Workplace News

Advancing Gender Equality and Diversity During Women’s History Month at Vena

March 8, 2023 |
by Shada McShannon

This March at Vena, we’re celebrating Women’s History Month as we look at the past, present and ongoing achievements of women in technology and beyond.

During the month, we’re proud to highlight the work of one of our employee-run resource groups, what we call Vena Resource Groups (VRGs) in our organization. That group is the Network for Women VRG (N4W), founded in 2018 as the company’s first VRG, paving the way for many more. 

Vena Resource Groups highlight Vena’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). “Our DEI strategy and initiatives are focused on creating the space and freedom for our employees to be themselves and to celebrate and value our unique lived experiences,” explains Shada McShannon, Director, People Partners & DEI at Vena. “One of the ways we are able to do this is through creating community across our VRG network. Employees are encouraged to find space for community and connection, discuss their common lived experiences, and are given a platform to join the important conversations happening internally and externally.” 

Network for Women logo

Vena’s Network for Women

N4W aims to address the interests, challenges and hurdles women+ experience in the workplace by providing opportunities and support for women+ to achieve success on their own terms.

“As an employee, it's important to me that my organization creates a safe space for women+ to connect and feel a sense of community. That’s why I was eager to join Network for Women, first as a committee member and now as a co-chair of the VRG,” says Diane Frysztacki, Network for Women Co-chair and Senior Practice Manager at Vena. 

Vena’s Network for Women is focused on:

  1. Advocating for a safe and inclusive workplace by providing access and opportunities to women+, with intersectionality in mind, to network, foster leadership skills and share best practices. 
  2. Partnering with leadership to promote gender equity.
  3. Improving Vena’s ability to attract and retain women+ at all job levels. 


Diane explains this is a year-round focus for N4W, not just during Women’s History Month. “Creating a safe and inclusive workplace for women+ means that women's rights are not something we are paying lip service to or are a flavor of the month here at Vena, but something we are dedicated to as part of our culture. Together, we recognize and believe that it’s critical for every Venanite to show up each day as their genuine selves. By doing so, we are acknowledging our sameness and our differences and feel safe speaking from our unique perspectives in a workplace that equally values everyone's opinion,” she says.

“Creating a safe and inclusive workplace for women+ means that women's rights are not something we are paying lip service to or are a flavor of the month here at Vena, but something we are dedicated to as part of our culture.”
                                                                                —Diane Frysztacki
                                                                      Network for Women Co-chair and
                                                                      Senior Practice Manager at Vena 

Highlighting Women’s Stories in the Workplace

Throughout Women’s History Month, we’ll be hosting a series of events and learning labs for our employees, customers and partners.

International Women’s Day

We’ll be kicking off events this month by hosting a virtual internal panel event on March 8, International Women’s Day, in line with this year’s theme of “DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality.” During the panel, a few women on our Executive Leadership Team will be sharing their personal experiences and revealing how they've overcome challenges throughout their career journeys.

Vena employees can also celebrate International Women’s Day in person at Vena’s Toronto headquarters. N4W is bringing in treats and raffle opportunities for all to enjoy.

Women in Finance

You can catch our video and blog series on Women in Finance throughout the month on YouTube and on the Vena blog.

Christine Harms


The first session, Building a Successful Career in Corporate Finance, will run on March 8 with Christine Harms, Senior Director of Finance at the Arizona Cardinals. Christine will be sharing how she overcame her career hurdles and what inspires her in her industry. She’ll also discuss mentors who helped her reach her current position and why advocacy and mentorship are critical for career growth. Find out what advice Christine was given as she began her career in corporate finance and pick up her tips on leveling up your technical and soft skills. You’ll also get insights into gender gap issues in the industry and learn how to clearly—and successfully—ask for what you want without compromising your career advancement.

Melissa Howatson


On March 15, the second session, Harnessing Your Finance Leadership Potential, will run with Melissa Howatson, CFO at Vena. Melissa will be sharing her journey to the CFO role. She’ll speak about the CFO role’s evolution and its extension beyond finance skills. She’ll also discuss the core competencies successful leaders must have and the growing importance of finance in today’s organizations. Hear her advice for future finance leaders on entering the leadership track and how, together, we can empower the next generation of women finance leaders.

Muneerah Kanji

Meet Muneerah Kanji, Vice President of Finance at Vena, in our third session,
Finding Work-Life Balance in the Hybrid Workplace, on March 22. Muneerah will share what’s needed to maintain a successful work-life balance. She’ll also be discussing the differences between successfully working remotely, on-site or in a hybrid environment. Get advice on establishing boundaries and setting time aside for you and your family. And find out which lessons Muneerah wishes she’d learned much earlier in her career.


Larysa Melnychuk

On March 29, Larysa Melnychuk, Founder and CEO of FP&A Trends Group, will discuss where finance teams are headed in Navigating the Future of Finance. Hear about Larysa’s career’s pivotal moments, how they led her to develop the FP&A Trends Group and how they informed her role as its CEO. Find out how business partnering is evolving and how technology—such as cloud solutions, AI/MLI, and blockchain—are affecting finance operations. Hear Larysa’s predictions on the expansion of finance, how it will affect women in this industry, finance’s “next big thing” and how you can prepare for that future.

The Impact of Women Executives 

We’re proud of the representation of women on our Executive Leadership Team (ELT) at Vena. Women make up 60% of Vena’s ELT in comparison to an industry average of 24% representation of women in tech C-suites. 

Throughout March and beyond, we’ll be highlighting some of Vena’s women ELT members in a series of blog interviews. Be inspired by their career journeys and tune in for their empowering advice for women+ on the rise.

Women make up 60% of Vena’s ELT in comparison to an industry average of 24% representation of women in tech C-suites. 


Did you know? Vena has won Comparably Awards for Best Company for Women, Best CEO for Women, Best CEO for Diversity, Best Company Culture, Best Company for Diversity and more. For the full list of Comparably awards Vena won in 2022, click here. Click here for Comparably awards Vena won in 2021.

Come grow with us! Vena is hiring. We have offices in Toronto, Canada and in London, England. Visit our Careers page for current job openings or follow us on LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter or Facebook to learn more about life at Vena.


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