Dear Members, Sponsors, Volunteers, Supporters and Friends,
I am so happy to start summer! And so glad for warmer weather and outside activities. With vaccinations providing what may be an end to the pandemic, we are excited to be moving towards in person events. Women & Hi Tech’s inaugural Multicultural Celebration is almost here. We invite you to join us on the evening of June 9, 2021 from 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm (EST) at the Indiana State Museum Great Hall in downtown Indianapolis. We created this signature event to celebrate and appreciate the unity, authenticity, and cultural diversity imbued by the collective body of women in STEM that enhances, enriches, and empowers our local community and statewide STEM landscape to grow a pipeline of female talent driving innovation in Indiana. This evening will celebrate the array of cultures represented in the Indiana STEM community and showcase the diverse connections represented within Women & Hi Tech. Our celebration will feature culturally diverse hors d'oeuvres and dinner, networking with other STEM professionals, and honoring the Health and Science Innovations High School STEM Summer Camp award recipients. We will also dance and enjoy festive tunes from the live band, Chamber Music. If you have not already done so, there are still tickets available, we would love to see you there. Purchase your tickets at https://womenandhitech.org/event-4246572.
If you have a goal to do some summer reading, consider joining our Virtual Book Club. The June book is Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi. It’s not too late to grab a copy of the book and register to join us on Monday, June 21, 2021 from 6-7 pm for the Book Club Discussion.
Finally, our Executive Women’s Forum Director, Linda Calvin, is busy preparing for our next event to be held June 24, 2021 from 11-1 pm. The title is “Let’s Talk About Your Cyber Hygiene”. A panel of cybersecurity experts will help us learn about big recent cybersecurity events, the implications, and how you can improve your cyber hygiene report card. According to recent reports, cybercrime has increased every year as people try to benefit from vulnerable business systems. Remember, the Colonial Pipeline attack from just a few weeks ago that resulted in empty gas stations across the southeast? While IT security professionals deal with cyber risks every day, most individual users do not perceive this as a big problem. But we all have a role to play in cyber security and we invite you to join us for this valuable discussion. This event is FREE for everyone to attend, but you must register to claim your ticket.
The June Executive Women’s Forum topic is a perfect lead in for our 28th edition of "Grown from STEM" focused on Information Technology. IT has become such an integral part of our everyday lives, even more so during this pandemic, as we switched to working and shopping via the internet and virtual meetings, doctor appointments, family reunions and happy hours. For me it has become an IT overload. At church this past weekend we received a challenge from our minister to spend the month of June simply walking – with nothing playing in our ears or carrying a cell phone. Simply walk, reflect, and enjoy your surroundings.
There was a recent article in the Wall Street Journal that indicated relying solely on digital information for decision making, without face to face information gathering, can lead to big strategy mistakes. The article shared a great story about Lego who relied on information that suggested the “electronic generation” wanted instant gratification so they started making larger blocks/kits that could be completed quickly. Sales tanked. Then they heard from a young boy who gave them feedback that working at something tedious and seeing your accomplishment come to life was actually fun. So, they switched their strategy to make intricate kits with smaller pieces. Lego is now the largest toy company in sales in the world.
I think the pandemic has taught us how important balance is. Mark Twain said, “Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough.” (although, I think I can confirm that too much bourbon is bad). What I love about our two featured IT professionals, Darcy Lee and Rajinder Heir, is that they couple their passion for IT, virtual and digital with an appreciation for personal connections and relationships. These two do not sit behind a computer all day. Their “balance” is really an inspiration as they navigate successful IT careers while serving their families and the community. Darcy is a past President and Active Emeritus board member of Women & Hi Tech and the COO of AIS. Rajinder is an Emeritus Board Member of Women & Hi Tech and the CTO of the Indiana Commission for Higher Education. Both ladies are quite accomplished in their respective fields but are also strong advocates for improving diversity in STEM and being role models for young STEM professionals. That’s what I love – they keep our IT infrastructure humming, and at the same time they are out in our STEM community building relationships, mentoring, networking and asking how they can help. I hope you enjoy hearing more about their accomplishments and what drives them.
As we began in the October 2020 edition of "Grown from STEM," we are delighted to continue to feature one of our 2020 Virtual Leading Light Awards (LLAs) recipients in this newsletter. This month we continue to celebrate and recognize Women & Hi Tech's Rising Star recipient, Shilpi Bhargav. Shilpi is the Global Head of Requirements Modeling at Roche Diabetes Group, where she has transformed her team’s global documentation system and quickly risen to a leadership role. While pursuing her Master’s in Biology at IUPUI she was also instrumental in Project Lead the Way, a program dedicated to retaining STEM students and reducing Indiana’s brain drain. Please watch this segment of the 2020 Virtual LLAs to learn more about what fuels Shilpi’s passion and drive for equality for all in the STEM fields and beyond. Again, congratulations Shilpi!
Linda M. Hicks
Women & Hi Tech President Elect