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.

WIT’s nomination process considers four different ways that a woman may impact her organization. Those are:

  • Achievement: Achieving success in a technology field or organization in the technology Industry
  • Leadership: Empowering her team to be architects of change in the technology industry
  • Mentorship: Advancing women from the classroom to the boardroom
  • Community Engagement: Engaging in extracurricular activities and community/civic involvement

“The goal is to identify those smart, gutsy women who take calculated risks to help their company achieve great success - those women who are self-starters and who other people admire and look to as leaders.  WIT created the Leadership Awards to encourage women who don’t always get the recognition and rewards they deserve.  We are proud that 1,100+ companies have taken advantage of this unique and recognized forum to honor their amazing women leaders over the years.” adds Kathryn Harris, President of Women in Technology.

Former Leadership Award recipients have achieved great career success, but after winning an award, they often tend to take something new back to their companies. Elaine Turville, Managing Director at Accenture Federal and winner in 2014, harnessed the spirit of the WIT Leadership Awards to create something special inside Accenture. “Being selected as part of such esteemed and successful group of  women has been inspiring and humbling for me.  It has also inspired me to continue to foster access to women in technology inside our organization. I have teamed with another technical leader in Accenture, Sara Abiusi, to start our own internal Women in Technology breakfast series.   We bring in internal and external speakers to talk directly with our upcoming women leaders to share ideas, explain new technology trends and encourage them all to remain relevant in technology throughout their career,” says Turville.

The nine 2017 Leadership Award winners will be chosen on May 11th from this group of forty-four finalists. The event will again be hosted by local television journalist and founder/board member of the International Women's Media Foundation, Maureen Bunyan. When we asked Bunyan why she’s been so dedicated to Women in Technology for the last seven years, she said: “I devote time to organizations that meet two criteria. Organizations either need to inspire me or inform me. Every time I’m around the WIT group, they inject a bit of enthusiasm into my life, which I appreciate so much. The women are not only smart, but well organized, have great direction and get things done.”

Details and tickets can be secured at


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