Michelle Obama and Claudette McGowan electrifying at “Elevate”

By Gwyn Chapman

Toronto, Meridian Hall (Former Sony Centre) – Close to 3,000 attendees jumped to their feet in  tumultuous  applause for what can be said was the highlight of “Elevate”, one of the fastest growing Tech festivals in the country. It was a conversation with Former American First lady Michelle Obama, moderated by Canada’s own rising tech star, Claudette McGowan.

Claudette McGowan and
Michelle Obama

Scarborough resident McGowan is an international trailblazer, trendsetter and visionary. She is Chief Information Officer, Enterprise Technology Employee Experience at Bank of Montreal.

Among her many other accolades, she was named by the Women’s Executive Network in the Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada and Canada’s Top 50 Women in FinTech (2019).


Michelle Obama and Claudette McGowan

McGowan said that her guest, former American First Lady, Michelle Obama was the one person she would love to have as Elevate’s guest for this night.  Her dream came true.

Toronto was captivated by the First Lady as she stepped on stage to be greeted with sister love by Claudette McGowan. There seem to be an immediate and smooth connection between the two powerful women, who shared the stage, and spoke candidly about life experiences. 


Michelle Obama

Obama gave advice on how to balance the world of technology, family, diversity, and professional life.  “Come to the table completely yourself. Use your seat at the table to improve diversity. Being a change-maker means playing your part on generational issues.”

The conversation, light hearted, filled with raw humour, wisdom, and candor, touched on many areas that mattered most to the audience.

McGowan recently participated in the Agribusiness and Economic Industry Summit at the United Nations. A sought out mentor of many young professionals, McGowan launched the annual Black Arts and Innovation Expo in 2016 to inspire young people to develop their passion in the fields of Innovation and the Arts.

She continues to focus highlighting the future of tech on the global stage.  McGowan is without a doubt one of Canada’s most powerful women to become a force in changing the world for the better, through technology, innovation and her passion for excellence.