• 02/27/2019 1:00 PM | Anonymous
    Deborah Pollack-Milgate

    Deborah Pollack-Milgate has practiced intellectual property law with Barnes & Thornburg for almost twenty years. “I consider intellectual property to be at the core of all of STEM. If you haven’t preserved your intellectual resources, it can be the make or break of an organization.” Pollack-Milgate is also committed to helping women advance in their fields, including in her chosen field.“ Many women as employees are concerned with protecting intellectual property at a high level. But even at the ground level, many women are inventors themselves. They deserve their creations to be protected on their behalf.”

    While Pollack-Milgate learned about Women & Hi Tech through its long-standing partnership with Barnes & Thornburg, she joined because she saw the value for all women in STEM. “It’s incredibly fun to see and hear what everyone is out there doing. Before Women & Hi Tech, the Indiana organizations for women in STEM were specific to certain professions, like engineers or chemists. But we face shared problems across our industries,” she pointed out. “Even in law, the same issues come up. This organization is a place where women feel supported in overcoming barriers, aside from the industry-specific challenges.”

    Her enthusiasm and volunteer support led to Pollack-Milgate being invited to become a board member, specifically focused on planning the Executive Women’s Forums. She held this role for three years. “The Executive Women’s Forums have always been at the core of Women & Hi Tech is. I was very mindful in making sure we continued to have creative and solid content. I’m proud of my leadership in that role.” The board then invited Deborah to become President, which she accepted, assuming the role in July 2013. “My goals were to deliver growth and diversify our appeal even further. We were starting to have greater financial resources, so I put forward the idea of the scholarship program, which we then adopted.” During her tenure, Women & Hi Tech also launched the Passport to High Tech event for girls, in partnership with Conner Prairie. She is also proud of having led the board to revise the categories for the Leading Light Awards, broadening them to allow more women to be nominated and recognized.

    After her time as President, Deborah remained on the board for another year to continue planning the Executive Women’s Forums. “By developing our reputation for top-level content, we have been able to expand our membership and include women from more professions and backgrounds than ever,” she said. “As Women & Hi Tech grows, I hope we continue to explore concrete and tangible ways to propel women in STEM forward in Indiana.”

    "There are a lot of challenges out there. Women & Hi Tech can help women in Indiana actually break the glass ceiling versus just talking about doing it".

    Deborah is confident Women & Hi Tech will positively influence women in STEM because of the strength and brilliance of the community that supports its success. “It used to be that women in STEM may have felt they had to stay among males to connect with peers. But now we are finding and supporting each other, and we know we can succeed in STEM fields in Indiana. For twenty years, Women & Hi Tech has been at the center of that amazing shift. I hope I have left this incredible organization better than I found it, and I know it has left me a better person than I was before I joined.”

    Barnes & Thornburg  Barnes & Thornburg Website

  • 01/25/2019 6:00 AM | Anonymous

    Dear Women & Hi Tech Members, Sponsors, Partners, and Friends:

    Happy New Year! 2019 represents Women & Hi Tech’s 20th year as a non-profit organization and successfully effecting change to advance women in STEM in Indiana. Founded in 1999 by an academic at Indiana University and a scientist at Eli Lilly, Women & Hi Tech exists to change the landscape of women represented in STEM to be equally inclusive to all. As such, throughout this year, we will provide our signature programs and events (e.g., Executive Women’s Forums, Passport to Hi-Tech, Ignite Your Superpower (IYS), OperationAll, Spring and Holiday Networking events, the Fall Retreat in French Lick, IN, and more) with a particular focus on our theme of "Celebrating Our Past and Investing in Our Future".

    In addition to celebrating our past 20 years of supporting women and girls in STEM in Indiana, Women & Hi Tech has pledged to invest in our future by providing $20,000 of scholarships to female STEM students in Indiana - via our #WHT20for20” campaign.* Women & Hi Tech will also host our official 20th Anniversary Celebration Event, which is scheduled on Friday, August 16, 2019. Scholarships will be presented to the “#WHT20for20” award winners during our 20th Anniversary Celebration Event.

    Many of you have joined us for our biennial signature event, the Leading Light Awards (LLAs), where we recognize the contributions and achievements of female STEM students and professionals in our community. As a follow up to the 2018 LLAs and in preparation for the 2020 LLAs, we intend to celebrate our past 20 years by highlighting our own members who have advanced the cause and careers of women in STEM in Indiana through their contributions to Women & Hi Tech.

    Accordingly, we would like to introduce you to our first edition of the new Women & Hi Tech newsletter entitled Grown from STEM. As a celebration of this, our 20th Anniversary year, Grown from STEM will feature short biographies of Women & Hi Tech Board members who have made a significant impact in our community through their contributions to this organization. In doing so, we hope to shed some light and provide real-life examples of the different roles, organizations, and industries where women in STEM make an impact, and the paths they took to get there. In this inaugural edition of Grown from STEM, we highlight our President, Darcy Lee, and the CEO of Pass the Torch for Women Foundation, Deb Hallberg, who is an Emeritus Board member of Women & Hi Tech.

    In their professional lives, Darcy and Deb possess expertise in the area of Business Development for STEM organizations, such as an agency that serves clients in STEM or a law firm that protects STEM technologies. Please enjoy our first edition of Grown from STEM, where Darcy and Deb provide their perspective on the past evolution and future growth of Women & Hi Tech and the advancement of women in STEM in Indiana.

    Kind regards,

    Angela B. Freeman, Esq.
    Women & Hi Tech President-Elect and 20th Anniversary Committee Chair

    *For more information on sponsoring a scholarship, please contact Rebecca Bormann, our Corporate Engagement Director at

  • 01/24/2019 6:00 AM | Anonymous

    Like many women pursuing a career in STEM, in college Darcy Lee often found herself one of only a few women in the room. She enrolled at Indiana University to study biomedicine, but after her first semester she felt she didn’t belong and changed her major to Cognitive Science. “I was still driven to be a scientist, but didn’t feel like I could thrive in biomedicine. I felt treated differently, even unfairly, just because I was a girl,” Lee said. “Cognitive Science and Psychology were forward-thinking scientific disciplines that then were more welcoming to women.” She believes in 2019, there is far more support and encouragement for young girls interested in STEM fields, but notes we still have a long way to go.

    Shortly after moving to the Indianapolis area, Darcy was introduced to Women & Hi Tech by its then president, Tonya Hanshew. “At first, I just attended a few events to see what they were like and what the organization was all about. Then I found myself always wondering when the next event was because I enjoyed them so much. That’s when I knew I wanted to get involved on a deeper level,” Lee said. She inquired about volunteer opportunities and began helping with event registration. “It was a great way to meet and connect with like-minded women, including members of the board. I also really believed in their mission, and wanted to be a part of making changes for women in STEM,” Lee said. In 2015 Darcy was asked to chair the next year’s Leading Light Awards, which she did with great success. During its planning, she was asked to join the board as its Treasurer. This was where Lee saw additional opportunities to help the organization grow – through helping to develop more operational efficiency and sustainable infrastructure. “We are an all-volunteer working board. Our Directors focus most of their time on their specific areas, plus serving on committees to develop and assist other areas,” Lee said. “I saw how new software and new approaches to documentation could help us make great strides forward in our ability to serve our members.”

    Her tenacity, leadership and willingness to jump in and tackle tasks even outside her specific role made a big impression on the Board of Directors, and part way through her term as Treasurer, Darcy was selected to become the organization’s next President. “I was kind of blown away,” she remarked. “But honestly it’s a great example of what we do in Women & Hi Tech. We see the best in one another, and we help one another shine.”

    Prior to becoming President, Lee spent a year as President-Elect learning from then-President Audrey Taylor. “She taught me a lot about being a compassionate and effective leader and always keeping the best interest of our members in mind,” Lee said. That year also allowed her time to begin laying the groundwork for key growth focus areas, including sponsorship and outreach.

    Currently halfway through her tenure as President, Lee continues her mission to help Women & Hi Tech solidify its uniqueness and value in the community and expand its impact. “One of the things we do well is provide opportunities for women in STEM to connect with one another in meaningful ways,” Lee said. “Connectedness is highly valued among our members, so I am always thinking about ways to engage new areas of the community and give women in STEM the support they need to thrive.”

    "Women need more than education and professional development to be successful. We need a support network, opportunities to grow, allies and sponsors, and recognition for our achievements. I love Women & Hi Tech because it fills these gaps in the development of women in STEM".

    Lee’s experience in business development has been an asset in helping Women & Hi Tech members and sponsors connect with one another in meaningful ways. Networking and making connections with members and STEM-related businesses in Indiana have been the linchpins for the organization’s recent growth. Since 2015, the number of sponsors has nearly doubled. “I look at corporate sponsorship not only as a way to positively impact those organizations but also as a way to engage with and create connections between more women in STEM than we can reach through individual membership,” Lee said.

    Darcy points out that at a basic level, STEM requires confidence and access to resources, something not guaranteed to women pursuing education and careers in those fields. Lee knows Women & Hi Tech has an important future bringing more resources to women across the state, and to attract more girls to STEM careers. “Achieving these goals is about seeing the bigger picture, then breaking it down into smaller initiatives and tactics that advance that goal,” Lee said. “In twenty years, we’ve created a lot of great programs and opportunities for women in Central Indiana. We intend to continue to build and are beginning to look at ways to replicate our success throughout the state.”

    Metonymy Media Website

  • 01/24/2019 6:00 AM | Anonymous

    Deb Hallberg became a member over 15 years ago, when she was doing business development at the law firm Barnes & Thornburg, one of Women & Hi Tech’s oldest partners in the community. “One of my colleagues held a board position for Women & Hi Tech, but he saw I could do more in the role to advance the organization than he could, so asked me to take over.” Hallberg’s connections, charisma, and drive made her a natural fit for the role of Director of Events, which included planning Executive Women’s Forums and the biennial French Lick retreat. She held these duties for nine years and has been an active emeritus board member since then. “In addition to delivering content relevant to our members, over time we’ve been able to establish the Executive Women’s Forums as an opportunity for the speakers and panelists to have their voices amplified in the community,” Hallberg said. “With that, we’ve been able to raise the bar on the quality of the speakers and the events to better serve our members. From sixteen years ago to now, things have become much more sophisticated, and much more focused on STEM.”

    Hallberg said it hasn’t always been easy for her to stay involved with Women & Hi Tech. But every year when she looks at her busy schedule, Women & Hi Tech stands out as one where she knows her involvement makes a real difference for women. “In my role as Business Development Manager at Barnes & Thornburg I interacted with a lot of STEM professionals in life sciences, technology, cybersecurity, and more. But there were never many women. I was always trying to help the women I knew get ahead and feel supported, and Barnes & Thornburg was a great help in meeting women who needed to be connected, both to each other and to our organization.”

    Last year, Deb became the CEO of one of Women & Hi Tech’s partner organizations, Pass the Torch for Women Foundation (PTTFW) - a non-profit that develops female professionals and students through mentorship and other professional support. “We’re about helping women look outside the box when contemplating their career and we provide a place to ask questions and explore opportunities,” she said of PTTFW. As she leads this great organization into the future, she’s happy to have experiences with organizations like Women & Hi Tech to reflect on.

    “One thing Women & Hi Tech has done very well is recognize when it was time to diversify. Originally, there was a big focus on academic sponsors and doing remote programming. Then we realized that to be successful, we needed corporate sponsors and to attract the interest of professionals.” Hallberg reflected on the creation of the Leading Light Awards as one of the wisest steps the organization has taken to advance its mission. “It’s an opportunity to recognize women of all ages and levels for their excellence in STEM,” she said. “It provides a great return to sponsors, and great value to women and the community.” She also commented that she’s been happy to see Women & Hi Tech continue to attract male allies like her friend that connected her with the board to begin with. “We have always been lucky to have men among our membership who see the value of what we do,” she said.

    Hallberg believes Women & Hi Tech will continue to grow and succeed at connecting women in STEM across Indiana thanks to the excellence of its members. “The quality of our members, I would rate as passionate rock stars,” she said. “As we get more diversity in our membership, the engagement and personal growth of our members keep us a central part of the STEM community.”

    Pass the Torch For Women Website

  • 01/11/2019 1:00 PM | Anonymous

    Mentorship is an important way to contribute to women’s growth and success, and to help increase the presence of female leaders in STEM fields. In partnering with Pass the Torch for Women Foundation (PTTFW), Women & Hi Tech is pleased to provide opportunities for mentorship (including mentoring certification programs), networking and leadership training to its members through three key programs:

    Project Grow – female college students receive mentoring and leadership development opportunities to keep them on their path of completing their education goals, and to propel them in their careers post-graduation. Many of the students the Foundation serves are 21st Century Scholars.    

    Developing Professionals –professional women in the entry-level to mid-level of their career are paired with an executive mentor while also serving as a mentor to a student, with additional opportunities for networking and sharing best practices with others in the community.   

    500 Circle – senior female and male executives serve as mentors in both the Project Grow and Developing Professionals programs, support Pass the Torch for Women’s programming initiatives, connect with other executives to share best practices, participate in peer mentoring, and support Pass the Torch for Women Foundation through tax-deductible contributions.    

    Mentors are paired with mentees three times per year, at one hour per month (either by phone or in person), with a minimum 4-month commitment. 

    “Through this partnership, and with the participation of our members, we can support women throughout their career lifecycle; and attract, retain and grow women in STEM fields in Central Indiana.” -- Darcy Lee, President, Women & Hi Tech

    To sign up to become a mentor/mentee* or to learn more, please contact:

    Erica Billingsley
    Client Success Manager
    Pass the Torch for Women Foundation
    (877) 796-1592

    * Members of Women & Hi Tech should be sure to mention they are members when reaching out to Pass the Torch for Women. 

  • 10/13/2018 5:00 PM | Anonymous

    Women & Hi Tech is seeking candidates to fill a vacancy in its Board of Directors. This person will serve as the Collegiate Outreach Director. We are a volunteer, working board, committed to changing the landscape of women represented in STEM to be equally inclusive to all. No box-checkers, please. In other words, we’re looking for someone who is not only passionate about our mission, but is also willing to commit their time and resources to help us achieve that mission.

    We’d also like to emphasize that this position is open to women and men, and that he/she does not need to be located in Indianapolis (but must have the ability to travel to Indianapolis for board meetings, events, and meetings as necessary).

    A description of the role and its responsibilities is listed below. To apply, complete this online form by Monday, November 12. Please share this information with your networks and help us find the next great addition to our board!

    The Collegiate Outreach Director role is a volunteer, voting position on the Board of Directors.

    Term of Office: Two (2) years

    The Collegiate Outreach Director has demonstrated a willingness and enthusiasm to work towards the mission of Women & Hi Tech. She/he has demonstrated the ability to positively influence others and the willingness to solicit and obtain substantial financial contributions.

    The Collegiate Outreach Director should have experience in a higher education environment, with special consideration given to those with experience specifically in STEM education. She/he must have knowledge of the changing needs of women and the changing landscape of STEM education, and reflect the interests of the community and Women & Hi Tech members. Additionally, travel to different parts of the state for collegiate engagement will become increasingly important, so this role will require the flexibility/ability to travel.

    All Directors shall be a member in good standing at time of initial voting and must remain in good standing throughout their tenure.


    • Grow collegiate memberships and sponsorships throughout the state of Indiana
    • Increase collegiate attendance (staff and students) at events
    • Identify, manage, and grow community relationships with colleges, universities, and professional development institutions throughout the state of Indiana
    • Understand and communicate involvement with Women & Hi Tech with respect to:
      • Benefits of membership and sponsorship
      • Programming, event and scholarship opportunities
      • Gaining input and feedback to determine how to improve and expand services and programs for collegiate audiences
      • Presenting suggestions to the board for additional programming and events
    • Coordinate with other Directors, especially K-12 Outreach Director, on:
      • Initiatives, activities and programming that reach multiple constituencies
      • Evaluating outreach opportunities for W&HT, whether from outside the organization or proposed internally, and making recommendations to the Board of Directors for their action
    •  Plan and execute events targeted towards our collegiate members within approved budget
    • Lead initiatives and communications involving collegiate and professional development scholarships
    • Attend Executive Women Forum, Networking Events, and Leading Light Awards
    • Participate in panel discussions and other events as a representative of Women & Hi Tech
    • Participate, as much as possible, on Women & Hi Tech service or advisory committees

    Time Commitment:

    • 5 – 15 hours per month
    • Board members are expected to attend twelve (12) one and a half hour-long board meetings per year, typically held on the first Wednesday of the month from 11:30am-1:00pm downtown Indianapolis

  • 10/13/2018 5:00 PM | Anonymous

    Women & Hi Tech is seeking candidates for a new committee, focused on supporting our community outreach efforts, and strengthening and growing our presence at community and industry events.

    The committee will be comprised of 3-4 individuals (women and men), and reports directly to the President of the Board of Directors (although this may change in the future).

    To apply, complete this online form by Monday, November 12. Please share this information with your networks and help us create a fantastic committee to help us better serve women in STEM in Indiana.

    The committee member role is a volunteer position that holds no voting rights.

    Term: (1) year

    Candidates must demonstrate a willingness and enthusiasm to work towards the mission of Women & Hi Tech. They have the ability to positively influence others.
    Ideal candidates have experience in event planning and management, with special consideration given to those with experience specifically in STEM-related fields. Candidates must have flexibility in their schedule to accommodate booth setup/teardown at various times of day, ranging from early morning to late evening. All candidates must be members in good standing and must remain in good standing throughout their time on the committee.

    Phase I – Initially, responsibilities will include:

    • Coordination, delivery, setup and tear down of the Women & Hi Tech booth for various events, including K-12 outreach events, collegiate outreach events, networking events, women’s events, industry-specific events, etc.
    • Coordinate with Volunteer Director to provide trained members or board members to staff the booth
    • Store and manage booth materials
      • Includes dry cleaning table covers, re-stocking candy, and keeping an accurate inventory of all items
    • Maintain booth calendar
    • Purchase new equipment with board approval
    • Participate in a monthly call
    Phase II – Once the committee is up and running, it will also be responsible for: 
    • Looking for opportunities to be present at STEM-related events throughout Indiana
    Time Commitment:
    • 5 hours per month
  • 10/05/2018 8:00 AM | Anonymous

    The Leading Light Awards were held on October 4, 2018 at the Indiana Roof Ballroom and celebrated the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The event was emceed by Gerry Dick of Inside INdiana Business.

    Women & Hi Tech President and Director of Accounts for Metonymy Media, Darcy Lee, welcomed attendees to the gala and spoke of the 19-year history of Women & Hi Tech serving girls and women in STEM in Indiana. Jo Basey was awarded the inaugural Gustafson-Miller Change the Landscape Award for her lifelong contributions to women in STEM and Information Technology, and Lisa Laughner, President & CEO of Go Electric, was awarded the Barnes & Thornburg Hi-Tech Woman of the Year award for outstanding achievements over the course of her career – and recent successes with Go Electric.

    The evening included remarks from honored guest Blair Milo, Indiana’s Secretary of Career Connections and Talent, and featured presenters from Eli Lilly and Company, Rolls-Royce, Barnes & Thornburg, Salesforce, Pass the Torch for Women, IUPUI’s Kelley School of Business, Indiana State University, Eleven Fifty Academy, and IU First Lady Laurie Burns McRobbie.

    Winners announced during the event include:

    • Women & Hi Tech Undergraduate Scholarship - Sheetal Prasanna, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI)
    • Women & Hi Tech Graduate Scholarship - Monica Olson, Purdue University
    • Women & Hi Tech Professional Development Scholarship - Candace Studebaker, Science Central (Fort Wayne)
    • Women & Hi Tech Professional Development Scholarship - Noelle King, St. Richards Episcopal School
    • SIM Indy Leading the Future Scholarship - Melissa Beer, BS, Mathematics - Quantitative Analysis, Franklin College
    • Mentor Me! - Jan Allen, Roche
    • Risk Taker - Dr. Lakshmi Sastry Dent, Corteva Agriscience - Agriculture Division of DowDuPont
    • Rising Star - Dr. Debby Basu, American Society for Clinical Pathology
    • You Inspire Us! - Dr. Carlotta Berry, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
    • Outstanding Educator in STEM - Sara Roberts, Northwestern Consolidated School District of Shelby County
    • Outstanding Achievement in STEM - Dr. Carla Klittich, Corteva Agriscience - Agriculture Division of DowDuPont
    • Leadership - Meagan Rater, Rolls-Royce
    • Barnes & Thornburg Woman of the Year - Lisa Laughner, Founder, CEO & President, Go Electric Inc.
    • Gustafson-Miller Change the Landscape Award - Jo Basey, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Indiana Business Research Center (Retired)

  • 09/12/2018 9:00 AM | Anonymous

    Women & Hi Tech is pleased to announce the nominees for the 2018 Leading Light Awards. The number of award nominees is up 25% from 2016.  In addition, the expansion of scholarship categories to include professional development as well as undergraduate and graduate scholarships has increased the number of scholarship nominees by over 50% from 2016.  The full list of award and scholarship nominees can be found online at

    The Leading Light Awards recognizes and celebrates women of achievement in STEM- women who are innovators in their industries, and have shown expertise, professionalism, leadership, service, courage, and tenacity throughout their careers.
    "We’re thrilled that this year’s award nominees represent a vast array of women in STEM in Indiana. Although there will only be one winner in each of the seven award categories, an important part of the evening is celebrating and recognizing the achievements of all the nominees, because each and every one of them is making an impact in their field," said Ali Hromis, Leading Light Awards Director of Women & Hi Tech.

    Winners will be announced during a ceremony and gala emceed by Gerry Dick on Thursday, October 4, at the Indiana Roof Ballroom – Indianapolis.

    During the ceremony, Women & Hi Tech will award at least two $5,000 scholarships to women pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees in STEM-related fields. Additionally, and new to 2018, two $2,000 scholarships will be awarded to women looking to take their careers to the next level or to change the direction of their career.

    Darcy Lee, President of Women & Hi Tech, remarked, "By focusing on women pursuing higher education in Indiana with intent to stay in Indiana, we’re really helping to ensure a strong talent pipeline. We’re re-investing in our community and supporting girls and women in STEM at all stages of their careers."

    For more information about the Leading Light Awards, please visit our website at

  • 07/25/2018 8:00 AM | Anonymous
    "I'm super excited and honored to be a winner of a 2018 Tech25 Award", said Lori Boyer, Communications Director for Women & Hi Tech.  "It's amazing to be included with such an outstanding group of individuals from the Indianapolis tech community.”  Now in its fourth year, the Tech 25 Awards honor a prestigious selection of twenty-five individuals who are critical and exceptional performers helping to grow our community’s tech and tech-enabled companies, but who — not being the CEO or other top executives — don’t get celebrated publicly as often. 

    "In addition to her job as a .NET Developer, Lori is a tech leader who works tirelessly every day as a member of our Board of Directors to give other women and girls in Indiana opportunities in STEM fields," said Darcy Lee, President of Women & Hi Tech. "Her passion for the work we do is admirable, and we're very proud of her achievements! She is most definitely an exceptional performer helping to grow our tech community."

    For more information on the TechPoint Tech25, please go to their website at

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Women & Hi Tech is a 501(c)3 charitable organization, and all donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. Federal ID Number: 35-2113596. 
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