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Posted by Laura Plant

As Co-Executive Director of Ladies Learning Code, Laura is on a mission to inspire women and girls to leverage tech as a creative tool to change the world.

Python Returns: Meet The Mentors

This Saturday CSI Annex will be transformed once again into a classroom of beginner programmers as Introduction to Python returns for the second time. Freshbooks, who generously sponsored our first workshop, is sponsoring us once again. Last time our learners made four programs in one day, and we’re sure they’ll do it again with help from the following mentors:

Lead Instructor: Juan Musleh (@juanmusleh |
Developer at Freshbooks

Juan is Toronto’s newest software developer by day and serial hobbyist by night. Continually pushing the limits of the word “active”, Juan blends experience building software from the ground up with a drive to try every single recreational activity in existence at least once.

Having spent multiple years organizing the Canadian University Software Engineering Conference (CUSEC), she’s now immersed herself in the Toronto software development community by co-organizing the most recent edition of TechTalksTO, and volunteering for Ladies Learning Code.

Juan’s relationship with Python began during her tenure at Evertz Microsystems, and it was love at first sight. Their relationship has continued to blossom through Juan’s move to FreshBooks in Toronto, where she sings its praises to whoever will listen. She hopes that the Python workshop will not only convince the attendees that Python is amazing, but also inspire them to spend their free time tinkering with programming languages and building neat applications.

Dan Langer (@dlanger |
I’m a software developer at Wave Accounting. We make online accounting software that’s 100% written in Python (Django, FWIW). I spend my days writing software, testing software, and helping other developers in areas that I specialize in.

What are you passionate about? “Software. Politics. Getting more (non-traditional) people into both.”

Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “The best way to make coding (and the community) non-hostile to women is to get more of them involved, and a great way to do that is small, almost-one-on-one support to take away the “magic” aspect of programming.”

Rebecca Putinski (@h4xnoodle |
Agile Engineer at Xtreme Labs – I develop cool apps

What are you passionate about? “Mobile, web.”

Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “I work with Breanna at XL + attended the Launch party.”

Sarah Hong (@sarahjanehong)
Intern at Bluenotion. – I do some backend web development and UX/Interaction design work. Mainly using Java, JavaScript, HTML/CSS, photoshop, sql, etc.

What are you passionate about? “User experience, machine learning, computer vision.”

Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “A couple of my classmates and friends mentored and told me it was a fun and rewarding experience. When I first learned to program, I was incredibly shy with my coding abilities. I know that I can relate to the attendees of the workshop, and I know that it would help me gain more confidence in myself as well.”

Nicolás Quesada (
Graduate Research Assistant at Department of Physics, University of Toronto

What are you passionate about? “Physics! Football (as in the thing you play with your feet and a ball).”

Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “I thought it was a very cool idea. My girlfriend has participated in two workshops and she enjoyed it very much.”

James Cooper
Developer at Xtreme Labs

What are you passionate about? “History. ;)”

Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “It sounded like fun and was fun at the HTML/CSS event.”

Adam McKerlie (@adammckerlie |
Python Developer for an internal application at G Adventures

What are you passionate about?  “I enjoy clean, fast code, building things with my hands and making sure everything is tested properly.”

Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “I think everyone should learn Python. It’s a great tool to know and use.”

Jonathan Hernandez (@jahndez |
Senior Web Developer at Littleroom Inc.

What are you passionate about?  “Videogames. Also learning new things, creating amazing applications that are simple to use.”

Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “I’ve been fortunate enough to work with a team of great people and learn a lot along the way from them. Ladies Learning Code is a great initiative that wants to do away with the preconceived notion that programming can be difficult to get into. It’d be great to be able to give back to the community and get more people introduced to some useful and very important tech.”

Anton Nguyen (@AntonNguyen |
I am a software developer at FreshBooks. I am mainly responsible for maintaining and implementing new features on the API, as well as helping 3rd-party developers who are working with it.
Currently, my main project are related to mobile, so I’m working primarily with jquery, backbone.js, html5 technologies, and iPhones.
As a side project, myself and a few other FreshBooks are teaching young kids how to program at the Yonge Street Mission using Scratch, and we’ll be helping out at their summer camp soon.

What are you passionate about?  “I am very passionate about programming. I go to work and I program all day, then when I get home, I usually have a cool idea I want to work on, so I’ll find myself programming even more, working on something exciting.
I also love helping people, which is why I like to teach kids how to program, and why I go to many HackDays events across Canada to help people with the FreshBooks API.”

Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “Because I enjoy teaching and helping people learn how to develop! Also, I’m a big believer that there should be more women in the IT industry, so I would love to aid that movement in anyway.”

Jon Buckley (@jbuckca |
I’m a developer for the Mozilla Foundation, currently working on Popcorn.js and Popcorn Maker. While I mostly code JavaScript, I also handle most of the back-end server and git repository management for the Popcorn team.

What are you passionate about?  “Automation of all sorts (testing, deployment), and release management.”

Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “Heather has approached myself and two others (Scott and Mike) at the Mozilla Foundation to run a Processing Ladies Learning Code event. I’d like to participate in a LLC event before doing that. Plus it would be good to exercise my rusty Python skills.”

Zeeshan Syed (@jbuckca |
I’m the lead developer at Loose Button. My responsibilities include executing on projects that will increase revenue and build the Loose Button membership. At the same time, I’m directly responsible for mentoring and coaching the other developers on the team. Loose Button is exclusively a Python and Django startup. Most recently my team was required to develop a migration plan to transfer tens of thousands of our members to a new membership. This included an extensive amount of backend scripts as well as a new website.

What are you passionate about?  “My true passion is to leave a positive impact wherever it is that I go. I strongly believe that the greatest gift you can ever get, is knowing that you made a difference in someone else’s life.”

Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “My ultimate goal is to build a development shop, Hak Studio, that is known for leaving a huge impact. Our focus is to build web applications for the next generation of disruptive startups. At the same time, I want Hak Studio to be known as a development shop that does things not only for profit, but also not for profit. My intentions are to build a long term partnership and friendship with Ladies Learning Code, and eventually work together on a few ideas for hackathons that I’d like to execute on in the near future.”

Malini Das (@malinidas)
I’m an Automation and Tools developer at Mozilla. I mainly write test tools/frameworks in Javascript and Python. I also handle automation processes like product verification and continuous integration. On a daily basis, I’m usually hacking away at Javascript/Python tools, and talking to different groups of people to see if our test tools meet their needs or need new features.

What are you passionate about?  “Making everyone a critical thinker.”

Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “I’d like to contribute to giving women a safe place to learn, because some spaces can be totally cruel.”

Adam Field (@adamfield)
Systems admin. dev/ops. and in-house IT. at FreshBooks

What are you passionate about?  “Bikes, music, technology, linux, free and open-source software.”

Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “Supporting coworkers, supporting the tech industry, fighting the brogrammer image.”

Greg Heo (@gregheo |
Freelance software developer; tech partner at stealth startup Ferocious Apps

What are you passionate about? “Technology, sustainability, and elegant solutions. And tea.”

Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “I like code and I like teaching. LLC is a perfect fit!”


Joël Perras (@jperras |
I work at Fictive Kin. We’re the people behind Teuxdeux, Gimmebar, the wildly amazing Brooklyn Beta conference (, and the newly announced Brooklyn Beta Summer Camp (, a design-focused fund meant to help people make awesome things.

What are you passionate about?  “I love, love, love all things tech, especially when it comes to programming and system automation, and computer science in general. I’m continually astounded that I get paid to do what I love, and wake every morning excited to hack on awesome things with amazingly talented people.”

Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “People talk a lot about the gender gap in the tech/startup world, but not many actually try to do something about it. I’m hoping that my small contribution of time and knowledge to Ladies Learning Code can have a positive impact.”


Chris Brooks-Prenger (@mrprenger)
Recent graduate of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE/UofT)

What are you passionate about? “Teaching and technology.”

Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “We live in a world of technology and wrapping your head around it all can seem overwhelming. I love helping people learn more about technology and LLC is a great initiative making coding more accessible.”


Hanbin Chang (
Computer Science student at University of Toronto

What are you passionate about? “I am passionate about what I am doing right now, which is programming and working my way to become a software engineer after graduation.”

Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “At U of T, I took a course called “Computers and Society” and during one of the lecture, the founder of Ladies Learning Code, Heather Payne, came and gave us a lecture about ladies in the field of technology/computer fields.”


Peter Newhook (@p337er |
Business Analyst at Cineplex Entertainment

What are you passionate about?  “Making enterprise software usable and enjoyable. When I’m not in front of a monitor, I’m finding a way to get on a bike.”

Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code?  “Women are going to look at problems differently than men will, and come up with different solutions. As an industry we need more well trained women writing code.”

Srimonti Karmakar (@srikomo |
As co-founder of my current startup, Bebedo Inc, I focus on all areas of product architecture, strategy and partnerships. I am one of a two-female technical founding team, and developed both the server and client layers of I am currently also focusing on business development and sales.

What are you passionate about?  “Taking risks, breaking routine and building things from scratch.”

Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code?  “This is a great initiative. It fosters the technology community and is an awesome way to meet like-minded people.”

Miles Thibault (@milesthibault |
Founder at Match My Mom

What are you passionate about? “All sorts of stuff. Startups, personal finance, Lolcats, weight lifting, etc.”

Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “Gender imbalance in tech.”


These mentors will help make our Python workshop positively perfect!

For more info about Ladies Learning Code, follow us on Twitter or check out our Facebook Page. If you’d like to join our email list, click here or to volunteer as a Mentor, join our developer email list.

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