc WICE, Chair)


Manishika Agaskar, MIT


10:00 AM - 10:05 AM (GMT-4)

Opening - Vincent Chan, IEEE ComSoc President

10:05 AM - 10:25 AM (GMT-4)

Keynote: “Mind the Gap: Why the World Needs Women Engineers”

Gina Parvaneh Cody, Former Executive Chair & Principal Shareholder of CCI Group Inc.

Gina Parvaneh Cody

Dr. Gina Parvaneh Cody immigrated to Canada from Iran in 1979.

Dr. Cody holds a master’s and a doctorate in building engineering from Concordia University. She was the first woman awarded a PhD in building engineering at Concordia. Dr. Cody has more than 30 years of professional practice in the private sector as a professional engineer, corporate executive and principal shareholder of an engineering firm. Dr. Cody has provided professional engineering services to some of Canada’s largest Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), financial institutions, builders and developers. 

Dr. Cody served the Professional Engineers of Ontario (PEO) for more than 15 years as a member of the Discipline Committee and eight years as chair of the Professional Practice Committee. Dr. Cody was granted the Certificate of Fellowship and the Award of Honor by PEO. Dr. Cody is also a recipient of the Award of Merit by the Canadian Standards Association. Dr. Cody was awarded the Order of Montreal in 2019 and was named one of the Top 25 Women of Influence in Canada in 2020. In December 2020, she was appointed Member of the Order of Canada.

Dr. Cody serves on the board of trustees of the Canadian Apartment Properties REIT and the European Residential REIT.  She is a member of the Board of Governors, the Governance Committee and chair of the Real Estate Planning Committee and the chair of the Gina Cody School Advisory Board. She is also the co-chair of the Campaign for Concordia, the university’s most ambitious fundraising initiative ever. Dr. Cody has been a Fellow in the Canadian Academy of Engineering since 2019.

In 2018, Dr. Cody made an historic $15 million gift to Concordia University's Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science. In honour of her professional accomplishments and her generosity, the faculty was renamed the Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science. It is the first engineering faculty in Canada, and one of the first internationally, named after a woman.

Dr. Cody lives in Toronto with her husband, a retired banker. The couple have two daughters; one completed her law degree and the other a doctoral degree in engineering.


10:25 AM - 10:30 AM (GMT-4)

Q&A for Keynote Speaker

Theme 1: How to Open More Doors for Women In Engineering?

10:30 AM - 10:45 AM (GMT-4)

Talk: “The State of Women in Engineering”

Karen Horting, Executive Director & CEO, Society of Women Engineers

Karen Horting

Karen Horting, CAE, is Executive Director & CEO for the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), a 42,000 member organization founded in 1950. SWE is the driving force that establishes engineering as a highly desirable career aspiration for women.

With more than 25 years of experience in sales, marketing, and fund development, Ms. Horting came to SWE in March 2004 from the New York Academy of Sciences where she served as Director of Strategic Planning, overseeing the Academy’s development activities and long-range organizational planning. Prior to NYAS, Ms. Horting worked at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) managing both marketing and fund development on a global level for Science’s Next Wave, a ground-breaking career development website for graduate students and postdocs in STEM.  Her previous experience also includes more than ten years in the paint industry.

Prior to her appointment as Executive Director & CEO, she served as SWE’s Director of Fund Development from March 2004 through July 2006 and Deputy Executive Director from August 2006 through December 2013.

Ms. Horting has a BS in Biology from Northern Illinois University.  And she earned her MBA from Johns Hopkins University.  In May 2008, Ms. Horting earned her Certified Association Executive (CAE) credential from the CAE Commission of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE).

She currently serves on the FIRST Robotics Board of Directors, the STEM Ed Coalition Board of Directors, the Leadership Circle of the 50K Coalition and the Johns Hopkins Carey School of Business Dean’s Alumni Advisory Board (DAAB). In 2019 she received the Association Forum’s Inspiring Leader award.


10:45 AM - 11:00 AM (GMT-4)

Talk: “Advancing Diversity and Inclusion in IEEE Technical Activities”

Dalma Novak, VP of Engineering, Octane Wireless

Dalma Novak

Dalma Novak is VP of Engineering at Octane Wireless (formerly Pharad, LLC) where she develops high-performance RF-over-fiber technologies. She received the degrees of Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical) with First Class Honors and PhD from the University of Queensland, Australia, in 1987 and 1992, respectively. Prior to co-founding Pharad in 2004, she spent 12 years as a Professor and Chair of Telecommunications in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at The University of Melbourne, Australia. From June 2001 – December 2003 she was a Technical Section Lead at Dorsál Networks, Inc. and later at Corvis Corporation where she led cross-disciplinary R&D teams developing hardware for long-haul transmission systems.  From July 2000 to January 2001 Dr. Novak was a Visiting Researcher in the Department of Electrical Engineering at UCLA, and at the Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, DC. Her research interests include microwave photonics, fiber-radio systems, wireless technologies, and optical communications. She has published more than 300 papers in these areas, including seven book chapters. In 2007 she was elected to the grade of IEEE Fellow for her contributions to enabling technologies for the implementation of fiber-radio systems. In 2018 she received the IEEE Photonics Society Engineering Achievement Award.

Dalma is a lifelong IEEE volunteer and especially passionate about STEM and diversity outreach. As President of the IEEE Photonics Society in 2014, she strengthened the Society’s diversity mission through the initiation of the Women in Photonics program. She is the 2021–2022 Chair of the IEEE Technical Activities Board (TAB) Committee on Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) which is responsible for ensuring that TAB policies, procedures, and practices are conducive to creating and maintaining a diverse and inclusive environment that is valuable for all members. She is also Director of IEEE Division X for 2021– 2022. Dalma was a keynote speaker at the 2017 IEEE WIE Forum USA East and in 2018 authored an IEEE-USA Women in Engineering e-book entitled “Seeing the Light – My Career in Engineering”. 


11:00 AM - 11:05 AM (GMT-4)

Q&A for Theme 1

Theme 2: Career Growth Opportunities for Women In Engineering

11:05 AM - 11:35 AM (GMT-4)

Talk: “Women Engineers in Academia: an Obstacle Race to Success”

Nuria González Prelcic, Associate Professor, North Carolina State University

Nuria González Prelcic

Dr. González Prelcic received her Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering in 2000 from the University of Vigo, Spain. She joined the faculty at NC State as an Associate Professor in 2020. She was previously an Associate Professor in the Signal Theory and Communications Department at the University of Vigo, Spain, and also hold visiting positions at the University of Texas at Austin and the University of New Mexico. She was also the founding director of the Atlantic Research Center for Information and Communication Technologies (atlanTTic) at the University of Vigo (2008-2017). She is an Editor for IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications. She is an elected member of the IEEE Sensor Array and Multichannel Technical Committee.

Her main research interests include signal processing theory and signal processing and machine learning for wireless communications: filter banks, compressive sampling and estimation, multicarrier modulation, massive MIMO, MIMO processing for millimeter-wave communication and sensing, including vehicle-to-everything (V2X), air-to-everything (A2X) and LEO satellite communication. She is also interested in joint positioning and communication, joint sensing and communication, radar signal processing, radar and communications co-existence, multi-vehicle sensor fusion and autonomous navigation. She has published more than 80 papers in the topic of signal processing for millimeter-wave communications, including a highly cited tutorial published in the IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Signal Processing which has received the 2020 IEEE SPS Donald G. Fink Overview Paper Award.


Talk: “The Importance of Women Leaders in the Industry”

Sabrina Nirchi, Manager Technology Strategy, TELUS

Sabrina Nirchi

Sabrina Nirchi holds a bachelor of computer engineering and is a progressive leader with a wide range of experience in the Telecommunications industry. She has led a variety of teams in system design, wireless network integration, customer network support and operations. In 2019, her innovation program at TELUS delivered over $6M in business process improvements, and in 2020 she helped launch a corporate wide innovation challenge to identify TELUS initiatives to help Canadians through the pandemic, helping propel TELUS as a leader in the fight against Covid-19.

Sabrina’s strength is leadership and leading teams to successful outcomes. She offers extensive experience leading multi-cultural and multi-disciplinary teams fortifying strong working relationships with her colleagues and stakeholders. In 2017 she was selected for the TELUS Leadership training program to further develop those skills. Her current focus is leading high potential new graduates to success through the TELUS Graduate Technology Leadership Program where she also leads the team’s diversity program, helping bring awareness to many facets of issues affecting diversity today with a keen emphasis on women in STEM.  She is passionate about paving the way for future women leaders and is committed to leading initiatives to help them succeed.


11:35 AM - 11:50 AM (GMT-4)

Talk: “IEEE Fellow and Other Recognition Programs – How Are Women Doing?”

Stefano Galli, Chief Scientist, Perspecta Labs

Stefano Galli

Stefano Galli received his Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Rome “La Sapienza” (Italy) in 1998. Since 2021 he is a Chief Scientist in the Wireless & Optical Department of Perspecta Labs, New Jersey. Past positions include various technical leadership positions in Huawei’s Wireless R&D Lab, ASSIA, Panasonic Corporation; Senior Scientist at Bellcore; and consulting roles for ERDF and STR.

He has been very active in standardization, submitting numerous contributions to a variety of Standards Developing Organizations on power line communications, smart grid communications, and xDSL/ He has served in various leadership positions as ITU-T SG15/Q15 Rapporteur for the “Smart Grid Communications” Working Group, Co-Chair of the “Communications Technology” Task Force of the IEEE 2030 Smart Grid standard, and Co-Leader of the “Theoretical and Mathematical Models” Group of the IEEE 1901 Broadband over Power Lines standard.

He is currently serving on the IEEE ComSoc Board of Governors as Director of Technical Committees and on the IEEE Publication Services and Products Board as a Member-at-Large and Treasurer. In the past, he served as IEEE Fellow Committee Chair, ComSoc Vice President for Industry and Standards, and as Editor for various IEEE journals across three Societies.

Stefano is a Fellow of the IEEE and has received the 2013 IEEE Donald G. Fink Best Paper Award, the 2014 Broadband Forum Outstanding Contributor Award, the 2011 IEEE ComSoc McLellan Meritorious Service Award, two IEEE ISPLC Best Paper Awards, and various recognitions from the ComSoc Technical Committee on Power Line Communications and Smart grid Communications.

He holds 27 issued/pending patents, has authored 100+ papers, and has co-authored one book and five book chapters. His interests lie in statistical signal processing, communications theory, microwave photonics, and channel modeling with applications to wireless communications, broadband access, home networking, and Smart Grid.


11:50 AM - 12:00 PM (GMT-4)

Q&A for Theme 2

12:00 PM - 12:15 PM (GMT-4)

Call to Action (All Speakers) - Ask audience to choose topics for help/mentoring

12:15 PM - 12:45 PM (GMT-4)

Networking Sessions - Meet with ComSoc women leaders in multiple breakout rooms

Diamond Patrons

Gold Patrons

Silver Patrons

Bronze Patrons