Education: Bachelor's degree in marketing with an emphasis on computer scienc
Professional Credentials/Accreditations: Leadership Akron Class ’37, Alert Logic Certification, Intermedia IT Certification
Achievements/Awards: Multiple President’s Club Awards with various companies throughout the years, Greater Akron Chamber Board Member, Performance Committee Chair, (Summit/Medina Counties), Workforce Development Board Executive Committee
What led you to a career in technology?
As a college student preparing to graduate, I interviewed for a job selling long-distance services. I had no idea what long distance was, but I knew that if I could learn how to sell, it would be a good item to have on my resume when I graduated from college to reference in my job search for my “adult” career. Little did I know that I would spend a total of 17 years on a journey that led me to a fulfilling career in technology. We sold the network, we opened data centers, and we designed innovative technology along the way as the market demanded new solutions. After two years of selling with that regional service provider, I became the first female sales manager within the company at the age of 24. From there, through five acquisitions and an IPO, I moved up the leadership ladder over the next 15 years into a role managing one of the most productive regions — generating revenues greater than $75 million. This experience provided a foundation that helped me navigate the next several career steps I made along the way. With each step I took in my career, I reinvented myself to ensure I was able to provide the deliverables the market needed at that point in time. We all know technology changes every day, and it is imperative that we stay open to that evolution so we can be effective in our roles over the course of time. Today, as the senior vice president for Involta, responsible for products, marketing, sales, and business development, I must continue to advance my skill set in not only technology but also leadership, mentorship, metrics, reporting and more.
What motivates you to go above and beyond in your current position?
I strive to provide exceptional service and support as a leader both within Involta and also externally within my professional network. It’s truly relationships that drive me to perform. To be competitive in the marketplace, Involta must innovate, market, and deploy the right products and services. And we need the right sales approach to ensure we provide a valuable experience. These efforts are like an orchestration — ensuring the team is focused and training toward an aligned end goal. When we are able to achieve our goals together, this role is incredibly rewarding. Our employees thrive; our customers achieve success; and life, in general, is good. So in a word, it’s the people.
What role does sustainability play in your life both personally and professionally?
At Involta, we strive for continuous improvement. For example, each time we build a new data center, we innovate how we deliver technology to drive efficiencies in our operation — ultimately saving energy. Motion-detected lights within the data halls and facilities and leveraging ambient air for cooling to save on energy are just a couple commonly understood examples without our complex data center design. At home, we also use motion detectors to conserve energy. We also regulate the temperature with a program that controls the heating and cooling based on the time of day, creating more efficiencies with the utilization of gas.
What is the most fascinating lesson you have learned while working with technology?
There are unlimited possibilities.
What is unique about you personally?
One of my most favorite things to do is blow glass with my husband. Glassblowing has become a hobby of ours over the past eight-plus years. This “sport” requires teamwork and creativity that we would not normally tap into otherwise.
What is unique about you professionally?
I have the competitive grit that drives me to deliver to clients, drive employees to be their best, and help people achieve success. I’ve also been told I have a unique ability in connecting with people. I believe this stems from my authentic desire to understand what drives the people I surround myself with.
What is your most admirable quality?
Why is diversity, equality, and inclusion necessary for this industry?
As we solve for results, it is imperative that we have diverse input on the solutions we provide to maximize our effectiveness. When people come from different backgrounds with their own experiences, they bring unique perspectives to the table we would not otherwise have in our approach to providing a solution. The sum of all inputs is always greater — and certainly has a better impact — when broad perspectives are sought.
What aspect of the industry has the most potential for growth, and how can we accelerate that?
In my experience, over the last 30-plus years, women have been the minority. For both internal and external meetings, it has not been uncommon for me to be the only woman involved. We have the opportunity to grow the presence of women in technology to drive growth within this industry. Awareness is a key factor in ensuring we recruit more women to technology. And this starts at a young age. It is important that we are educating girls through STEM programs throughout our education systems as well as programs, such as Girl Scouts.
Where does the industry need the most improvement, and what can we learn from the current shortcomings?
I believe the previous two questions touch on our industry’s greatest opportunity — it’s bringing more diverse voices to the table earlier and more often. The world is changing. Without creating a vibrant industry for the next generation, we will be passed by other industries that do so. We want to be sure we recruit the best and brightest technologists — and they are not one skin color or one gender.
When you imagine the future technology, what does it look like?
No question, the future involves AI, VR, and AR proliferation. And with that comes data beyond our comprehension. With the growth of data and the analysis of data, our world will change in response to the trends that emerge. Results will undoubtedly include:
- Improved manufacturing production that reduces waste and increasesprecision and output.
- Improved and more targeted health care treatment, resulting in living longer lives with a higher quality of life.
- Expedited development of technologies and products for everyday life.
- Increased and more compact data storage, serving as our new “libraries”
Everything will have the potential to move faster. But as humans, the question is …. will we choose to move faster?
What advice do you have for women and other minorities who are currently working in the industry but don’t necessarily feel like they belong?
Find a mentor who believes in you. There are many organizations out in the marketplace with people who are willing to provide support and advice. Throughout my career, there were some environments better than others in terms of the "right fit.” I had to learn what environment brought out the best in me and provided the best to my employer. It takes time to learn enough about yourself to understand where you thrive. For example, I know I love a growth environment that allows me to be creative as a leader. Give yourself the opportunity to figure that out and surround yourself with others who believe in you. Most importantly, never stop moving forward. You can do this.
What advice do you have for young girls who may be interested in a future career in technology?
Explore! Join Girl Scouts and seek technology badges. Get involved in STEM at school. Talk to someone who is in the industry about their career and ask questions. Take science and math classes. Take a field trip to a data center. Come and see me any time for a tour!