A red chair was a key player in the 17th annual Women in Information Technology Conference, held March 4 in the Memorial Student Center on the Texas A&M University campus. The conference is hosted by the Center for the Management of Information Systems (CMIS) at Mays Business School. The theme, “Big Data,” focused on the variety of data collected, processed and analyzed in our world today, as well as the consumer perspective, such as reward programs generated from data collection.redchair2

The attendees were encouraged to find ways to promote women in technology. The red chair was unveiled at the front of the room as a symbol inviting men and women to “sit” and acknowledge the need for more diversity in technology. In addition, CMIS engaged student volunteers this year to assist in the Hour of Code at the elementary through high school levels in the Brazos Valley.

In attendance were about 144 people, a mix of current students from Texas A&M, Blinn College, Prairie View A&M, Tarleton State, MIS professionals and CMIS advisory board members. CMIS board members sponsoring various aspects of the event included Exabyte Members – ConocoPhillips, GM, HP, Noble Energy, Phillips 66 and Shell; Petabyte Members – Anadarko, Chevron, ExxonMobil, National Instruments, PwC and USSA; Terabyte Members – Charles Schwab, Deloitte, Marathon Oil and Southwest Airlines; and WIT Conference Sponsor Goldman Sachs.

After a welcome by Robin Starnes, director of CMIS, and Rich Metters, chair of the Department of Information Systems and Operations Management, Alyssa Michalke kicked off the day discussing her journey to becoming the first female Corps Commander at Texas A&M.

Three keynote presentations were given:

  • “Thanks for Listening” by John Krajicek, executive professor and assistant director of communication studies at Mays;
  • “Your Data and Customer Loyalty Programs” by Kristen Dearing, senior vice president, Marketing and Sales Alliances, Brierley and Partners;
  • “The Future of Advanced Analytics with Big Data” by Neera Talbert, director of Microsoft.

A panel of CMIS board members and former MIS students discussed “Women’s Strengths in Business.” Panel members were Victoria Blessing ’14 of Texas A&M; Lauren Dillon of Deloitte; Jennifer Hohman of ConocoPhillips; Renee Schroeder ’86 of Charles Schwab; Pamela Jones ’02 of General Motors; and Kayla Cermack ’10 of Southwest Airlines.

CMIS provided scholarships to three Texas A&M students during the conference. Photography throughout the day was provided by students in the Texas A&M Photography Club, Vision Inspired. Numerous prizes and gift cards were awarded to attendees, donated by CC Creations, Barnes & Noble, Deloitte, Goldman Sachs, Noble Energy, Phillips66, Smoothie King, Southwest Airlines and CMIS.

Officers from the Texas A&M student organization Women in IT worked with other MIS students, faculty and staff to plan the event.

ABOUT MAYS BUSINESS SCHOOL

Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School educates more than 6,000 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students in accounting, business, finance, management, management information systems, marketing and supply chain management. Mays consistently ranks among the top public business schools in the country for its undergraduate and MBA programs, and for faculty research. The mission of Mays Business School is creating knowledge and developing ethical leaders for a global society.