Women in Technology is a phrase we have heard a lot lately. From viral social media campaigns to full-blown initiatives addressing the increase of female representation that we’ve been begging for...we here at Currant Tech are thrilled. To add to this excitement, The NWA Tech Summit (this Friday!) is including a Women in IT panel which, of course, we’ll be front and center for.
Here is each and every #girlboss that we’ll be hearing from at the panel:
Channing Barker, KNWA NEWS, FOX24 News, Senior Reporter – Moderator
If you’re a local, then you you might (definitely) recognize Barker from her nightly news spot on KNWA where she never fails to keep the community up to date on all political and investigative news. Barker got her start with KNWA while she was still in college, as a producer. Knowing that reporting was her calling, Barker gathered public policy experience in both NYC and Washington D.C and took a reporting position with KNWA in 2012. Being a news reporter is not a job to be taken lightly. The days are long and the work can’t always stay at the office. Plus, the stereotype painting female journalists as a lesser facet is ever-present. But Barker defies the odds. Considering the fact that female journalists had difficulty breaking into the news field until the 1970’s, are still very underrepresented (only 36.1% of on camera journalists are female according to the Women’s Media Center), plus female journalists are typically thrown into “soft” news roles, it’s important to acknowledge that NWA has an intelligent female reporting the need-to-know stories and therefore is influencing our community in a very positive way. She’s the perfect person to moderate the Women In Technology panel at the NWA Tech Summit.
Sarah Gelbman, Global Technology Sales Manager for Walmart, Oracle
When it comes to generating value for her customers, Gelbman is a professional in every sense of the word. She is an enterprise technology sales executive with 15 years of success under her belt. Currently, Gelbman is the global technology sales manager running Oracle’s Walmart account. Oracle specializes in developing and marketing database software and technology, cloud engineered systems, and enterprise software products - particularly database management systems. Not only is Oracle a highly successful tech organization, but they have a company culture that should be celebrated. In 2006, Oracle founded Oracle Women's Leadership (OWL) which is a professional development program that engages and develops future and current female leaders at Oracle. With over 70 different OWL communities worldwide, Oracle is making a huge difference in the way that people are viewing opportunities in tech. In 2014, OWL hosted 18 women from Tunisia as part of the Women’s Initiative Fellowship Program, which is designed to build women's leadership around the world with an initial focus on women in the Middle East and North Africa. The participants visited Oracle headquarters and heard from Oracle women leaders about career paths and opportunities in the corporate world. How stinkin' cool is that? We are excited to have a female, Oracle ambassador of sorts to touch on this great work alongside her own impressive career.
Jennifer Glasgow, Chief Privacy Officer Emeritus, Acxiom
Jennifer Barrett Glasgow has served as Acxiom Corporation’s Chief Privacy Officer since 1991, developing their global approach to information governance, compliance, consumer affairs, government affairs and related public relations. Now that’s what I call a #girlboss. Glasgow joined Acxiom after receiving a degree in Mathematics and Computer Science from the University of Texas and developing a criminal justice highway safety information system for the State of Arkansas. Prior to stepping into the privacy role at Acxiom, she developed marketing systems, managed account services and lead business development activities for the company. Dang. Outside of her extensive work with Acxiom, Glasgow takes part in advising policy makers about the ethical use of information and serves on the U.S. Direct Marketing Association Board of Directors and their Privacy Shield Arbitration Committee. Glasgow has truly challenged the norm by being a female executive officer- did you know that only 14.1 percent of executive officers today are female? Just something to think about.
Bethany Halford, CEO, Whoa Brand
Have you ever had an exchange with a friend that begins with them exclaiming, “wait, that’s from Walmart?”. Well, Bethany Halford has monetized that comment with her microblog, Whoa, Wait. Walmart? By utilizing social media and creativity, Bethany (alongside her partner, Amanda Jenkins) has managed to create and sustain a blog that has captivated one of the largest audiences there is - Walmart shoppers. The concept is simple. Bethany goes digging at Walmart's across NWA for gold in the form of a good product - then posts the product on Instagram and her website. She’s basically a personal shopper for those who are in the market to buy something fabulous, without breaking the bank. In my mind, Bethany has taken the stereotype of stay-at-home-mom-Walmart-shopper and flipped it on it’s head.
Rachel Mushahwar, Head of Americas: Retail, Hospitality & CPG Global Sales & Marketing, Intel
Arriving in NWA all the way from Intel in Phoenix, Arizona - Rachel Mushahwar will have a lot to say on a subject we care deeply for: girls and women in STEM (obviously). Intel has recently launched the Intel Global Girls and Women Initiative which intends to close the gender gap in education access, inspire more women and girls to create technology, and connect them to opportunities via technology access. Music to our ears. Rachel herself is a known transformational global leader with 22 years of experience under her belt in everything from retail to supply chain and consulting. Her focus is on enabling retail, hospitality, and consumer packaged goods companies to realize the value of innovative retail and hospitality offerings that leverage the technology in stores, hotels, casinos, and dining establishments to provide new insights. Phew. Individually, Rachel is an active supporter of STEM education and even cofounded a women’s group when she worked for PetSmart. Hopefully, hearing about the steps that both Rachel and Intel have taken to inspire women and girls in tech will encourage everyone at the NWA Tech Summit to keep doing the same.
Kristen Williams, Senior Director eCommerce, Walmart Technology
If one thing is for sure about Kristen Williams, it's that she is extremely passionate about encouraging young women to seek careers in the STEM field. Go Kristen! As a high-up with Walmart Technology and a board member for Springdale High School Academics, she has the opportunity to do just so. Throughout her time with Walmart Technology, Kristen has held many roles such as Senior Director of Corporate Systems, Senior Director of Global Point of Sale, and many other leadership roles. She is responsible for delivering technology solutions for services such as Walmart Online Pickup (my savior) and Pickup Today. This is truly a lady who knows how to get things done and inspire women and girls along the way.
Tomorrow we get to hear from a well-rounded group of intelligent and successful women, but that doesn't mean the tech industry has an equal playing field. Women make up 50% of the workforce yet...women make up less than 25% of STEM professionals. Are we doing enough to encourage young (and even older) women to pursue a STEM based career? To explore creation through technology? Not, not quite yet. But, with organizations such as the NWA Tech Council making sure that they're recognizing some of the leading women of STEM - we are definitely breaking ground.