It is Time to Celebrate MN Women in Tech

by Valerie Lockhart

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Pioneer Women in Tech Awards2019 is drawing to a close, and it is time to reflect on the last twelve months (and decade, for that matter) to remember what we are thankful for, what we need to focus on in the coming new year, and to spend some quality time with our beloved friends and family. And for the community group Minnesota Women in Tech, it is also time to put the finishing touches on plans for the third annual MN Pioneer Women in Tech Awards.

Every year, this event brings amazing women to the forefront for a night of celebration and appreciation. Nominations begin in early November, and once closed, a small panel decides which three nominees are to be chosen to receive the “Pioneer” awards for the year. Winners in the past have included Technologist and Engineer, Brianna McCullough, Chief Information Security Officer, Jadee Hanson, and Virtual Reality Innovator, Paige Dansinger.

This year is no exception to the rule, with some high caliber, community-focused women being honored with this very prestigious award:

Sue Ann Rodriquez, WeCo

Sue Ann has committed her entire career to digital accessibility, so everyone can access the Internet and digital communications, no matter their ability. As a professional living with a disability, Sue Ann has not allowed her blindness to be an obstacle, instead, her subject matter experience makes her a sought-after trainer at conferences and events, which she does to teach others and pave the way to expand the accessibility services industry.

Heide Antholz, Total Expert

Heide is a champion for women across Total Expert’s technology, business, and professional services teams. She does this by bridging communication and process gaps between backend tech teams and front-end business functions, as well as mentoring three of her female coworkers at the same time. Heide holds weekly meetings with her mentees to set goals and objectives for growth, work through challenges, and continue to develop their skill sets both personally and professionally. Her best advice given to women, especially in tech: “Shy away from shyness and use your voice.”

Devan Sayles, General Mills / Aspirations in Computing

Devan spends her days working as the Manager of Data Engineering for General Mills. From intern to Manager, Devan has embraced a career that combines her love of tech and food. Devan has also spent a good amount of the last six years volunteering for the MN Apspirations in Computing (MNAIC) program. Through that work, she regularly speaks to classes of highschool girls, encouraging them to embrace their love of technology, volunteers on the St. Louis Park Highschool’s IT Pathways committee, and leads the MNAIC annual awards committee.

Please join us for a celebration of these women and the contributions they are making to other women within their communities and companies. This happy hour event will be held Tuesday, December 10th at the Code42 offices in Downtown Minneapolis. There will be food, drinks, a pop-up podcast livestream, and gift bags for the first 50 guests to arrive.

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