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.
Title: Construction Project Manager
Company: BCS Data Center Operations
Education: Master of Business Administration and Bachelor of Science in business administration with an emphasis in finance from California State University, Sacramento, California
Professional Credentials/Accreditations: Real property administrator (RPA: IREM); certified property manager (CPM: BOMA)
Organizational Affiliations: Women in Mission Critical Operations (WIMCO), AFCOM Women in the Data Center
- Undergrad Commencement Speaker (Cum Laude) — California State University, Sacramento
- Golden Key, International Honor Society
- Property Manager of the Year — Bank of America
- Six Sigma Green Belt — Jones Lang LaSalle
- LEED Green Associate
What made you realize you wanted to pursue a career in technology?
During my career in facilities management, I observed that clients were building out critical environments, but they were not experts in maintaining those environments. I quickly learned that providing critical environments services would be a great service offering and one that I wanted to learn more about.
The critical environment space was maintained much differently than office space, as any failure of performance could cause a significant and direct economic loss to the tenant and, thus, the SLAs allowed no room for error. It was fascinating to learn about servers, server racks, data storage, transmission, electrical power management systems (EPMS). When it became apparent that few women were maintaining or overseeing these environments, I knew this niche would be an excellent career shift.
What inspires you to do what you do?
A coupld of things.
- Challenges and solving opportunities — there’s no “typical” day in critical environment facilities. It requires a variety of skills to achieve service excellence in the day-to-day situations.
- Working for a company like BCS that is committed to excellence and supportive of their staff with leaders that promote transparency through open and honest communication.
What role does sustainability play in your life?
I consider myself a steward of the planet. I am enthusiastic about waste reduction and playing my role in saving our planet. I am constantly pulling recyclable material out of trash cans, I just can’t help myself! During my career, I’ve facilitated several recycling or sustainability efforts and programs, such as energy reduction, converting landfill tonnage to recycle, and converting cafeteria waste into compost for the employees.
What is the most fascinating thing you have learned while working in this industry?
Data transmission always fascinates me.
What’s something unique about you personally?
I am a gemologist, graduated from the Gemological Institute of America. I am passionate about gems and minerals. Tourmaline is my favorite gemstone (particularly watermelon tourmaline).
What’s something unique about you professionally?
I can work easily with all levels of staff, and I operate with a deep respect for all co-worker’s contributions. I also like to consider new ways of approaching a problem. I am interested in hearing ideas and will work diligently to promote those people with unique approaches in hopes of providing the best solution to the client.
What is your most admirable quality?
Why is diversity, equality, and inclusion important to you?
One of my company’s core values is Inclusion and a strong belief that diversity (in thoughts, beliefs, ethnicities, faiths, backgrounds, etc.) only makes us stronger. I am grateful to be employed by a company that shares my values and beliefs.
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?
First, the sheer volume of growth in size, volume, scope, and role of data centers and critical infrastructure here in North America and globally.
Second, the use of technology and AI and our ability to weave it into the very personal, human aspect of the business. Technology will continue to be more pervasive and important, but it takes trained and skilled people using it, analyzing the results or outputs from it, and then acting with it that is crucial.
The integration of people and technology may be one of the most important items facing the industry.
What needs the most improvement?
Again, on the idea of infusion of people and technology, one of the biggest challenges may be in staying ahead and instep with the skills necessary to use technology and the ability of an organization to provide the education, training, and development programs that innovative technology will demand.
When you imagine the future of the technology industry, what does it look like?
- Automation and robotics
- AI and machine learning
- Cybersecurity (and information and system security)
- Bots will become customary practice