• 05/29/2020 8:00 AM | Anonymous

    Some people might say you can’t build an impactful and meaningful career in STEM starting from the help desk. But for Linda Calvin, today the Vice President of the School of IT at Ivy Tech Community College, that’s exactly where she began. Born in Chicago but raised in Indianapolis, Calvin spent 20 years working at Dow, which became Dow Agrosciences, and is today Corteva. “I started out just teaching scientists how to use the IT system.” While she was an employee at Dow, Calvin completed a bachelor’s in journalism at Butler University, graduating cum laude.

    “That communications background, coupled with my IT knowledge, meant I was tapped to help out with policy communications and change management, and ultimately asked to lead digital projects.” Calvin became the global digital project lead for social media and web apps. But she knew she still hadn’t found her true calling. “One of my friends told me over margaritas that I should think about becoming a lawyer. Next thing I knew I was sitting in the LSAT, wondering where he had gone off to,” she joked. Calvin also completed her law degree at Indiana University while an employee at Dow, with the goal of using her hybrid background in IT, communications, and law to make an impact on legislation.

    Instead, she assumed the role of assistant city prosecutor for Indianapolis in 2013. Despite continuing to speak on how highly regulated environments could effectively use social media, she found she missed the tech world. After becoming a certified Scrum Master, she worked with several Indianapolis companies at director and senior level IT roles, helping them leverage digital solutions to drive growth. In 2019 she joined the leadership at Ivy Tech.

    “Everyone says my background is scattered, but at the end of the day all my fields of study connect in the discipline of problem solving. Today, it’s a major part of my role to solve problems for many different groups.”  Calvin spends time working with Ivy Tech faculty and deans to ensure the curriculum across the school’s 9 IT programs is relevant and meaningful to a diverse body of students who need to enter the work force with high-quality skills. Through programs like Ivy Works, she helps the college take steps to include women and minorities in STEM fields.  “I also spend a lot of time speaking with employers and organizations about our talent pipeline. Anyone hiring IT professionals needs to be communicating with Ivy Tech. We are graduating a diverse student body who all want to stay right here in Indiana and work.”

    “I have seen the lights go on for some businesses understanding how to partner with Ivy Tech, but I also hear from these employers that they have struggled to find diverse talent to hire,” she continued. “That’s how I know there is still a lot of work to do bridging gaps. Seeing the lack of women in IT, and especially the lack of women of color in IT, is what drew me to return to a membership with Women & Hi Tech.”

    Linda had learned about and briefly joined Women & Hi Tech around a decade ago, but her busy schedule earning multiple degrees and working hard led her to not be as involved as she might have.  She got re-engaged after connecting with past president Darcy Lee, discussing the desire to elevate women in STEM and take action to address disparity. “20 years ago, Women & Hi Tech was alone. Now we are the big sister to a lot of other groups all working to move the needle,” Calvin observed.

    “Women and minorities know when they are just a diversity hire, because their presence in the actual conversation is minimized,” Linda explained. “When you are only playing a supporting role, and aren’t invited to the meeting with a client, or the social events, that’s when it becomes apparent. That’s where we need to educate that women in tech and in STEM have a tremendous positive impact on the bottom line and are great leaders.”

    Calvin emphasized this effort is as much about teaching women and girls they deserve to shine as it is about educating employers and male allies. “I think imposter syndrome is a huge barrier for women,” she said. “It holds us back from just exploding in STEM when we are told those fields aren’t for us. And when we do succeed, when women today are kicking butt, it might even hold us back from being seen---because we don’t think we should be. It’s ingrained that it’s unattractive to want to be the center of attention. And until we flip that script, it’s going to be an uphill battle.”

    Linda says one strategy that could flip the script sooner is a proactive approach to seeking out women in STEM fields and inviting them to be seen and recognized before they even know they should be. “There has to be some way to start onboarding people into this sisterhood of STEM. When we’ve been beholden to keep heads down and work hard, we don’t look around to see who is with us, and so don’t know that someone else has been in a role like ours for five years at another company.”

    She also hopes to see Women & Hi Tech unite in symposium with other local groups like Women Who Code, Pass the Torch for Women, and Ladies in SaaS to discuss what can be done in unity to move the needle and make a statewide impact. “We have to link arms, work together, and influence legislation,” she says. “Women & people of color need to be at the table while legislators are talking about tech in Indiana, and currently we are not.”

    Linda’s own involvement with Women & Hi Tech has included sharing these ideas to start conversation among the membership. “One person might ultimately be the delegate, but they will represent the entire group, and so the group must take collective action.” Linda spoke at the February 2020 Executive Women’s Forum titled “The Disparity of Diversity Among Women in STEM.” She has also served as a judge for Women & Hi Tech’s scholarship awards and regularly attends events including the 20th Anniversary celebration last fall. “I brought a recent Ivy Tech IT graduate with me to that event and the experience fully energized and inspired her,” Linda shared. “To me, one of the greatest values of this organization is it teaches every member, men and women, what they can do to be a better advocate for others.”

  • 04/30/2020 3:02 PM | Anonymous

    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

  • 04/30/2020 3:01 PM | Anonymous

    Joy Neely has a very distinct memory of when she first knew that healthcare and the world of STEM was in her future. Now a healthcare executive with Medvantx, Neely credits her mother, a toxicologist, with influencing her passion for healthcare. Some of her earliest memories are of joining her mother at work on the weekends when she was a young child.

    “It’s these moments you don’t even think about when they’re happening as a kid,” Neely said. “I tagged along with my mom on her weekend shifts and would sit in the break room with little cartons filling them with pipettes for hours. I also had my own mini-lab coat that I wore with her to the lab.”

    But it was more than just playing laboratorian in her mother’s toxicology lab. Neely said that heading over to the hospital was the moment that solidified healthcare as her dream career path.

    “The big treat was to walk across the street and have lunch in the hospital cafeteria and see all the doctors and nurses. I think from a very young age of five or six years old, my mother was helping me create this vision that I was going to work in healthcare, whether that was working in a laboratory or being a doctor or a nurse.”

    Neely has been a board member of Women & Hi Tech since 2019, first serving as the Corporate Engagement Director and becoming President-Elect in 2022. Neely said one thing that struck her about the organization was the level of commitment and value the group was able to convey. When working with Roche Diagnostics. Neely recalls a business review that Roche held to evaluate their strategic community partners for the Women’s Leadership Business Resource Group that she co-led.

    “Women & Hi Tech actually treated it like a business review,” she said. “They came in as a true business partner and shared how we could collaborate more in the future, and what opportunities we could bring to our members. They shared not only opportunities for our members to participate in like executive women's forums and networking opportunities, but also how we could serve in the community.”

    In her role as Corporate Engagement Director, Neely said she’s had the chance to promote not only the organization, but to communicate the virtues of working within the Indianapolis business community and contributing resources to make a difference for women engaging in STEM. “I am able to share our story, and bring on new sponsors,” she said. “I think it's just really being a voice in the community for women in STEM.”

    In addition to the community-wide benefits, Neely said that her involvement in Women & Hi Tech has proven to be a valuable personal experience as well. “It's been an opportunity to grow my professional network with women across the STEM space, much broader than Roche or even my prior employer in Indianapolis with Lilly. An exciting part is just to see my network grow across STEM with a variety of different women and allies.”

    Looking back over her extensive and impressive career in healthcare, Neely said that even after her significant experiences growing up in and around labs and hospitals, she quickly continued down this path. During her freshman year of high school, Neely took part in the Explorer program, which allowed her to shadow with a local hospital. At that time, Neely said she was still focused on the idea of being a nurse or doctor. However, after earning her degree in healthcare administration from Truman State University, she took a position at Eli Lilly as a pharmaceutical representative in Southeast Missouri. During her 18 years spent at Lilly, Neely served in a variety of commercial roles, including sales, marketing, market access, operations and Six Sigma.

    After making a jump to a healthcare startup TrialCard Market Access, Neely came back to a larger-scale healthcare organization by taking a sales leadership position with Roche Diagnostics in their new Digital Information Solutions franchise. Neely said she’s been excited about the chance to affect healthcare at a higher level, thanks to Roche’s commitment to innovation and focus on precision healthcare.

    “I would say women in STEM are still very much on a journey, but I also believe there’s been huge growth, especially in the last five years. So much comes from the contributions made by large companies in Indianapolis like Lilly, Cummins, Allison Transmission, Salesforce, and Roche Diagnostics, and many of the smaller organizations as well, are really committed to improving opportunities and equity for women in these spaces.”

    But it’s also given her insight into her personal life, particularly the development of her daughters and the effects of providing them with role models for a professional life in healthcare and STEM at-large. STEM is core to the Neely household. Neely’s husband also works in medical device sales and started his career as a paramedic. Her youngest daughter is a junior in high school and is currently on a biomedicine track through Project Lead the Way and her oldest is studying statistics and computer science at Butler.

    While she has always emphasized pursuing individual passions for her daughters, she said that much like her experience growing up, it’s easy to be inspired when you see the benefits and impact that a career in STEM can have. “We haven't forced them down these paths by any means. I think it is because there's so much exposure to STEM in the house through our professions and our colleagues they have met over the years that they seen all of the opportunity that is there for them,” she said.

    When asked about her hopes for the next twenty years of Women & Hi Tech, Neely said her goal is to help the organization expand and to have a broader impact. Neely hopes that Women & Hi Tech can start providing support to areas and regions outside of the Indianapolis area.

    “You see some of these organizations that are national and even some cases international. Several contacts on LinkedIn have reached out saying they want to be part of Women & Hi Tech, but they're in Chicago or Atlanta or in New York. I think a big focus for me is to determine how we put the infrastructure in place to grow and provide this opportunity for women in other cities.”

    LinkedIn Profile

  • 04/30/2020 3:00 PM | Anonymous

    For Amber Fields, Women & Hi Tech feels a bit like coming home. Though she first encountered the organization several years ago through networking, Fields said scheduling and work prevented her from making a real commitment to the group. However, after a few changes in positions, as well as some healthy encouragement from voices within Women & Hi Tech, Fields says she is officially back in the saddle.

    “I really got reconnected back with Women & Hi Tech because of Rebecca Bormann,” Fields said. “She's obviously a huge advocate for Women & Hi Tech, and works really hard for the organization. Unsurprisingly, it was her who just kept saying, ‘You’ve got to come back, you’ve got to come back!’ Eventually I just realized, ‘You’re right. I do.’”

    As a contributing member, Fields plays several roles throughout the organization. Though she’s fairly new to the organization’s volunteer positions, her primary focuses are in securing corporate sponsorships, as well as assisting in flagship events like the Leading Light Awards & Scholarship Gala. But no matter what she’s doing, Fields said it all comes back to understanding and communicating the community-minded virtues of Women & Hi Tech.

    “I’m really working on educating businesses about the benefits that come from supporting this type of organization, especially how it helps to get young women into the STEM field. But I also look back over previously missed opportunities for partnerships, and try to identify businesses that are a good fit, even if we didn’t connect in the past.”

    Much like her contributions at Women & Hi Tech, Fields’ career path seems to always be evolving. While change is a welcomed constant in her professional world, Fields can pinpoint the exact moment that she says the fields of STEM found its way to her. In 2014, Fields was six years into an established career handling sales and customer service in the logistics industry. Despite having tenures at two well-known companies, Fields said she had reached somewhat of a crossroads.

    “I had been doing sales and customer-side work for some time, and I was really in a discovery part of my career,” she said. “I was asking myself, ‘Where am I supposed to be? What am I supposed to really be doing?’ That’s when I got approached by EcoTech, and it was at a time when I was probably more open to new challenges.

    Fields found herself on the receiving end of an interesting offer: jump into sales at EcoTech, a local IT solutions company. The only problem? Fields had never worked in the tech space, and said the concept seemed too foreign and unfamiliar.

    “Initially I just thought, ‘Oh, I can’t sell that, I don’t know that world.’ But the guy going after me just asked, ‘What exactly do you think you're selling?’ I figured it was selling a product, one where I had to understand exactly how it all worked. But he said, ‘No, you're selling the experience that technology creates for people. You're selling the solution as to how it impacts people's lives.’”

    “That was a monumental moment, for me,” she said. “I immediately thought, ‘That's a cause I can get behind.’”

    After a year of getting her feet wet selling technology solutions and learning how to speak the language, Fields jumped at yet another chance for growth. For the next three years, Fields worked in corporate sales for Verizon Wireless. Working both on different projects both independently and with a supporting staff, Fields explained that it was here that she got a chance to hone her leadership skills and while the company size, resources, and product lines were vastly different from EcoTech, Fields said it all still connected right back to the first words of advice she got in tech sales.

    “It’s all about a solution. What’s the customer’s experience, and how can our solutions help to make it a better one?”

    Now, seven years after her start in STEM at EcoTech, Fields is the Director of Corporate Sales at AIS. Fields’ day-to-day centers around providing corporate clients with full-range solutions involving managed services, infrastructure, consulting, and cyber security. She says that the new position also feels like a culmination of her previous roles, as she’s able to pull from lessons learned at companies like EcoTech and Verizon.

    “I truly feel like I have arrived. I feel I’m in complete alignment with the role that I have, the place where I work, and the people that I do it with.”

    When asked what she sees for the next twenty years of Women & Hi Tech, Fields wants to see just how wide and impactful the organization can go. “My hope is for greater financial support for the organization in order for it to impact more girls in STEM. I would love for Women & Hi Tech to have a higher level of recognition and awareness, and for people to get behind it. How can we just make this a community movement? That’s what I hope for the future of Women & Hi Tech.”

    LinkedIn Profile

  • 04/08/2020 8:00 AM | Anonymous

    Women & Hi Tech extends our deepest sympathies to all of our fellow citizens who have been affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19), and the scientists, healthcare workers, first responders, and other STEM professionals that are working on the front lines to keep our country safe and healthy at this unprecedented time. In response to the personal and professional uncertainty many are experiencing related to the COVID-19 global pandemic, for a limited time, Women & Hi Tech is pleased to offer our membership a weekly ClickSide Chat session occurring from April 15-May 27, 2020.

    The Women & Hi Tech ClickSide Chat is a 1-hour online Zoom meeting held for a small group of registered members to virtually interact, connect, and share helpful information, insights, resources, and support. These interactive sessions will provide a mid-week touch-point for Women & Hi Tech members to connect, engage, and encourage each other via a moderated discussion format related to a respective topic hosted by Women & Hi Tech Board Members. Registrants will be notified of the topics prior to the meeting, and are encouraged to visually and vocally participate in the online discussion in order to maximize attendee connectivity and engagement while complying with social distancing requirements.

    Registration for each Women & Hi Tech ClickSide Chat session is open and free only to members. Space for each session is extremely limited, and will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. In order to maximize the impact of ClickSide Chat for our membership, each member should register for no more than 2 sessions.  Please see the Women & Hi Tech ClickSide Chat session topic series and schedule below, and register as soon as possible. Once registration is filled, no wait list will be initiated.

    Registration for ClickSide Chat is required in order to provide you with the final login instructions. A login/password will be sent to the email address entered for this registration approximately 48 hours before the event begins.  Again, in order to facilitate a robust group discussion among an intimate group of members, space for each ClickSide Chat session is extremely limited. Please register as soon as possible.

  • 03/27/2020 1:02 PM | Anonymous

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

    As many of you know, March is Women's History Month, and its purpose is to inspire, commemorate, and encourage the study, observance, and celebration of the vital role of women in American history. Many significant advancements and impactful change, in all facets, in our Country's history including, human rights, government, equity and inclusion, philanthropy, business, and innovation in the STEM fields, are due to the courageous, intelligent, and ingenious women leaders who have gone before us. As Women & Hi Tech furthers our mission, to change the landscape of women represented in STEM to be equally inclusive to all, celebrating and honoring diverse women in STEM and lifting-up and inspiring diverse girls is at the forefront of what we do. We invite you to take a moment to celebrate the women in our history and to continue to celebrate, support, and encourage women and girls in their honor, not just in March but year-round.

    I had the opportunity this month to attend a women's groups sharing meeting as a representative of Women & Hi Tech. The meeting was orchestrated by Indianapolis Women's Empowerment Network (I-WEN,) who brought together about a dozen groups including, Pass The Torch for Women, Network of Women in Business (NOWIB), Junior League of Indianapolis, Chiefs in Intellectual Property (ChIPs) and several others. The agenda of this meeting was threefold;1- Learn what the organizations are and their missions; 2 - Learn what resources each has amassed to educate, empower, and improve the lot of women in the professional world; 3 - Share the ideas that may flow. The ultimate purpose of the meeting was to learn how women's organizations can work together to achieve common goals.

    I am delighted that many of the groups at the meeting were already collaborating with multiple women's organizations. During the meeting, many ideas surfaced to create and further partnerships and collaborations with the common goal of equity for all women in business. I would also like to inform you that in I-WEN's research to create the sharing meeting, they found over 100 women's organizations in Indianapolis. I find this to be truly exciting!

    In light of the unprecedented time we are in as a local, national, and global community with the COVID- 19 pandemic and stay at home orders; many are looking for ways to stay connected. I want to reassure you there are numerous opportunities to get involved, even now, and stay connected with being part of organizations like Women & Hi Tech and so many others. Many groups are hosting virtual networking and professional development meetings leveraging technology platforms like Zoom, Teams, and Webex; committees are being held virtually, and mentoring and one-on-one sessions continue via Facetime and video chat. If you are looking for ways to stay involved, be part of a community and stay connected, I encourage you to check out this link with over 40 women's groups, right here, in Indy

    In this 15th edition of "Grown from STEM," Women & Hi Tech would like to feature our own, rock star entrepreneurs who have each established their own STEM-related woman-owned organization. First, Women & Hi Tech is delighted to introduce you to our K-12 Outreach Director, Amanda McCammon, founder, and owner of Ingenuity, LLC. Next, we are excited for you to meet long-time Women & Hi Tech Member, Kristen Cooper, founder, and owner of The Startup Ladies. Both of these women are trailblazers in their own right, identifying a gap, and then creating and building businesses to close that gap. We invite you to read more about Amanda and Kristen and how their STEM backgrounds, business acumen, and passion for helping other women and girls drives their support and involvement in Women & Hi Tech.

    Kind Regards,

    Rebecca Bormann
    Women & Hi Tech President-Elect

  • 03/27/2020 1:01 PM | Anonymous

    Amanda McCammon was recruited as the K-12 Outreach Director for Women & Hi Tech due to her passion for improving Indiana’s educational ecosystem, especially STEM education. Over 15 years working on the front lines of education, she taught multiple subjects, worked as a building administrator, student services director, assistant superintendent, and beyond. Eventually McCammon found herself in the rare position of appreciating the whole spectrum of education. “From high income to low, working in rural, urban, and suburban areas, I have served families all over the State of Indiana,” she said. And what this experience showed her was unsurprising—school systems need help.

    “Schools today are serving youth and families in every aspect imaginable, emotional, social, safety, and food needs. For many families the school is the end-all, be-all of the support they receive. After some time in the field, you start to see it truly is more about human services than just education services.”

    In 2017, McCammon joined the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) as Chief of Workforce & STEM Alliances. “I facilitated the work of the STEM council responsible for authoring Indiana’s 6-year STEM strategic plan, which was developed to amplify and align STEM education efforts across the state.” She said one of the most exciting things to come out of this experience was a better understanding across the state of how Indiana defines STEM. “Everyone has had their own definition of STEM. But now at the state level, STEM education means teaching real-world problem solving and analytical and critical thinking skills, often through project-based learning.” McCammon said that this insight is of essential value to her role helping Women & Hi Tech achieve more impact at the K-12 level. “We have to make sure our members’ time, treasures, and talents are contributing to initiatives that actually meet the needs of both formal and informal educators across all areas of our state.”

    McCammon added that the legislation around education is always changing, and one of the biggest barriers for many schools is the ability to understand how and why changes impact their classroom and their community. “What drove me to step out and become an educational consultant was seeing a lack of capacity, not because of talent, but because of the sheer amount of work that is asked of both formal and informal educators.” Amanda said every legislative session seems to add more work to an already full plate. Whether it’s new mandates for educators to teach about employability skills, work to develop a workforce pipeline, or changes in assessment or accountability, these impact multiple levels across the educational system. “Even when a bill is a good thing in the big picture, it’s not always a priority to communicate and connect the dots all the way down through the district, to the building, to the classroom, and to our families. It’s essential to make them see not only why the change happened, but the goal we will achieve with it as a State. Educators must be included in these conversations and decisions.”

    Leaving the employment of the State, McCammon realized this put her back in a position to have critical conversations with people at the ground level. So, she started her own consulting business, Ingenuity, LLC. “Working for the State, you represent the larger voice of state government, but as a consultant, you can take that knowledge and go directly into a school to help them connect the dots between theory and practice in a way that makes sense for them and their families.” This especially applies to helping educators in the field understand current legislation and the potential effects of coming changes. “Historically, we have relied on memorization and checking off boxes on a list of requirements to prove the quality of our education. We need to consider the practices and abilities we need to embed into our teaching and learning so students can go anywhere, and in any field. Students must be able to think critically, come up with multiple solutions, and problem-solve.” McCammon currently serves schools, districts, non-profits, and communities in various areas of need including through strategic planning support as well as curriculum and program development. McCammon’s goal is to support positive change while serving as a knowledge resource, partner, and liaison in the efforts across our State to improve engagement, outcomes, and growth for our students, families, and communities.

    Amanda believes Women & Hi Tech can play an essential role in bringing STEM education and resources to students in rural or underserved areas. “All these legislative mandates influence what our teachers have time to do in the classroom, which informs what we need to do outside the classroom to support their efforts. As an organization, we have to get out of central Indiana and take our services Statewide, to anywhere female students have low access to STEM opportunities.”

    When she pictures Women & Hi Tech 20 years from now, McCammon says she hopes it looks completely different—or might not even need to exist at all. “We exist because, over the last two decades, someone has needed to take the reins to get more women in STEM. That’s an issue of the past that we are still trying to correct. Hopefully in 20 years that’s a problem that is solved and we have shifted to a different mission—a mission to solve the STEM problems of the future.”

    LinkedIn Profile

  • 03/27/2020 1:00 PM | Anonymous

    In 2014, Kristen Cooper made the leap from working in the nonprofit industry to working in tech. Why? “I had kind of a bad day back in 2011,” she jokes. Cooper attended a venture-focused luncheon, one she had been attending for years. “There were a few hundred people in the room - almost all men. On that particular day, someone sat next to me who said something very nasty about politics. Afterward I thought, ‘I am so tired of listening to people whose values are not in alignment with mine.’ They didn’t listen well and weren’t interested in my perspective.” That same day, Cooper closed a huge deal, but felt no joy about it like she typically would have.

    “I thought, ‘I have this incredible Rolodex and I don’t want to spend time with anyone in it. Why can’t there be a for friends?’ Facebook wasn’t a behemoth yet.” As Cooper struggled to find people in Indianapolis with similar values, whimsical conversations became more and more serious, until she was getting buy-in for her idea from members of the tech community. That’s when she decided to make the leap. “I started sketching out a wireframe and began raising money before I knew anything about how to build software or technology.” A small software development firm called Sticksnleaves loved the idea of a friend-finding app and helped Cooper develop a non-functioning prototype.

    Though she developed an incredible support network and raised over $80,000, Cooper never brought that product, Friendtro, to market. That effort would require funding in the tens of millions of dollars. “But even a failed tech product, as we all know, can be a major step forward. For me, that step was learning the process of how to build technology.” Cooper saw this as a very unifying and logic-based experience. “When meeting with software experts they poked holes in concepts for the sole purpose of making the product better. No personal or political agenda. I fell in love with that. I had never felt more comfortable in business than I did talking about building tech.”

    Soon, her collaborators at Sticksnleaves invited Cooper to join their team as the Vice President of Operations and Corporate Development. “They offered to teach me to build technology if I could help them with operations and business development. It was a major pay cut,” Kristen admitted, “but very few women get this opportunity and they were interested in making a trade that could propel my career into an entirely different industry.”

    Cooper is grateful that longtime member of Women & Hi Tech, Tonya Hanshew, got her involved shortly after they met at a coworking space in 2014. “Too many women talk themselves out of starting a company, in part because not enough people around them have done it successfully,” Cooper said. “In many ways, Women & Hi Tech is like exposure therapy. The more professionals that you meet like you rising up in STEM, the more comfortable you feel doing the same.”

    Though she joined the Sticksnleaves team with gusto, Cooper still wondered what could have gone differently with Friendtro. She wanted to meet more female founders who had successfully completed exits. “I started introducing myself to women in the ladies room at the coworking space. One day, I actually closed a deal in that bathroom! After laughing about the rarity of having the opportunity to do business with fellow women in this space, I suggested that we go to lunch.” One lunch with three women led to monthly lunches with more and more attendees. Soon this led Kristen to create a list of everything she wished she had known, or still wanted to know, about founding a tech startup. “I just started matching experts in my rolodex with the topics I needed to learn about. I set up twice-monthly events to get people to share this information. That was the beginning of my path to founding The Startup Ladies--camaraderie, education, and now, funding.”

    Today, Cooper is CEO and Founder of The Startup Ladies, an organization committed to educating founders and investors alike about startups, and the massive gender disparity in the market. “In 2019 136.5 billion was invested into startups, and less than 3% of that went to female founders,” she explained. “There are so many problems that have been identified by women and people of color in the STEM community. Most of our members do not have access to a network of people who could write checks to fund a proof of concept. The profile of most of our founders looks like this: they became an industry expert, identified a problem, came up with a solution, and never built a business or tech before. We educate entrepreneurs focused on scalable business models, regardless of the industry.

    The Startup Ladies operates in 3 cities with over 170 members, and has helped members raise over $300,000 in funding. Kristen emphasized that her involvement with Women & Hi Tech was essential in the early days and remains essential as the two organizations work together to connect women to opportunities in STEM. “We have different yet complementary missions and are constantly seeking ways to help each other be bigger and better. We are doing this now, so more women can achieve similar goals in the future, without unconscious and conscious bias against them.”

    When thinking about the future, Cooper hopes to see more members of the C-suite (regardless of gender) joining both Women & Hi Tech and The Startup Ladies. “The founders of Women & Hi Tech built a strong foundation for women in STEM in Indiana. We need to capitalize on the momentum and build plans to ensure that all C-suites, boards, and investment deals include 50% women.”

    LinkedIn Profile

  • 03/21/2020 8:00 AM | Anonymous

    Women & Hi Tech is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that was established in Indianapolis, IN in 1999 by a female scientist at Eli Lilly and a female academician at Indiana University. For over 20 years, Women & Hi Tech has sought to further its mission to “change the landscape of women represented in STEM to be equally inclusive to all” by providing mentoring, education, networking, and professional development opportunities, while recognizing and supporting girls and women in STEM in Indiana. Women & Hi Tech is seeking candidates for open positions on its Board of Directors to help further its mission.

    The Women & Hi Tech Nomination Committee is seeking female and male candidates, particularly diverse candidates, for our all-volunteer, working Board of Directors for the following three positions (click the title of the position to see a full description of the position):

    Preferred candidates are actively engaged with the organization, and will bring wisdom, experience, effectiveness, candor, and creative thinking to the organization. We don’t take the term “working board” lightly. All Women & Hi Tech Board of Directors are expected to represent the organization in the community. At any given time, a Women & Hi Tech Director will also be responsible for leading her/his own area of responsibility and/or a committee, while also contributing to other areas of the organization, including serving on other committees.

    Multiple nominations for different open positions from a single candidate are permitted. 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 will take office July 1, 2020.

    CLICK HERE TO APPLY! Applications are due by May 1, 2020. 

  • 03/12/2020 5:00 PM | Anonymous

    Women & Hi Tech is proud and excited to again congratulate our Board Members, Rebecca Bormann and Allison Lipps, CCRC, for being selected as finalists of the 2020 Indy’s Best & Brightest Awards by Junior Achievement, which honors 100 of Central Indiana’s accomplished young professionals who are making their mark in Indianapolis. Several members of the Women & Hi Tech Board of Directors came out to the Indy’s Best & Brightest Awards Program held at Hilbert Circle Theatre in Monument Circle on March 11, 2020 to support Rebecca and Allison. Rebecca, President-Elect of Women & Hi Tech, was recognized for her leadership in Technology, while Allison, Community Outreach Director of Women & Hi Tech, was recognized for her leadership in Health & Life Sciences.

    “I am humbled and honored to be one of 2020 Indy’s Best and Brightest finalists in the technology category," said Rebecca Bormann. "It’s been exciting to learn about all the finalists excelling in their professions and their dedication and passion for giving back to our community. Congratulations to all the 2020 Best and Brightest finalists and the winner!”

    “It was a true honor to be recognized as a finalist amongst such amazing talent in the Health & Life Sciences field here in Indy," said Allison Lipps. "Thank you Junior Achievement of Central Indiana for a great evening recognizing all 100 finalists — Indy’s Best & Brightest is a shining example of the difference that can be made when a small group of individuals give back to their local community. I consider myself incredibly fortunate to call Indy home, and will forever cherish being named one of Indy’s Best & Brightest.“

    Program attendees were welcomed by stations of local restaurant eateries and spirits. The awards program was co-emceed by an inspiring young female Junior Achievement student, Ellen, who captured attention by her professionalism. The evening also included a powerful keynote address by Aleesia Johnson, Superintendent of Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS).

    We celebrate Rebecca and Allison. Their accomplishments and achievements are clear representations of the STEM expertise and community leadership exemplified by the Directors and members of Women & Hi Tech. Congratulations again ladies!

    Indy’s Best and Brightest was created by Junior Achievement of Central Indiana (JA) to recognize up and coming talent and the next generation of leaders in our community. Indy’s Best & Brightest finalists serve as excellent role models to Junior Achievement students and youth in the Indianapolis community.  Click here to learn more about Junior Achievement and Indy's Best and Brightest.

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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. 
Women & Hi Tech, 133 West Market Street, #220, Indianapolis, IN 46204

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