My Take on the Fed Women In Technology Diversity and Inclusion Summit

IMG_1692I found the Fed Women In Technology (FedWIT) Diversity and Inclusion Summit to be encouraging and informative. It’s good to see organizations like the KC Fed, Million Women Mentors, STEMconnector, KC STEM Alliance and the Central Exchange lending their time, energy and voices towards supporting women, young and old, in the workplace, in universities and in high schools towards STEM professions.

They are encouraging relationship building through mentoring and sponsorships from the ground up. It’s  personal! This is how we build inclusive and diverse environments in which everyone: students, workers, mentors, mentees, peers and companies – wins.

It’s personal for me too. I had an aptitude for the sciences in high school. But I wasn’t into it, like I saw other students who actually liked science.

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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
 and
Julie Kantor, featured speaker, vice president and chief partnership officer at STEMconnector and Million Women Mentors.

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