Women & Hi Tech exists to change the landscape of women represented in STEM to be equally inclusive to all.


  • 05/31/2019 2:00 PM | Lori Boyer (Administrator)

    In 2016, Rebecca Bormann took on the role of Managing Director of Sales and Service for Bell Techlogix, a Gartner-recognized leading IT managed services and solutions firm headquartered here in Indianapolis. “Myself and my peers across the country are the faces of Bell Techlogix in our respective communities. We listen to IT leaders speak about what’s important to them in their organizations, and what functions of IT they need most help with. We also host technology events and participate in national IT symposiums,” Bormann explained. “Bell Techlogix is extremely proud to have predominantly women in these outward-facing roles, and each is highly successful. My peers and I are proud that as female technologists we get to represent women in STEM through our engagement in local and national IT forums and symposiums, presenting at the executive tables and boardrooms of our clients, and building strong and lasting relationships in the IT community.”

    Around the same time Rebecca took on her role at Bell Techlogix in 2016 is when she joined Women & Hi Tech. “When I joined, I started out as a volunteer just helping set up for the Leading Light Awards. I quickly realized this is an organization that aligned with my core values and my passions of supporting other women and inspiring and empowering our youth. When I heard about Ignite Your Superpower (IYS) I knew I had to help launch this event. I asked to be part of the IYS exhibitors committee, since I knew that was an impactful way I could contribute,” said Bormann. Her involvement in that committee led to Rebecca’s nomination as Director of Corporate Engagement, where she has served for two years.

    Relationships are one of the things Bormann appreciates most about her seat on the board, and also a big part of why she enjoys her business development career. Originally, she was enrolled in pharmacy school, following the footsteps of both her parents. “As much as I have always loved science, after a couple of years working as a pharmacy technician, I knew it wasn’t the career path for me,” she said. So, Bormann dropped out of pharmacy school, did some research about companies she might like to work for, and landed a sales and service job in Verizon’s business division after a rigorous interview process. “Working at Verizon introduced me to the broad world of technology. Tech is continually advancing and changing. I love that there is always something new and different to learn. And I love that with each new IT innovation I get to help my clients learn and advance their businesses.”

    In the two years Rebecca has served on the Women & Hi Tech board as Director of Corporate Engagement, both the number of corporate sponsors and the amount of corporate contributions have nearly doubled. “I see our corporate sponsors as vital to Women & Hi Tech’s continued success and growth. Our sponsors directly empower us to make the future of STEM more inclusive to all by enabling us to expand our programming and events that support women in STEM, as well as reaching more girls to inspire them to pursue a passion in STEM. Our corporate sponsors enable us to provide scholarships and grants to females seeking STEM degrees and certifications. And our sponsors allow us to reach more women working in STEM today, by helping us spread our mission within their organizations and encouraging both their male and female employees to become active Women & Hi Tech members.”

    When it comes to her predictions for what the next twenty years of growth for Women & Hi Tech will hold, Bormann thinks more robust diversity will be an essential factor. “I believe deeply in the mission of Women & Hi Tech--we need STEM career opportunities and paths to be equally inclusive to all.” Rebecca says she sits at executive IT meetings and across the negotiation table with women more often than she used to, but that breaking down gender barriers is just the beginning of the work required to diversify STEM fields. “Race, religion, age, and socioeconomic backgrounds are all part of changing the landscape of women represented in STEM to be equally inclusive to all,” she said. “Historically, one perspective has dominated these industries."

    "We all recognize that advancement and innovation can’t happen in a bubble. Each unique and diverse perspective brings new ideas, new angles, and new strategies that make us, our businesses and our organizations better.”

    Bormann says that in the next two decades, she wants the vision and reach of Women & Hi Tech to empower individuals of all backgrounds to have the hope and vision to chase their dreams in STEM. “I want to see us do more to reach out, inspire and teach underserved girls about all the possibilities in STEM fields. I want to see male allies recognized at the Leading Light Awards—much sooner than twenty years from now! I know there will be a day that we will look at our membership and event attendance and see a diverse group of men and women representing all of the STEM fields. This is Women & Hi Tech’s future because from the beginning this organization has been committed to the idea that it takes all our contributions to drive meaningful progress. Whatever that mission looks like in the future, I know we will rise to meet it.”


  • 05/31/2019 2:00 PM | Lori Boyer (Administrator)

    As a founding member of Women & Hi Tech, Jo Basey was one of a core group of women who agreed twenty years ago to take action against the implicit bias they saw in the STEM community around them. “The original intent was to involve, recognize, & promote women in STEM. There were roles we knew women were not getting recognized for taking on, and not getting promoted into because it wasn’t believed women could fulfill them.” Today, Basey remains an emeritus member of the board of Women & Hi Tech, where she feels her role is as a guide to help the organization keep focused on that mission.

    “We have come very far in twenty years, but the girls we reach with events like Ignite Your Superpower and Passport to Hi Tech certainly aren’t stepping into management positions or joining the C-Suite of a company any time soon,” Basey points out. “For a while in the nineties, you could point to ten or more large Indiana companies with female CIOs. Now, it’s gone down again. Is that because women aren’t choosing those roles? I’m not sure. But if barriers exist, we need to continue to help raise awareness and break them down."

    "When we aren’t at the board table, that means our perspective isn’t actually being included.”

    Basey’s own career in STEM was not along a traditional linear path. As the oldest of five children, when she graduated high school, she had acceptances to study pharmacy at both Purdue and Butler. “But I was ready to get married, and five years of school just seemed like too much.” So, Basey got jobs in three different research centers at Indiana University, and didn’t start college until her youngest child entered kindergarten. “I had bosses that would not let me off work to go to school. It wasn’t like it is today. I had to make up any time I took off.” Jo described the hard work of carrying a stack of FORTRAN computer cards between campus buildings in the middle of the night to check her programming work. “My husband would say when I was crawling in bed at 2am, ‘What are you doing? You know you have three kids? You know you have to be at work at 8am?’ But I was determined to do this.”

    Though Basey’s studies for her business degree involved learning computer programming, she never ended up working an IT or technical job. The Indiana University MIS research center where she worked was able to stretch five years of funding from an IBM grant into eight while they were developing The Information Management Affiliates Program. Kelley School of Business decided to keep those efforts as part of the Indiana Business Research Center. This early coalition focused on helping IT decision makers deal with pressing issues in their fast-changing field. “I’m not tech savvy so to speak, because I never had to apply it myself. I was staffing the programs to teach executives what they needed to know. I listened to the membership as to what kept them awake at night, what topics were on their list of worry and why? We then found the people the best at solving those issues, because they had already tackled them. They had success or failure stories to share. Our approach was, let’s come together and talk about this stuff, not reinvent the wheel.”

    Basey’s experience with building contacts and her network of connections are part of the foundation of Women & Hi tech today. “In the early years I helped identify not only speakers for our forums, and potential corporate sponsors, but also suitable board members.” Jo also served as Women & Hi Tech’s treasurer for seven years, where her talent stretching a budget would find more application. “One of our first goals we achieved was hosting the Leading Light Awards, the first one in affiliation with Lilly Women’s Network and Women in Business. We didn’t give any scholarships or awards—just paying for the food was scary enough. But we kept doing it. Today, there’s a heck of a lot more of a cushion to be able to do things like the $20,000 in scholarships we are giving away at the anniversary celebration. The increases in corporate membership are allowing us to do good work that will make a difference in the lives of undergrads, graduate students, and professional women who all need dollars to further their education in STEM fields.” In 2018, Jo herself was recognized at the Leading Light Awards as a recipient of the inaugural Gustafson-Miller Change the Landscape Award, named in honor of two other founding women of the organization.

    Jo says that in twenty years, she plans to be rolling up the ramp with her walker to attend another Leading Light Awards, one she hopes will fully reflect Women & Hi Tech’s deep impact on the STEM landscape. “In 20 years, I want to be able to point to things happening in politics, in university leadership, in the c-suites of private companies and say—we were part of that.”


  • 05/20/2019 7:29 AM | Lori Boyer (Administrator)

    On Wednesday, May 15, 2019, Women & Hi Tech greeted a sold-out crowd of sponsors, members, and friends at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) for the 2019 Spring Networking Event. Darcy Lee, President of Women & Hi Tech, kicked off the event by welcoming the crowd to IMS. Darcy also reminded the attendees that Women & Hi Tech continues to celebrate its 20th year as a non-profit in Indiana working to change the landscape of women represented in STEM to be equally inclusive to all.

    Darcy then introduced Sheetal Prasanna and Grace Ybarra, 2019 Indianapolis 500 Princesses. Sheetal, a 2018 Women & Hi Tech Leading Light Award (LLA) scholarship winner and Purdue engineering student, and Grace, a freshman at Indiana University, reminded the crowd that the Princess program is not a pageant, but rather celebrates Indiana's civic-minded and academically driven young women. Grace spoke about the courage exhibited by her mom, Susan Vaughn, Women & Hi Tech Board Member Emeritus, and how that encouragement has impacted her in her studies. Sheetal also provided a touching and inspiring tale of how winning Women & Hi Tech’s LLA scholarship opened doors to opportunities, such as the Indianapolis 500 Princess program.

    Maria Alvim-Gaston, Networking Director for Women & Hi Tech, introduced Rebecca Ruselink, CIO of IMS, who urged the crowd to always be fearless and assertive in their careers.

    Angela B. Freeman, President-Elect of Women & Hi Tech, thanked Rhonda Winter, former Board Member, who established this very popular event years ago. Angela also introduced Jimmie McMillan, Senior Corporate Counsel at IMS. Jimmie energetically spoke on technological advances used at IMS during the Indianapolis 500. The 200 event attendees, clad in Women & Hi Tech blue t-shirts, then ventured out to explore the garage areas of Gasoline Alley in the beautiful May weather.

    Pictures from the event can be found online at https://womenandhitech.org/page-18294. If you have pictures from the event that you would like to contribute to Women & Hi Tech's photo directory, please contact Lori Boyer, Communications Director at communications@womenandhitech.org

  • 05/02/2019 5:00 PM | Lori Boyer (Administrator)

    The Nomination Committee for Women & Hi Tech is still seeking female and male candidates for the Corporate Engagement Director position on Board of Directors to help fulfill the mission of changing the landscape of women represented in STEM to be equally inclusive to all.

    Women & Hi Tech is run by an all-volunteer, working Board of Directors. Candidates for this position will bring wisdom, experience, effectiveness, candor, and creative thinking in his/her role on the Board of Directors.

    The nomination deadline for this position has been moved back to Tuesday, May 28, 2019.

    All nominations will be reviewed by the Nomination Committee. Nominees must be Women & Hi Tech members in good standing at the time of initial voting and must remain in good standing throughout their tenure. New board members take office in July, 2019.

    Click here to view the description of the Corporate Engagement Director position.  

    To apply, please complete this application form by May 28, 2019.  

  • 04/30/2019 11:02 AM | Lori Boyer (Administrator)

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

    In today’s market, you’re often more likely to encounter individuals who have non-linear careers than linear careers. Rather than climbing the career ladder, modern professionals are traversing an ever-changing lattice of jobs and opportunities. Although it was common for Baby Boomers to have fewer than 10 jobs their entire adult career (ages 25-50), Millennials and Gen Z are entering a job market where career flux is the norm. For example, it’s not uncommon for current professionals to hold a job that has seemingly little to do with the degree they received, or early career experience or expectations they have garnered.

    For the past few months, we’ve profiled current and past Women & Hi Tech board members, highlighting their STEM career journeys and elements that have led to their success. Some of these women have had careers that went straight from point A to B; but many have taken a wandering journey to arrive in a STEM role where they feel valued and have impact. Take as an example our President-Elect, Angela B. Freeman, who started out as a Molecular Biologist and is now a Patent Attorney. Also, Past President, Audrey Taylor, founder and CEO of netlogx; she has become one of the most celebrated female businessowners in the state of Indiana without having any secondary education at all.

    Sharing this wide variety of stories with you is intentional because we know it helps people understand how to make changes, advances, and take risks in their own careers. What unites these stories is the emphasis on a strong network, a supporting tribe, as well as mentors and champions that keep women grounded, oriented, and moving in the right direction in the ever-changing landscape of women in STEM. We are proud that Women & Hi Tech has supported and sustained this community over the last twenty years, and we will continue to highlight the stories and faces of female leaders that will guide Indiana into the future as a recognized leader of female STEM talent.

    Our board profiles this month feature Tiffany Trusty, Manager of Mobile Medical Apps at Eli Lilly and Company, and Lori Boyer, Software Engineer at Barnes & Thornburg, LLP. Both are currently doers and leaders of Indianapolis’ vibrant and growing tech community. We hope sharing their stories offers insight into your personal and professional growth, and inspires you to positively impact your own life, our community, and women in STEM.

    Profile:  Tiffany Trusty, Board Member Emeritus and Manager, Mobile Medical Apps, Eli Lilly and Company

    Profile:  Lori Boyer, Communications Director and Software Engineer, Barnes & Thornburg


    Darcy Lee
    Women & Hi Tech President

    *For more information on sponsoring a scholarship, please contact Rebecca Bormann, our Corporate Engagement Director at corpsponsor@womenandhitech.org.

  • 04/30/2019 11:01 AM | Lori Boyer (Administrator)

    When Lori Boyer graduated from Indiana University with a degree in marketing and sociology, she wasn’t sure what future lay ahead. Her decision on her college major had been largely influenced by the expectations of teachers and friends from her small home town about what was “expected” for girls to study. “Even just going to IU was a big enough risk,” Boyer said. “I did not have the confidence to break the mold and speak up, to say ‘Get out of my way! I’m a woman! Hear me roar!’ I don’t have regrets, but I wish I had joined computer clubs and found my nerds back in college.”

    Instead, after graduation Boyer got a job at a software company in the human resources department. She soon got tired of being asked the same questions over and over. “I decided we needed an online FAQ, which at the time was a substantial undertaking,” she said. “Back in the days of dialup, you couldn’t just watch an online tutorial, or upload a file to a web host and call it done.” Boyer turned to the thick coding books in her office and began a journey of self-education that would define her career. “After I completed that project, I saw a position had opened up at our company for a junior web developer. I applied, and when I got it, I couldn’t believe it.” From there, lacking mentors, it was back to the books. After a few years learning the basics, Boyer began a journey of job-hopping, spending 1-2 years at each organization before she found her upward mobility was too limited for her liking.

    “It seemed like the only way to get raises or to further my career was to accept a new position. Otherwise, it wasn’t happening at the same pace as my contributions to the team.”

    That all changed when Boyer was hired by Barnes & Thornburg, where she continues to work happily after over a decade. “A lot of people think I must have some legal background, but my role here is centered on automation and integration. The software I write makes it so that others have an easier job because I’ve automated the way they can complete an assignment. For instance, one software I wrote took a 2-3-week manual process down to a few hours.” The project was a finalist for a MIRA Award. “Anytime I can take a procedure that is completed on paper and make it digital, that helps us grow, streamlines processes, and frees up trained minds like lawyers and paralegals to get back to practicing law,” Boyer said.

    Though she started work at Barnes & Thornburg in 2006, Boyer didn’t learn about Women & Hi Tech until 2014, when a project she completed at the firm made her a finalist for a Leading Light Award in the Outstanding Achievement in STEM category. “I have always felt very secluded as a woman in tech, especially a self-taught one. As soon as I heard, I thought ‘Wow, that’s cool. I’m not actually alone.’ I started volunteering right away and joined the board in 2015 as Communications Chair, just as we were making major changes to the website and infrastructure.” Now in her second term on the board, Lori manages the organization’s social media and email marketing, website, and event registrations. “We had Facebook, Twitter, and a blog before I joined the board, but I am proud of the degree that I have helped elevate them and make them consistent,” she said.

    “I also really enjoy getting out in the Indy tech scene to speak at events and encourage women to pursue STEM Careers,” Boyer added. “That’s something that even 3.5 years ago when I started on the board I was terrified of. I was so scared they would ask a question and I wouldn’t know the answer. I had big impostor syndrome. Thanks to Women & Hi Tech, I have grown beyond that.” In 2018, Lori was named a TechPoint #Tech25 Winner. “Basically, this is an award for the techies hanging out behind the scenes that aren’t in the C-suite.” she described. “The other 24 are also all people like me who have been around, but aren’t executives or CEO's, yet do so much that they are important to an organization.”

    Continuing her self-education, Lori also applied for a #GrowWithGoogle scholarship and was accepted to complete a certification in Android development. “Is it something I use every day? No. But it’s now a skill I have that’s totally different from the code I write in my day job. Learning different coding languages makes me happy. I like a good challenge!” Opportunities like this are one of the reasons Boyer is so delighted that Women & Hi Tech has started to offer professional development grants as of 2018. “If you’re a grown person and already in a job, how are you supposed to progress your career? Sure, take classes in your own time…but the funding isn’t always there. I like that we support nontraditional paths, because across the Indianapolis STEM community, other organizations do too.”

    Lori predicts that it’s through shared goals with other local organizations that Women & Hi Tech will be able to do more and more within the next twenty years. “It’s great to see all these different groups starting to come to a place where we all work together and know each other’s value,” she said. “That works well for us to connect our members with opportunities. What’s coming next for us is more. More outreach. More members. More partners. More growth. And more success in accelerating STEM innovation by encouraging talent to pursue passion.”



  • 04/30/2019 11:00 AM | Lori Boyer (Administrator)

    When Tiffany Trusty was invited by a friend to attend the Leading Light Awards in 2010, she accepted with some reluctance. As someone with a desire to be recognized for her talent first and foremost, she had been resisting women’s networks her whole career. As the second female graduate of Rose-Hulman, Trusty was used to being the only woman in the room, and didn’t really mind it. “I transferred in because they didn’t even go coed until two years into my college career,” she recalled. “I was the only girl in every class. I guess that was when I first felt the responsibility to stand up and say, ‘I am a woman in tech—hello!’”

    Surrounded by female peers at the Leading Light Awards, Trusty said she had never felt more comfortable.

    “I suddenly realized that this was something I hadn’t known I needed all along.”

    Trusty sought out every board member she could find in the room and asked each how she could get involved. Her passion for mentorship came out in most of those conversations, and Trusty was invited to present at the next board meeting about mentorship opportunities. “They politely said no to my ideas….and they also asked me to join the board.”

    Though the organization had always been called Women & Hi Tech, they badly needed a website, had two online followers, and were still using pen, paper and hand written checks to check in guests at events. As a seasoned web developer, Trusty joined the board in the role of Communication Chair and took on the task of growing web presence with a site, social media, and an email list. “Once that was under control, we still had to tackle the burden of spreadsheet hell,” she recalls. With the help and insight of Lori Boyer & Elyse Swoverland, Trusty helped Women & Hi Tech deploy new technology that would integrate the website with membership records, event registrations, and reminders for renewal. “I couldn’t believe I was at the table with these brilliant inspiring women,” Trusty remembers of her time on the board. After Boyer came on as Communications Chair, Trusty transitioned to the role of Technology Chair and the duo continued to help Women & Hi Tech accelerate growth through strategic use of software and web presence.

    Tiffany also took over linkage duties and continued Women & Hi Tech’s commitment to the NCWIT Aspirations in Computing award. “In addition to judging the awards and earmarking funds to give a small honorarium to each winner, we also get the invaluable opportunity to sit at a table with these girls and simply encourage them to keep aspiring,” Trusty said.

    When her employer of sixteen years, Motorola, severely downsized in 2011, Trusty felt the strength of her network through Women & Hi Tech even more. “I felt so much karma given to me during that time,” she said. “I could have had a knee-jerk reaction and taken another corporate job. Instead, I decided to freelance and really get to know the tech landscape in Indy. Because of my connection with Women & Hi Tech, I never hurt for clients.”

    After five years freelancing, Tiffany knew she loved mobile apps. “By then Scott Jones had started Eleven Fifty, and that sparked my passion—the idea of junior engineers that will grow here over time to make our beloved tech community a strong one.” It was teaching at the Eleven Fifty Academy that Tiffany also discovered new skills. “Before then I wanted to get deep in the code and make a beautiful product. But I was never so rewarded by a product as I was when I saw an apprentice get their first job. It was then I realized I had a passion for growing talent.”

    With an expanded skill set Tiffany returned to her freelance business in 2017—this time, also as a new mother. “Earlier when I had been freelancing, I would go networking every night. But as a new mom, instead of going to ten events, I decided to host my own and invite everyone I wanted to see.” Her monthly “IT / Nerd Happy Hour” continues to this day at Ale Emporium, though the very first meeting led Tiffany into another professional opportunity. “A Rose-Hulman alum showed up, and we got to talking about mobile apps at Lilly. A short time later, that led to me being recruited.” Today, Tiffany works for Eli Lilly as a manager of software execution leads, leading teams that are developing digital products to help diabetics live a better life. “I know I love enabling brilliant people to do the best work and luckily at Lilly I’m surrounded by brilliant people. I want to remove the blockers and encourage and enable them to fly.”

    This inspiration also extends to her work in the STEM community, where Trusty hopes to remove blockers for young professionals. Tiffany is currently at work with Vincennes University to raise the profile of an innovative new on-campus living and learning community specifically for women in STEM. She also regularly speaks at conferences and is a member of the National Center for Women in IT Affinity Group Alliance and the Women in STEM Initiative. Rose-Hulman awarded Tiffany a Career Achievement Award in 2017, not for her innovations in development, but for her contributions as a leader to the STEM community. “At first I tried to tell them I didn’t know if I deserved the award, but after they said why, I understood that I did deserve it,” she said. “I have both taken it upon myself and taught every woman I mentor--go out and show up. Go to conferences, stand up and speak! Do this because when a woman walks in a room and sees another woman standing at the head, we feel a little more confident.“

    On the other hand, Trusty’s biggest wish for Women & Hi Tech moving forward is an increased number of male allies, in membership and in leadership. “I love the support group and life raft we have created and the comfortable network. But there are so many men who want to help, who don’t know how, and who need to be welcomed,” she said. “We have a responsibility overall to encourage the next generation to keep going. Boys and girls. Together.”


  • 03/28/2019 8:03 AM | Lori Boyer (Administrator)

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

    As we near the end of this year’s Women’s History Month, Women & Hi Tech would like to pay tribute to all of the fearless female leaders who have come before us, and upon whose shoulders we stand. We would also like to recognize the upcoming centennial of the Women’s Suffrage movement, which led to the constitutional amendment providing women the right to vote. While working to promote women’s personal rights, further advancements have also been spearheaded by women to support their professional equality when working outside of the home. Women like Marie Curie, Grace Hopper, Elizabeth Bragg, and Katherine Johnson - each of whom made significant contributions in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), respectively. Importantly, the leadership of these and many other women throughout history has not only resulted in STEM industry innovations, but has established a benchmark of the value realized when female leaders contribute their style and expertise to STEM industries.

    In honoring female leadership in STEM nationally, we would be remiss to not highlight Women & Hi Tech’s own history as a local force to promote the advancement of women in STEM in this community. For twenty years, Women & Hi Tech has driven change in the landscape of women represented in STEM in Indiana to be equally inclusive to all. While there have been significant increases in the number of female STEM practitioners over the last two decades, in 2019, women still occupy only about 24% of STEM careers and hold only about 18% of STEM leadership roles in the U.S.1

    In addition, female STEM entrepreneurs only make up about 5% of the 30% of female-owned businesses nationwide.2 Moreover, female entrepreneurs only receive about 18% of the venture capital secured by their male counterparts, but generally report about 12% higher revenue as compared to male-owned businesses.3 Accordingly, the role of the female STEM entrepreneur is evolving and increasing as women continue to make multi-faceted impact in the world of STEM, not just as practitioners, but also as businessowners.

    In this third edition of Grown from STEM, Women & Hi Tech would like to recognize two female STEM entrepreneurs who started their tech-related businesses here in Indianapolis. Audrey Taylor is the Past President of Women & Hi Tech, and is the CEO of netlogx. Susan Vaughn is a Board Member Emeritus of Women & Hi Tech, as well as the President and CEO of The Project Authority, Inc. Please read more about Audrey and Susan and how their STEM backgrounds, business acumen, and organizational leadership skills culminated in the establishment of thriving businesses as female STEM entrepreneurs.

    Profile:  Audrey Taylor, Past President of Women & Hi Tech and CEO of netlogx

    Profile:  Susan Vaughn, Past President/Board Member Emeritus and President & CEO of The Project Authority, Inc. 

    Kind regards,

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

    1Neal, Stephanie and Smith, Audrey. "Are We Underselling the Promise of Women in STEM Leadership Roles?" DDI World, https://ddiworld.com/challenging-thinking/are-we-underselling-women-in-stem-leadership-roles

    2Kymn, Christine. "Help Wanted: Seeking Women Entrepreneurs in STEM." Brookings, 8 December 2014, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/techtank/2014/12/08/help-wanted-seeking-women-entrepreneurs-in-stem/

    3Weisul, Kimberly. "When It Comes to Revenue, Women Entrepreneurs Are Pummeling the Guys." Inc, 6 June 2018, https://www.inc.com/kimberly-weisul/boston-consulting-group-female-founders-higher-revenues.html

  • 03/28/2019 8:02 AM | Lori Boyer (Administrator)

    Susan VaughnSusan Vaughn got involved with Women & Hi Tech at a crossroads in her career. She worked for ten years as a consultant for accounting firm Crowe Chizek, supporting them in managing projects and improving processes. Then, the day came when her next move was to take the step up and become a partner. “I would have been the first female partner in our Systems Consulting Group in Indy,” Vaughn remembers. “But in that moment, I looked up and saw that everyone above me was travelling all the time. They were all men, with wives who stayed home with the kids, or had a nanny.” As a new mother, she knew this would not work for her family. She started looking for like-minded people who could help her define the next best step. “I wanted to find role models who I could look up to and learn from about work-life balance. I found so much more than that; I found a family in Women & Hi Tech.”

    Vaughn joined Women & Hi Tech in 2000 and is one of its longest-running consistent members. “As I was starting my business The Project Authority almost 19 years ago, I was networking a lot. I found that a lot of the interactions and conversations I was having were surface level; that is, until I found Women & Hi Tech. The relationships I developed through Women & Hi Tech were unique and valuable.” This inspired Vaughn to get involved with the Board of Directors. She served as both Executive Women’s Forum Director and Technology Director before being nominated President. During her presidency, Vaughn leveraged her project management expertise to improve the experience for all the women who volunteered on the Board of Directors. “We clearly defined every Director’s role, and what responsibilities were tied to each role. If a board member needed help, they could ask for it, but mostly they could do it on their own. This was a pivotal change,” she explained. “Before I was President, the women in that role got so burned out they sometimes left the organization. Now, people stay on the board and stay active members long after their presidencies have ended, and I think that’s at least in part due to my impact.”

    The year she was President, Vaughn also chaired the Leading Light Awards, simply due to the need for volunteers.

    “One of the ways I have seen the organization grow and change is in doing a much better job of supporting and leveraging our members who want to volunteer and helping them find opportunities that align with their interests.”

    She thinks this is especially true when it comes to the organization’s engagement at the K-12 level through events like Ignite Your Superpower! (IYS) and Passport to Hi-Tech. “Women & Hi Tech facilitates these programs in order to further our mission to change the landscape of women represented in STEM to be more inclusive. For our members, they value these programs for that reason as well, but also value in the opportunity to volunteer in helping others and giving back to the community, while creating camaraderie with other women in STEM.”

    As a single mother to two daughters, Grace (19) and Gabi (15), Susan sees firsthand the impact that involvement with Women & Hi Tech can make on young women. “Both my daughters have come to events with me, and I have tried to teach them the value of networking and stepping outside your comfort zone. Even today in my role helping my clients’ tech sides and business sides communicate with one another about a project, I am frequently the only woman in the room. That requires the confidence to step up and assert yourself, which I developed alongside many of my role models in Women & Hi Tech.”

    Susan thinks one of the most valuable offerings Women & Hi Tech can make to girls and young women moving forward is teaching not only the power of networking, but how to do it well. She told the story of how The Project Authority landed a big client early on because Susan showed up to an intimidating event. “Of the 200 people in the room, 190 were probably men,” she said. “I realized quickly that showing up as a woman made me stand out, and that if I stood out in the right way, I could make the most of that. There is more we could do around that piece of growing young girls and teaching them how to go out and hustle. You have to make yourself uncomfortable, but in the right ways.”

    Susan’s unique insight into risk and return as a project manager also supports this philosophy. “A lot of times on a project, everyone around me is saying we don’t have to worry about a risk, because it’s unlikely to occur. But whether I’m helping a robotics company pull off a new product or helping a major health system deploy a new website, I know that there will always be risks and we should choose the places we take those risks strategically. In the same way, if you go to an event, it is easier and maybe more fun to sit with the people you know,” she pointed out. “But then you’re taking a bigger risk you don’t even see – missing an opportunity. The short-term challenge of going to meet someone new, of stepping up, might seem more difficult, but it’s also the route to bigger and more fulfilling success.”

    • Susan's LinkedIn   
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  • 03/28/2019 8:01 AM | Lori Boyer (Administrator)

    Audrey TaylorAt 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.”

         netlogx Website

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