Toronto tech mixer brings recent graduates together to foster connection, celebrate unique skills

For the past two years, RI Events founder Ryan Ing has been hosting networking socials like the Toronto Tech Mixer.
Click to play video: 'Graduate students find a way to ‘level up’ their networking skills'
Graduate students find a way to ‘level up’ their networking skills
After three years of online interaction, recent post-secondary graduates from schools including Ontario Tech and Toronto Metropolitan University have found a way to 'level up' their networking skills to break into the industry. Lexy Benedict reports. – May 17, 2023

When events quieted down after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ryan Ing knew he could fill a gap in the market.

Ing is the founder of RI Events. For the past two years, he has been hosting networking socials like the Toronto Tech Mixer, which took place on May 10.

The event brought recent graduates together to build and maintain cross-industry connections after school.

He said his events grow in popularity each year. This time around, he had an objective in mind.

“This year, I think it’s all about building community,” Ing said.

Ontario Tech University Prof. Amanda Gaudet said community building is instrumental in helping students build their networks. She said networking events allow students to put their skills into action.

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“They’ve done events on campus, especially with employers, trying to get networking happening,” she said. “So students can have jobs, employment opportunities in internships and when they finish school, and just build a network to have mentors as well.”

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Ing agrees. He said mentorship is a great way to achieve career growth.

“Mentorship is an incredibly important thing,” he said. “You can learn so much about the people who have already worked in the footsteps you want to go.”

The power of mentorship is evident in Sulaman Shah. He was mentored by Ing after graduating from Ontario Tech, and now works for RI Events as its operations manager.

He said people from all different backgrounds can benefit from mentorship and socials like this one.

“A lot of people are from different backgrounds,” he said. “Even if you’re not in tech, you’re not in business, there’s a lot of people here you can reach out to.”

That includes people like Christian Moretuzzo, who didn’t let his background in real estate stop him from attending the Toronto Tech Mixer.

He said tech and real estate influence one another.

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“A lot of the systems we use are based on tech, and tech actually proves a lot of our processes,” he said. “Likewise, these big tech companies, where they choose to set up their offices, where they run their head offices and larger locations, is driven by the real estate market.”

Similar links exist for entrepreneurs.

Four years ago, Ontario Tech graduate Hamayal Choudry created the first-ever bionic arm powered by artificial intelligence. He said hands-on learning gave him the opportunity to build refined, transferable skills.

“We took advantage of the equipment that they have there, which otherwise would have been very hard for someone paying tuition to access,” Choudry said. “It was the ability to tinker around with those things to help me do what I do today.”

Now, he said he’s grateful for the program, and opportunities to connect with his community.

“It’s because of events like this where we are able to fund our company,” he said.

After years of COVID-19, Toronto residents are eager to connect face-to-face once again. Attendee Simrah Ali said she’s grateful to see Toronto come back alive after the pandemic.

“In-person events are making a comeback,” she said. “It’s so great to see this tech community coming together.”

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