Fed Women In Technology Summit Panel

Τhe Federal Reserve of Kansas City (The KC Fed) is a welcoming venue. For those unfamiliar with the KC Fed’s external layout, the grounds are composed of a big building with a small visitor’s parking lot. When the visitor’s lot is full, parking is found nearby on the street surrounding the building. The walk from your car gives you a chance to appreciate the view. I heard that a new parking garage to accommodate more visitors (and staff) is in the works.

Julie Kantor gave the keynote speech at the summit. (see Fed Women In Technology: Mentering Women towards STEM)

Following Kantor’s speech, Brian Faros, Vice President/Chief Information Officer at Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City moderated the WIT panel.
Faros seemed to get the challenges that women face in the workplace and the strategic action required to increase opportunities and make pathways toward an equitable work environment for women.
He identified subtle disparities like:
  • How the iPhone tracks men’s health but does not track women’s health and
  • How in 2012, Legos finally presented a product that appealed to females.

as missed opportunities for industry since women largely represent the demographics that these products appeal to.

Fed Women In Technology Summit Panel and Moderators: (From Left to right) Karen Pennell, CiCi Rojas, Laura Loyacono, Andrea Hendricks, Julie Kantor and Brian Faros.

Fed Women In Technology Summit Panel and Moderators: (From Left to right) Karen Pennell, CiCi Rojas, Laura Loyacono, Andrea Hendricks, Julie Kantor and Brian Faros.

Panel members included:
CiCi Rojas, president and chief executive officer of the Central Exchange,
Karen Pennell, senior vice president Fed KC
Laura Loyacono, executive director of the KC STEM Alliance
Julie Kantor, featured speaker, vice president and chief partnership officer at STEMconnector and Million Women Mentors.

Panel Insights:

CiCi Rojas

  • “When women have mentors or sponsors, our career performance, promotions and pay more closely resembles the performance that is generally associated with men.”
  • “Women are known for bringing people together to network and connect.”
  • “Tech skills are great. The other skills are what you need to hone to get you where you want to go.”
  • Male mentoring is critical. “95% of CEO roles are held by men. We have to make sure women understand the bottom line.

Karen Pennell

  • In spite of a marketing background, Pennell leads the IT and Financial Services Divisions at the KC Fed. “41% of Fed business is in technology.”
  • “TechEd is how the Fed partners with institutions to bring a young and emerging talent.”
  • “What a great time to be focussed on STEM. Take the fear and mystery out of tech and encourage people to give it a try.”

Laura Loyacono

  • “Diversity breeds innovation in gender and in thought.”
  • “Women often want a personal invite. Just show up!”

Julie Kantor

  • “Sponsorship is about relationship. They are putting their brand out there for you. Your responsibility is to not drop the ball and show up.”
  • “There are 5 generations in the workforce. Now men are going thru enormous stress to be better fathers and have more flexibility at home.”
  • “Work life is not balance, but integration.”

At one point, the participants were asked, “Who/How many of you have been on a project led by a woman?”

Very few hands went up.

If this is going to change, awareness must be generated at all levels of the organization!


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