At age 10, Audrey Taylor watched a single woman — a police officer with no husband, no children — buy a home and move into her neighborhood in the UK. That episode opened Audrey’s eyes to the possibilities for women, particularly in male-dominated fields like IT. At a young age, Audrey became determined to use her drive, thirst for knowledge, and penchant for leadership to make an impact for herself and other women.
Audrey became a force in the technology space early in her career — without a college degree. Her goal to travel the world one tech project at a time brought her to Indiana in 1991 as a consultant on a project for the state government. “Tech is really the only global career. There’s no need to be retrained when you go to another nation since the cutting-edge tools and state of the industry translate easily across borders.” Her years as a consultant empowered Audrey with skills in relationship management and service delivery, along with exposing her to the importance and power of data before Big Data was even on the radar.
In 1998, Audrey founded her company netlogx in Indianapolis to guide enterprise organizations as they navigate change and make that change work for them by solving complex business challenges. “Every organization today is a tech-reliant organization, even if they aren’t in a STEM industry. netlogx helps these companies make better technology selections, both to optimize the benefit of their investment and to ensure they are legal compliant and following best practices. We help organizations survive and thrive in a dangerous world.” Now in its 21st year, netlogx has a presence in eight states and has been named a Best Place to Work five times, including the last four consecutive years. The business is starting to explore a foothold in Europe as well.
In and outside of netlogx, Audrey is passionate about supporting women and diversity. Around the time she was creating netlogx in the late nineties, Audrey discovered an emerging organization, Women & Hi Tech, that supported both women and diversity as well. “It was incredible to discover a strong group of women I respected, and I was eager to be a part of it.” After a few years spent building her business and raising her two sons, Audrey had the opportunity to become an active member of Women & Hi Tech, going on to serve the organization in multiple capacities.
“My vision for netlogx has always been that it become and remain a place where people from a diverse array of backgrounds can feel heard, supported, and grow as professionals; a business that is diverse by design. I knew that Women & Hi Tech’s mission was directly aligned with netlogx’s operating principles, so the first way I got involved was to support them through corporate sponsorship. As a woman-owned business, it is our responsibility to encourage diversity and inclusion everywhere.”
Audrey also got involved with the organization by joining its Board of Directors as Treasurer, a role she held for two years before being nominated as the board’s President. “I had used my time as Treasurer to reinforce the accountability with which the organization was already managing its budget. As President, I took the opportunity to focus on another one of my passions: mentoring.”
At the time of Audrey’s presidency in 2017-2018, Women & Hi Tech had reached a critical mass of members, meaning it was no longer sustainable for the organization to individually match its members with mentors or mentees. “To meet the needs of members who wanted to provide mentorship,, I established a partnership with the Pass the Torch for Women Foundation. Partnering with Pass the Torch provided us with the opportunity to not only introduce STEM fields to young women, but also deliver value efficiently to our members and elevate another group, already aligned with our mission, in the community.”
Audrey also worked behind the scenes to improve the board’s efficiency by implementing a consent agenda that could be reviewed and discussed before meetings. “With an all-volunteer board, every Director is working very hard and deserves for their time to be respected, and for their issues to be heard and addressed.”
Today, Audrey sees Women & Hi Tech continuing to become more outward-facing in the community rather than simply serving as a support group for our members. “We are increasingly realizing women can’t make change by simply talking to a room full of women. Male allies have always been important, as are the young people we are reaching through our K-12 and college outreach initiatives.”
“It is so important that we raise strong people to be prepared for the future together. This can’t just be about one type of person; it’s about all people working together to make the world a better place.”
In her decades spent in Indianapolis, Audrey saw great strides in the movement for equality and diversity but says there is still a way to go for things to move in the direction of inclusion. “The talent shortage in Indianapolis and across the world is putting pressure on the industry to seek change. Hiring people who don’t look and sound like us has now become a business need, not just an option, and that’s a good thing.”
At netlogx, Audrey has always prioritized these hiring practices, not for a pat on the back, but to protect against blind spots and undetected bias. “Without diversity, you have no ability to progress,” she observed. “I’m aware that even at my business, we may have a lot of female leaders, but a lot of them look like me. So, I’m always trying to make us diverse by design. Without diversity, you end up with biased artificial intelligence, unnoticed risks, and other unintended consequences.”
In Indianapolis, Audrey says one of the biggest barriers to more diverse STEM work environments can be the educational barriers to entry. “There have been good conversations locally around what it takes to get hired into tech positions — do you need a degree? Or just a boot camp style education? There’s a lot of lip service paid to not needing a degree, but in job postings, the policy hasn’t changed and only degree holders can apply. There’s still a long way to go.”
This is one reason Audrey thinks Women & Hi Tech will still be essential to the Indianapolis STEM community twenty years from now. “This organization is a locally developed reaction to a local need, and as a result, it’s been able to adapt over time as the need changes. It was valuable 20 years ago, and it’s valuable today in a different way. We can’t know what the needs will be 20 years from now, but we can stay flexible and adaptable enough to meet those needs.”
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