Our Mission

We are a not-for-profit organization with the mission to be the leading resource for women and youth to become passionate builders - not just consumers - of technology by learning technical skills in a hands-on, social, and collaborative way

About Us

In July 2011, it was a small idea - workshops for women who want to learn to code but it quickly grew into so much more. Today, Ladies Learning Code has Chapters across Canada, thriving youth programs called Girls Learning Code and Kids Learning Code, Canada’s first travelling computer lab — the code:mobile and we are a major force shaping digital literacy education in Canada. Oh, and we’re just getting started.

Ladies Learning Code started with a tweet. Heather Payne knew there had to be a better way to learn to code than struggling on her own. She wasn’t the only one. The response was immediate and enthusiastic. The founding team - Heather Payne, Laura Plant, Melissa Sariffodeen and Breanna Hughes launched our first workshop, an Introduction to JavaScript, on August 6th, 2011 and tickets sold out in a day. So they planned another workshop. And another. Now, over four years later, Ladies Learning Code operates in 22+ cities across the country and has had over 25,000 learners attend one of our workshops.

But that was only the beginning.

Shortly after starting Ladies Learning Code, we realized that it wasn’t going to be enough. If we really wanted to have an impact on the number of women in tech, we would need to start younger. So, in early 2012, we launched Girls Learning Code, which offers workshops, camps and other events for 8- to 13-year-old girls. Hundreds of girls in Toronto have already participated in Girls Learning Code programs, and we’re now expanding the program to new cities.

A year later, due to overwhelming demand from parents, we launched Kids Learning Code - co-ed workshops, camps and events for 8- to 13-year-old boys and girls.

Most recently, we launched the code:mobile - Canada’s first coding truck that will drive across the country in the Summer of 2016 teaching kids to code.

One of the best things about our youth programs is our commitment to ensuring they’re accessible. Thanks to a full or partial scholarships or our pay-what-you-can model more than half of all participants attend at no cost. We’ve also made it a priority to acquire our own set of laptops so that we can loan them to youth participants who might not be able to bring their own.

  • Brainstorming session
    July 6th, 2011

    Brainstorming session at CSI Annex about ‘what is #ladieslearningcode’

  • first workshop
    August 6th, 2011

    First ever workshop at CSI Spadina with Pearl Chen - Intro to JavaScript

  • Girls Learning Code Camp
    March 12th, 2012

    Girls Learning Code launches with first-ever March Break Camp for girls

  • Chapter launch in Vancouver
    August 24th, 2012

    First chapter launches in Vancouver

  • CSI Annex office
    September 1st, 2012

    Our first office! Suite 500 at CSI Annex

  • Kids Learning Code
    June 22, 2013

    Kids Learning Code launches!

  • National Learn to Code Day
    September 21st, 2013

    Inaugural National Learn to Code day across Canada with 500+ learners

  • New office, the Lab
    January 22nd, 2014

    Our new home at The Lab

  • Girls Learning Code Day
    November 8th, 2014

    First ever Girls Learning Code Day in partnership with MasterCard

  • annual impact report
    December 2014

    Ladies Learning Code launches first annual impact report

  • code: mobile
    September 2015

    We launched Canada’s First Coding Truck: The code:mobile!

  • llc turns 5
    August 2016

    We turned 5! Read our 2016 Impact Report here

Keep up to date with what's coming up:

What Makes Us Different

From day one, Ladies Learning Code has been by the community, for the community. And we believe that has made all the difference.

As we expand nationwide, we work with local leaders to create solutions that address the unique needs of their communities. Diversity in the tech community is a collective responsibility, and we are proud to work with incredible women, men, and youth who are passionate about tech education for all.

Our social and collaborative approach and our unique 4-1 ratio of learners to volunteer mentors in every workshop has helped Ladies Learning Code become known as a safe, welcoming environment where beginners of all backgrounds can come together to learn essential 21st century technical skills.

Digital literacy is the next educational frontier, and we are proud to be pioneering this movement in communities across Canada. We believe that computer programming and other technical skills are a tool of empowerment, and it is our mission to ensure that all Canadians — particularly women and youth — have access to learning opportunities.

Social Impact

Understanding our community and our impact is important to us. We're constantly doing surveys, focus groups and research to help grow and foster our community. The results reveal our community is diverse, highly-engaged, and growing.

It is exciting and heartening to know that Canadians of all backgrounds are getting a first taste of coding at our workshops, and leaving the event with a greater sense of self-confidence. That’s what digital literacy is all about! It’s this community that we can help grow and foster with your support.

904 Workshops to date

17Live Workshops

30 Cities Across Canada

Since 2011, we've grown our reach nationally and now operate Chapters in 30 cities and counting - at least one in every province


Adult Learners


Youth Learners


Awesome Mentors

Thanks to

Volunteer Hours

That's 2049 days or 5.6 calendar years

Contributions from people and companies like yours to our not-for-profit make an enormous difference. Learn more


Our Programs

Learn more about each of our programs and the mission, the story, and team behind each of these awesome initiatives.
Ladies Learning Code logo

Our adult programming offers women (and men) hands-on, project-based learning experiences that are designed to give beginners the skills and confidence they need to become digital creators. Our workshops and educational events are open to adults of all ages. Workshops cover everything from introductory HTML & CSS, to WordPress, Python, Ruby, web design and more. They are especially popular and successful because of the 4:1 ratio of students to volunteer instructors at every workshop, which is only possible because of overwhelming support from the technology and startup communities in the cities where we operate.

Hear what people are saying about Ladies Learning Code.

find events
Girls Learning Code logo

Girls Learning Code programs are designed to help girls see technology in a whole new light – as a medium for self-expression, and as a means for changing the world. Workshops cover a variety of topics from HTML & CSS and Ruby to image editing and blog creation, to 3D printing to hardware hacking with arduinos and more. We maintain a 4:1 ratio of youth to instructors at these workshops and focus on selecting volunteers who will serve as especially effective role models for the young women.

Hear what people are saying about Girls Learning Code.

find events
Kids Learning Code logo

As Girls Learning Code grew in popularity, we began receiving inquiries from parents looking for learning opportunities for their boys. In response to this community need, Kids Learning Code was created. Like Girls Learning Code, these workshops are beginner-friendly, hands-on and fun. Our 4:1 ratio of kids to mentors is maintained with balanced numbers of male and female mentors. At each workshop and camp, 50% of tickets are reserved for boys and 50% for girls.

Hear what people are saying about Kids Learning Code.

find events

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Core Team

Meet the team that's responsible for the day-to-day operations of our organization. In addition, we have the support of countless volunteers and incredible Chapter Leads across the country. Meet them here.

Melissa Sariffodeen

Chief Executive Officer

Laura Plant

Chief Growth Officer

Mike Jarrell

Chief Operating Officer

Jeff Szeto

Chief Financial Officer

Carolyn Van

Director of Youth Programs

Jessica Duarte

Director of Adult Programs

Maggie Garratt

Fundraising Coordinator

Rixa Joy

Chapter Coordinator

Ashley Inskip-Lavoie

Lead of Social Impact

Kassandra Lenters

Youth Program Lead

Caitlin Davey

Curriculum Designer

Alicia Joseph

Accounting Assistant

Krystal Laframboise

Youth Program Coordinator


CBC's Lang & O’Leary Exchange interviews Founder, Heather Payne

Business News Network visits us at our new home in downtown Toronto with Co-Executive Director, Laura Plant

Catch Ladies Learning Code on Global News