Diversity, equality, and inclusion is more than just a goal for the technology world — it’s a necessity. That’s why Mission Critical hosts the annual Women in Technology contest. As the demands for data generation, consumption, sharing, storage, processing, and more continue to grow and cybercriminals become increasingly more threatening, it’s clear that the industry needs more people to collaborative on innovative solutions to consumer needs, sustainable connectivity, and cyber safe infrastructure.
Women from all over the world in a wide range of technology sectors, including data centers, health care, and food processing, were nominated for their admirable contributions to the industry and the people who rely on it.
As Rebecca Ellis, president of Questions & Solutions Engineering Inc. and one of this year’s winners, so matter-of-factly put it, “If technology is to benefit all people, then all people need to be represented in the development and application of that technology.”
And, with that, Mission Critical is excited to introduce you to the 2022 Top 25 Women in Technology.
Company: HDCManagement LLC
Education: Bachelor of Arts and Master of Business Administration from Gonzaga University
Organizational Affiliations: iMasons, 7x24Exchange Intl.
Achievements/Awards: Recognized as one of the Top 5 Most Influential Women in the Data Center Industry in 2016 by Colocation of America; as one of the World's 50 Most Powerful Women in the Data Economy #PowerWomen50 in 2019; and one of the 2020 Infrastructure Masons Top 100.
What made you realize you wanted to pursue a career in technology?
The 1996 Telecommunications Act, which opened competition to the communications market, fundamentally changed the technology landscape through supporting broadband — essentially the beginnings of internet infrastructure. This totally pulled me in.
What inspires you to do what you do?
People inspire me. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to build a network of friends and colleagues around the world. I’m inspired by the overwhelming good I’ve experienced at the heart of people. We’ve had so much division and human challenges over the recent years (and throughout history), and what I’ve learned is that people with open hearts and minds can build common interest, which is incredibly inspiring.
What role does sustainability play in your life?
Way back when I was in college, I was first introduced to the impact of carbon and climate change. My friends and I instigated the celebration of Earth Day on campus, as well as an affinity group to raise awareness of the impact our choices make on our world. I’m an organic gardening hobbyist, which led me to further understand more about the fragility of our ecology and the necessity of biodiversity. In my professional career, I’ve become increasingly aware of the ongoing impact and responsibility we have throughout our industry. My new company is focused on establishing environmental, social, and governance goals and measurements — we are influencing companies to be more environmentally and socially responsible.
What is the most fascinating thing you have learned while working in this industry?
Technology shifts are incredibly fast, but enterprise adoption can be much slower, as technical debt is much harder to resolve. It's nearly impossible to stay on the bleeding edge as we continue to digitize and adjust to the impact that technology can have on business and human beings.
What’s something unique about you personally?
I’m incredibly loyal.
What’s something unique about you professionally?
I’m willing to take on the role of a change agent.
What’s your most admirable quality?
I’m a work in progress — I’m always learning, listening, growing, and adopting.
Why is diversity, equality, and inclusion important to you?
I’m a true believer in the power of diversity — not only gender, racial, and cognitive diversity but also the intersection of experience and potential. We are raising awareness around the impact diveristy, equality, and inclusion can have on financial returns, innovation, reputation, and talent. We need to come together to build solutions that have long-term positive impact. The opportunity is here now, to learn from each other and provide pathways for our industry to be more diverse, equitable, and inclusive. We need to be incredibly aware that we don’t use shame, blame, or guilt, and, instead, create commitments with collaboration, curiosity, and courage.
What aspect of the industry do you think has the most potential for growth, and, on the other hand, which aspect do you think needs the most improvement?
Growth will require a sustainability mindset. Renewable energy, circular economy practices, and measurable impact on the reduction of carbon should be at the forefront of strategic planning. We have room to improve our talent acquisition and retention strategy, and, at the core of that is corporate culture and the ongoing awareness of building equity in our decision-making.
When you imagine the future of the technology industry, what does it look like?
The ideal state is integration of innovation and human potential with positive outcomes to our planet, our people, and our future