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    CEO: Joelle Foster

    441 – 100 Innovation Drive
    Winnipeg, Manitoba R3T 6G2• P: 204-262-6400

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    President: Shane Li

    24 Aberdeen Avenue
    Pinawa, Manitoba R0E 1L0 • P: 204-753-5170

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    WINNIPEG

    Vice-President: Marney Stapley

    125 Adelaide Street
    Winnipeg, Manitoba R3A 0W4 • P: 204-799-2033

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    THE PAS

    University College of the North
    436-7th Street East, The Pas, Manitoba R9A 1M7
    (204) 623-0311

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Technology to Support and Empower Assault Survivors

Mary Lobson, Founder of REES Community

Mary Lobson, Founder of REES Technology Group Inc. has used her career in gender-based violence to develop a customizable platform for centralized reporting, access to resources, and broad data compilation. North Forge Technology Exchange has helped her to navigate through her entrepreneurial journey.

REES stands for Respect, Educate, Empower Survivors. It’s a simple, secure online platform for reporting sexual harassment, misconduct, and assault that can be adapted for use across sectors and industries. This was really important to us, when we developed it, recognizing that sexual violence and unwanted sexualized behaviours occur in every setting including campuses, communities and workplaces,” said Mary Lobson, Founder of REES

“We wanted something that could be easily adapted with the goal of reducing barriers to reporting and creating safer spaces.  Sexual violence is one of the most underreported crimes with only about 5% reporting to police and that hasn’t changed in the last 30 years.

Mary Lobson
Mary Lobson, Founder of REES Technology Group Inc.

REES forms part of the risk management strategy in the workplace and enhances HR processes by increasing reporting pathways, gathering anonymous data and providing information about support and resources. For employers, sexual harassment can have a significant impact on their bottom line relating to productivity, absenteeism, recruitment, retention, turnover, litigation, insurance, brand reputation and share performance.”

Lobson noted, “The space that I am working in, which is sexual violence, is one that I think has been viewed as a women’s issue for a very long time. It is important to break the stereotypes and stigma, and recognize that approximately 70% of employees, women, men and people of all genders, experience sexual violence in their workplace. This is an issue that’s prevalent no matter where you go, no matter what industry you’re in. It’s across the board.” 

“We are at a time where companies are evaluating their commitment to the ESG’s (Environmental, Social and Governance) and the Sustainable Development Goals. Gender equality includes creating campuses, workplaces and communities where people feel safe and able to reach their full potential. Creating a safer workplace is both good business and good for business.”

Lobson came into North Forge prior to moving forward with an MVP (minimum viable product) and indicated that it provided much-needed help with the foundational pieces of being a start-up.  “North Forge has been a sounding board through EIRs (Entrepreneurs-in-Residence) and Joelle (CEO of North Forge) and the staff are so knowledgeable and accessible. We’re a diverse group of founders and at different stages, so it helps that resources can be accessed based on what we need and when. There are many resources that are available to us such as lawyers, accounting, marketing – so not limited to just North Forge – there are other memberships to other organizations. We’re constantly being fed new information about so many things like fundraising, grants, webinars, subsidies, resources.” 

Lobson offered her advice to other founders in early-stage development, “I would say don’t be afraid to ask for what you need or for help from others. I have found the startup and tech community to be generous with their support and willingness to assist. The other thing is to really be open to soaking up as much information as you can and learning from other people who have already done this and have expertise.

Self-care and the founder’s journey can be challenging. It is helpful to have people you can talk to as leading a startup has lots of ups and downs with amazing peaks and valleys. For me, it is also important to take the time to be away from work and striving for harmony, rather than balance, in my life.” 

Lobson also spoke about the team at North Forge suggesting that “…the experience here at North Forge is different because it is a women-led organization with a female team. There is an acknowledgment of the additional barriers women face as founders, especially relating to accessing capital and providing specialized programming to create a more inclusive environment.”

North Forge Technology Exchange is led by CEO Joelle Foster with an all-female executive team at the helm.

REES launched in Manitoba in September of 2020 and has campus partners in British Columbia and Ontario. REES is available in both French and English and will be available province-wide at all Manitoba post-secondary institutions in the fall of 2021. REES is also expanding into new verticals, with announcements forthcoming.

Mary Lobson and her team have developed REES while in the four-stage Founders Program with North Forge Technology Exchange, based in Winnipeg, MB. If you are interested in learning more about developing your tech or advanced manufacturing startup with North Forge, fill out the application here.

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Mary Lobson, Founder of REES Community

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Marney Stapley, Vice President of North Forge Technology Exchange

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Supporters

North Forge Technology Exchange partners with PCL Construction Inc.

PCL Construction Inc.

From small renovations to complex billion dollar projects; from modular construction, to advanced digital technologies, to cutting-edge sustainability, PCL has you covered.

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North Forge has partnered with 6P Marketing

6P Marketing

6P Marketing is your collaborative marketing agency, working with you to achieve your goals.

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Bell MTS

Bell MTS is part of Canada’s largest telecommunications company, providing Manitobans with Mobile phone, TV, high speed Internet, and Home phone service.

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Thompson Dorfman Sweatman

At Thompson Dorfman Sweatman LLP (TDS), we are devoted to serving our valued clients. Our collegial workplace fosters greater teamwork, responsiveness and communication, providing better results for clients. TDS is Manitoba’s largest independent law firm.

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Bit Space Development

Bit Space Development Ltd. is an interactive digital media studio that specializes in creating innovative learning experiences for the classroom and workplace. We work with educators and industry professionals from around the world to develop effective solutions for education and training using cutting edge digital media technologies.

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Princess Auto

For more than 85 years, Princess Auto has been supplying trade professionals, home mechanics or people who simply love building things with the tools and equipment they need to figure it out – whatever that “it” may be. With a unique assortment of tools, equipment and products, ranging from hydraulics to welding, Princess Auto complements the home improvement sector rather than competing with it.

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Bockstael

For over 100 years the Bockstael name has been synonymous with construction in Manitoba. From the humble beginnings of a Belgian carpenter, to the fourth generation of family ownership, building is in our blood. We pride ourselves on world-class innovation and a client-first approach to doing business. This is our commitment to serving the province we choose to call home for the next 100 years — and beyond.

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Stu Clark Centre for Entreprenuership

The Stu Clark Centre for Entrepreneurship (SCCE) is here to support entrepreneurial activities across the entire University of Manitoba campus. In addition to supporting students at the I.H. Asper School of Business we also support students from ALL faculties across the University of Manitoba – Fort Garry and Bannatyne Campus including: Faculty of Engineering, Faculty of Agriculture and Food Sciences, Faculty of Science, Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Education and more!

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SevenOaks School Division

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Maples Met School

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LGD Pinawa

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North Forge Technology Exchange

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SEED - Altona

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Portage Regional Economic Development

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Morden & District Chamber of Commerce

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Morden Community Development Corp

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Community Futures Heartland

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Access Credit Union

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North Forge East

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Community Futures Winnipeg Rivers

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Barkman Concrete Ltd.

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Pinawa Community Development Corporation

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Western Economic Diversification Canada

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Government of Canada

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University of Manitoba

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Fabbaloo

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Red River College

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Manitoba Government

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