Ladies Learning Code comes to Edmonton with first workshop

December 17, 2019
tl;dr: this article encompasses the launch of Edmonton’s chapter of Ladies Learning Code in 2013 with a brief, personal 2023 update.
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December 2023 update: With the launch of a new website I decided to retire more than a dozen old blog posts that I had written while managing the Edmonton chapter of Canada Learning Code. These now deleted posts were outdated, mostly featuring old events and partnerships – so I’ve opted to redirect all old links to this one master post. Below, I’ve kept my original press release and announcement of the official launch of the chapter, followed by the summary of our very first workshop in 2013. It makes my heart happy to keep these records 🧡 so I’ve backdated this post to reflect December 2019 as my final month with CLC.

If you’d like to read more about myself and how I started the Edmonton Chapter of Ladies Learning Code, I go into some detail on this reflection post and have also filmed a short documentary with STORYHIVE.

To everyone who helped support the chapter, and me, I still think about you all frequently and with the utmost gratitude. Thank you!

Original post, published April 17, 2013, all outdated linked references have been removed:

Ladies Learning Code Coming to Edmonton

Beginner-friendly web development workshops are coming to Edmonton in July 2013!

With so many great announcements in Edmonton as of late, I couldn’t help but want to join in the fun! I’ve been working on this, behind-the-scenes, for a while now so I’m very excited to finally announce that I am the new Chapter Lead in Edmonton for Ladies Learning Code and BE3Designs is community sponsor!

Ladies Learning Code is a not-for-profit organization, based out of Toronto and founded in August 2011, running workshops for women (and men) who want to learn beginner-friendly computer programming and other technical skills in a social and collaborative way.

By August of 2012, after running a year of workshops, Ladies Learning Code has had over 1700 Students, 436 Mentors, and 21 Lead Instructors across Canada. Today, over 4000 people across Canada have participated in a Ladies Learning Code workshop in Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa, Halifax and London. This year, Edmonton joins the list as LLC comes to YEG!

Each month a venue will host a Ladies Learning Code Edmonton workshop with the help of a team of volunteers. Local industry professionals including designers and developers will come together to deliver beginner-friendly content ranging (but not limited to) HTML/CSS, WordPress, Mobile, JavaScript, Photo and Video Editing, and more!

The LLC mission is to inspire and empower more women and girls to become passionate creators of technology and the web.

The great thing about a Ladies Learning Code workshop is that we aim to maintain one mentor for every four students. While Lead Instructors will effectively teach the class, mentors will be with their group of students to provide expert, practical and working knowledge of the subject matter. Mentors gauge their learner’s pace and provide feedback accordingly.

We want our students to go home with something to show for all their dedicated effort, which is why we also aim in every workshop to provide attendees with a project they’ve created on their own laptops throughout the day with their new knowledge.

Our First Workshop

What: Intro to HTML/CSS
When: Saturday, July 6th, 2013, from 10am-5pm (with an after-party at 6pm in Mercer Tavern)
Where: Startup Edmonton HQ at the Mercer Warehouse
Who: Lead Instructor is Pearl Chen from Toronto, Ontario, with Mentors who are professional developers from local companies such as Versett, Top Draw, Code Word Media Design. And a huge kudos to Startup Edmonton for stepping up and donating their space for our venue
Why: If you are looking to get your feet wet when it comes to programming, then this is the workshop for you. HTML and CSS are the backbone of all websites, and knowledge of them is a necessity if you are interested in things like web development, creating marketing emails, or even blogging! The web without HTML and CSS would be would be a world without colourful, pretty websites, not to mention the web applications we all use daily. It’s easy to learn, and was designed so that everyone – even non-programmers – can do it. No fancy programs are needed, just Notepad and a web browser!
How: Purchase Tickets

Mentors & Lead Instructors Wanted

As Chapter Lead, I’m looking for local industry professionals (typically fellow web developers and programmers) who are interested in volunteering their time as Mentors or as a Lead Instructors for our workshops. Do you know something about computer programming? Would you be comfortable assisting beginners in a workshop setting? Would you be interested in leading a workshop? Or do you know people who might? Contact me!

In the Media

Ladies Learning Code has already been featured in leading publications such as The Huffington Post, Wired, Forbes, The Globe and Mail, and CityTV just to name a few. Read More About Ladies Learning Code in the Media:

Contact Information

If you have any questions or are interested in becoming a Mentor, Lead Instructor, or Sponsor/Donation, please contact Bree Emmerson, (Chapter Lead).

Original post, published July 8, 2013, all outdated linked references have been removed:

Ladies Learning Code’s First Workshop in Edmonton

Last weekend marked the launch of the Ladies Learning Code in Edmonton in which BE3Designs is Community Sponsor of. It was a fantastic turnout with not only a sold-out crowd, but a few extra tickets from a wait list! Ladies Learning Code is unique because we try to pair every four students with one mentor, to ensure each student is getting hands-on technical training at their own comfort level. When we sold-out, we put a call-out to Edmonton looking for additional developers who would be interested in volunteering at the very last minute. It worked! (Because Edmonton is AWESOME!) And we were able to squeeze in some extra students.

Ladies Learning Code Edmonton workshop sponsors
A dream come true, to bring Ladies Learning Code to Edmonton!

Our Lead Instructor for the day was Pearl Chen, who launched the very first LLC HTML/CSS workshop in Toronto and other Chapters across Canada. Pearl flew in from Toronto with Melissa Crnic to welcome Edmonton to the Ladies Learning Code network.

To be honest, I’ve been dreaming about this day for over two years, as I’ve wanted to be part of Ladies Learning Code for a long time. Its been a lot of hard work but July 6th, 2013 was one of the best days of my life. Just to see it all play out – the smiling faces – the energy in the room. It was perfection.

Mother and daughter duo learning how to code at workshop
A mother-daughter duo, learning HTML/CSS at our first Ladies Learning Code workshop!
A full room of learners at Ladies Learning Code workshop in Edmonton
A full-house for our launch in Edmonton on July 6, 2013.

Some of my favourite moments throughout the day:

  • hearing “oohs” and “ahhs” when coding started making sense to the students and the changes they were applying were showing results!
  • witnessing two students high-five when one helped the other with a line of code!
  • having a mother-daughter duo sign-up for the day and seeing daughter help out Mum here and there!
  • getting a *squee* and *dance* after showing a student that they were only missing a closing tag on their page!
  • receiving an email within an hour of the workshop being over from a student who couldn’t possibly have loved the course or enjoyed their day any more!
  • and most of all, meeting the mentors who volunteered their entire day to help me make this happen!


As I mentioned above, the day really couldn’t have happened without the support of our mentors. As Ladies Learning Code in Edmonton continues on, these are truly the people who deserve kudos. I would personally like to thank Jody Bailey, Sally Poulsen, Kasia Gawlak, Jesse Kernaghan, Rachelle Saunders, Tammy Valgardson, Jacqueline Smith, Kevan Morin, Tyler Findlay, Sarah Beck and Patrick Kerby. All of you helped make my dream come true and for that, I am eternally grateful!

Panoramic shot of Startup Edmonton during Ladies Learning Code workshop

Another huge thank you is owed to Startup Edmonton. If you had been paying attention since April when we originally announced our first event for July, you’ll know that we experienced a hiccup when our original venue fell through – two weeks before the event. Startup took a chance with me and with Ladies Learning Code and we are so very thankful they did. By donating their Social Space to us, we had more than enough room for our sold-out event, excellent WiFi access and tech equipment, top-of-the-line kitchen and bathroom facilities, not to mention what LLC Operations Manager, Mel, claimed to be the most beautiful space a Ladies Learning Code workshop has taken place in! Cheers to Startup and the possibility of future events!

Custom decorated cupcakes with Ladies Learning Code logo
Custom decorated cupcakes, with Ladies Learning Code logo.

Our mentors and students enjoyed delicious eats throughout the day, including muffins, scones, gourmet sandwiches, gluten-free salads, premium juice and organic cane sugar beverages along with a full coffee bar! Considering there wasn’t a crumb left, we think it was a hit.

As a celebration for our launch, we had some amazing custom cupcakes created that included the Ladies Learning Code hashtag logo! Simply delicious!

We also held an after-party at the pub downstairs so mentors and attendees could spend some extra time together!

What’s Next?

If you missed our first HTML/CSS workshop, we’ll be running it again in Edmonton on September 21st. For August, we will be running our Intro to JavaScript workshop, which is the perfect second step for anyone who is basically familiar with HTML/CSS.

This is an archived post. Read an update from Bree about her time with Canada Learning Code.

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