Helping Women Leaders Navigate Conflict and Discover Powerful, Innovative Solutions Hidden Within It
Founder and CEO of We Can Code IT, Crain's Cleveland 2014 Woman of Note, and software engineer and architect with nearly 20 years of professional experience, Mel McGee has worked with clients like Tyco International, DeLorean Motor company, and hundreds of others to develop software. Her programming experience translated to the classroom nearly as soon as she began coding. An experienced educator, she has taught computer science and engineering subjects to kids, teens, and adults at We Can Code IT, Colleges, and overseas.
Mel's knowledge of over 20 programming languages allows her to adapt curriculum to students in a variety of ways. As a certified Scrum master and a Gestalt trained facilitator, Mel's interests in collaborative work are woven throughout We Can Code IT's culture and classroom experience. Her love for sharing her creative computing techniques has not gone unnoticed.
Her innovative early wearable computer was featured in Howard Rheingold's book Smart Mobs. Her web development expertise was featured in books like Curt Harler's Beyond the Browser. She has been featured on NPR, publications like Motor World, Crain's Cleveland Business, Cleveland's Plain Dealer, and many more.
Her artificial intelligence bots, Zoe-bot and Skeletor-bot, have been entertaining the masses online and at community events since the early 2000s. She continues to enjoy innovating with artificial intelligence. She's married, has a daughter who is learning how to program, and two dogs who follow her everywhere they possibly can.
Wendy Jacobs, JD, is an Agile Coach and Product Owner with Cardinal Solutions Group. She has over 18 years of product development experience, specifically in Product Management. Her current focus is on coaching all levels of Product Owners and Management on how to maximize the business value delivered. Wendy is passionate about mentoring others in Agility, Product Ownership and Product Management as well as delivering training courses, and presenting at conferences and meetups.
As Chair of the CIO Tomorrow planning committee, I have committed to bringing a conversation about diversity and inclusion into the de facto technology leadership of Central Ohio. This mandate has resonated with the committee, the CIO Forum, and many of the sponsors, large companies and small who are interested in this subject. I held several conversations with women in particular who encouraged me to drive forward in this challenge, offering support and information and leadership. It is for this reason I feel I can be a good advocate for the strengthening of Women in Technology leadership. I have an interest in supporting this mission and hope to be a contributor to this cause amongst my peers in technology leadership in Central Ohio.
Solutions-oriented technical leader with a highly successful 15-year career enabling Rackspace, Oracle, ATG, United States Air Force, US Bancorp, Group Health Associates, and Fortune 500 customers to achieve goals. Recognized ability to build collaborative relationships with stakeholders and teams; design effective solutions; and mobilize teams in developing, enhancing, troubleshooting, and ensuring optimal uptime of large eCommerce platforms.
Fondly known as a Southern Belle with Yankee flair, Tera Simon is currently the Director of Client Experience for Atlantic BT in Raleigh, NC with over a decade of Project Management experience, Tera has helped define, document and implement process within ABT. Her attention to detail and grasp of usability empower her to see projects evolve on schedule and within scope, while achieving the high level of quality that she is recognized for delivering. Tera has the ability to combine traditional graphic design awareness and new media technologies with classic sensibilities, and apply this not just to her clients' projects, but also to her team. When she’s not sprinting from meeting to meeting, you can find her supporting local breweries, traveling, and educating anyone that will listen on why football is the greatest sport around. Follow Tera on Twitter at @tcaldsimon.
Ryan Frederick has had the privilege of being part of several startups and growth companies. He has helped companies grow from inception, to viability, through to sustainability. During the evolution of these companies, Ryan as served on company boards and been instrumental in capitalization activities. He has also helped companies to expand to international markets. Ryan brings a unique blend of business acumen and technical knowledge to help companies and clients achieve their objectives. He now helps companies of all sizes build great products and become better product companies. Ryan (@ryanfrederick) is a Principal at AWH (@awhnet), Director for Startup Grind (@startupgrind | @startupgrindcmh), Chairman i.c.stars|*COLUMBUS (@icstarscolumbus), Co-founder <BLK hack> (@black_hack) and leader ProductCamp & ProductTank Columbus.
Caroline 'CB' has lived teams and culture her entire life being the seventh of ten kids in her family. Her passion for people and how to engage them led her to a love of marketing. CB’s experience started in Chicago at Kraft Foods and ACNielsen, where she worked to bring new product categories to the Kraft Meals Division. From there she smelled the roses with FTD – and held key marketing roles during the launch of FTD.COM and their international expansion. After repositioning a 100-year-old brand, CB was ready for a new challenge - start-ups.
She moved back home to Cleveland and joined Findaway World in its first year, shaping the product positioning and brand strategy while leading strategic shifts for the growing company that made the INC500 list of fastest-growing companies three consecutive years during her leadership. From Findaway, she continued building and developing brands and teams with Andtix, COSE and most recently Veritix. CB is super pumped being the chief marketing officer at Tech Elevator, the region's premier coding bootcamp, where her mission is to elevate people, companies and communities through technology education and job fulfillment. CB is also a proud Dayton Flyer.
Lauren Gruenebaum is VP of Product at Root Insurance Company. Prior to Root she spent three years at Nationwide Insurance in various roles spanning business development, strategy, and enterprise risk management. She began her career in internal audit focusing on casino, hotel, and food and beverage operations.
Lauren holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from the College of Wooster and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Exploring a Moment of Pure Sound with Pure Data
Jennifer Drake-Finegold is a scrum master, and agile coach with over 15 years of technology experience at local Central Ohio companies. Her focus is on building strong teams, customer value all while continually learning and stretching herself. When not scrumming, she is busy support her family, 3 dogs, and staying away from all things outdoors.
Maria Krantz is in her second year at The Ohio State University, studying Public Health with an Environmental specialization as a pre-medical student. Maria graduated from Metro Early College High School in 2016 where she was the Class President for two years, as well as Project Manager for FIRST Robotics Competition 3324, the Metrobots for three years. At Ohio State, Maria is an Undergraduate Research Associate at the James Comprehensive Cancer Center, as well as a Teaching Assistant (TA) in the Honors and Scholars College, while also serving as the Vice President of the organization, FIRST Robotics at Ohio State. Maria is involved in various other Ohio State organizations including Undergraduate Student Government, the Health Sciences Scholars program, and also serves as a University Host for the College of Undergraduate Admissions.
Aside from her involvements at Ohio State, Maria is involved in her community. Maria is an administrative assistant at Rodier Law Offices in Columbus, Ohio and is also a Committee member of Montana de Luz, a non-profit organization dedicated to an HIV/AIDS orphanage in Nuevo Esperanza, Honduras. Through Maria’s work with Montana de Luz, she has taught robotics workshops in Honduras and is developing a computer and robotics lab housed at the orphanage. Maria also serves as a mentor to her former FRC team, the Metrobots and has led STEM and Robotics advocacy discussions in Washington, D.C. Maria’s goal is to inspire and provide opportunities for those underrepresented in STEM.
Kelsey Bieri is a Data Governance Analyst and the Consensus Product Lead for Information Control Company(ICC). Beginning her professional journey in the Business Consulting Practice, she found herself migrating towards Data Governance to find the balance between business and technical consulting, and how the two worlds converge together. Kelsey has worked with her peers to develop and grow Data Governance concepts throughout her practice. Additionally, she has helped dive into how existing tools, such as graph databases, can be used to improve upon data governance principles throughout client bases and other practices within her company.
Enterprise Architect /J2EE Expert /.Net, CF Developer
Cindy is a progressive healthcare executive and information technology leader known for building high performing, customer focused teams. She is innovative in her approach to problem solving. She is well versed in the Healthcare industry and so many of the technologies available to bring automation and efficiency. She is thoughtful in her approach and savvy with data analysis (including KPI’s, budgets, data integrity). Cindy is often engaged in turnaround situations to get IT organizations back on track. She has received numerous awards for her leadership in the tech community and healthcare overall.
Brittaney Carter is a value driven technology leader with a passion for demonstrable excellence. Having humble beginnings in IT dating back almost a decade, she quickly realized technology was where she would spend her career. Brittaney started as a business analyst in the healthcare industry having worked on systems designs surrounding productivity applications and mobile technologies. Her attention to detail and drive for results-driven-value took her from BA to Project Management to technology leadership in a multitude of various roles. During this time, she has supported various business partners by implementing custom, packaged, and SaaS solutions. Brittaney currently manages a development team at Nationwide Insurance. She recently served as an IT Delivery Executive on a $6.5M program, which implemented two SaaS solutions over the last two years. The implementation of these solutions impacted roughly 20 integrations in total and many end to end processes. There were multiple significant lessons learned throughout these implementations, as many underestimated its wholistic impact. Though she does not know Letterman personally, he would most likely conclude that these lessons are important ones to acknowledge should he ever implement a package or SaaS solution.
Angela Lopez holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Operations Management (six-sigma) from The Ohio State University, and a Masters in Information Systems from Keller Graduate School of Management. She has been certified as a Project Manager and Scrum Master, and has most recently acquired a shiny new Certified Change Management Professional.
Currently an independent consultant, she has worn various hats from product manager to technical software sales, PM/BA to QA, and coach/delivery leader to training and change management; across multiple environments from small software start ups to Global Enterprises.
She believes in influencing change through thought leadership.
She uses her energy and passion to actively engage the Columbus technology community, as Vice President of Columbus Women of Technology as well as being an active contributor to of several professional and groups like Project Management Institute, Association for Change Management, Association for Training and Development, IIBA, COHAA, and is the founder of agileLUNCHBOX.
Cassandra Faris is the Director of Talent Management at Improving Columbus, a software development consulting and training company. She is passionate about growing the tech community and its people. She regularly attends, speaks at, and helps organize tech events, and is President of the Microsoft-focused DogFoodCon. She has an MBA in Organizational Leadership, and is an avid tabletop gamer, runner, and soccer fan who travels as much as possible.
Heather Baumer is a Consultant with Illumination Works, LLC. Illumination Works is an IT consulting company with offices in Beavercreek, Mason and Columbus. Heather is based out of their Mason office and has been working for the last four years in Big Data Analytics as a Business Analyst and Scrum Product Owner.
Maybe it was coloring outside the lines or ingesting copious amounts of Play-Doh as a child that sculpted my creative path; in any case I knew from a young age that design was the only thing for me to do.
Over the past eleven years I’ve worked in advertising and startups as UX lead, Art Director, Visual Designer, and a challenger of the status quo. I’ve focused on creating and improving products for consumer facing brands in e-commerce and home automation.
I believe there is power in great design, and value in refining every detail. I aim to create human centered designs that are not only engaging and delightful, but solve business goals simultaneously.
Catherine Ashcraft is a Senior Research Scientist with the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) at the University of Colorado Boulder. Her research focuses on issues related to gender, diversity, and technology; organizational change and curriculum reform; and popular culture, media representations, and youth identity (especially as it relates to race-ethnicity, gender, class, sexuality). She also has taught and presented at national and international venues on these topics for the past 15 years and has worked with a variety of government entities, advocating for CS/IT/ICT education and workplace policy.
In her role at NCWIT, she employs a unique blend of research and practice, overseeing primary research projects and translating that research into practical resources that organizations can use for diversifying their technology workforce and for creating more inclusive technology workplaces. She also directs reform initiatives for NCWIT’s Workforce Alliance, a consortium of leading, global technology companies and departments, and works with senior executives to implement these initiatives.
Krista Campbell is a Managing Architect and Senior Consultant with over twenty years of experience in the software industry. She has been developing Windows applications since before the dawn of time, with deep experience in both the technical and non-technical aspects of software development, Krista has led numerous successful software projects, focusing primarily in human services, supporting health, education, and disabled communities. She holds a B.S. (Summa Cum Laude) in Computer Science from the Ohio State University. During her time at OSU, she also studied electronic music techniques with accomplished local composers and continues to enjoy bridging the gap between music, sound, and software.
Krista is the proud parent of a brave, bright, and beautiful 12 year old daughter.
Beth Hand is an international strategic advisor and executive consultant. She is the CEO of Leadership Hand LLC, a woman-owned company helping mission-driven leaders worldwide in Fortune 500 companies, mid-size and fast growing small businesses achieve strategic results. Prior to founding Leadership Hand, she was one of a few women consultants to assist the Turkish General Directorate of Revenues with the design and change management plan for a country-wide IT infrastructure project. She has initiated strategic planning in an organization conducting $1 billion in annual transactions. She’s managed mission-critical projects with global impact from $50 million to $250 million.
She received the IRS CIO’s award, and was 1 of 6 executive coaches contributing to NASA’s receipt of the PRISM award for program/project engineering leadership. Her work and travels include Western Europe, Central America, Central, East Asia, and North Africa.