Women in Technology Conference
Women in Technology 2020 Conference
The 21st annual Women in Technology Conference was held on Friday, February 28, 2020, at the Annenberg Presidential Conference Center. The conference’s theme, “Portraits of Success,” highlighted female pioneers in information technology with framed biographies of 38 different women distributed on the tables. Six women in the 1940s were spotlighed in the video documentary, “The Computers: The Remarkable Story of the ENIAC Programmers.”
Ms. Theresa Phinney led a fun Kahoots game regarding various female leaders and events. Ms. Jackie Rosenthal, MS-MIS, Class of ’21, won the game. Her prize was a gift card to Hopdoddy Burger Bar.
Three exciting female executives gave presentations about their careers and words of wisdom for the attendees’ careers. The speakers were as follows:
- Ms. Shachella James, Vice President, Technology Operations, CenterPoint Energy
- Ms. Shefali Kapoor Patel, Founder and Director, Vijay Computer Academy
- Ms. Elaine Mendoza, Founder, President, and CEO of Conceptual MindWorks, Inc
Ms. James encouraged the participants to identify a vision for themselves. Once the vision exists, empower yourself by getting rid of inhibiting thoughts, creating opportunities to build relationships and meet your image, and take opportunities to stretch one’s assignments and experiences. By doing these steps, a woman can get her “slice of the pie.”
Ms. Kapoor Patel discussed how her passion for information technology led her through uncertain times. She always found direction when she utilized her information technology skills. She stressed that each person can be a world changer by taking the following actions:
- Investing in yourself through courses, workshops, and online classes. What stays with a person are their skills and knowledge.
- Finding a mentor or sponsor; learning through their and your mistakes
- Networking, networking, and networking
- “Dream big, work hard, and you will succeed.”
Ms. Mendoza stressed that business success centers on team members and customers all coming together around similar values and principles, working towards that success. Discipline is needed to align one’s work with their values. Be sure to define your own success; do not let others define you. Learn from your mistakes and failures to make those experiences your miracles and future. Do not be married to specific outcomes because there are many other great possibilities. Ms. Mendoza’s main points were 1) resilience, persistence, and belief in yourself – “you be you” – leads to success, and 2) the bigger the dream, the more lessons you learn along the way.
In addition to the many door prizes, the conference attendees enjoyed the opportunities to take a professional headshot and to have fun pictures taken with the Magic Mirror booth.
The Women in Technology Conference 2021 is scheduled for Friday, February 26, 2021.
March 1, 2019
20th annual WIT conference – Beelieve it or Not!
Attendees at the annual Women in Technology Conference celebrated the 20th anniversary “Beelieve it or Not”. With a theme of hardworking bees, the conference brought together women to network and learn from others currently building their careers in information technology. It was hosted by the Center for the Management of Information Systems (CMIS) on March 1, 2019 in the Annenberg Center at George Bush Presidential Library at Texas A&M University.
Female students with an interest in information technology participated in round table discussions on topics such as lessons learned from senior executives, managers, professionals and new graduates in the workforce. They discussed advice such as leadership, work-life, and new technology trends.
Reveille greeted at attendees as they arrived with photo opportunities. GM and Tom Light Chevy provided a Chevy Traverse for arrivals with signage for the conference and tie in to automotive industry technology.
After a welcome speech by Executive Professor and CMIS Director, Robin Starnes, the conference attendees heard from three keynote speakers:
- Jerrie Kertz ’82, Senior Vice President at AT&T: MY Journey at AT&T ….a story still in the making
- Carol Clements, CTO Pizza Hut: From Phones to Planes to Pizza: Using Technology to Serve Customers in Any Industry
- Michele Salinas, Director at GM: It’s Your Career – Put Yourself in the Driver’s Seat
In her presentation, Kertz advised women to “broaden their perspective, speak up, and embrace change”. She also promoted the use of mentors and willingness to lend a hand. She related career changes to lattice work, rather than twists and turns.
Clements focused on “customer service” in every industry. She provided insight on the use of machine learning to deliver pizza, hot and on time. Robot pizza makers and self-driving cars are in the not too distant future for Pizza Hut!
Salinas closed by focusing on “putting yourself in the driver’s seat”. On your way to your next destination “accelerate when you need to, honk when you need to be noticed, and reflect in your rear view mirror but look back front to continue on”.
Dr. Eli Jones, Dean of Mays Business School, delivered a formal welcome to the conference and spoke of diversity efforts at Texas A&M University. Recognition of the founding members of the conference was provided in a little “mystery of our history” by Starnes.
Door prizes were distributed through-out the day, with donations from CMIS Board Member Companies as well as local businesses in the area. A Katie Decker Century Tree pendant from David Gardner’s, $100 gift cards from Textron, Pizza Hut gift cards, CC Creations Aggie basket, TAMU honey baskets, books, and many other gifts were among the prizes. All guests received gift bags from CMIS as well.