Dear Women & Hi Tech Members, Sponsors, Partners, and Friends:
In the February edition of “Grown from STEM,” I recapped my worldwide and whirlwind trip to South Africa to celebrate and empower diverse women in STEM. Two months later, our whole world has changed. You can’t even leave your home, nevertheless go on a global trip for non-essential reasons. Wow! This new reality can present a challenge to maintain an attitude of gratitude.
Instead, it seems that the tales of a great science-fiction (sci-fi) movie or imagery from history class have come to pass and they are occurring in real life, right now. “In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the fundamental health, economy, and stability of people at every corner of the globe.” This sounds like a movie trailer, not reality. But sadly, for over 1,000,000 Americans that are infected with the virus, their loved ones, and even more worldwide - it is very real.
Whether infected or not, coronavirus has had an effect on us all. Not each in the same way or to the same level, but to some degree. The mental, emotional, physical, and financial toll on all of us is different, just like each one of us is different. As a diverse woman in STEM with a family, a very demanding career, and deep civic engagement, I certainly feel it. The pressures and anxiety. The “what ifs” about things I really cannot control. I also appreciate that having total solidarity or all of the family, children, and pets at home for an indefinite timeframe most likely bears particularly increasing weight on women. But, we’re strong.
As the late, great Maya Angelou said most poignantly, “Still [we] rise.” Somehow, we have found the strength to manage almost two months of the chaos, crisis, and compassion elicited by COVID-19 with all of the novel circumstances that it entails - quarantine, remote work, videoconferencing, job hunting, telehealth, homeschooling, megashopping, daily cooking and cleaning, grocery and meal delivery, and much, much more. Women & Hi Tech’s new ClickSide Chat series was designed to provide a safe space to discuss some of these issues with support and encouragement from an intimate group of similarly situated members. WE are the cream that always rises to the top.
And, just like at the end of the very best sci-fi movie, amongst all the smoke and ashes, there remains only a few brave souls to carry on. The clever geniuses and innovators that somehow manage to survive by hacking the global power grid with two toothpicks, a nail file, a fitbit, gum, and a lighter! They have all the right expertise, skills, perseverance, and passion to restart society. The ones that let you know a sequel is yet to come - Women & Hi Tech, that’s us!
STEM is on the forefront of everything good that is happening right now to fight COVID-19 globally. At home, so many of our Women & Hi Tech members and sponsors are making significant investments, are providing meaningful solutions, and some have even received national recognition about their efforts to “flatten the curve.” As Women & Hi Tech members, your expertise, experience, and talent in STEM, individually and collectively, are the exact tools necessary to reenergize, reboot, and/or rebuild our community, our state, and our nation.
Our brilliant scientists, researchers, and clinicians are developing diagnostics, vaccines, and/or testing methodologies to fight the virus and protect our citizens. Talented engineers are designing new devices, equipment (e.g., personal protection equipment or PPE), and mechanisms to protect our fearless healthcare workers and dedicated first responders. Our amazing technology community is literally keeping our entire economy afloat with online or virtual connectivity solutions. And, of course, financial, business, and accounting personnel are helping to provide or facilitate grant and loan funding to support our neighbors, as well as our local small businesses and entrepreneurs. All of our Indiana women and men in STEM, along with our essential workers, have emerged as true superheroes against COVID-19. Women & Hi Tech sincerely thanks you for your service, sacrifice, and dedication to our greater good.
And while our practitioners are fighting on the frontlines against coronavirus, they are likely being supported by colleagues that help keep the lights on. These critical team members inform the market and are often directly tied to incoming revenue streams. I’m referring to our communications, sales, marketing, advertising, and/or business development professionals.
In this 16th edition of “Grown from STEM,” Women & Hi Tech would like to introduce you to two outstanding business development professionals in separate facets of the STEM industry. We invite you to meet our Corporate Engagement Director, Joy Neely, a regional business leader for Roche Diagnostic Information Systems. We also would like you to get to know Amber Fields, a director of corporate sales at AIS. Both ladies play key roles in developing relationships and experiences for prospective and existing customers and clients that interface with their business organizations. Please read more about Joy and Amber and how their backgrounds, business acumen, and passion for developing relationships helps fuel their support and involvement in Women & Hi Tech.
Angela B. Freeman, M.S., J.D.
President, Women & Hi Tech