StateScoop's Top Women in Technology 2018

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Danielle Dumerer

Danielle Dumerer

Chief Information Officer
Chicago, Illinois

What’s your proudest achievement in the past year?

As a former librarian and archivist, Im always proud of my departments work to make information available and accessible. Over the past year, we led a coalition of 17 cities to post the EPA Climate Change website content. Others can do the same viagithub.com/Chicago, or can visit the siteatcityofchicago.org/climatechangeisreal. We relaunched the Citys website with the aim of improving the mobile experience and accessibility, launched a first of its kind system that supports the Citys Department of Business Affairs and Protection regulation of the house share industry.

What’s your experience been like as a woman in the tech workforce?

I have worked in fields that have higher percentages of women, including libraries and educational technology, and so had the opportunity to learn from other women. However, in tech, I am still too often the only woman in the room. Ive encountered bias but Ive also met amazing advocates who have encouraged (or sometimes pushed) me, and that, and a lot of hard work, has led me to my current role.

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?

Be your own advocate, you cant count on others to take on that role for you. Be present, and go all in.

What’s something you’re excited about going forward, working in government technology?

Through data sharing, the deployment of connected technologies, and the use of analytics and machine learning, governments will better understand the performance of its infrastructure and the health and safety of its neighborhoods. Chicago has been a leader in the deployment of these technologiesthrough sensor platforms like Array of Things and including sensors as part of other infrastructure modernization or public safety effortsgunshot detection, Smart Lighting, Sustainable Green Infrastructure. I look forward to ways we can continue these efforts to achieve better outcomes and to work across sectors and with communities to solve challenges.


Mai-Ling Garcia

Mai-Ling Garcia

Digital Engagement Officer
Oakland, California

What’s your proudest achievement in the past year?

Im excited to launch our new open source website (beta.oaklandca.gov.) It goes live in a couple of weeks. But what Im most thrilled about is creating and leading the Oakland Design League. The team is an awesome group of designers, developers and content strategists all working to make the citys digital services better. The Leagues combination of skill and mission means weve been able to scale our work and begin to measurably improve service delivery to the public.

What’s your experience been like as a woman in the tech workforce?

Im a woman of color in tech, and honestly, there arent that many of us. Being in this space is a great opportunity, but it comes with some real challenges and a heavy sense of responsibility. Like a lot of my peers, I feel a lot of pressure to assert my expertiseand authority in a field dominated by white men who arent necessarily used to taking technical direction from someone who looks like me. At the same time, I feel like I have an incredible opportunity to be an advocate for equitable design practices in civicand government tech.

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?

As a recovering “yes”woman, the best advice I received is simply saying “yes”to one thing is saying “no” to something else. As a professional, it has helped me focus on whats most important. Whats most important to me is scaling and improving government services.

What’s something you’re excited about going forward, working in government technology?

Absolutely! Im excited about expanding the Design Leagues work in new areas and building better government services. Unlike the private sector, government has the opportunity and the responsibility to design technology for everyone, regardless of what kind of phone they use, where they live or how much money they make. Im so happy to be about to launch the citys first digital strategy. Its a tremendous opportunity to collaborate with my other colleagues in the city and create a sustainable plan for continuing this work.


Kate Garman

Kate Garman

Smart Cities Coordinator
Seattle, Washington

What’s your proudest achievement in the past year?

Joining the City of Seattle. Its an incredible honor to have this role in such an innovative city. Both in the public and private sector, so many impactful ideas were born in this city. And the staff who work for the City are brilliant, love their jobs, and have so kindly welcomed me.

What’s your experience been like as a woman in the tech workforce?

Coming out of law school and having meetings on tech, often times I was the only woman in the room, or one of two. To this day, I take a count at every meeting of how many women are present (especially when Im on a panel). But I feel incredibly encouraged and hopeful. There is an amazing movement happening of women supporting women, and it gives me strength. I get to do so myself! What a privilege to serve under the leadership of Mayor Jenny Durkan Seattles second-ever woman mayor and first in nearly a century with a wonderfully diverse staff.

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?

Go to law school. Read plenty of books. Prioritize self-care.

What’s something you’re excited about going forward, working in government technology?

I look forward to people feeling even more empowered by data. I look forward to residents knowing how to communicate with their city, for visitors to know how to get around with ease, and for city staff to be creative, proactive, and make a difference with the data that tech provides us.


Karen Geduldig

Karen Geduldig

Deputy Chief Information Officer
State of New York

What’s your proudest achievement in the past year?

Governor Andrew Cuomo created the NYS Office of IT Services in 2012 using the”all in” model: all of the State’s IT professionals, assets, standards, expense is consolidated in the first, and possibly the only, fully centralizedgovernment IT organization in the United States.Governor Cuomo created ITS because he hada progressive vision that IT is horizontal it cuts across all parts of governmentandbecause of that, it is uniquely capable of transforming government and the lives of New Yorkers.

At the time, I was General Counsel at ITS and was one of its executive architects.I returned to ITS as executive deputy CIO just under a year ago and am now seeing the profound impact an entity like ITS has on the trajectory of New York State.ITS is powering New York States most critical and innovative programs from enabling students to apply for the groundbreaking Excelsior College Scholarship to delivering on the promise of the nations most comprehensive Paid Family Leave program.All of that is made possible because of the power of ITS.Delivering the fruits of Governor Cuomos bold vision that ITS and technology will drive NYS forward is my proudest achievement this year and seeing the full strength, talent and depth of the state’s IT workforce is something I am proud to be a part of.

What’s your experience been like as a woman in the tech workforce?

Technology is the most exciting industry to be part of.It touches every single aspect of government and every single part of our lives.Technology is driving the future of education and economic development.It is driving the future of energy and public safety and transportation.It is changing how we are responding to grand challenges in health care and the environment.Being a part of the tech industry as we have gotten to this place has been incredible.Women are underrepresented in the technology industry but I have been fortunate to have a full and rewarding career in technology within NYS government.That said, I am absolutely committed to making sure that women and other underrepresented populations in the tech industry have the same positive experience.

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?

I have two here that have guided my approach to my career.One is that opportunities come in all shapes and sizes.What may seem like a limiting factor in an opportunity may be well worth it in the larger picture.Waiting for the perfect opportunity can be even more limiting than pursing an imperfect one.So take some chances on those imperfect opportunities.

The second comes from my parents who have had the greatest influence over me by far.They always instilled in me and my siblings that the most important thing about a career is doing something you enjoy and are passionate about.They continue to live by that philosophy and it serves asmy “career compass.”

What’s something you’re excited about going forward, working in government technology?

Changing lives!Like I said, technology touches every single aspect of our lives and it has the power to make dramatic, positive changes to the lives and livelihoods of the citizens and businesses of New York.In this way, I believe that technology is powering New York State’s continued progress and leadership “ever upward.”Leveraging technology to solve New York’s grand challenges is what excites me most about working in government technology.


Linda Gerull

Linda Gerull

Chief Information Officer
San Francisco, California

What’s your proudest achievement in the past year?

In the last year, I moved, downsized, and assumed the role as CIO for the City/County of San Francisco. I am so honored to be serving this great city. Now that I have been on the job for eight months I can look back at achievements that have made a difference. Thus far, I am most proud of our internal work in our department on performance management. I believe regular, honest and open communication about work performance and skill building is key to organizational success.

With an easy-to-use process of quick check-ins and assessments, managers and staff have an opportunity to discuss project roadblocks and ensure priorities are aligned. The result is significantly improved communication, job satisfaction and staff morale. I am most proud when I am leading by serving my team be that removing roadblocks or empowering them to perform their best.

What’s your experience been like as a woman in the tech workforce?

My career in technology started in commercial software but quickly moved to government. I discovered I have a passion for public service and I am continually challenged by envisioning ways tech can improve government processes. I have been very fortunate to work with creative, forward-thinking leaders who are committed to good government. I encourage women to consider technology jobs in government because serving your community is incredibly rewarding!

From public works to social programs, technology has a strategic role in improving operations, reducing bureaucracy, lowering cost and offering new public services. Each area of government is unique and I have found government leaders want to be innovative and partner with IT to provide the greatest value to taxpayers. Cities are diverse, and as such they need a diverse team of decision-makers, both elected and appointed.

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?

The best career advice I received was from my dad who always said, “Volunteer for the job that no one wants to do!” With this philosophy, I have implemented mapping systems in Istanbul, Turkey, built advanced emergency response systems, and innovated new technologies. Each success builds on the previous and a can do attitude paves the way for future opportunities. It also frames your perspective to approach each new challenge as a chance to excel and serve your organization.

What’s something you’re excited about going forward, working in government technology?

There are many exciting technology projects in the works at the City of San Francisco. Most notably, the Fiber for San Francisco, municipal fiber-to-the-premise project. This initiative, sponsored by the late Mayor Lee and current Mayor Farrell, will provide world class connectivity to all residents and business at an affordable price. Fiber is now necessary infrastructure for healthcare, education, economic development and new business opportunities. The city will use a public/private partnership to build dark and lit fiber infrastructure which will be open access to all ISPs. With requirements for net neutrality, privacy, measured performance and closing the digital divide to low-income residents, the FiberSF project will be the foundation for the next generation of advanced, Internet of Things, autonomous technology. This city project is inspiring!


Wanda Gibson

Wanda Gibson

Chief Technology Officer
Fairfax County, Virginia

What’s your proudest achievement in the past year?

One of the most ambitious undertakings achieved was the comprehensive redesign and transformation of the countys 20,000-plus page website with content from 55 agencieswith a completely new, intuitive design and search done with a very small project team. [We also received]recognition for the best cyber program in government.

What’s your experience been like as a woman in the tech workforce?

I have been a tech leader in c-suite roles since the mid 80s, and in every service,pushed forward the tech agenda appropriately with attention to integrity, reality and due diligence which is our duty.Critical is always been being available for the team, setting the example by doing, recognizing that they are real people who need the leader tough and compassionate to be there.

As a woman in the tech workforce, and of color, I viewed myselfas no different than a male counterpart and expected the same, although had to recognize but become obliviousof some rather impotent pre-judgments, shock and awe, and other biases.Over my career I have enjoyed respect of many colleagues, the industry and my team across the board.

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?

Not settling, being astute, measured and savvy, and take vacations!

What’s something you’re excited about going forward, working in government technology?

Being a “renaissance technology leader”working with the now generations of people interested in public and community service who can envision government of the future,today, and make it happen.

Government is experiencing the wave of the digital imperative that will change the face of how services must be provisioned like how people experience the world.Fueled by broadband and data, it will be a virtual enterprise, having full service delivery based on the adoption of web-scale IT, smart machines, digital assistants, knowledge systems and the production of intelligenceand common apps.


Deborah Giles

Deborah Giles

Founder and Executive Director
Center for Technology & Texas Technology Consortium.

What’s your proudest achievement in the past year?

Professionally and personally speaking, launching the Center for Technology(CFT)was a major accomplishment for me this past year.The CFT is the national affiliate of the Texas Technology Consortium (TTC), which I launched 8 years ago.TTCs growth skyrocketed and eventually expanded well beyond the borders of Texas.

I sawtheneed for anational technology platform providing an objective focus, whilebringing public and private leaders together to address technology issues facing our nation today.TheCFTfills that gapin numerous ways.In addition to a diverse and highly-accomplished Board of Directors, CFT has an Executive Advisory group consisting exclusively of former and current state chief information officers.They provide expert guidance, thought leadershipand innovative direction based upon their combined years of experience in the technology field.Lastly, CFT-TTC is the proud host of 16 national CIO Roundtables and is currently producing four events per year.

What’s your experience been like as a woman in the tech workforce?

In general, its been great.Like everyone, Ive faced challenges throughout my career but Ive also had some great mentors.The technology field doesnt discriminate.A key to success is being able to work with people from the different areas policy makers, managers, and even the techies.Ive found when you treat an individual with respect and listen to what theyre saying, the playing field is leveled.

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?

It’s impossible to pick the best, but here are some of my favorites:

  • Follow your dreams.Listen to your heart. Write down your goals for 5, 10, 15 years out and then go after them!
  • Listen more than you talk listening is the first step to success.
  • Put family first they’ll be here in 50 years when your career is over!
  • When stressed or indecisive, always ask yourself, “Will this make a difference next week, oneyear or 10 years from now?”That always helps keep things in perspective!

What’s something you’re excited about going forward, working in government technology?

Having worked for both the private sector and public sector sides, it always amazes me how many brilliant folks I meet who work in this industry. I love the passion people bring to working in the government market.There are so many genuinely dedicated individuals who truly care how well the citizens are served, and how technology can change the face of government!I always look forward to meeting new people, learning new things, and making lifelong friends.


Maggie Hallbach

Maggie Hallbach

VP, Government & Education
Verizon

What’s your proudest achievement in the past year?

The business unit in which I work, Verizon Business Markets, officially launched just over a year ago. The creation of this unit has given us the opportunity tofocus on the needs of local communities andhelp them step to the forefront of the technology and service innovations.Our local governments are the providers of our essential services, and we depend on them in order to thrive and make our communities operate effectively. They are our first responders, the people securing our communitys infrastructure, the systems educating our children, and theones making our cities smarter.” I am very proud of the commitment weve made todriving thedigitaleconomyin these areas, and specifically, that I am able to drive this renewed strategy to empower state and local governmentsand educational institutionswith the IT solutions needed to operate efficiently and easily connect with citizens in their communities.

What’s your experience been like as a woman in the tech workforce?

Its no secret that there are only a few women in senior leadership positions in corporate Americaand that is upsetting.In my career, I have been fortunate enough tobesurrounded byintelligent, compassionate, high performingwomen.

Women advocating and supporting women is critical.Mygoalisthat Itakethesteps needed tomentor, support, and encourage the next generation of women so that soon we will seemore womenin c-level roles and board rolesacross all industries.

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?

The best career advice Ive ever received came from my father. He encouraged me to work bythree simpleprinciples show up,on time,ready to work.I have always lived and worked by those principles and underscore them whenever possible.

What’s something you’re excited about going forward, working in government technology?

I am excited about the way that governments are becoming more and more interested in leveraging technology to effectively deliver services to their communities. Local governments are becoming more responsive and more engaged with their citizens, and in turn, are finding ways to better address their needs. Technology is powerful. It can reliably connect first responders with each other and with citizens, it helps keep traffic moving, and it helps enable streamlined processes for the agencies. This is personal to me and to my team.We live and work in these communitiesandso their success is very important to us.


Jeanne Holm

Jeanne Holm

Deputy Chief Information Officer
Los Angeles, California

What’s your proudest achievement in the past year?

This year we celebrated the first anniversary of theData Science Federation, which partners 14 local universities and colleges with City departments to solve big challenges. In our first year, we worked with 250 students, 25 projects, and 14 City departments and elected officials on projects ranging from analyzing homelessness to increasing audit efficiency. This provides students with experience working in government and lets us identify potential bright young people, and it helps keep our employees trained on the latest tools and insights. Well be expanding this program this year!

What’s your experience been like as a woman in the tech workforce?

Ive spent 32 years working in predominantly male teams in aerospace and tech. Its been quite difficult at times, but I would encourage women to move to STEM careers.One of the reasons I changed jobs recently was to work at the City of Los Angeles for Mayor Eric Garcetti, who empowers women and has a commitment togender equity. Here, I find myself surrounded by a sisterhood of amazing women. This lets me lead teams where I can bring in diverse voices, which leads to better technical choices and a truer understanding of how technology can improve the quality of life for people in LA.

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?

Be kind, be generous, be curious, be brave.This summarizes what I’ve learned from my successes and failures, my mentors, and the science fiction books I voraciously consume.

What’s something you’re excited about going forward, working in government technology?

Two advances in tech will fundamentally change our society. The first is artificial intelligence. Yes, of course, this will allow breakthroughs in wicked problems and potentially dramatically accelerate innovation, but it will also allow elderly, disabled, and abled people more independence. Related to this is the ability to bring 5G connectivity into every neighborhood to eradicate the digital divide. The only way forward for us all is to increase equity through digital inclusion and education. This is what excites me about the future!


Ellen Hwang

Ellen Hwang

Program Manager for Innovation Management
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

What’s your proudest achievement in the past year?

My proudest achievement is leading the development of the city’s first smart city roadmap.This strategic planning effort has brought together so many different groups of people together both locally and globally.Philadelphia now has a working group of over 18 city departments who are committed to collaboration on this effort and we are continuing to expand the efforts of the working group to include folks from the Philadelphia community.We are committed to making sure there is diverse representation of agencies, neighborhoods, and people to make sure Philadelphia’s smart city priorities accurately reflect the needs and desires of the people.

What’s your experience been like as a woman in the tech workforce?

Overall, I’ve had a positive experience as a woman in the tech workforce.Anyone who’s met me knows I’m not shy and I always welcome an opportunity to have a seat at the table even if it’s simply to listen and learn from others.There are so many women who have boldly and gracefully paved a way for young women like me to push and challenge the boundaries of who I want to become and be able to express it through an exciting career.I’m extremely blessed to work in a city that has both men and women in leadership who value and trust my opinions, thoughts, and ideas.

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?

Be patient, welcoming and reliable (thanks, dad!).Going through a mayoral transition after one year of working in city government was challenging.Just when I thought I was finally settling in and had my projects lined up for the new year, I was told to hit the pause button.Priorities, teams, culture, budgets… they all change when a new administration comes in and there isn’t always a clear way to manage that both at the organizational level as well as the individual level.In the midst of uncertainty, I have learned that the best thing to do is to be patient and ride out of the waves.And, in the meantime, make some friends, welcome the new comers and help them to adjust to the new environment, too.

What’s something you’re excited about going forward, working in government technology?

Most government agencies are beginning to partner and engage the private sector and universities in developing technology solutions for their cities.While there’s still more that could be done there, I would be most excited if we could find ways to meaningfully and directly engage our community members in that same process of developing and informing government technology.There’s a lot of innovation and impact that could be uncovered if we brought everyone along for the ride!

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