This year’s Women in IT Awards USA shone a light on the inspirational leaders, organisations, and initiatives making tech a more equitable space stateside; however, only a lucky few were crowned winners on September 21, 2021.
The eighteen category winners included individuals, educational, and other diversity and inclusion related initiatives, and even a male ally, where all sought to advance and include women in their organisations.
Women in IT Awards USA: winner highlights
Gina Murphy, President and COO at Navisite, scooped the iconic Woman of the year award; the judges had this to say about her achievements: “This year’s Woman of the Year has proved that she leads by example and that she has had a major impact on the organisation and wider communities. Her colleagues consider her the heart and soul of the business. She has built a winning culture that has brought together multiple companies under one successful and growing brand.
“What makes her stand out beyond her success as a C-level executive is how she focuses on raising others up with her by building a caring, committed and team-oriented culture.
“This individual has prioritised the human element. She views employees as part of the family and puts a personal touch on every interaction. She understands a fundamental truth about success in business: a company’s culture and ability to successfully grow and compete are inextricably and profoundly linked.
“We were wowed by the extensive list of contributions and successes she has accumulated and by how she has applied life skills into her work and into setting up initiatives and fundraising events to support others internally and externally. One notable example is providing free infrastructure and security services to a non-profit company that offers free tutoring for families in need of assistance with remote learning due to COVID-19. Additionally, she and the organisation provide school supplies to low-income families throughout several cities in the US for the new school year. She has prioritised people and learning.”
Male Ally of the year winner Jake Soberal Co-Founder and CEO at Bitwise, proved that you don’t have to be a woman to want to see women of all backgrounds succeed in the underrepresented tech space. The judges had this to say about the winner:
“This individual has worked with his team to create a company that melds revitalising a community while providing technical learning opportunities for women from diverse backgrounds. His understanding through his personal experiences and the complexities that have come with his position has driven his passion for enabling the disenfranchised and acting on closing the gap in disparities.
“This has also led him to strategically prioritise these missions within his organisation. He and the organisation have made a difference in the lives of thousands of women. They have developed extremely successful technology training programmes that have served over 5,000 students, 80% of whom have acquired a tech job. He is truly invested in making a difference and in helping build a brighter future of opportunities for all.”
Tech skills workshop provider TechShopz’s ‘Pandemic Pivot’ programme bagged them the Education & Training Initiative award this year for their work ensuring that young girls keep up their education during COVID-19.
The judges said: “This initiative clearly understands the role that education, mentorship and access to like-minded peers play in helping young girls stay connected, despite potentially isolating side effects from distance-learning platforms. The team leading this initiative is commended for their quick and successful shift to digital.
“They have worked hard to ensure that the extra educational and social needs of girls were catered for during the pandemic, which will have a long-lasting impact on their lives. Thank you for continuing to support and invest in our future talent pool and leaders.”
Accenture won the coveted DEI Initiative of the year award for their “Let There Be Change” programme, where the firm is seeking to broaden and diversify its talent pipeline.
The judges said: “This year’s DEI initiative has demonstrated and delivered results at scale. Our judges believe that it is an excellent way to establish lasting change not just for the organisation, but in the country. The initiative considers people of varied language proficiencies. It considers varied talent pools, universities and colleges in an effort to build educational and employment opportunities for students. Through the dedication and passion demonstrated by the initiative’s champion, this D&I programme is amplifying ideas, additional programmes and communication on matters of equity and inclusion across the entire firm. The team is commended for going above and beyond to ensure greater business and societal impact.”
Board Director of the year winner Donna Wells CEO of Valencia Ventures, was congratulated for her work in influencing the diversity of board membership. The judges said: “Throughout her professional life, she has helped various organisations increase their enterprise value and is on the board for multiple unicorn companies. She has played a critical role on these Boards in helping shape and support the talent and human resource strategies. She is a leading voice in the boardroom and has had a significant influence on diversity stats, with the most impressive being over 70% of board members being of diverse backgrounds. She is an avid supporter of women in leadership roles and has mentored a variety of C-suite professionals.”
Read the full list of winners below:
The Women in IT 2021 Award winners were
Advocate of the year – Aaratee Rao, Microsoft
Board Director of the year – Donna Wells, Valencia Ventures
CIO of the year – Suzi Connor, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
CTO of the year – Debra Danielson, Digital Guardian
Data Leader of the year – Sahar Arshad, CloudMedx Inc
DEI Initiative of the year – Let There Be Change, Accenture Federal Services
Digital Transformation Leader – Jessica Barrett Simpson, U.S. Department of EEducation’sOffice of Federal Student Aid (FSA)
Education & Training Initiative – TechShopz Pandemic Pivot, TechGirlz
Employer of the year – Atos, Atos
Entrepreneur of the year- Nataliya Anon, Svitla Systems Inc
Innovator of the year – Nicole Raimundo, Town of Cary
IT Team of the year – Soumya Seetharaman, Intel Corporation
Male Ally of the year – Jake Soberal, Bitwise Industries
Next Generation Leader – Judith Olson, ColdQuanta
Outstanding Contribution of the year- Rhonda Collins, Vocera Communications
Security Leader of the year – Mary N. Chaney, Minorities in Cybersecurity Inc
Tech for Good Award of the year – Neeti Mehta Shukla, Automation Anywhere
Woman of the year – Gina Murphy, Navisite