October 22 + 23, 2015
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Women Etc. brings together technology professionals to learn, network and collaborate on issues and opportunities facing women in technology. WomenEtc., Virginia's premier conference on women in technology, is hosted by the Richmond Technology Council's WIT Forum.

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October 22 + 23, 2015


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2014 speakers

  • Joelle Rowley
    Technology Track
    Screen Shot 2014-09-22 at 2.22.18 PM
  • Sharon Amoss
    Technology Track
  • Miral Kotb
    Keynote Speaker
  • Larkin Garbee
    Technology Track
  • Kate Fanelli
    Education Track
  • Laura Reasoner Jones
    Education Track
  • Dr. Colleen McCue
    Career Track
  • Martha Heller
    Career Track
  • Ayah Bdeir
    Keynote Speaker
  • Nida Davis
    Career Track
  • Kimberly Bryant
    key note speaker
  • Jeanette Horan
    Keynote Speaker
  • Rebecca Jacoby
    Keynote Speaker
  • Sophia Viklund
    Tech Track
Joelle Rowley
Technology Track

Joelle Rowley is Senior Director, Card Technology, for Capital One Financial Corporation, a diversified bank with 65 million customer accounts worldwide and approximately 900 branch locations in New York, New Jersey, Texas, Louisiana, Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. Capital One’s subsidiaries offer a broad spectrum of financial products and services to consumers, small businesses and commercial clients through a variety of channels. Ms. Rowley currently leads cross-functional teams that develop, deliver and support web-
based solutions and provide great digital experiences for Card customers. Since joining Capital One, Ms. Rowley has served in various technology roles and leadership positions including data warehousing, technology operations, enterprise customer management and online and mobile channels. Before joining Capital One in 2000, Ms. Rowley was with Electronic Data Systems, a global technology services provider acquired in 2008 by Hewlett Packard. While at EDS, she held a variety of leadership roles in software development, program delivery, and new business development for the Mid-Atlantic region.

Ms. Rowley holds a Master of Science in the Management of Information Technology from the University of Virginia, and degrees in Business Administration and Psychology from Washington & Jefferson College.


Sharon Amoss
Technology Track

Sharon Amoss serves as the Director of Business Integration for Luck Companies’ IT Shared Service, leading the use of technology solutions to advance business strategies and fuel growth in each of Luck Companies’ businesses.

Sharon believes that IT is a key business enabler, and has led the effort to partner IT resources closely with the businesses to serve as an integral part of the business team. Her business-aligned teams are currently completing a 4-year transformation of all major business applications that create a platform for customer-inspired innovation and future growth.

As a leader at Luck Companies, Sharon is committed to the practice of Values Based Leadership. Her passion for people and creative approach to business motivates her to foster the unique contribution of each individual, to seek opportunities for collaboration, and to push beyond conventional ways of thinking.

Having recently celebrated her 15 year anniversary with Luck, her previous roles have included Project Manager, Business Analyst, and Team Leader on a wide variety of business and technology projects.

Prior to Luck Companies, Sharon worked in business and technology roles at AlliedSignal and Johnson & Johnson. She holds a BS in Systems Engineering from the University of Virginia, and an MBA from the Mason School of Business at the College of William & Mary. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband Robert and her dog Opie, and can usually be found on or near the water in a sailboat or kayak.


Miral Kotb
Keynote Speaker

In 2009, entrepreneur, dancer, choreographer, and software engineer Miral Kotbcombined her passion for dance and computers to create iLuminate, the entertainment technology company that combines state-of-the-art technology with exhilarating dancers who perform in the dark to create the ultimate audience experience. Miral received her degree in Computer Science from Columbia University while studying
dance at Barnard College. Upon graduating she secured a position with Bloomberg L.P. as a senior software engineer, then entered the world of mobile application development. Her work as a dancer and choreographer has been presented at numerous venues worldwide.

The concept for iLuminate emerged while Miral was developing iPhone applications. She had a vision of dancers wearing costumes that illuminated wirelessly to compliment the music and choreography — wireless technology that could be controlled from the palm of one’s hand. She pursued her idea with help from some of the best hardware and software engineers in the business. Developing iLuminate was the perfect way for

Miral to combine her uniquely different worlds and follow her true passion. iLuminate took audiences by storm last summer when America voted the dance-in-the-dark sensation to one of the top finalist positions on the hit television show, “America’s Got Talent.” Since then, Miral and her unprecedented technology, programming, choreographing, and overall artistic direction has catapulted iLuminate into an international phenomenon that mesmerizes audiences across the globe.

Miral has programmed iLuminate’s patent-pending technology for such Grammy-winning superstars as Chris Brown, Christina Aguilera and the Black Eyed Peas. The technology has also been featured on such shows as Dancing With The Stars, the American Music Awards, MTV’s Video Music Awards, and the BET Awards, among others. In addition, Miral has choreographed (and often times performs alongside her dancers) for several notable venues, such as Disneyland; the Nickelodeon Awards; at auto shows in Canada, South Africa, and Las Vegas; and at numerous corporate events across the country for such clients as IBM, Red Bull, Samsung, MINI Cooper, Energizer, and Starwood Hotels. In January 2013, iLuminate danced in Washington, DC at the Kids’ Inaugural Concert for the First Lady and military families, sharing the stage with Katy Perry, Usher, Far East Movement, and the cast of “Glee,” among others.

In just a few short years, the rising entrepreneur has become a highly sought after speaker. Miral has been personally requested by Google CEO Larry Page to speak (alongside Sr. Richard Branson and other renowned speakers) at Google Zeitgeist where iLuminate has also performed. She also recently appeared at Google’s highly prestigious Google Made With Code launch event along with Chelsea Clinton, Mindy Kaling and Iconic Pop. Miral was also honored to be selected by NASDAQ to ring the opening bell this past July.

# # #

Follow Miral on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TeamiLuminateAGT

For additional information on iLuminate, visit www.iluminate.com


Larkin Garbee
Technology Track

Larkin is a professional community builder, a civic instigator, and the founder and Chief Imagination Officer of 804RVA, Richmond’s first technology coworking space. When she isn’t working on her own projects, she is advocating for startups in the region and across the state to make Virginia more awesome for talented designers, developers, and entrepreneurs.


Kate Fanelli
Education Track

Kate Fanelli is the Math Accessibility Specialist for Michigan’s Integrated Mathematics Initiative where she provides technical assistance to practitioners, collaborates with other agencies, and expands opportunities to implement evidence-based practices in Michigan. Prior to joining the initiative last fall, Kate spent 13 years at Beacon Day Treatment Center in Wayne County, Michigan, teaching high school math to students with severe emotional impairment, using gamification as the primary curriculum delivery model for the past 5 years.

During her time in the classroom, Kate won numerous awards and grants for her innovative project based learning activities, including the Walter P. Chrysler Platinum Award, Michigan Education Excellence Award and ING Unsung Heroes Award; spoke to national and international audiences about gamification at the University of Wisconsin’s Games+Learning+Society conference, for EdWeb.com’s webinar series and at the Learning 2.0 Virtual Conference; and has been the subject of online, print, and television media stories for her use of gamification and Science Technology Engineering Math (STEM) projects.

Kate lives in Canton, MI with her husband, twin 9-year old daughters, and singleton 6-year old son. She loves to travel and has made it to 6 continents and all 50 states.

Kate received her Bachelors of Arts degree in Elementary Education from American University in Washington, DC and her Masters of Arts degree in Special Education, Emotional Impairment from Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, MI.


Laura Reasoner Jones
Education Track

Laura Reasoner Jones, founder and director of the GEMS clubs, is a National Board Certified Teacher recently retired from Fairfax County Public Schools. As a Technology Specialist at McNair Elementary School in Herndon, Virginia, she has personally mentored over 550 elementary age girls in her 18 years of GEMS clubs. She also has mentored 300 girls and minority students in her before and after school programs and her Lab Lunch program in the unique Design and Engineering Lab at her school. A graduate of Purdue University and Syracuse University, Jones was the Teacher in Residence at the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards from 2001-03, creating and producing the Digital Edge Learning Interchange, a web-based library of teacher-created professional development movies and commentary by NBCTs hosted on the Apple Learning Interchange. Through this work, she was recognized as an Apple Distinguished Educator and has gone on to create multiple professional development videos for her school. Jones has expanded her GEMS clubs to more than 45 clubs in Fairfax County, and more across the country through her Web site www.gemsclub.org and her participation in the Clinton Global Initiative. Materials on the site and her downloadable GEMS Club Toolkit provides the resources necessary for any interested adult to start a club for girls in her community.

She has won more than 25 grants which have furthered her work with STEM and students, including one from NASA, one from Toyota, three from the Apple Federal Credit Union which have funded much of her robotics program, grants from the Virginia Association of the Gifted to fund Pico Cricket programs, and a grant from Women in Technology to purchase K’nex bridge building and amusement building sets for use with girls to develop spatial skills. As a result, many girls have joined First Lego League and have gone on to pursue extra-curricular activities and classes in technology. In 2002, she and Elizabeth Vandenburg won a grant from the American Association of University Women to turn AAUW’s research summary “Tech-Savvy Girls” into a video and video guide for use with parents and teachers. This program was produced by the Fairfax Network and has been the most viewed and purchased of all of its programming. NSF then funded its dissemination through AAUW. Another project to disseminate the new AAUW research report “Why So Few” is underway. Jones has published many articles about her work with GEMS and the D & E Lab, including:

• “The ‘Ick’ Factor: Do Gender or Ethnicity Drive STEM Choices?”—Threshold Magazine, Summer, 2008

• “A Look at Girls’ Attitudes toward Math, Science, and Technology– Are We Really Making a Difference?” -VSTE Journal, Spring, 2002– Follow-up study of original GEMS club members. http://www.vste.org/communication/journal/attach/Spring%2002.PDF

• Multiple blog entries–The Teacher Leader Network, 2005-present, http://www.teacherleaders.org/search/node/jones+laura+OR+jones and

• Multiple articles for EdWeek- Teacher Magazine, 2005-present—search ‘Laura Reasoner Jones.’

She is currently conducting another follow-up study of GEMS girls looking at the long-term impact of the program. Through her mentoring and development of the GEMS clubs and extra-curricular STEM programs, Laura Reasoner Jones has made a significant difference in the lives of girls.


Dr. Colleen McCue
Career Track

Dr. Colleen McCue, Senior Director, Social Science & Quantitative Methods, DigitalGlobe Analytics, brings over 18 years of experience in advanced analytics and the development of actionable solutions to complex information processing problems in the operational public safety and national security environment. Her areas of expertise include the application of data mining and predictive analytics to the analysis of crime and intelligence data, with particular emphasis on deployment strategies, surveillance detection, threat and vulnerability assessment, geospatial predictive analytics, computational modeling and visualization of human behavior, and the behavioral analysis of violent crime.

Dr. McCue developed the novel analytic strategies used for the public safety resource optimization solution that received the 2007 Gartner Business Intelligence Excellence Award; and developed and led the “Cops & Docs” program, which provided access to novel data sources and public safety insight in support of transdisciplinary approaches to crime and violence prevention, and won the 2002 International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Community Policing Award. Dr. McCue’s experience in the applied public safety setting and pioneering work in operational security analytics have been used to support a wide array of public safety and national security organizations, and she has been requested by name by local, state, federal, and international clients for training and professional services in predictive analytics, crime analysis, and crime and violence prevention. Dr. McCue has published her research findings in journals and book chapters, and authored a book on the use of advanced analytics in the applied public safety environment entitled, Data Mining and Predictive Analysis: Intelligence Gathering and Crime Analysis. Her biography has been included in, Journeys to Data Mining: Experiences from 15 Renowned Researchers. Dr. McCue earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago and Doctorate in Psychology from Dartmouth College. She completed a five-year postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology at the Medical College of Virginia at the Virginia Commonwealth University.


Martha Heller
Career Track

Martha Heller is one of the most widely followed voices on the role of the CIO. She has been a CIO magazine columnist since 1999, and is the author of The CIO Paradox: Battling the Contradictions of IT Leadership. Martha is president of Heller Search Associates, an executive recruiting firm that specializes in IT leadership positions nationwide, and across all industries. In 2004, Martha founded the CIO Executive Council, CIO magazine’s professional organization for CIOs.

In addition to her column and blog in CIO magazine, Martha engages with the technology executive community through her weekly e-newsletter, “The Heller Report,” and as a highly sought-after public speaker.Martha has presented at numerous events for CIO magazine, Sprint, the Research Board, the Technology Business Management Council, Harvard University, and MIT’s emerging technology conference.


Ayah Bdeir
Keynote Speaker

Ayah Bdeir is the founder and CEO of littleBits, an award-winning library of Electronics dubbed “LEGOs for the iPad generation.” Bdeir is an engineer, interactive artist and one of the leaders of the open source hardware movement. Bdeir’s career and education have centered on advancing open source hardware to make education and innovation more accessible to people around the world. She is a co-founder of the Open Hardware Summit, a TED Senior Fellow and an alumna of the MIT Media Lab. Bdeir was named one of Fast Company’s 1000 Most Creative People in Business and one of Popular Mechanics’ 25 Makers Who Are Reinventing the American Dream. littleBits was named as one of CNN’s top 10 Emerging Startups to watch. Originally from Lebanon and Canada, Ayah now lives in New York City.


Nida Davis
Career Track

Nida S. Davis is currently the Associate Director and Supervision Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for Supervision and Regulation (S&R) at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.  As a senior officer, Nida has responsibility for aligning and integrating the application of technology to facilitate the S&R business line goals and objectives across the System.


Nida is also responsible for defining S&R architecture strategy and technology needs, evaluating new technologies, leading the formulation of S&R Application Architecture blueprint, as well as extending S&R thought leadership and building collaborative relationships across the System.  Prior to joining S&R, Nida served as the American Red Cross Chief Technology Officer (CTO).  Nida joined the American Red Cross to lead organizational technology direction and develop enterprise technology strategies.  Prior to joining the American Red Cross, Nida served as the Chief Architect and Assistant Vice President of the Enterprise Architecture Program at the Federal Reserve Information Technology organization, serving as technology thought leader and executive consultant to help set architectural strategy and manage the Enterprise Architecture Program of the Federal Reserve System.



Joining the organization in 2001, Nida brings to the Federal Reserve IT significant, practical leadership experience with over twenty years of applied information technology knowledge in a competitive business setting.  Previously she was employed as Technology Director at Hitachi Innovative Solutions (HISC), a leading platform-independent solutions provider focused on delivering enterprise-wide solutions to Fortune 500 clients in the areas of Enterprise Applications Integration, CRM, Wireless Technologies, eBusiness, Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence.


Prior to HISC, Nida served as Senior Manager of Architecture & Technology at UUNET, a Worldcom subsidiary and the largest global Business Internet Access Services provider, responsible for the strategy, architecture planning, standards and application infrastructure supporting all of UUNET’s e-business products and services. Prior to Worldcom, she held a number of management and technology leadership positions at AT&T in the areas of telecommunication billing, network usage records’ processing and networking technologies, as well as prior start-up experience in student loans processing computing industry.  Nida received a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the American University in Cairo (1994) and holds a Master of Arts in Leadership from Bellevue University, Nebraska (2004).  Nida recently finished her Stonier Graduate School of Banking (2009).  Nida is currently a doctorate candidate at the Georgetown Liberal Arts Studies program and here research studies are on Islamic Banking & Finance. Lastly, Nida won national IT industry recognition of her leadership as an award recipient of the prestigious Computer World Premier Top One Hundred IT Leaders for year 2006.


Kimberly Bryant
key note speaker

Kimberly Bryant is the Founder and Executive Director of Black Girls CODE, a non-profit organization dedicated to introducing girls of color (ages 7-17) to the field of technology and computer programming with a concentration on entrepreneurial concepts. Ms. Bryant’s has enjoyed a very successful 20+ year professional career in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries as an Engineering Manager in a series of technical leadership roles for various Fortune 100 companies such as Genentech, Merck, and Pfizer. Since 2011 Ms. Bryant has helped Black Girl CODE grow from a local organization serving only the Bay Area, to an international non-profit organization with chapters in 7 US cities and Johannesburg, South Africa serving over 2000 African/African-American, Latina, and Native American girls. Ms. Bryant serves on the National Champions Board for the National Girls Collaborative Project, and the National Board of the NCWIT K-12 Alliance. In August 2012, Kimberly Bryant was also given the honor of receiving the prestigious Jefferson Award for Community Service for her work to support communities in the Bay Area. In 2013 Black Girls Code and was selected by Business Insider in 2013 on its list of BusinessInsider.com’s list of The 25 Most Influential African-Americans in Technology and was named to The Root 100 list, and the Ebony Power 100 list in 2013. Ms. Bryant was honored in 2013 as a Champion of Change by the White House for her work in tech inclusion and for her focus on bridging the digital divide for girls. She has been identified as a thought leader in the area of tech inclusion and has spoken on the topic at events such as Personal Democracy Forum, TedX Kansas City, Platform Summit, Big Ideas Festival, SXSW, and others.

Learn More About Champions of

Visit Black Girls Code


Jeanette Horan
Keynote Speaker

Jeanette Horan was appointed Chief Information Officer of IBM in May 2011. Ms. Horan leads the development and implementation of a technology strategy in close partnership with the business. Her organization provides innovative capabilities for IBM’s workforce, drives IT operational excellence for the enterprise and supports IBM’s transformation agenda. Emphasis today is on the confluence of social, mobile, cloud and analytics; and how to use these technologies securely to personalize and enhance employee and client experiences.

Previously Ms. Horan was the vice president of Enterprise Business Transformation. In this role, Ms. Horan led IBM’s transformation program for key back office processes to accelerate IBM’s leadership as a globally integrated enterprise. In partnership with IBM’s Global Business Services and SAP, she led a multi-disciplinary, global team deploying simplified business processes worldwide.
Ms. Horan joined IBM in 1998, and has held leadership positions within the Lotus brand, Information Management and IBM Software Group Strategy. Prior to joining the CIO office in 2006, Ms. Horan was responsible for worldwide product development for the Information Management business in Software Group, and was the General Manager of IBM’s Silicon Valley Laboratory.

Prior to joining Lotus, Ms. Horan spent four years with Digital Equipment Corporation where she was vice president of development for the AltaVista business, bringing the Web search engine and suite of intranet products to market. She has more than 25 years experience in development and management roles in the computer industry.
As part of her business and personal involvement in the advancement of technology and service to the community, Ms. Horan serves on the board of Microvision Inc., an innovative display and imaging solutions company. She also serves as a director on the board of Jane Do No More Inc., an organization committed to improving the way society responds to victims of sexual assault.
A native of the United Kingdom, Ms. Horan earned a bachelors degree in Mathematics from the University of London and an MBA from Boston University.


Rebecca Jacoby
Keynote Speaker

Rebecca Jacoby is Cisco’s Chief Information Officer (CIO) and Senior Vice President.   Her extensive understanding of business operations, infrastructure, and application deployments as well as her knowledge of products, software, and services helps her advance Cisco’s business through the use of Cisco technology.

As CIO, she has made the Cisco IT organization a strategic business partner, producing significant business value for Cisco in the form of financial performance, customer satisfaction and loyalty, market share, and productivity. Her strong commitment to operational excellence, innovative approach to business problems, and aptitude for partnering cross-functionally have reshaped and elevated the role of IT at Cisco, resulting in great synergies of IT and Engineering through a history of Cisco on Cisco deployments.

Since joining Cisco in 1995, Jacoby has held a variety of leadership roles in operations, manufacturing, and IT. Prior to joining Cisco, Jacoby held a variety of planning and operations positions with other companies in Silicon Valley.

Jacoby holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of the Pacific and a master’s degree in business administration from Santa Clara University.


Sophia Viklund
Tech Track

Sophia is a technology entrepreneur, a founder of backCODE, a Pasadena based creative studio transforming education and engagement through entertainment that specializes in immersive games and interactive simulations.

Educating women and girls about tech careers was the inspiration for Sophia Viklund to start backCODE in 2009. backCODE utilizes the power of experiential learning solutions to change the way learners think, act and do. backCODE’s solution is to create long-lasting change in the learner’s behavior by teaching knowledge and skills through a process of self-discovery that is measurable with quantifiable results.
backCODE has provided proven and effective solutions for the Department of Defense, Higher Education and Fortune 500 companies.

Beyond backCODE, Sophia has helped build communities of people who share a passion for STEM education and technology businesses in Pasadena and greater Los Angeles.

Sophia is passionate about growing local technical community and an active public speaker/community leader to promote participation of more women and girls in technology businesses. She is also a board member of multiple organizations that serve technology, education and business communities and an active mentor in STEM (Recognized as an outstanding STEM mentor by Entertainment Council of America in November 2013)
-Innovate Pasadena
-Executive Committee Board of Caltech Enterprise forum
-Girl Geek Dinners/Los Angeles chapter
-Startup Weekend Pasadena
-Entertainment Industries Council of America
-50/50 Leadership

Sophia is also co-organizer of the second-largest gaming group in the world that uses Unity3D gaming engine and the largest Pasadena technical, investment and entrepreneurial community group with over one thousand local members as well as other technology and programming groups in Los Angeles with initiatives focused on helping women be successful in technology careers, such as PyLadies.


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