Women in Technology May Still Be Scarce, But We’re Never Alone!

Women in technology may still be scarce, but we’re never alone!

I was thrilled to be among 25 women recently recognized with a North Texas Women in Technology award for 2016 by the Dallas Business Journal. The awards recognize technology-focused women who are driving innovation, leading technology companies, and contributing to the local and global communities. I was thrilled not only because receiving the award was such a huge honor, but it was a fantastic opportunity to share experiences with 24 other women responsible for advancing technology within their companies—and managing through the nonstop change of it all.

The theme of the conference was “Managing Through Change,” which I discovered was truly a bonding experience for all the women involved. Despite our disparate industries, backgrounds and experience, we all discovered a shared love of learning and problem-solving, which sustains us at the forefront of change and in the midst of the breakneck decision-making.

 We also share a dedication to encouraging other women in technology to join us in the exhilaration of the trapeze wire.

Here are just five of the extraordinary women I had the privilege to meet at the half-day conference. Each woman led technology initiatives that have improved the customer and employee experience, propelled their company to greater success, and demonstrated their skill at managing through change.

Joan Holman — Legal Services

As the Chief Information Officer for legal services firm Strasburger, Joan oversees the company’s information technology needs, which encompasses the firm’s law library, training, and eDiscovery and litigation support functions. A trail-blazing thought leader in her industry, Joan is known for having “blazed a path to digitization” for Strasburger and for actively and generously sharing her experience with her industry.

 “Technology will continue to evolve,” she says. “As a firm, we need to harness that evolution to smoothly address our clients’ needs. When everyone in the firm realizes the role that technology can play, we can ensure that we meet our clients’ goals.”

 Debra Hughey — Healthcare

Deb is the VP of Information Services for the healthcare provider, Baylor Scott & White Health. She manages electronic health record implementations across the company’s massive health care systems in North and Central Texas. In 2011, she oversaw the effort to computerize order entry for physicians across all inpatient facilities. That was just the start. Deb led another implementation push that went live on October 1 that included 1,000 physicians and 4,000 staff.

 “Leading that effort,” she says, “was extremely rewarding from both a personal and professional standpoint.”

 Deborah Kerr — Travel

Deborah is the chief product and technology officer at Sabre Corp., the technology solutions provider to the global travel and tourism industry. It’s the power and potential of artificial intelligence in changing the paradigm for how people live and work that first attracted Kerr to her current industry. Deborah’s leadership and vision have contributed significantly to Sabre’s success, particularly since Sabre re-launched as a publicly traded company in April 2014. In that time, Sabre stock delivered 83-percent total shareholder return and an additional $3.8 billion of equity value was created.

 Deborah says that “the key to advancing in what can sometimes be an unwelcoming professional environment for women is building confidence, finding alliances that help you break down barriers, and understanding the importance of influencing and networking.”

 Beverly Rider — Telecommunications

Beverly manages Ericsson’s cross-functional, multi-regional teams in the company’s Enterprise and Consumer Internet of Things (IoT) and Cloud Services groups. Another technology executive who loves problem-solving, Beverly loves figuring out the “nexus between telecommunications, process improvement, and increased revenue for enterprise customers.”

She says her most significant contribution has been “evangelizing and assisting others to see a path where technology can change their ways of working … and to promote citizens’ quality of life within the smart, sustainable, happy city environment.”

Jamie Schott — Consumer Beauty Products

Jamie, the director of Corporate Digital Marketing at Mary Kay, recently led a game-changing effort to launch the company’s My Customers+, an app that takes the Mary Kay’s direct-selling model mobile. This advancement changed the paradigm of direct-selling, which has long revolved around in-person interactions and paper receipts.

“We have modernized a company with a rich 53-year history,” she says, “by reinventing customer experiences and bringing digital expertise and solutions to Mary Kay subsidiaries around the world.”

About Me

“Non-traditional” describes the path that Sheryl Chamberlain has taken to reach her current technology position at international management consulting powerhouse Capgemini. Chamberlain began her career in accounting, moved up to the role of public auditor at Deloitte and eventually landed in the CFO position at a construction company. It was in this CFO role that Chamberlain oversaw the implementation of a new application software. “With that experience behind me, I moved into a software company implementing application software for companies from $10 million to $1 billion,” she explained. “Combining finance and software implementations, I moved into a sales role, and ultimately to where I am today – technology business development in the hi-tech industry.”

From the judges: Sheryl is a driver of strategy and innovation, and has consistently delivered results. She has been a leading contributor to numerous market-leading transactions and groundbreaking initiatives. She has truly made a mark.

We’re Never Alone

Meeting these and all of the other accomplished, visionary women reminded me that women in technology may still be a little scarce, but we’re never alone. 

Part of not feeling alone is having a sponsor, which is different from a mentor. I’ll talk more about this in my next blog … stay tuned.

 Karen Weddell - Capgemini Senior Business Analyst;  Susan Nash - VMware Vice President;  Wendy Walker - Capgemini North American Sales;  Preeti Suma - Manager Capital One;  Dalia Powers -Vice President of Engineering at Capital One (Awardee), Laurence Schuuman – Capgemini Financial Services Business Unit, Caroline Watteeuw - Capgemini Board of Director; Sheryl Chamberlain - Capgemini VP Group Strategic Initiatives & Partnerships; Lisa Brown – Capgemini Cloud Choice Operations Leader, Amanda Jordaan - Capgemini North American Recruitment;  Lea Yancey - Capgemini  Data & Insights

From left to right:  Karen Weddell – Capgemini Senior Business Analyst;  Susan Nash – VMware Vice President;  Wendy Walker – Capgemini North American Sales;  Preeti Suma – Manager Capital One;  Dalia Powers – Vice President of Engineering at Capital One (Awardee); Laurence Schuuman – Capgemini Financial Services; Caroline Watteeuw – Technology Officer at Warburg Pincus LLC and Capgemini Board Member; Sheryl Chamberlain – Capgemini VP Group Strategic Initiatives & Partnerships; Lisa Brown – Capgemini Cloud Choice Operations, Amanda Jordaan – Capgemini North America Recruitment;  Lea Yancey – Capgemini  Data & Insights

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