Digital Rochester Inc.’s 2014 Technology Woman of the Year Award was presented to Anne Bell, vice president of enterprise and corporate applications at Xerox Corp.
“What it really is about is women,” Bell said. “Since 2000 we have not been growing; doctors (and) lawyers are women (but) they’re not in science, technology, engineering and math (fields) so these (events) gives us role models.
“And in our community we have to keep up with that innovation. Rochester’s there—let’s keep Rochester (moving forward).”
More than 200 people attended the awards breakfast at Casa Larga Vineyards in Perinton Thursday morning to honor women in various technology fields.
“We’re excited that we’re still finding very talented technology women,” said Lisa Doerner, executive director of Digital Rochester. “There’s a lot of talent in the Rochester community in various technical fields. There’s really an opportunity for young people to also pursue those fields and have careers here and stay here.”
The eight other nominees were
- Julie Bentley, Bentley Optical Design;
- Melody Cofield of Divar Inc.;
- Briget Grbic, CS Stars LLC;
- Gloria Hitchcock, Rochester Regional Health Information Organization;
- Sharon Lechon, Edge-Global Technology Solutions Inc.;
- Cheryl Nelan, CMIT Solutions of Monroe;
- Myneco Ramirez, the University of Rochester Medical Center; and
- Diane Trentini, Optimation Technology Inc.
Criteria for the award for each nominee was broken down into three categories including sustained contributions to the technology profession, contributions to the status, opportunities, and employment for women in technology professions, and contributions to the community.
In her keynote address, Maureen Berkner Boyt, founder of Colorado-based the Moxie Exchange Movement, spoke of ways to achieve success and the importance of role models in the field of technology.
“One of the things that I’m talking about today is being successful and it’s not mysterious and anybody can do it,” Berkner Boyt said. “I think particularly for young girls if you can see it, you can do it, you can be it.”
Rochester’s ecosystem is full of opportunities, Berkner Boyt said.
“To me it appears (that) there’s an abundance of opportunity because you’ve got some big base employers and then some entrepreneurial activity at the same time—you have a really nice ecosystem of companies,” Berkner Boyt said. “If a business community is going to thrive it means that everybody is thriving—not just men, not just women, not just big companies, not just small companies—it’s how they all work together.”
Her company aims to develop women’s leadership and professional growth.
“What a wonderful thing to acknowledge women in tech,” Berkner Boyt said. “The fact that there’s such a rich history here in Rochester, (it is about) keeping it in the spotlight because if we stop paying attention we’ll slide back.”
Entre Computer Services Inc. was the major event sponsor. The event helps to promote Digital Rochester’s mission of strengthening and growing the region’s technology community.
“It’s always an inspiring and it’s just a great event, whether you’ve been in technology for a long time or you’re junior and you’re looking at the field. It’s always a day of inspiration and encouragement,” said Laura Segave, president of Digital Rochester’s board of directors.
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