Women in Technology Announces 20th Annual
Leadership Award Winners

Professional Women in the Washington, D.C. Technology Community Recognized for their Extraordinary Leadership, Achievements, Mentorship and Community Engagement

Falls Church, VA – May 10, 2019Women in Technology (WIT), the premier organization contributing to the success of professional women in the Washington, D.C. area technology community, announced winners of the 20th Annual Leadership Awards at a Gala held Thursday, May 9, 2019. The evening honors highly successful women who have made mentoring the next generation of leaders in technology a significant component of their own success.

The annual WIT Leadership Awards showcases the outstanding accomplishments and contributions of female leaders in academic, entrepreneurial, government and corporate roles across the Washington, D.C. technology community. The 20th Anniversary Gala featured a panel of previous award winners discussing learning moments, regrets, motivations, inspirations and advice for tomorrow’s leaders.

“This year’s Leadership Awards Gala was a double celebration: 25 years of Women in Technology and 20 years of our Leadership Awards program,” said Margo Dunn, WIT President. “We have honored more than 1,000 stellar female leaders in technology over the past 20 years, and each year we are honored in turn to be guided and inspired by their stories.”

This year's winners are as follows:

  • Academia – Jill Klein, American University
  • Corporate: Large-Market Sector - Toni Townes-Whitley, Microsoft
  • Corporate: Mid-Market Sector - Padma Chitrapu, Neustar, Inc.
  • Corporate: Small-Market Sector - Hildi Pineda, AbleVets LLC
  • Government - Chérie Smith, U.S. Army Program Executive Office Enterprise Information Systems (PEO EIS)
  • Rising Star - Allison Farris, Microsoft
  • Small Business/Entrepreneur - Janel Merritt, DigiDoc Inc. dba Public Sector Solutions Groups
  • STEM Leadership - Meg Layton, Symantec Corporation
  • Unsung Hero - Mahwish Hamlani, Accenture
  • Women in Defense - Darlene Straub, Defense Information Systems Agency

The Leadership Foundry, a signature program of WIT created to prepare women for corporate board service, also presented its annual Corporate Leadership Award to United Therapeutics Corporation. The Corporate Leadership Award recognizes local public companies that are making a difference in gender diversity on their Board of Directors and in the C-Suite. This year, the award is given to United Therapeutics Corporation for their outstanding promotion of women into prominent positions:

  • Women hold 4 seats on the Board of Directors out of 11 total seats making gender diversity on the board 36%;
  • A woman holds one of four corporate executive officer positions as CEO; she is also Chair of the Board.

WIT also presented the WIT Champion Award to Leslie Bauer, WIT Treasurer, and a CPA & Cyber Risk Executive. The WIT Champion Award honors a current member of WIT who has shown exemplary dedication to the WIT organization and its mission. In addition to stepping up to serve an additional term as WIT Treasurer when needed, Leslie Bauer is also an active member of The Leadership Foundry Planning Committee, securing key speakers for the program in the past several years.

This year’s WIT President’s Award was given to Marian McKee, Senior Director, Global Operational Services at BioReliance and 2015-2019 Chair of the STEM for Her Board of Directors, for the exceptional work she has done to foster a strong partnership between WIT and STEM for Her, the 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation founded by WIT to promote education to create awareness, excitement and opportunities among girls and young women to pursue successful STEM-related careers.


About Women in Technology
Women in Technology (WIT) is a not-for-profit organization with the mission of advancing women in technology — from the classroom to the boardroom. With more than 1,000 members in the Washington, D.C. area, WIT fulfills its vision by providing leadership development, technology education, networking, and mentoring opportunities for women at all levels of their careers and for girls interested in STEM. For more information, please visit: womenintechnology.org or connect with us via Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter (@WITWomen).