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: Product Manager, Patient Telehealth and Outreach
Company: Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA)
Education: Bachelor and Master of Science in biomedical engineering from Northwestern University, Certificate in global health and ecological engineering
Organizational Affiliations: I recently relocated to Austin, Texas. I am a new member of the Young Women's Alliance of Austin, where I am excited to coach and mentor other female leaders in the community. Since 2012, I've been a member of the Society of Women Engineers and have mentored high-school students interested in pursuing a career in STEM.
Achievements/Awards: I was a finalist for the Transformational Leadership Award for the Governor's Celebration of Innovation Gala and Arizona Technology Council. This is a tremendous honor in Arizona and is usually awarded to C-level executives. I was the only female finalist.
What made you realize you wanted to pursue a career in technology?
I am an engineer by training and am very curious about understanding the complexities of technologies. I'm also a very mission-oriented person. I felt that moving into a product management role helped provide the perfect combination of connecting the complexities of technology to the personal nature of ensuring the product or service meets the customer's needs.
What inspires you to do what you do?
I am a people- and relationship-oriented person. I exhibit this in two ways. First, I'm inspired by the team's passion at CTCA, with whom I work closely with each day. Second, I am also inspired by our mission and how even a small change can significantly impact one of our patients.
What role does sustainability play in your life?
Sustainability is a complex topic. Often, it's viewed as an all-or-nothing practice on both a corporate or individual contributor scale. For me, I try to approach sustainability with a realistic mindset. Through self-education and self-awareness, I try to put in place sustainable lifestyle practices each day with each choice I make.
What is the most fascinating thing you have learned while working in this industry?
I am amazed at the perseverance and compassion of the individuals I work with every day to help our patients. Yes, health care is behind in many ways; however, it also attracts the type of person who is ready to take on these challenges and do whatever is necessary to help our patients. I'm surrounded by truly incredible and selfless individuals who go above and beyond each day.
What's something unique about you personally?
My family is so important to me. I have four sisters and am a triplet. My sisters are my best friends, and their passion inspires me in everything they do.
What's something unique about you professionally?
I helped spearhead the creation of the first true product owner role at CTCA with the Salesforce technology team. As a result, we implemented DevOps/daily code releases, and the team averaged 46 releases per month. Under this leadership, enhancements that used to take months were now completed in days or even hours.
What's your most admirable quality?
I strive to find the optimal balance between optimism and rationality. With each new challenge or problem, I am able to help lead the team toward clear solutions.
Why is diversity, equality, and inclusion important to you?
As a product manager, it's critical to keep all populations in mind when building and designing products for users. Especially in health care, it's essential to make sure that all groups are represented.
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?
In health care technology, I feel like the area with the most potential for growth is expanding the ease of access to basic health care services to vulnerable or underserved communities.
The aspect of health care technology that needs the most improvement is modernizing the digital tools that are ubiquitous in day-to-day life.
When you imagine the future of the technology industry, what does it look like?
When imagining the technology industry's future, specifically in health care, a few things come to mind. For patients, I think about a future where anyone can easily access the care they need, understand fully what their care will consist of, and easily adhere to their treatment or care plan. For providers, I imagine a world where tools make it easy to manage day-to-day work, so they have the time to provide personalized and data-driven care to patients.