Around early 2019 I published my first blog about women in technology I admired.
After over a year meeting many other women in tech and learning their stories, it was time I felt to write another blog. It is no secret that women have become very strong leaders within the technology industry, many who occupy executive positions and leadership positions in some of the worlds very best tech companies, and bring to these roles creativity, passion, leadership, empathy and innovation.
When we think about diversity and inclusion which is a hot topic these days, I can only vision that every person regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, who is able to get the opportunity to contribute to any industry will be able to add unique value to it, and this is highlighted very well in this blog I am posting today about this amazing group of female entrepreneurs and leaders.
Jennifer Oddo (IBM)
Jennifer has made an exceptional contribution to the IBM Apprenticeship Initiatives .
Earlier this year Jennifer spoke at CES about IBM’s external online pre-apprenticeship training program to help those without formal education or experience gain foundational skills needed for an on-ramp into IT apprenticeships.
Developing talent and making technology training more accessible and having a company as significant as IBM supporting these initiatives has been one of many achievements for Jennifer.
What is also inspiring is that Jennifer is here in Northeast Ohio and has been instrumental in launching the IT Workforce Accelerator in Youngstown which focus on technology apprenticeships and industry training and was supported by Youngstown State University.
Lindsay Watson (Augment Therapy)
Lindsay is the founder of Augment Therapy, a startup company that specializes in providing augmented reality applications and technologies which assist in pediatric care by augmenting physical and occupational therapy.
Also based in Northeast Ohio, Lindsay and her company Augment Therapy has been the winner of many entrepreneurial awards most recently the Tech Week Award for best startup here in Cleveland. But among her achievements in 2019 some of the most notable accomplishments were Inc. Magazine who named Augment Therapy as a Cleveland Company to Watch and Business Wire where Augment Therapy took top honors in the Medical Capital Innovation Competition.
Lindsay has become a friend and someone who’s work I admire greatly because she is using AR technology to benefit the greater good helping many children in their recovery process and making a significant impact in pediatric care.
Navah K Berg (Entrepreneur and Social VR Host)
Navah has been strongly involved in the VR space for a number of years producing digital content in many platforms such as Altspace and more recently being an early-beta content creator in Facebook Horizon.
Navah’s work focuses on the power of using platforms such as VR for content marketing and brand advertising. Navah is a champion of understanding how to build meaningful relationships with your audience not just as consumers but also as co-creators of an experience.
I never thought in my career I would come across someone who is designing the experiences that I had once theorized in my own academic work back in 2010–2012, Navah K Berg is one such individual.
On page 22, chapter 2.6 in my thesis I wrote:
More recent research has focused on defining service brands. Service brands facilitate and mediate marketing processes used to realize the experiences that drive co-creation of value (Brodie et al. 2006, p.373).
An emerging trend in research focuses on the role brands play in the value adding process which leads to the creation of customer experiences (Aitken and Ballantyne, 2007; de Chernatony and Segal-Horn, 2003). In this context brands interface with all the stakeholders in the value chain, from companies and their employees to customers and the network of stakeholders (Brodie, 2009, p.107). New conceptual logic views the brand in terms of collaborative co-creation (Merz et al., 2009; Ballantyne and Varey, 2006).”
Navah through her hard work has become a thought leader in the Social VR space and has been featured in publications by Forbes among others. Recently Navah has returned to Northeast Ohio and we are delighted to have her here, and I can’t wait to explore opportunities with her to collaborate.
Louisa Spring (Motus XR)
I cant think of a better way to segue Navah to Louisa than to highlight The Hive video they both featured in where Louisa gives a thorough overview of Telemedicine, and Telehealth and how the technology Motus XR is creating could have a significant impact on patient care.
I do encourage that you all watch the video it provides some great insights. From a personal standpoint I felt privileged to meet with Louisa in CES2020 earlier this year, she is a true champion of using technology for good.
When we sat down together at CES it felt almost as though I was talking with a friend I had known for years even though it was our very first meet. I was inspired by what Motus XR was doing with telehealth and truly wanted to help connect Louisa and her team with some of the goliath’s of the healthcare industry which are here in Ohio.
Louisa and her startup Motus XR is truly thinking of solutions to problems that the healthcare industry will face in coming years. While the journey of startup growth is met with challenges I am a true believer in the work that Louisa is doing.
We have since communicated with each other a few times about the journey for new innovative startups and how it is a challenging one, from early adoption to raising capital, the personal investments that founders make and the true passion and tenacity it takes to really build a business, Louisa has all these qualities and more and she has contributed her skills to many ventures from e-sports to mergers and acquisitions for VR companies.
Amy Peck (Endeavor VR)
Finally, Amy Peck. She has spoken at many events such as AWE and VRAR global summit, she has worked with global brands such as HTC Vive and also been a board member of the SXSW Accelerator for their pitch events. Amy is a rockstar in the immersive technology industry and has contributed so much in the past 4 years not only as a thought leader but also a specialist at executing end-to-end development and commercialization of VR and AR applications and solutions for a variety of industries.
I remember when I was trying to connect Amy with a few businesses and content creators here in Cleveland, not only was Amy excited by the work my friends here were doing but her strategic advice was exceptional during the discussion.
Amy gets it! She understands the business of immersive technology and is not only passionate about its potential but also knows how to drive results in any project she sets her mind too.
This completes my 2nd article about Women who are inspiring and do exceptional work in the technology industry. You will note from this article that I did focus on emerging tech like AR and VR and also there is a strong group of Northeast Ohio based women in my article this year.
I acknowledge just as I did in the first article that there are probably thousands more in the world and to you all we are grateful for everything you do. Slowly but surely technology as an industry is evolving from its traditional stereotypes of being male dominated, and it is not alone as an industry in this evolution; manufacturing, engineering, computer sciences are all areas where women are having a profound impact, and no doubt will play a critical role in filling the talent gaps that exist in the tech industry as we move forward to address the many challenges that still exist.