On October 6th, 2022, Women & Hi Tech hosted its signature biennial event, the Leading Light Awards and Scholarship Gala (LLAs). We were so excited it was back in person this year! This prestigious event focuses on celebrating Indiana women, including diverse women, in STEM – women who are risk-takers, leaders, educators, mentors, and those who are changing and impacting our local STEM landscape.
As we began in the 2020 LLAs, Women & Hi Tech again honored our male allies and our Diversity Equity and Inclusion Champions at this exceptional event. During the Leading Light Awards and Scholarship Gala, we also awarded over $50,000 in scholarships and grants to women and girls in Indiana pursuing degrees and/or continuing their education in STEM fields.
Thank you so much to the Signature Sponsor of the 2022 Leading Light Awards, Eli Lilly & Company!
The theme of this year’s event was focused on how we are all “In This Together.” The last two years have had impacts on the world that none of us could have imagined. Focusing on how we have come together during these challenging times, particularly in the STEM community, gave this event an incredible energy.
Jennie Lopez embodies "Bring Yourself to Work" in everything she does. She empowers diversity and engages employees and organizations to achieve new highs.
Her superpower? Her authenticity! She realized that her strengths are a combination of her Latinx heritage, passions, and learnings from being a mom. Intentionally using her strengths has been the secret towards her personal and professional successful growth journey.
Thank you to our sponsors listed below:
Scholarships and Grants
The following Women & Hi Tech Scholarships/Grants were awarded:
(1) $2500 SIM Indy scholarship will be awarded to the overall top undergraduate female STEM student studying in a field related to information technology, computing or MIS as determined by the selection committee.
(1) $2500 SIM Indy scholarship will be awarded to the overall top graduate female STEM student studying in a field related to information technology, computing or MIS as determined by the selection committee.
(1) $2,500 Ivy Tech Community College scholarships will be awarded to the overall top two female students pursuing STEM degrees at Ivy Tech Community College as determined by the selection committee.
(1) StartUp Ladies memberships (valued at $600 each) will be awarded to extraordinary professional development female applicants pursuing Entrepreneurship as determined by the selection committee.
(1) $2,500 Central Indiana ISACA scholarship will be awarded to the overall top female undergraduate student pursuing a cybersecurity, or information technology audit related degree as determined by the selection committee.
(1) $3,000 Sallie Mae scholarship will be awarded to the overall top female pursuing a STEM degree as determined by the selection committee.
Nominees for this award demonstrate a long-term commitment, sustainable efforts, and significant impact to mentor, recognize, champion, and promote diverse female students or personnel in STEM. They implement programs, change policies, and establish metrics. They ensure that more qualified diverse women are empowered to have a seat and a voice at the table.
Male nominees in this category have demonstrated a long-term commitment to allyship for women or girls in STEM. They also show tangible efforts and significant impact to mentor, recognize, champion, and promote female students, peers, or employees. Each nominee has been an ally for multiple women or girls in a way that is recognized to have positively changed the trajectory or opportunities provided by their STEM career.
To be nominated for the Mentor Me award, women must exhibit a commitment to the encouragement and advancement of women in STEM in Indiana. The winner displays an aptitude in fostering intellectual, creative, and professional growth. She has demonstrated success in providing career, leadership and education opportunities for women, and has served as a positive role model for others.
The leadership award recognizes an individual who increased the impact, representation, and effectiveness of women in STEM through outstanding leadership, advocacy, and social contributions in her organization and broader community. She has demonstrated the ability to motivate and energize, to build successful teams, to create an inspiring vision of the future and to deliver on promises.
To be nominated for the Risk Taker award, women must have demonstrated courage in promoting purposeful change for which success was not guaranteed. The winner will have pursued innovation, focused on STEM-related products, services or ideas in the face of personal or professional sacrifice.
Nominees for the Rising Star Award have demonstrated exceptional and substantive achievements early in their professional STEM careers and show promise for future contributions.
The women nominated for the You Inspire Us! award have demonstrated success in inspiring others in STEM to look beyond their own horizons and set professional and personal goals that exceed those originally conceived. Based on her advocacy, leadership, presence, and visibility in the community, she has advanced STEM in Indiana and inspires us all to push the limits.
Nominees for this award have made a significant impact on the lives of their students. They have demonstrated excellence in teaching engaging programs that promote student interest, success, and leadership in STEM.
Nominees for the Outstanding Achievement in STEM award have positively promoted or provided significant value or innovation in a STEM field. They have made noteworthy contributions in research & development, design, engineering, operational efficiency, process improvement, sustainability, logistics, information technology, supply chain management, or other STEM fields.
This award was created in honor of Women & Hi Tech's founders Joyce Gustafson and Georgia Miller. The female nominees for this award have made significant impact to positively change the landscape of one or more workplace environments. They make it easier to recognize, promote, and champion women in STEM to leadership positions, and have ensured that multiple qualified female candidates have a seat and a voice at the table.
Women & Hi Tech extends our deepest sympathies to all our fellow citizens who have been affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19), and the scientists, healthcare workers, first responders, and other STEM professionals that continue working on the frontlines to keep our country safe and healthy. At this time, in light of the uncertainty regarding the extent that the COVID-19 global pandemic will affect larger in-person events later this year, and in the absence of guidance from public health authorities and local governments regarding the same, Women & Hi Tech is proceeding with planning and preparation for the Leading Light Awards and Scholarship Gala (LLAs) scheduled for October 6, 2022 at the Indiana Roof Ballroom.
A Note to LLAs Award and Scholarship/Grant Applicants, Nominees, and Sponsors: Should Women & Hi Tech be forced to postpone or cancel the Leading Light Awards and Scholarship Gala event due to ongoing and/or unavoidable social distancing constraints related to COVID-19, our Leading Light awards, scholarships, and/or grants recipients will be timely and virtually recognized and all awards, scholarships, and grants related to LLAs will be distributed to recipients in October 2022 or thereabouts.
A Note to LLAs Event Sponsors: Women & Hi Tech’s all-volunteer working Board of Directors is currently planning with full intent to host the Leading Light Awards and Scholarship Gala on October 6, 2022. Should ongoing and/or unavoidable circumstances arise related to COVID-19 that prevent the LLA event from occurring in a timely fashion or at all, we implore our event sponsors to trust that this organization has made every good faith effort to host the event as planned. Accordingly, monetary LLA event sponsorships will not be refunded should the LLA event need to be postponed or canceled due to COVID-19 related circumstances. Instead, Women & Hi Tech will commit to hold at least 20% of LLA event sponsorships to fund additional scholarships and grants that will be awarded to women and girls in STEM in Indiana later in 2022. Remaining LLA event sponsorship funds will be utilized to support women and girls in STEM via Women & Hi Tech’s annual flagship programs and events, such as its quarterly Executive Women’s Forums (EWFs), Passport to Hi-Tech, Ignite Your Superpower! (IYS), OperationALL™, Spring and Holiday Networking events, and others. We appreciate your continued support and understanding in this regard.
Our primary concern is to protect the health and safety of our membership, their families, and our local, statewide, national, and international community of human citizens during this challenging time. In doing so, Women & Hi Tech will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation closely and will communicate to our members, sponsors, volunteers, and supporters necessary LLAs programming and/or event adjustments as new developments unfold.
Our hearts continue to go out to all those directly affected by COVID-19, their friends, and family, along with all of those who are indirectly being affected or whose jobs and schools have been interrupted or disrupted. During these challenging times for the global business and STEM community and for each of us as well, we appreciate your continued support of Women & Hi Tech and our mission to change the landscape of women represented in STEM to be equally inclusive to all.