Does WIT have Something for Me?

Since the Women in Technology (WIT) calendar runs from July 1 – June 30, our program year is winding down and planning has already started for next year, including the recruitment of next year’s leadership team. WIT is always looking for new volunteers year round and we love that WIT has become a great place for women to flex muscles that they may not get to use in their day jobs by getting involved and even taking on a leadership position. WIT’s work is focused around core programs, events and initiatives that are governed by a set of bylaws and led by a board of directors, who support the leaders of our committees and special interest groups (SIGs). Our overall mission is to help develop women leaders at every stage of their career and below is an overview of the ways in which we do that.

Core Programs

The Leadership Foundry (TLF) - TLF prepares women to serve on corporate boards through a structured nine-month program that includes an intensive board training session in cooperation with the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD). The program typically meets for evening, monthly training and networking events and provides ample opportunities to network with women currently serving on corporate boards and companies looking for women to join their leadership team. TLF also conducts an annual study in partnership with American University’s Kogod School of Business to study gender diversity and its effect within the boardroom. The resulting annual report, which WIT has been conducting for since 2010, includes publicly traded companies within Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC.

Girls in Technology (GIT) – GIT offers educational and hands-on STEM programs that promote creativity and innovation, inspiring  girls to pursue STEM-related careers. Their educational programs target girls in middle and high school, and they range from mentoring programs to support for girls’ participation in the Air Force Association’s CyberPatriot program, to one-day hands-on events with demonstrations, prizes and panel discussions. GIT also administers an annual scholarship program that helps to enrich girls’ lives and reduce the financial barriers for those that desire to pursue higher education for careers in STEM fields.

Mentor Protégé Program (M/P) – The M/P Program offers a 21st Century’s place for women who are five years into their career, in transition, or re-entering the workforce to be mentored in a structured environment where they can make lasting connections with local women leaders. Women participate in a five-part series devoted to their professional growth with the goal that mentoring will last beyond the structured series. Proteges attend monthly sessions that are led by a professional facilitator. Sessions explore issues and opportunities facing women professionals today, such as work/life integration, strategic networking, political savvy and executive presence, and communication. The program is limited to 25 women and qualified candidates are accepted on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Leadership Awards – Annually, the Leadership Awards recognize and honor women professionals who have exemplified leadership, while promoting the WIT mission of advancing women in technology from the classroom to the boardroom. Typically, nominees work in a technology role or for a technology company where they accelerate leadership and innovation. They also are often stimulators of professional growth for those they manage or mentor through their actions and encouragement. In the spring, WIT hosts a Leadership Awards Gala where we reveal this year’s winners from this list of finalists. Identifying these women is a months-long process that starts in October with the opening of nominations. The stories of these women are quite remarkable and the best place to hear them all is at the Gala. This is an inspiring evening that should not be missed by companies supporting women leaders in the greater DC community.

Core Events

WITConnect – WIT puts on between four and six large networking events each year that consist of strategic technology topics that help women learn while making new connections. This year’s topics included an understanding of the digital automation revolution, how to be ready for augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), how machine learning will impact the job market, and humanizing big data.

Job Fair – This event occurs in both the spring and fall, bringing together over sixty companies and more than 300 attendees. Major attractions are a photographer taking professional head shots for attendees, workshops on getting noticed, and plenty of opportunities to meet companies looking to hire qualified women. Attendees will learn more about local companies that may lead to an opportunity they hadn’t considered before. These job fairs are the best organized events of their kind in town!

Holiday Giving Gala – Our holiday gala is done in partnership with WIT’s foundation, STEM for Her, and is both a chance to mingle with WIT Sponsors and support STEM education programs. A percentage of all tickets sold for this event goes to support STEM education programs funded by STEM for Her. The event is great fun and includes a silent auction, as well as a chance to meet girls who have benefited from WIT’s Girls in Technology programs.

Leadership Awards Gala – This is the culmination of the Leadership Awards Program and is held annually in the spring (see above description).

Initiatives and Special Interest Groups (SIGs)

Membership Development - WIT serves more than 1,000 members, representing companies from every segment of the technology industry, providing access to a network of professionals that is otherwise difficult to obtain. Our annual membership fee is only $115, and our membership development team is always looking for new ways to provide value to our members. The team is eager for new ideas and opportunities such as this event we co-sponsored featuring Clair Shipman discussing her book The Confidence Code.

Nominating - Women in Technology operates on a fiscal year from July 1 - June 30 and leadership terms range between one and two years in length (depending on the position). The nominating committee is the group who supports the matching of WIT opportunities with the talent and interests of women who are interested in flexing some new muscles. The committee puts forth the recommended slate and the WIT Board of Directors approves the slate before presenting it to the membership for a vote.

Communications - The Communications Committee manages all the marketing, publishing, public and media relationships for WIT. They are responsible for developing the WIT messaging (internal and external), managing and coordinating press/media at events, and promoting the WIT brand and image to the public. We have a strategic relationship with The Merritt Group, but many committee volunteers are needed to properly leverage all the programs and opportunities you see outlined in this article. Engaging with this group exposes WIT members to media and agency outlets and helps you hone messaging and branding skills.

Speakers Bureau – WIT is devoted to promoting opportunities for its members to share their experience and hone presentation skills. This group is working to operationalize a database of WIT members who have something unique to say and provide training and support to those working to get there. Engaging with this group requires some entrepreneurial spirit to further develop this program.

Women Business Owners – The Women Business Owners Special Interest Group (WBO SIG) offers owners of technology-related companies a confidential environment for networking, learning, and discussing business trends, ideas and solutions, specifically related to growing their businesses. Often this is done by diving into a book that is of interest to group members or taking ‘field trips’ to observe small businesses in action.  Engaging here provides women with a new support network and an opportunity to influence the topics being discussed.

Young Professionals - WIT YP welcomes women of all ages, but focuses on the needs of women in the first 10 - 15 years of their career as they ascend the professional ladder into leadership positions. Women early in their careers or in transition have unique professional needs. Engaging with this group provides a unique opportunity to share your professional experiences and influence programs targeted to a young, professional, female audience.

All of these core events, programs, initiatives and Special Interest Groups (SIGs) are all put on by WIT volunteers. See something that interests you? Want to get involved? Check out one of our upcoming new member orientation events to learn more and meet other members or contact us at [email protected].

WIT.Connect Preview: Machine Learning & Humanizing Big Data

It won’t be long before machine learning becomes a kind of “new normal,” with people expecting this type of Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a component in every form of technology.

However, as machines make more and more decisions about the healthcare, security, and consumer products we get exposed to, humanizing big data will also see advancements as companies seek more qualitative knowledge from their data and consumers seek more empathetic approaches to decision making.

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WIT to Hold Leadership Awards Round Table for 2019 Planning

Women in Technology will hold a private Round Table and networking event with the winners and finalists from our upcoming Leadership Awards event May 19th. "These are the best women we know to help WIT find new and inspiring ways to support women leaders. We are sure they will have a lot to share with us and with each other so we wanted to provide an intimate forum where that can take place" said Trish Barber, President of Women in Technology.

For inspiration WIT has invited Carrie Arnold to share her research on The Silenced Female Leader. Carrie will reveal findings from her 2016 PhD study designed to support practitioners of leadership development. The study explores the impact of women being silenced in the workplace, and also looks at their recovery process. This research will become the foundation for WIT's discussion on mitigating the issues facing women leaders in technology. The greatest amount of time during this event will be devoted to listening to Leadership Award winners and finalists.

WIT plans to take what it learns from this event and integrate it into 2019 programming and content.

The event will be sponsored by The Darden School of Business.

What Makes a Great Leader?

Words of Wisdom from WIT Leadership Awards Finalists –

Small Business/Entrepreneur

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WIT.Connect Sneak Peek: Marketing Implications of Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality

Worldwide revenues for the augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR) market are forecast to increase by 100% or more over each of the next four years, according to the latest update from the International Data Corporation (IDC). On April 19, WIT will be joined by Emma Mankey Hidem, Founder, Sunnyside VR, and Bianca J. Jackson, Career Coach, Speaker, Consultant and LinkedIn strategist, JAX Digital LLC, for a discussion on the Marketing Implications of AR & VR.



Emma Mankey Hidem
Founder, SunnysideVR



Bianca Jackson

Career Coach, Speaker,
Consultant and LinkedIn
Strategist, JAX Digital LLC


As a sneak preview, WIT asked Emma and Bianca the following questions:

WIT Q: What are the current trends in VR/AR that women need to know about?

Bianca:
The current trends in VR/AR are the rise of using VR for training and AR for retail applications.  The distinct difference between the two types of technology is either bringing someone to a different world (VR) or bringing something different to someone’s world (AR). In the example of training, you want to simulate a live experience, as much as you can, for your trainee. The training simulation needs to be created. One example is Walmart’s re-creation of Black Friday for sales associates. Whereas, purchasing items like furniture can be done with AR-enabled apps. IKEA and Houzz have apps where users can browse their catalogs and position furniture in their physical spaces.

Emma: VR/AR is an industry of basically endless possibilities. Education, medicine, travel, entertainment, are some of the key industries running with the tech in this early stage, but there will be more and more uses to come. I would go so far as to say there really isn’t a ‘trend’ in VR/AR yet, because everything is so new. We are only beginning to learn what works and what doesn’t within the current technological limitations, and, as we overcome those limitations, what works and what doesn’t may change drastically. Basically, I would say that the only trend is that it is currently the ‘Wild West,’ but that makes it a great time to get in at the ground floor. It also makes the industry a more collaborative space at this juncture than it will be in the future, because we know that we need to work together to help VR/AR succeed as an industry, or else all of us will fail together.


WIT Q: Why is VR/AR relevant to women in leadership positions?

Bianca:
VR/AR is projected to bring in $215B by 2021. Therefore, all industries will try to find a piece of the pie.According to a CB Insights Beyond Gaming: 13 Industries AR/VR is Poised to Transform article, the following industries will be affected: journalism, retail, real estate, logistics, advertising, manufacturing, military, film, media, medicine, conferences, marketing, HR, events, talent management, recruiting, defense, automotive, law enforcement, and healthcare. If you are a woman in any of these industries, it would be a good idea to start learning as much as you can.

Emma: At Oculus Connect 2 about a year and a half ago, I saw Oculus’ CTO speak, and he said something to the effect of ‘It’s only once or twice in someone’s lifetime that a new medium, technology for the masses that will change the way we live our lives comes about. How exciting to not only be witness to the beginning of a new era of technology but to be participating in it and contributing to it.’ As women, we were marginalized when past major technology that changed the very way we live came about, such as the telephone, television, and even the internet. This is our chance to dive in head first, be leaders in an emerging field, and have a voice in how this develops and shapes society.  Everyone thinks of this (VR in particular) as something for gamers – read: straight white men. There is already legitimate talk about ethical issues in VR, such as desensitization to violence, virtual groping, PTSD from virtual experiences, and more. We need a diversity of voices leading these conversations and setting the standards, because then VR/AR will be a better technology for everyone.


WIT Q: What are the key resources you would like to make women learning about VR/AR aware of?

Bianca:
The key resources, I would like to point out, are free or low-cost. There are programs, conferences, and groups like CodeSpa Virtual Reality and 360 Video Maker Retreat, Digital Raign’s Esalen Summit, Oculus Connect, Women in VR FB group, 360 Video Professionals FB Group, SXSW, and Game Developers’ Conference. Also, for information to learn how to code for VR/AR applications, check out Udemy and YouTube for courses and videos on Unity, ReactVR, and A-Frame.

Emma: Oculus, HTC, Samsung, and others have funds for people creating VR content. I’m sure Microsoft and other AR headset makers have funds for developing content for AR, as well. In the DC area, there is the DCVR meetup, which I am involved in, and it covers a lot of AR too. There are conferences in Silicon Valley, LA, NY, and elsewhere that make it feasible to get a good lay of the land in one location. The University of Maryland received a large sum from the former CEO of Oculus and for a FR facility/program and many of the earliest companies working in VR are based in the area, because they were previously working with the government/military, so DC is actually a great place to be for VR.



Will you be ready for AR and VR versions of practically everything – along with its ample marketing opportunities? Join us for WIT.Connect: Marketing Implications of AR/VR on Thursday, April 19, 2018 from 6:00 PM-8:30 PM EDT at Valo Park (formerly the Gannett Building), McLean, VA 22102.

































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What Makes a Great Leader?

Words of Wisdom from WIT Leadership Awards Finalists –

Government Category 

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Meet the Company: Bechtel

On March 26, more than 60 WIT members and others participated in a Meet the Company event at Bechtel in Reston, Virginia.

Bechtel, a global leader in engineering, construction and project management, operates through four global businesses: Infrastructure; Nuclear, Security and Environmental; Oil, Gas and Chemicals; and Mining and Metals.  The Hoover Dam (AZ); Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating Station (CA); Dulles Corridor Metrorail Extension (VA); and Tacoma Narrows Bridge (WA) are among its signature projects in the U.S.. 

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What Makes a Great Leader?

Words of Wisdom from WIT Leadership Awards Finalists – Corporate Small-Market Category

As we move closer to the annual WIT Leadership Awards on May 17, we are featuring real life stories and insights from the outstanding pool of finalists for the 2018 awards.

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Digital Automation - Love it or leave it, it is here to say!

Last week I attended my first major WIT event – WIT Connect. I was excited because the topic was close to my heart. I work with emerging technologies and too often I hear the apprehension about adopting some of them – machine learning, artificial intelligence, advanced analytics etc. I was curious to know more about how organization heads like KPMG’s Kirke Everson, who leads the intelligent automation practice for government, are handling it.


The panelists brought in different perspectives – from use cases implemented in US Department of Health and Human services to how intelligent automation impacts employee engagement and change management inside large enterprises.

At the end of the session, the audience posed a variety of questions ranging from the ethics of implementing some of the solutions to cyber-security and safeguarding this information.  

Here are five major takeaways I got from this session:

  1. Triggers that set off adoption of Intelligent systems:


    Henry Ford famously said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”

    Hence, adoption of intelligence systems like AI, machine learning etc. is also triggered by the fact that almost all organizations – enterprises big and small, government agencies, non-profits etc. are dealing with increased demand on efficiency and productivity with minimal budgets. This has led to the adoption of intelligent systems and solutions that meets these demands.









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Where is Cybersecurity Going – And Where Should It Go?

All-star panel of cybersecurity experts discuss the innovative approaches organizations
are taking to identify and avoid digital attacks!

In the face of increasingly successful cyber attacks, most forward-thinking business leaders realize that the best approach is to make their networks resilient. Resilience is the ability to stay in business and minimize damage to your customers, your reputation, and your bottom line when the inevitable incident happens.

In essence, that means cybersecurity.


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How A Mentoring Program Helped An IT Entrepreneur

While attending the last Women in Technology (WIT) mentor-protégé alumni networking event, someone asked me, “Why are you a protégé? You are a business owner, a CEO”.  I replied: “being a protégé has nothing to do with your title or owning a company, I believe I still have a lot to learn out there." My point is that there is always room for growth.

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Leadership, Inspiration and Supporting One Another

“You can have it all, you just can’t do it alone,” Army Maj. Gen Patricia Frost told the audience during the March 22 AFCEA DC Breakfast featuring Women of the DoD.

“And balance and having it all doesn’t mean every day,” Lt. Gen. VeraLinn “Dash” Jamison added.

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Inspiration that Hits Close To Home: The 2017 Leadership Awards Large Market Sector Finalists

We all need a source of inspiration… something or someone that helps motivate us to get up out of bed each day, to keep us going even when things get tough, and to remind us to never give up. When we asked the finalists of the 2017 WIT Leadership Awards Large Market Sector Finalists who inspired them, we found a common theme that hit close to home. In fact, the answer was found in their own homes – their own mothers and daughters. Read what a few of the finalists had to say about the inspiration they found in their own families.

Teresa Carroll-Childers
, Director of CSC’s Global Infrastructure Services: her mother.
“My mother worked her way up to an elected role in government as a Democrat in a Republican county.”

Lynne Chamberlain, VP of Business Development at Red Hat: her daughter.
“My daughter has been one of my greatest inspirations and is an exceptional example of someone who works hard and has amazing drive and passion. When she was 13, I took her to the Newseum, where she held a microphone for the first time and told me she wanted to be a sports broadcaster. It is incredibly inspiring to watch a young woman achieve exactly what she set out to do – she is now a college football broadcaster for ESPN.”



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Women Who Inspire: The 2017 WIT Leadership Awards Small Business & Entrepreneur Finalists

Diligence.  Integrity.  Excellence. Humble. Grateful. These are the words used to describe this year’s WIT Leadership Awards finalists in the Small Business and Entrepreneur category. This group of women inspires us on a day-to-day basis, but who inspired them to take the leap, become a risk-taker and rise to the top? We asked these women… who inspires you?

Jennifer Mellon, Founder & President, Trustify: Hillary Clinton
“Hillary Clinton is a woman for whom I once worked and who has always inspired me and my work.  She is a pioneer who does not quit when it gets difficult and who has used her status to advocate for the most marginalized populations in our country and abroad.”

Meagan Metzger, Founder, Dcode42: Margaret Hamilton
“Margaret Hamilton wasn’t an exceptional woman programmer, she was an exceptional programmer, period, and she was the ‘founding mother’ of software itself. She was also a working mother in a time when that wasn’t common, and she had a true entrepreneurial spirit.”


Lisa N. Wolford, President & CEO, Constellation West: Margaret Thatcher
“Margaret Thatcher led Britain as Prime Minister during some very difficult years.  She used her brain and exceptional work ethic to get things done and to influence people.  She was a political leader when there were very few female leaders, and she was not afraid to blaze a new path with economic reforms. A favorite quote from her is, “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money.”













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The Genesis of the WIT Leadership Awards

Women in Technology (WIT) of the Greater DC Region had a vision 17 years ago and began recognizing the women who made contributions to the DC tech scene. Now, all these years later, the WIT Leadership Awards remains the one event where women of all levels are identified and honored for their contributions in a high-profile, meaningful, career-building way.

WIT has now awarded 152 women with a Leadership Award. Their upcoming Leadership Awards event on May 11th of 2017 will bring that total up to 162. The annual event is attended by hundreds of executives from companies that want to recognize their women leaders before a broader audience. One can tell from the award categories, especially the Unsung Hero and Rising Star award categories, that WIT believes it’s important to recognize those who lead in both large and small ways. “We’ve heard amazing stories of young women demonstrating leadership by taking initiative with things that fall outside their job description but that have a huge impact. Examples like young women being a go-to person for new employees, to women leveraging their company’s technologies to give back to the community, to women mentoring up by teaching older employees how to use new technologies” says Trish Barber, President Elect of Women in Technology.

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The Cybersecurity Field is Growing Fast – And It Needs More Women!

The WIT Cybersecurity Special Interest Group Is Excited to Announce an Opportunity to Help Take your Cyber Career to the Next Level!

 Jobs in the Cyber Industry are multiplying, yet women represent just over 10% of the current Cybersecurity workforce.  As part of our mission to offer a broad range of support, programs and resources to advance women in technology, WIT is excited partner with CyberVista* to offer its members an opportunity to gain the skills and certification needed to take advantage of the enormous opportunities available in this growing industry.

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What Makes a Great Leader? Thoughts from 2017’s WIT Leadership Award Nominees

The Oxford Dictionary defines the word “leader,” as a person who leads or commands a group, organization or country, but is leadership really so black and white? What qualities, characteristics and traits comprise a true leader? Since there seems to be no one answer to this difficult question, we decided to ask the 2017 WIT Leadership Award nominees to get their thoughts. What do you think? Did they hit the nail on the head?

What Makes a Great Leader?

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The Best Advice: More Wise Words From 2017’s WIT Leadership Award Nominees

In the spirit of Women’s History Month, this blog is part of a Women in Technology (WIT) series honoring women doing amazing work across technology roles and organizations.   As we move towards WIT’s May 11, 2017 Leadership Awards event, we are featuring real life stories and insights of women who are rising, leading, and paving the way. 

This final installment of the “Best Advice I’ve ever received,” shows once again the diversity and wisdom emanating from our 2017 Leadership Award Finalists.  Take note and take some of this great advice to heart…..

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The Best Advice: More Wise Words from 2017’s WIT Leadership Award Nominees

In the spirit of Women’s History Month, this blog is part of a Women in Technology (WIT) series honoring women doing amazing work across technology roles and organizations.   As we move towards WIT’s May 11, 2017 Leadership Awards event, we are featuring real life stories and insights of women who are rising, leading, and paving the way. 

This year, from our Women in Technology 2017 Leadership Awards Finalists, we have a rich treasure trove of “Best Advice I’ve ever received.”   As began in an earlier blog post, today we continue with some diverse insight from our Finalists.  Enjoy these snippets of advice….

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The Best Advice: Wise Words from Some of 2017’s WIT Leadership Award Nominees

In the spirit of Women’s History Month, this blog is part of a Women in Technology (WIT) series honoring women doing amazing work across technology roles and organizations.   As we move towards WIT’s May 11, 2017 Leadership Awards event, we are featuring real life stories and insights of women who are rising, leading, and paving the way.

Good advice is hard to find and not all advice is created equal.  Yet, at Women in Technology, we believe that it’s worth listing to the things that the women being honored as finalists in this year’s Leadership Awards celebration have to say….

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