Women in I.T.
Emerging Tech

Tuesday, November 5

7:00 - 8:30AM

Registration Open and Continental Breakfast in Banquet Hall

Welcome & Opening Remarks - NIC Auditorium

Dr. Marco Barker UNL VP, Diversity & Inclusion


Keynote Presentation

Better Allies
Karen Catlin Leadership coach, keynote speaker, and author

Have you ever thought, "I care about creating a more diverse and inclusive workplace, but what can I do?" If so, you're not alone. Knowing how to be a better ally for underrepresented colleagues is unfamiliar territory for many of us.

In this keynote, Karen Catlin will cover key points from her book, Better Allies: Everyday Actions to Create Inclusive, Engaging Workplaces. Attendees will learn steps they can take to:

  • Diversify their network (and why it's important to do so)
  • Amplify and advocate for others in meetings
  • Provide equitable and effective feedback
  • Disrupt office housework

Come discover how you can make a difference with the Better Allies™ approach. After spending twenty-five years building software products and serving as a vice president of engineering at Adobe, Karen Catlin witnessed a sharp decline in the number of women working in tech. Frustrated but galvanized, she knew it was time to switch gears.

Today, Karen is a leadership coach, keynote speaker, and author. She's a highly sought-after and engaging presenter who has delivered talks at more than a hundred events. In addition to speaking herself, Karen is determined to bring more diversity to speaker lineups at tech industry events. To support this goal, she coauthored Present! A Techie's Guide to Public Speaking.

In 2014, Karen started the Twitter handle @betterallies to share simple, actionable steps that anyone could take to make their workplace more inclusive. That Twitter handle became the inspiration for her second book, Better Allies: Everyday Actions to Create Inclusive, Engaging Workplaces.


Refreshment Break in Banquet Hall


Concurrent Session 1

Technology, Leadership & Engineering at NDOT | Room A1/A2
Julie Ramirez Roadway Design Hydraulics Engineer
Jamie Mikkleson Roadway Design & Utilities Engineer

The engineering field is historically a male-dominated profession. At Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT), there has been growth in the diversity of leadership and upper management positions held.

Learn about two engineers' career paths and experiences as women in the engineering field who hold leadership and management roles. Discuss the technology that is used on a day-to-day basis to design Nebraska's highways and analyze hydrology and hydraulic systems. Provide an overview of the flooding that occurred in Nebraska during March 2019.

Importance or relevance to other units or departments: The engineering field is historically a male-dominated profession. Women and diversity in the engineering field at NDOT is continuing to grow, but still is predominately male. We would like to discuss our paths and experiences as women in the engineering field who hold leadership and management roles at the Department. We'll also touch on the technology that we use on a day-to-day basis that assists in the design of roadways, and analyze hydrology and hydraulic systems used at NDOT.

Step-by-Step: Creating a WIT Mentoring Program at Harvard University | Room A3
Sandy Silk Director of Information Security Education & Consulting at Harvard University

Many universities and corporations have expressed an interest in creating mentoring programs to support under-represented populations, particularly women in IT/STEM. This session will review the steps and tools HarvardWIT (Women in Tech) used to create a volunteer-run University-wide program that matched 21 pairs across 16 participating Schools and groups in its pilot cohort. Leverage our framework and templates to launch your own program!

Within the session I'll share our steps, poll the audience for their experiences, and answer questions about:

  • Identification of our target group and goals
  • Coordination with HR and Center for Workplace Development teams
  • Application and attainment of a Presidential Administrative Innovation Fund Award
  • Structure of the six-month program
  • Participant application and matching
  • Pre- and post- program measurements
  • Full cohort meetings and topics
  • "Alumnae" tracking for long-term goals
  • Plans to sustain the program in future cycles

Importance or relevance to other units or departments: Many universities and corporations have expressed an interest in creating mentoring programs to support under-represented populations, particularly women in IT/STEM. But, they aren't able to achieve implementation of those programs. This session will retrace the steps and tools HarvardWIT (Women in Tech) used to create a volunteer-run University-wide program that matched 21 pairs across 16 participating School/groups in its pilot cohort. Our program can be recreated at other organizations using our templates and model.

A Tapestry of Women Leaders in Higher Education Technology: A Qualitative Study | Room D
Dr. Jane Braaten Overmoe

A qualitative study was used to understand the experiences of 12 women, leaders in Education Technology in higher education. Through interviews, women leaders described their environment as well as personal and behavioral aspects of their work. Findings included the descriptive concepts of relationships, leadership, persistence, and advice.

Relationships were from workplaces and professional networks. Leadership was defined by vision and teamwork. Persistence was addressed as either values-based or relationship-based. The fourth thread in the findings, advice, was divided into three sub-threads: educational, family (both personal and work), and managing emotions. A qualitative approach was used to highlight interview responses to demonstrate the experiences of women leaders in Education Technology in Higher Education.

Importance or relevance to other units or departments: What are key ingredients for today's women leaders in higher education technology role? What can be learned from their experiences as they forge paths for tomorrow's career pathways?

Accessibility implications of personal technology bans in the classroom | Room B1/B2
Megan Masters, PhD Director, Academic Technology Experience, University of Maryland Information Technology
Ana Palla-Kane, PhD Senior IT Accessibility and UX Specialist, University of Maryland Information Technology
Alia Lancaster, PhD Senior Research and Assessment Analyst, University of Maryland Information Technology

While there is some research demonstrating that multitasking using personal technology in a classroom can be detrimental (Hembrooke & Gay, 2003) or that handwriting notes may be better for immediate retention of new information Mueller & Oppenheimer, 2014), the link between research and practice is nuanced and requires open discussion among administrators, instructors, and students. Results of surveys sent to both students and instructors at a large, R1 university, found that over 80% of both groups agree that academic technology enhances their teaching and learning experiences. However, a majority of students reported having at least one class in which personal technology (cell phones, laptops, etc.) were banned from the classroom environment. Moreover, the analysis of additional survey results suggest an apparent disconnect between instructors' perceived impact and intention when imposing technology bans and students' perceived impact of these bans on learning.

Further, open-ended feedback from both groups indicated a disproportional implication of this ban for students with disabilities. We will discuss ways in which universal design principles can create a more inclusive classroom climate with regard to personal technology use. The session will conclude by fostering a discussion among participants as to how this issue is being considered at their home institutions. Importance or relevance to other units or departments: The session will present the issue as experienced at one university, present possible solutions by an IT accessibility expert, and then open the floor to a discussion of the topic by those in the room. At the end of the session, participants will:

  1. Learn one method of assessing the scope of a personal technology ban at a higher education institution
  2. Hear first-hand from instructors and students via written feedback the ramifications of a personal technology ban
  3. Discover inclusive methods for using (or not) personal technology in the classroom
Breaking Barriers: Building a community while filling the Tech pipeline | NIC Auditorium
Sharon Pitt Vice President and Chief Information Officer, University of Delaware
Susan Kennedy Associate Vice President of IT Strategic Operations, University of Delaware
Sowmya Shankar Applications Programmer, University of Delaware, co-founder of UD WIT Organization
Sara Meadows IT Project Manager, University of Delaware, co-founder of UD WIT organization

This session would be a panel from the University of Delaware's Women in Technology (UD WIT) organization, a newly formed Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) group that is disrupting UD's culture and STEM education in DE schools.

The UD WIT seeks to address inclusion locally and regionally. There is much to do: A study conducted between 2007 - 2011 found there to be approximately a 20% gap between males and females entering STEM programs at UD. In Delaware, public schools generally have more limited STEM classes and lower representation of female students in computing and engineering classes. Attendees will learn how the UD WIT formed to start combatting and disrupting these standards in Delaware. Within the Information Technologies department at the University of Delaware (UD), only 37% of the workforce were women between 2017-18, and up until December 2016 UD IT's leadership were all Caucasian males. These facts illustrate a need to reach female students earlier to better fill the tech pipeline.

The UD WIT seeks to build an inclusive community, advocate for WIT & diversity, develop opportunities, and empower future generations.

Engagement strategies:

  • Poll the audience
  • Q&A session
  • Have the audience tweet their feedback or questions on a hashtag.

Importance or relevance to other units or departments: The UD WIT was formed in October 2018 to break down silos across the organization, develop a more inclusive culture for women interested or engaged in technology careers at UD, and empower girls in DE schools to pursue STEM interests. Through this panel we will: - share strategies for developing and launching a diversity and inclusion organization that can be applied at other institutions; - learn how to engage senior leadership to support DEI organizations and efforts on campus; - discuss the obstacles we encountered while forming the UD WIT and how we are overcoming them; - encourage audience participation to share their stories and strategies around DEI and women in STEM; and discuss the role of male allies in this type of disruption.

UD WIT Overview In less than a year we were able to form an engaged team of staff and faculty at UD to begin making big strides towards our mission and goals. The UD WIT has established partnerships both inside and outside the university, including the State of Delaware, Microsoft, Dell, and WIT organizations at other higher education institutions.

UD WIT is engaging with local school districts to attract middle and high school females to tech topics. Our main goal for these younger audiences is to demystify technology and expand the understanding of what a technology career is and could be (e.g. not just coding).

For example, UD WIT participated in Microsoft's DigiGirlz day providing a day filled with STEM workshops such as Marine Robotics, Drones, and Bubbles Chemistry targeted to girls 13 -15 in Delaware schools. We also teamed up with Newark High School to present workshops on topics such as Virtual Reality, Video Game Design, Circuitry and Photo Editing to high school girls. In June, the UD WIT will be delivering two workshops, on cybersecurity and analytics, for the University's College Readiness Scholars Institute, which targets underserved and underrepresented Delaware high school students.

As a campus community driven organization that is not tied to any one particular college or department, we have faced challenges around funding, awareness of the organization, and juggling work and UD WIT participation responsibilities, all of which we developed strategies to overcome.

An unconventional path to an IT career | Room C
Betsy Hood Senior Manager of Field Services, Director of the APSA Board, and Chairperson of the Empower IT 2019-2020

Thirteen years ago, Betsy Hood was a new mom facing a lot of challenges. She had no degree, she had just lost her job as a receptionist, and she had a new baby. In just a few short years, Betsy worked her way up to Senior Manager of IT at Michigan State University. Today she leads a staff of over 100 IT professionals. She did all of this blazing her own path to a rewarding career. Learn from Betsy as she explains how a great leader can come from anywhere when they are given the right tools.

Importance or relevance to other units or departments: Not everyone has the same path and not everyone has the same experiences. Betsy's own story will teach us to look outside of the normal framework of leaders to see how when given the chance and some help from mentors/sponsors how one can become a great leader.


Concurrent Session 2

People-Focused Change Management: Prioritizing "The Who" of Why We Work | Room A1/A2
Jaci Lindburg, PhD Director of Digital Learning, NU ITS (facilitator).
Ben Wigert PhD - Director of Research and Strategy, Workplace Management, Gallup (panelist)
Gina Ligon, PhD Associate Professor of Management at UNO's College of Business
Danielle Crough, PhD Vice President of People and Culture at Interstates Companies

For higher education IT, both incremental and substantive change are common - and imperative - to help meet the needs of our campus communities. Managing teams and complex initiatives in this type of environment takes skillful, intentional leaders who can prioritize demands, shape culture, and hire top performers, all while driving innovation. Amidst the continual change, the employees of an organization can often be the constant, working diligently to seek new ways to contribute to advancing the organization's goals. Panelists will discuss concepts and research including leading/managing change, how to keep the individual employee motivated and invested during change, creating/shaping culture during change, and sustainability.

Importance or relevance to other units or departments: Higher education as a whole is experiencing a period of prolific change. Leaders in all types of units and departments are being asked to find new ways of doing business, and campuses across the country tout "innovation ecosystems" and "transformation" as critical to their success. Higher education IT is often at the forefront of this change and is frequently looked to as a strategic partner for launching innovative strategies to drive the campus forward. This panel will discuss concepts that are applicable to any unit or department in higher education.

Those who can, Teach!  Increasing Women led Tech Talks | Room A3
Ruth Gittens Princeton University
Daphne Ireland Princeton University

If we want disruption, one thing we need to see is more women leading technical training and discussions. It should become the norm, and not the exception. How do we develop the next wave of technical trainers to include a more diverse population? One of the best ways to learn something is to teach it. This session will focus on ways to encourage Women in IT to give more talks, build skills with their peers and get out there and share their technical skills.

Importance or relevance to other units or departments: The audience with leave with an action plan for creating opportunities that would encourage women tech talks in their environment. Women in Tech should feel encouraged to take the leap to give technical talks, or at least how to work up to giving one, by starting small and building.

Growing Future Leaders Through Lessons Learned in IT Triage | Room D
Sara Axtell Oklahoma State University

What makes great leaders? Is it their ability to encourage and motivate their team members, or perhaps their ability to focus through disruptions and overcome obstacles? How do we as educators, staff members and professionals develop leadership skills in the next generation?

IT support in higher education can be like hospital triage. In this session, the presenter will provide ways in which IT support triage has helped develop and grow some of the next generation's leadership skills. Session attendees will participate in group discussions and activities to encourage an open dialogue of how the presented topic can be applied in their respective roles. Participants can expect to leave the session with ideas on how everyday disruptions can become positive leadership development opportunities.

Importance or relevance to other units or departments: Leadership is a highly sought after skill in any industry. Disruptions and obstacles are inevitable no matter what your role or title is. What matters is how you take those disruptions and turn them into positive opportunities for personal development. Participants should gain a different perspective on how setbacks and disruptions can positively affect themselves, their industry and the next generation of leaders.

Ouch! That Stereotype Hurts: Communicating Respectfully in a Diverse World | Room B1/B2
Linda Cunningham Associate Director, Human Resources Employee Relations, Organizational Development & Diversity, University of Nebraska Medical Center
Karen Kassebaum Director, Staff Diversity and Inclusion, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Ouch is an interactive presentation that explores the impact of stereotypes and biased statements, even when casually said. The facilitated discussion will identify the most common reasons people sit silent in the face of bias and stereotypes and provide participants the opportunity to enhance their skills for speaking up against stereotypes without blame or guilt. The Ouch! presentation incorporates active learning strategies including storytelling, small group discussions, role-play, and video to engage with participants.

Importance or relevance to other units or departments: In any organization, staying silent in the face of demeaning comments, stereotypes or bias allows these attitudes and behaviors to thrive. This practice undermines an organization's ability to create an inclusive space where all (customers-students- employees- visitors) are welcomed, treated with respect and able to do their best work. Most people want to speak up- yet, most don't know how- so, we say nothing. In the Ouch! workshop, participants learn six techniques for speaking up and have the opportunity to develop the skills necessary to begin having dialogue centered on respect.

You be you and I’ll be me! How we all benefit and thrive when we disrupt traditional behaviors and embrace our authentic selves. | NIC Auditorium
Shuchi Nalepa
Monika Dressler
Amanda Smith
Elizabeth McCarter

The battle, and it's often a battle, to get ahead or even hold your own as a woman in IT is often fraught with potential land mines. These land mines aren't always apparent, and they aren't always authored by our male colleagues. Women in IT are in an overwhelmingly androcentric job profile and, are oftentimes the architects of the very stumbling blocks we face. Androcentric thought patterns are interwoven into the fabric of our lives from birth onward and it is difficult to overcome these innate patterns of behaviors that we learn and unwittingly promote.

Through our panel discussion, we hope to present how we, as women in IT, can "disrupt" traditional modes of communication and expressions of hierarchy and power typical to IT structures and androcentric thought patterns by encouraging and empowering others to actively translate to more inclusive and effective means of communication and dialogue. Presenters will share concrete examples from their Big 10 institutions of ways women leaders are breaking down barriers and androcentric patterns in order to increase opportunities and inclusion for women, people of color, and other underrepresented populations.

Importance or relevance to other units or departments: Presenters will share concrete examples from their Big 10 institutions of ways women leaders are breaking down barriers and androcentric patterns in order to increase opportunities and inclusion for women, people of color, and other underrepresented populations. We hope that the panel discussions will be of value to the audience and empower women and men to be the change in their organizations.

Remote Work - Two Birds, One Stone | Room C

As tech companies in the midwest struggle to meet hiring goals, remote or flex work offers a way to fill those positions, as well as increase the diversity in tech staffing. We have a unique set of employment challenges in the Midwest, including the general need of women for flexible work that allows for the care of family, as well as a large segment of the work population that lives in rural areas and counties. Rural Midwesterners value small town living, and struggle to find jobs that compensate enough to remain in their communities. By educating tech companies on the financial value of offering remote work, and training those how to effectively manage such work, as well as offering general training on how to work remotely, we can meet both goals - decreasing the percentage of open tech positions and increasing the diversity of those hired.

Importance or relevance to other units or departments: Tech companies in the Midwest need to disrupt their work models in order to remain competitive and relevant.


Lunch | NIC Banquet Hall


Keynote Presentation | NIC Auditorium




Social Event

Wednesday, November 6


Registration Open and Continental Breakfast in Banquet Hall


Welcome & Opening Remarks - NIC Auditorium

Dr. Susan Fritz Interim President, University of Nebraska


Keynote Presentation


Refreshment Break in Banquet Hall


Concurrent Session 3

Breaking Barriers: Starting Where You Are in Higher Education | Room A1/A2
Annie Speicher Digital Media Specialist, Information Technology, Northwestern University
Jonathan Diehl Senior Blended Learning Specialist, Information Technology, Northwestern University
Cecile-Anne Sison Instructional Technology Lead, Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences, Northwestern University
Allison Porterfield Applications Systems Manager, Information Technology, Northwestern University

How can individuals at an academic institution contribute to a mission of diversity and inclusion that has no clear action points? What disruptions are necessary to support a diverse staff body, especially within IT? It’s easy to feel stuck when grappling with a topic as massive as diversity and inclusion. Staff members play an integral part in creating a well-balanced academic community. Inclusion can begin with one individual at a time. We will lay out three action plans taken by staff members at Northwestern University and investigate how anyone can lay the groundwork for change from wherever they stand.

Our conversation will begin with a backchannel chat focusing on challenges individuals are facing at their own institutions. After short presentations about the creation of staff affinity groups, anonymizing the hiring process and working with leadership to enact change, we will break into small groups to discuss various case studies about diversity and inclusion. The session will wrap with a strategy session for next steps. Importance or relevance to other units or departments: The strategies we present can be applied to any unit or department in an academic infrastructure. Audiences will leave with actionable ways they can advocate for diversity at their institutions. Individual contributors will know how to set up working groups or hiring procedures that they can trial and present to departmental leaders. Directors and other leaders attending this session will learn about ideas they can implement within their teams.

Career Progression: Delivering Strategic Value through Business Relationship Management | Room A3
Vicki Hall

Successfully managing the relationships between IT and business functions is a key indicator of the value IT brings to an organization. Business relationship management (BRM) as a concept and role is well established in the private sector. Its importance is growing in higher education and other public segments as the blending of IT and business practices and digital transformation continue.

According to the BRM institute, ""The business relationship manager (BRM) role is a senior-level, strategic business partner who shares ownership for both business strategy and business value results. BRM’s primary objective is to break down the silos separating business functions to optimize cohesive organizational effectiveness and jointly determine strategic direction.

Even without a formalized BRM role within IT, BRM-associated responsibilities can be performed and add strategic value to IT and careers. Progression towards a BRM-role may come from various areas within IT: business analysts, project managers, training, instructional designers, etc.

This presentation will provide examples of BRM work products and will engage with participants by having them share examples of either performing BRM-type activities or describing situations that could have benefitted from having a BRM role.

Importance or relevance to other units or departments: The importance of business relationship management spans all functional areas of a university. The role of business relationship manager can be located in IT or in any functional area.

A Woman's Story in IT at UC Berkeley: Systemic Harassment and Discrimination | Room D
Vanessa Kaskiris University of California, Berkeley

"In 2014, Vanessa Kaskiris joined a team in IT at the University of California, Berkeley. After repeated escalations to management, she would initiate one of the largest investigations in University history and prove a hostile work environment based on gender. This presentation is her story breaking the silence on a systemic culture of sexual harassment and retaliation. She will reference the completed University investigation and present why it was imperative to shed light on the University's behavior to discredit the voices of women who were harassed in IT.

The presentation will review the numerous supporting documents supplied to initiate the investigation. The retaliation that she experienced while the investigation was underway. The role of IT's HR to, per the investigation, falsify information to justify the departure of woman after woman on the team. As a woman of color, in an industry severely underrepresented by women of color, Vanessa will describe the promotion patterns for leadership in IT. The presentation will describe how IT and the University have responded to date and if these responses are meaningful while also asking if IT at UCB is a measurably safer and more inclusive place for women now than before the public articles.


Pando - The Bear's Lair: The untold story of systemic gender discrimination inside UC Berkeley's IT Department

Pando - How to be "credible" even if you're a woman... and other takeaways from the Berkeley sexual discrimination investigation Importance or relevance to other units or departments:

Key takeaways include:

  • Analysis of the institutional barriers to inclusive and fair workplaces in IT in higher ed
  • Awareness of IT culture in higher ed that favors men and pattern matching
  • Are meritocracy and high performing teams in IT inherently biased?
  • Long term advantages to shedding light on discriminatory work environments in higher ed
Transforming the Student Experience: Work here! How Innovative Student Recruitment Techniques Increased Diversity | Room B1/B2
Joyce Reish Landreth Deputy Executive Director of IT Experience and Engagement at Virginia Tech
Ryan Gorkhalee Student Program Manager at Virginia Tech

Successful recruitment of student employees includes closely scrutinizing your position description, advertising to a diverse pool of applicants and a fair selection process. We were able to research and reword the job descriptions to be more inclusive in order to cast a wider net to attract a more diverse pool. With the new hiring process, we also adjusted when we hired – Hiring in the spring allows us to mentor and train students for all facets of our job requirements. This has permitted us to focus on hiring a more diverse group of students with a variety of skills and allowed us significantly more time to provide them with the technical training they needed. The significant work done to improve the recruitment process greatly increased the size of our applicant pool and allowed us to be more selective, as well as giving us the ability to hire earlier career candidates, with a variety of skills, who would be able to stay with the department longer.

Come join us to get a hands-on look at our processes and virtually meet some of our students! We will encourage questions during the presentation and hope to facilitate a discussion after the presentation about how other universities are improving the diversity of the applicant pools for their positions.

Importance or relevance to other units or departments: Participants will benefit from the following outcomes:

  1. Understand the importance of carefully crafting wording in a student wage position description to recruit for diversity
  2. Define the tangible benefits of a diverse student workforce
  3. Be provided with materials and ideas that can be used at their home institution
  4. Collaborate and brainstorm improvements for improving the diversity of their student applicant pools
Disruption as Opportunity | NIC Auditorium
Liv Gjestvang Associate Vice President, Learning Technology, The Ohio State University
Maggie Jesse Senior Director, Office of Teaching, Learning and Technology, University of Iowa
Stacy Morrone Associate Vice President, Learning Technology, Indiana University
Jennifer Sparrow Senior Director, Teaching and Learning with Technology, Penn State University
Sherri Braxton Senior Director, Instructional Technology, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Disruption is a constant presence in our lives, and can stem from forces in our professional and personal worlds. Join a group of women leaders in educational technology as they discuss the ways that disruption has created opportunities for reflection, learning, growth, and humor in their lives and careers. Audience questions and engagement will be an active part of this session.

Importance or relevance to other units or departments: This panel will be a frank and engaging reflection on the experiences in our lives and careers that cause us to stop, reconsider our direction, explore new opportunities and shift, accelerate, or otherwise alter the course of our work. The voices in this panel come from women in three different decades of their lives, straight, gay, black, white, married, divorced, parents, grandparents, and from 5 states. After introducing ourselves, and sharing a meaningful experience of disruption in our careers, we will ask questions of each other, then encourage audience questions to ensure we are touching on these most relevant to them.

Are there seats at the table for everyone in your strategic planning and execution? | Room C
Jose Jimenez Director, Research Information Systems, University of Iowa
Rachel Napoli Chief of Staff, Office of the CIO, University of Iowa

OneIT at the University of Iowa's is an integrated community of all IT professionals in central, collegiate, and administrative units across the institution. Forming a strategic plan for OneIT was in itself a new way of looking at planning for campus. Further, while most strategic plans take over a year to come together, ours was developed within weeks, using a highly interactive 'fast cycle' process. The plan includes elements not seen before in our IT strategic plan including a "Workforce of the Future" goal encompassing professional development and a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. We have been intentional in our efforts to maximize inclusivity in our planning and implementation while keeping the process efficient.

In this session, we will share some tools and techniques we have used to make decisions in developing and implementing the 'Workforce of the Future' strategic goal. We will discuss how we communicated our goals and strategies, and progress to the campus. We will engage participants in a simulation to illustrate our challenges and how we ensured everyone had a voice in our process, and staff remain engaged as we move forward.

Importance or relevance to other units or departments: We will be using strategic planning and execution as a case study. However, this session has broad applicability to all who are working to bring people together to work collaboratively towards any kind of goal or initiative. The emphasis is on building diversity of thought into processes and conversations, ensuring all have a voice, and engaging diverse groups to work together on towards a common goal.

The take-aways will be practical tools and techniques for strategic planning and execution; methods for selecting and building diverse teams and insights to guide decision making about who to engage, how and when.


Concurrent Session 4

Presenting Your Personal Brand | Room A1/A2
Cordelia Geiken Application Services Manager, Technology Services, University of Illinois
Laura Brauer Senior Business Analyst, Financial Analysis Group, Technology Services, University of Illinois

Have you ever been at a party or networking event and had someone ask you what you do for a living? Do you instantly lock up? Hem and haw, wondering, "How do I explain to this person what I do in a way that they will understand?" This is an issue many of us face, whether we work in a technical field or not.

This presentation will take you through some reflective exercises that will help you craft a personal Elevator Speech that you can use to introduce yourself smoothly and peak people's interest, helping you to create a positive first impression. Importance or relevance to other units or departments: Creating a first impression is extremely important for everyone. By working through some reflective exercises you will learn how to be ready to introduce yourself in a variety of settings, helping you to create a positive first impression.

Why so few women of color in tech? | Room A3
Tiffany Gamble

Technology is a significant driver of economic growth and development across the globe (Dutta, Geiger, & Lanvin,2015). Technology plays a critical role in the United States economy and workforce, with nearly one-quarter of the country's total economic output produced by high-tech industries (Bureau of Labor Statistics [BLS], 2016, 2017) and nearly 1 million job openings projected in computer and information technology over the next 10 years (BLS, 2017). Yet, the technology workforce is not representative of the diversity of the United States population, with the vast majority of individuals employed in computer and mathematical occupations being White (63%) and male (75%; BLS, 2015).

To ensure the future economic growth and prosperity of the United States, developing a robust, skilled, and diverse national workforce will be essential. Simultaneously, increasing equity in economic opportunity and decreasing inequality will be directly linked to the preparation of individuals from marginalized and underrepresented communities to participate in the rapidly evolving technology economy. Thus, the current and pervasive lack of racial/ethnic and gender diversity in the technology ecosystem presents a significant national challenge.

I will be presenting solutions to this national crisis through active providing educational materials and group work to understand the importance of creating diversity with Tech. Importance or relevance to other units or departments: This presentation will open awareness the the lack of diversity with tech and offer some solutions to this growing issue. The audience will leave with a better understanding of how tech in changing the USA landscape and how to engage more women and girls of color in the tech ecosystems.

Male Allies: Supporting an Inclusive Environment | Room D
Drashti Bhatt Director, IT, Data Analytics & Application Development
Marcia Dority Baker Assistant Director, Academic Technologies
Wes Juranek Assistant Director IT, University of Nebraska Online
Amy Metzger Assistant Director, IT Strategic Sourcing
Heath Tuttle Assistant Vice Chancellor for IT at the University of Nebraska

In this interactive session, presenters will discuss the role male allies have in creating an inclusive culture, discuss every-day actions that everyone can take to improve the work environment, and promote the development of a Male Ally group within an organization and how participants can stay involved.

Importance or relevance to other units or departments: A key foundational element of a successful and innovative organization is a culture that values and respects diversity. Diverse teams, in turn, lead to improved performance and a more effective organization.

Cybersecurity Escape Room Challenge - Version 2 | Room B1/B2
Cheryl O'Dell Security Awareness & Incident Response Manager ITS Cybersecurity & Identity Lincoln campus

Do you have what it takes to solve the puzzles and find all the information to ""escape"" the presentation in 45 minutes? Don't worry - you will have help, and we will be asked to leave the room for the next presentation anyway! Come participate in this unique experience and learn some security awareness at the same time. This wildly successful effort is a presentation to build teamwork skills, utilize everyone's unique talents and have some fun in the process of learning about cyber security. In the fall of 2018, we thwarted Dale Isa Spy's attempt of stealing university data. In 2019, escape Rival University's angry fans by utilizing their WiFi and websites to solve the clues to safe passage back to the parking garage. Grab some friends or make new ones, and dare to try the Cybersecurity Escape Room Challenge.

Choose this presentation because:

  • You wish to learn about security surrounding 2 Factor authentication, WiFi and using only secure web sites.
  • You want to build teamwork skills.
  • You like to solve puzzles.
  • You want to have fun!

Importance or relevance to other units or departments: Cybersecurity awareness is one the keys to building a strong information security program. Sitting through security awareness training is not everyone's favorite thing to do. This presentation will allow participants to use their unique talents to help their team to succeed. While working through the puzzles, the participants learn about some important tips related to information security. This year, the awareness is focusing on 2 Factor authentication, WiFi security, and website security for sharing personal information. I've held the Escape Room (version 1), over 80 times since last October, and every time, people told me it was a great activity, and they learned about utilizing strong passwords, or how to spot a phishing attempt, or safety around using unknown USB drives. If I would have asked those same people to spend an hour in a presentation where I just told them about security, it would have been hard to keep their attention, keep them focused and I speculate they would not remember everything I talked about. In this presentation, the entire time is meant to be engaging and informational at the same time.

Be Careful What You Wish For! The Increasing Demand for DEI Resources | NIC Auditorium
Beth Bohstedt Director, Learning and Research Services, Hamilton College
Ben Salzman Instructional Designer and 3D Specialist, Hamilton College
Kristin Strohmeyer Research and Community Engagement Librarian, Hamilton College
Abbi Tushingham Audiovisual Services Coordinator, Hamilton College

Sometimes we struggle to get stakeholder buy-in, and other times we are pleasantly surprised to find a receptive audience. The latter was true for us when we began compiling resources for best practice strategies regarding diversity and inclusion in hiring.

Less than a year ago, our merged Library & IT department formed a Diversity and Inclusion Task Force as part of our continuing Employee Excellence efforts. Our first charge was to provide a resource tool for hiring managers with regards to drafting job descriptions, publicizing, recruitment, compiling a search committee, interviewing, and evaluating candidates. We spent several months researching articles, other institutions, and our own current practices; we then developed a guide with our findings. Our next step was to educate our department staff and encourage them to use the resources. We expected to encounter some resistance to change and questions about the need for these practices. Instead, we found that the hiring managers were grateful for the guidance and begged for more resources! Based on this feedback, we are now working to develop a rubric template for equitable comparison of job qualifications, enlarge the list of resources for job ad placement, and add post-interview questions to our guide. Importance or relevance to other units or departments: While including aspects of diversity in hiring is often mandated by administration, it is important to keep in mind that hiring managers at all levels are also interested in meeting the goals of promoting equal opportunity and enhancing excellence through staff diversity. Participants will learn how to develop DEI resources, including gathering and incorporating feedback of your hiring managers.

TBA | Room C


Lunch | NIC Banquet Hall


Keynote Presentation | NIC Auditorium


Concurrent Session 5

Women in IT Leading Change Through Disruption | Room A1/A2
Linnea Latimer Northwestern University
Aditi Singru Northwestern University
Armi Cachila Northwestern University

Bringing in change is hard but it is much harder when you are doing it without any formal authority. It becomes additionally challenging when it is a group of women trying to bring change in a predominantly male work environment.

This facilitated discussion will begin with an overview of how a group of woman Systems Analyst/Project Managers led and managed change initiatives within their group by engaging the Management Team and obtaining Team Member’s buy-in.

The discussion will encourage participants to share common problems that they face in leading and influencing without authority, navigate work dynamics in a team where women are lacking in management or leadership roles, and how to manage change initiatives so that it is a positive, inclusive experience for the team.

By attending this presentation, attendees can:

  • Discuss their experiences in how to influence and lead without authority.
  • Unique challenges faced by women in IT when influencing and leading change initiatives without authority.
  • Identify appropriate opportunities for change in their own organization.

Importance or relevance to other units or departments:
Oftentimes woman of no authority find themselves sitting at the table with mostly men. We lead project team, set standards, provide guidance, inspire others, incite change but are continuously overlooked when it comes to leadership roles. Even still, we continue to Lead under the authority of men.

We want to share our story and empower other woman to do the same.

Understanding the Importance of Cultural Background in Business | Room A3
Sandra Barrera
Griselda Rendon

Your cultural background is affected by your language, country of origin, gender, and socioeconomic status. These individual experiences affect not only your technical skills and ability, but the way you view the world, and what you believe is possible for yourself and your family. As an extension educator, my job is to take each aspect of your cultural background into consideration and empower you to have the skills to create a better future for yourself and future generations. I will briefly discuss what the Latino Small Business program is, walk attendees through several case studies and present a video to understand how one's cultural background can create barriers and advantages to starting a business, furthering your career, and being a part of new and innovative industries.

Importance or relevance to other units or departments: This presentation will teach people to better understand how to approach, get to know and work with people of diverse cultural backgrounds. This will allow them to be a more effective coworker, employer or peer and ensure that all people have the chance to learn the skills needed for them to succeed in a dynamic workplace.

Building Future leaders by Learning Agility | Room D
Drashti Bhatt

In the ever-changing world of technology, a key leadership attribute is the ability to remain open to new ways of thinking and to continuously learn new skills. Leaders who continuously build themselves on a job, who believe that old patterns can change and who strive to keep on learning are the ones who stand out to be successful and become a future leader. How do they do that?

These are the leaders who use learning agility – the ones that are continually able to give up skills, perspectives and ideas that are no longer relevant and learn new ones that are relevant.

Do you want to be a future leader? Learn how to be more "agile" with this presentation which references the ongoing research about Learning Agility from Columbia University. You will learn how to be a future leader by continuously Innovating, Performing, Reflecting, Risking and defending with this presentation.

Participants will be actively engaged via different case studies. Importance or relevance to other units or departments: The presentation will benefit everyone, even if they are not in a leadership role. It teaches how people can keep on learning on the job and how they can stay motivated to do so. The presentation will discuss different case studies which can be connected to real-world experiences and help participants to directly connect to their jobs. The key takeaway from the presentation will be the learning agility assessment Inventory (LAAI) which teaches how to measure the five main facets of learning-agile behavior. Of these five facets, there are four that enable one's learning agility (Innovating, Performing, Reflecting, and Risking) and one that frustrates or impedes it (Defending)

IT Tools Meet the Unconscious Bias | Room B1/B2
Rene Mayo-Rejai UNCA, IT DR/Business Continuity Manager
Brian Cox UNCA, Lead Wireless Engineer
Jodie Fisher UNCA, Telecommunications Engineer
Cheryl O'Dell Sr. Information Security Analyst

The current buzz word is "Unconscious Bias". Unconscious bias is more than gender bias, there is physical bias, race bias, geographical bias, cultural bias, and even introvert bias. As IT tools advance and meetings evolve, what role do these tools play in the minimization of bias? This panel will discuss their personal experiences with bias and tools such as Skype, Zoom, and Slack along with suggestions for using the tools to minimize effects of bias. Throughout the discussions we will engage the audience for with an anonymous polling tool as both an example of how an IT tool can fight unconscious bias as well as to solicit discussion input.

With an initial polling question "What do you hope to get from this presentation?" the panel will discuss the following areas; how has meeting dynamics changed have changed in the last 35 years and the impact of tools; personal experiences with meetings both with tools and without tools; challenges an introvert that is geographically distanced from the rest of her team along with how the tools have been beneficial and detrimental; and lastly suggestions of practices for overcoming bias while using these tools, as well as challenges these tools might introduce.

Importance or relevance to other units or departments: With work place environments moving from the traditional structure of all staff co-located in a single building to work at different locations there are fewer checks and balances to combat unconscious bias. What role does these emerging tools play and how do we manage their use.

TBA | Room C


Closing Statements in Banquet Hall