Female Tech Leaders Educate Audience, Inspire Students at BusinessTECH Forum

Female Tech Leaders Educate Audience, Inspire Students at BusinessTECH Forum

Somewhere between the wisdom shared by a panel of female IT executives from banking, manufacturing, health care and education and the thoughtful questions posed to them by the young women from Cleveland high schools who were part of audience exists the solution for creating a diverse technology pipeline.

That’s how one member of the broader audience of 500 summed up the panel, titled “Women and Technology: Industry Challenges and Career Milestones.” The panel was one of three plenary sessions at BusinessTECH ’17.

The main ballroom of the Westin Hotel was at near capacity for the session, which was moderated by Amy Brady, CIO of KeyBank. She was joined by Sandy Rapp of Timken, Sherry Neubert of Goodyear, Sue Workman of Case Western Reserve University and Lori Johnston of ProMedica Health. All are chief technology leaders of their respective institutions. Adding an important voice to the group was Peggy Zone Fisher, executive director of the Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio.

The young women in the audience included middle school and high school students and educators from the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, Magnificat High School, Cleveland Leadership Academy and St. Joseph’s Academy, among others.

“By 2020, there will be 1.2 million technology-related roles in the United States, and we will only be able to fill about 45 percent of those jobs with the workforce coming out of our schools,” Ms. Brady said, encouraging the young women to consider technology as a career.

Ms. Brady and the panelists said a technology degree or experience was not necessarily a prerequisite for today’s IT leaders. Each pointed to their own diverse backgrounds in entering the field. Sherry Neubert, CIO of Goodyear, said she took a more traditional path with an undergraduate degree in information systems, but what compelled her was not technology, but a love for solving problems. “I also love communicating with people,” she said, a sentiment shared by the other panelists.

The students had time to ask questions, along with the general audience, during the session, and afterwards in a closed sessions with the panelists.


MCPc Commits to Creating, Hiring a Diverse Tech Workforce

MCPc CEO Andy Jones emphasized that engaging students, especially women, at MCPc was not a “one-off occasion limited to BusinessTECH.”

He described a plan to make students aware of internship opportunities within MCPc, especially at its new Secure Technology Asset Disposition Center in the Old Brooklyn neighborhood of Cleveland, which is in proximity of three CMSD high schools, including one that sent approximately 35 young women to BusinessTECH ’17.

“Our plan, which has the endorsement and backing of CEO Eric Gordon of CMSD, is to provide on-site education and training as well as part-time employment to high school students who are looking for jobs that rise above the menial to the inspirational,” he said. “And we will encourage them to continue with us during college.”

“MCPc is intent on addressing the talent shortfalls that Amy Brady described in her remarks at BusinessTECH,” he continued. “She’s right: the diverse pipeline challenges are real, but like KeyBank, MCPc is responding to them.”