Riya Chak | student
Riya’s professional zen has typically been at the intersection of technology and social impact. A product manager with a degree in Sociology from Tufts University, she’s led the design and development of multiple apps to help small and medium businesses leverage the internet - one even won Google’s Think Next, India.
From being incubated by Microsoft’s Accelerator program and aiding the growth of a startup from 5 people to 900, building a patent-pending online discovery system, hacking international customer acquisition, and collaborating with IDEO on design thinking programs for India - her 4 years in the tech startup world were all and more than she could have imagined.
Riya’s belief that even the best of products need to be backed by a well-oiled marketing engine, led her to dive into advertising after her tech experience. She worked at Sunny Side Up, leading creative campaigns across traditional and digital media while also traveling across India with a small team of volunteers for a social venture she simultaneously ran. The Stepladder Initiative helps marginalized communities in India’s hinterland use technology to market their arts, crafts, and weaves - to improve their monthly income.
Armed with a Master’s in Digital Media from the Centre for Digital Media, Riya aims to help build tech startups in Canada - not solely at the individual startup level, rather, as a collective ecosystem.