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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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Rising Stars: Wise Words from Women of Focus

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.

Shining a light on women at all stages and in a variety of roles in the technology industry is part of what we cultivate at Women in Technology.  We take our our mission seriously to walk with women “from the classroom to the boardroom.”  That’s why, in addition to honoring pillars of industry in the DC region, like Kay Kapoor of AT&T,  we also shine a light on women who are carefully and methodically working hard and working their way up, showing great successes early-on in their career journeys.

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On the Shoulders of Women Past: Kicking off Women’s History Month

Today, across the United States, the UK, and Australia, Women’s History Month recognitions begin as the month unfolds.  Combined with the commemoration of International Women’s Day celebrated around the world on March 8, it is a time of year to reflect on the vast contributions of women to global culture, economic vitality, history and society.

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February WIT Connect – Meet the Speakers: Chuck Howell, MITRE

AI has long fascinated us as a society, becoming central to the plots of numerous thriller movies and novels. Now AI is no longer just fiction; it is a reality, and its applications are broad reaching. AI-based technology is already allowing us to make invaluable advancements in medicine, cybersecurity, transportation, finance, and education. The potential benefits are so great, they are driving billions of dollars of investment.

In preparation for next week’s WIT Connect around AI, we sat down with Chuck Howell - Chief Engineer for Intelligence Programs & Integration at the Center for National Security, MITRE – to gauge his thoughts on AI; what it is and where it’s headed.

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