OKWIT | Uncategorized
Providing a forum for women in technology in Oklahoma
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Cheers to the new year! It's crazy to think that we are now in 2021. Time has flown by & yet stood still many times within 2020. I'm excited and hopeful for our future as an organization as we celebrate our fifth year of bridging the gender gap in STEM fields. When I first attended an OKWIT event in May of 2016, I had no idea the impact this organization would have on me personally and professionally. It's a community of passionate and inspiring members that support, uplift, and encourage one another. It means the world to me. OKWIT is making a tangible impact in many lives across the state, and I am incredibly honored to serve as your President for 2021. As I step into this role, I want to thank Katy Battiest & Brandy Semore for their service and leadership to this incredible organization. Their passion for our mission is evident throughout all of the members that have been positively impacted by their leadership. I also want to thank YOU, our members. It's because of you that our organization thrives. Thank you for showing up, sharing your knowledge, and uplifting others in STEM fields. Thank you to our volunteers who keep our organization running smoothly. We seriously could not do it without you! As we enter the new year, I am excited to take all the experiences from 2020 to bring you more thoughtful, meaningful, and impactful programming. We have added five new board members to our leadership team this year, with individuals who had long since stepped into volunteer and help OKWIT grow but are now taking a more official role. Please give them a warm welcome: Brianna Shara- President-elect Rebecca Hartwig- Treasurer Jessica Lippert- Director of Special Events Mahal Ramos- Director of Member Relations Tabatha Carr- Director of Professional Development Thank you all for being a part of OKWIT—you helped us get to where we are today. Here's wishing you a happy, healthy 2021. Sincerely, Ashley Coffey President, OKWIT ...

Dear OKWIT, It was my privilege to serve as your Executive Treasurer these last two years. I stepped up to serve in OKWIT exec leadership because I wanted this organization to thrive, not just survive. OKWIT will dissolve if people do not stand up and give with their time, money and talents. I am passionate about this organization because I know this organization is making a big impact for students, teachers, professionals, leaders and companies in Oklahoma. I found myself constantly recharged by my personal experiences and the many stories I experienced firsthand. I was proud to have served with a strong, diverse group of women who always spoke their mind for the best of this organization. As an executive team member, I was honored to speak with individuals and companies about their passions, challenges, questions, and opportunities. I was proud to connect these companies and individuals to this organization and witness our community eagerly support OKWIT financially. Managing our organizations finances to best allocate our resources to make the greatest impact and set us up for future success pushed me out of my comfort zone in many new ways. The exec team had to have hard conversations about priorities, opportunities and the future of OKWIT these last two years. In doing so, I am so thankful for the experience and personal growth that came from this role. There are many amazing individuals and businesses, current and past, supporting this organization openly and behind the scenes, and to them I say - I saw you and you were constantly encouraging us to do more than we ever thought possible, THANK YOU! To my fellow exec board and directors- you give OKWIT many hours of your time, it was a true joy to work with you all and constantly converse and brainstorm on amazing ideas, unique challenges, and how we could further bridge the gender gap in STEM in Oklahoma. Thank you for your grace, your patience, your eagerness, and your passion. You helped me become a better overall leader and advocate for individuals who do not experience inclusivity and should. I’m very grateful to be leaving my role in Rebecca’s talented hands knowing this organization is in the best current and future financial health it’s ever been in. As my husband and I welcome our daughter into the world in 2021, I hope the foundation of the work we do today will continue to be seen in the world she grows up in. My hope is she is inspired, empowered, encouraged, educated and included. I hope the need for this organization will become obsolete when she begins exploring her career options in 2041. I hope men and women continue to get involved in OKWIT’s mission sooner rather than later, so we can all enjoy working in diverse and authentically inclusive workplaces. Until then, I will continue to support this amazing organization, and encourage you to do the same. Click here to donate. Click here to learn more about partnerships and sponsorships. Click here to volunteer. Sincerely, Breanna Hites ...

It may be hard to believe, but we have officially made it through 2020! On this last day of 2020 and my final day as President of OKWIT, I am reflecting on all that OKWIT has accomplished these past two years. In two years, OKWIT has: Doubled scholarship dollars given to women pursuing undergraduate or graduate STEM degrees. Launched a tiered-membership program to provide longevity and targeted programming for STEM professionals. Expanded our leadership structure to enable the continued growth of programming and offer more opportunities for volunteers to grow as leaders. Held 56 events for our member base of nearly 1,800 members. Hosted three high school retreats, including our first in-person retreat in Tulsa and our first ever Virtual Retreat with 700 attendees from across the state. Pivoted in 2020 to completely convert programming to a virtual environment. All of these achievements are made possible because of you, our Members, Leaders, Volunteers, Sponsors, and Donors. THANK YOU for being a part of this organization! I am so proud to know you. 2020 has presented us with more challenges than we could have ever imagined. At the same time, it has brought unexpected positive growth I will never forget. We have been stretched in many ways—handling massive change to our day-to-day lives, challenging our ways of thinking in regards to inclusivity, and completely changing how we provide a community for those passionate about bridging the gender gap in STEM fields. Once again, because of our inspiring leaders and volunteers, we were able to accomplish amazing things! In 2020, OKWIT expanded our reach beyond the borders of our state and country, had new attendees who have never been able to attend in-person events, and opened up opportunities to ask each other tough questions to make sure our organization is working to find solutions to professional and social challenges our members face on a regular basis. I am incredibly grateful for these past two years; no other work in my life has been as rewarding as this role. Thank you for trusting me with the opportunity to serve as your second OKWIT President. As I transition out of this role, I am thrilled to welcome Ashley Coffey as the next President of Oklahoma Women in Technology! I have had the great joy of working alongside Ashley for several years, and can't wait to see her leadership next year. In 2021, OKWIT will celebrate its 5th year, and there are a lot of exciting things to come. Our 2021 leadership team is filled with incredible, energetic people—please keep watch after the New Year as we introduce them to you! It has truly been an honor to serve as your OKWIT president, and I can’t wait to see what amazing things our new leadership team accomplishes in the coming months and years. Thank you for your continued support of OKWIT. Cheers, and Happy New Year! Katy Battiest Outgoing President, OKWIT...

Do you know an outstanding community member or OKWIT member or volunteer? Nominate them today for one of our 2020 awards by clicking here!   OKWIT Trailblazer Award This annual OKWIT award is given to a woman each year who is not only a member of OKWIT, but has proven herself by way of example, to be a trail blazer for women in the technology field. This recognition is vital to encouraging women to not only select a career in technology but stay the course and reach management levels in the IT departments. *Trailblazer nominees cannot be a current OKWIT executive board member or an active OKWIT advisory board member. Advocate Member of the Year Award given in recognition to an inspiring advocate member for their outstanding support, involvement and contributions to OKWIT in 2020. Contributing Executive Member of the Year Award given to an inspiring CE member for their outstanding support, involvement and contributions to OKWIT in 2020. Volunteer of the Year Award given to a member of OKWIT for their exceptional level of involvement in OKWIT in 2020. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Nominations will be reviewed by the OKWIT Executive Board and the OKWIT Advisory Board, and will be announced at the OKWIT Gala. Winners will receive 2 complimentary tickets to the Gala (TBD) to receive their award. 2020 Nomination Deadline - December 18 2020 5PM CST...

Winners announced for the only annual event in Oklahoma celebrating women working to bridge the gender gap in STEM.   The Oklahoma Women in Technology (OKWIT) annual Gala is the only event in the state of Oklahoma that gathers supporters of Oklahoma’s STEM community to recognize and announce the many accomplishments of women working to make a difference for current and future women in technology.  OKWIT will announce their Trailblazer of the Year and other acclaimed awards at their annual Gala on Saturday, January 25th at Vast in downtown Oklahoma City. This year’s event will be presented by Devon Energy, ONE Gas, Davenport Group, Coretopia, Cox Business Solutions, Pure Storage, Grey Goose and Patron. 100% of proceeds generated from this event support the OKWIT scholarship fund and OKWIT programming held throughout the year in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Ticket sales have ended online, but can be purchased at the door for $125.  OKWIT is a locally originated nonprofit with a mission to increase the number of women entering into technical careers, encourage women to stay in careers while helping confront barriers and challenges they commonly face, and to help promote qualified women into leadership roles. They strive to network, educate and promote women interested in technology and solving technical problems across the state of Oklahoma. To learn more, visit OKWIT.org. Congratulations to these current and future women in technology who lead others through their shining example in 2019 to bridge the gender gap in STEM in the state of Oklahoma.  SCHOLARSHIP WINNERS: Laura Farris, Gordon Cooper Technology Center Breanna Smith, Mount St. Mary High School Chelsea Savage, University of Central Oklahoma Mary Wavering OUTSTANDING SERVICE AWARD WINNERS: Jenn Banda, Software Product Manager, Paycom Ashley Clayton, Success Coach, Whiteboard Technology Davaadulam Davaakhuu, Database Developer, ENACOMM Inc. Devin Elmenhorst, Data Center Compute Executive, Dell EMC Carrie Engelbrecht, Technical Project Manager, Cox Communications Rebecca Hartwig, Founder, Hartwig Staffing Michelle Jarrett, Manager Business Systems, Enable Midstream Jessica Lippert, Lead Business Analyst, Devon Energy  Davon Olds, Manager II, Computer & Solutions-Server, Dell EMC Kate Williams, Founder, People First Content  VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR: Kim Thomas, Project Manager, Hospitality Consulting Services, Infor ADVOCATE MEMBER OF THE YEAR: Elizabeth Harris, Software Consultant & Developer, Asemio CONTRIBUTING EXECUTIVE MEMBER OF THE YEAR: Brandy Semore, Senior Director, IT Services & Engagement, Pinnacle Business Systems PRESIDENT’S AWARD WINNER: Jayme Bynum, IT Director, Infrastructure, Energy Transfer TRAILBLAZER AWARD WINNER: Bekah Mercer, Director of IT & Marketing, Palomar This annual OKWIT award is given to a woman who is not only a member of OKWIT, but has proven herself by way of example, to be a trailblazer for women in the technology field. This recognition is vital to encouraging women to not only select a career in technology, but stay the course and reach management levels in IT departments. In 2019, Bekah launched the CTRL + SHIFT Code School in Oklahoma City to help victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and sex trafficking begin new careers and escape their abusers. The six-month program at the CTRL + SHIFT Code School should be enough to change the lives of survivors.  “I am a woman in tech and I’d love to see more women in tech in our community in Oklahoma City, and I think it’s a great opportunity to really change lives for survivors and their families,” said Bekah. You can apply to the program or get more information about it here. For more information on OKWIT, our scholarship and award winners, or our events coming up in 2020, please visit OKWIT.org. OKWIT Gala Press Release (PDF)...