Heather Payne

Heather Payne (1987 - ) is a Canadian entrepreneur, founder of Ladies Learning Code and HackerYou. She grew up in Toronto where she worked at McDonalds. In high school, she paid for her prom dress by selling custom-printed t-shirts. She planned to join a Fortune 500 company after graduating from Richard Ivey School of Business in 2009, but she spent her last semester in Hong Kong and delayed her return to Canada. She stayed in Asia, eventually moving to Xiamen in China, studying international relations and learning to code. She returned to Toronto in 2010, and attempted to work in the corporate world but quickly realized that it wasn’t the right fit for her. She moved to Los Angeles in 2011, and took a Python workshop for women (PyLadies). Inspired, and empowered, she returned to Toronto and started Ladies Learning Code, a not-for-profit that operates coding workshops for women in over 24 cities in Canada. The courses are one day long, and have one instructor to every four participants, which now number over 10,000 in total. There are now also youth programs, Girls Learning Code, and Kids Learning Code, as well as Canada’s first travelling computer lab, the code:mobile.  Drawing from what she learned from Ladies Learning Code, HackerYou was launched in 2012, as a long-form learning experience, and the only bootcamp run by women, although 30% of the participants are male.. Full-time and part-time courses throughout the year are now run out of 12,000 sf facility in Toronto. She turns 30 this year, and has already been listed as one of Canada’s top 100 Powerful Women by the Women’s Executive Network.