The Passion Project: My Winding Path | Doina Oncel

Doina Oncel is the CEO/Founder of hEr VOLUTION, a non profit organization designed to provide access to women and young girls to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) based education and employment opportunities.

Growing up Doina Oncel had many career aspirations. She wanted to be either a teacher or a lawyer because she believed that they make a difference in the world. At the age of 19, she immigrated to Canada with her father and practiced hair dressing for 10 years.

“We start at a place where we never thought we were going to start and we never realize where our path takes us where we are supposed to be,” says Doina, “I did a lot of things that were not necessarily who I was. It wasn’t satisfying.”

In the early 2010’s, pure coincidence brought Doina into the technology field. Working at a non-profit charity to raise funds, she saw tremendous impact that an online presence can bring to a company. When her contract came to a close, Doina launched her own social media business.

Attending workshops and social events, Doina became exposed to the skewed gender ratio in the STEM industry. “I enrolled in a workshop with 35-40 people in the room, only three or four of these people were women, including myself.” All these women were coming to her to ask questions on their behalf. At first, Doina was puzzled about why these women can’t ask their own questions. After awhile, it became clear there is not enough female presence in the industry. Women did not feel they had the right to speak up or be there.

“Seeing this, I felt that women’s rights everywhere are supposed to be represented,” says Doina, “I felt like it was my calling; it was something that I am suppose to do. I do it for the women that have come after us so they can have a seat at the table, so they can have a voice, and so they can take space where they deserve to be there.”

hEr VOLUTION provides assistance, counselling and support to young women seeking employment in STEM-related fields who, because of their backgrounds, might not otherwise have access to such employment opportunities. The non-profit organization provides workshops, seminars, and education camps for for low income and marginalized youth with a focus on girls and young women. Visit for more information on how you can get involved.

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