WIT’s Women of the Year Awards, created in 2000, celebrates female technology executives in Georgia for their accomplishments as leaders in business, visionaries of technology, groundbreakers in business and remarkable leaders who make a difference in our community.
Congratulations to the 2015 WIT Women of the Year Finalists!
Small/Emerging Business Category:
CEO | Edge Solutions
Julie Haley is the CEO and majority owner of Edge Solutions. She is ultimately responsible for all operations and financial aspects of the business, including managing the company’s P & L and overseeing the budget. With a law degree from the University of South Carolina and years of prior experience as a business and commercial litigator, Haley also acts as the company’s legal counsel and she negotiates, drafts and reviews contracts and legal agreements with vendors and customers.
While starting this business, Haley has continually stretched and expanded her capabilities as a leader of a technology solution company, and has adopted many roles. From the start, Haley has refused venture capital funding in order to build and retain the company’s unique culture of inclusion, support and diversity. Accordingly, managing growth has been a significant challenge. Edge Solutions started with one manufacturing (HP) partner and has since become certified to sell all the major technology company’s products, including Hitachi Data Systems, Dell, Citrix, NetApp, Cisco, VMWare, as well as newer, cutting-edge technologies like Veeam, Swiftstack, and cloud offerings. With each new offering, Haley has to weigh the cost of adding qualified engineers and technical training to meet necessary qualifications. Also, Edge’s growth from zero to $24 million in sales has necessitated Haley’s constant search for capitol and credit lines from many different sources. Accordingly, with each new initiative, and Haley successfully evaluated the benefit of each new technology offering versus issues of cash flow and the availability of human resources to support going to market with the new solution.
Owner and CEO | LAN Systems
Mary Hester is the CEO of LAN Systems which provides IT solutions in the Greater Metro Atlanta Area. LAN Systems is dedicated to providing business technology that works for people. LAN Systems is a wholly owned subsidiary of Intelligent System Solutions, Inc. (ISS) which has provided high-tech consulting, sales and service to utility customers since 2004. An expert in customer loyalty and retention, Mary brings extensive experience managing a support and service group renowned for its “Best in the Industry” rating and standards. She has designed and delivered numerous training courses and workshops on a variety of topics.
Prior to founding ISS, Mary worked as the Support and Services Department Head for Advanced Control Systems providing assistance to customers on a wide-range of topics. Mary has a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago and an MBA from the University of Georgia at Athens. Mary is active in the industry and serves on several committees that address security concerns for public utilities, including the Board of Utility Technology Associates, a not-for-profit dedicated to the advancement of education and training for electric power utilities, which conducts the Southeastern Meter School and the Distribution Apparatus School.
President of Security Solutions | Numerex Corporation
Kelly Gay is the President of Security Solutions, Numerex Corporation. Numerex (NASDAQ: NMRX) is a leading provider of interactive and on-demand machine-to-machine (M2M) enterprise solutions enabling the Internet of Things. Kelly recently joined Numerex after Omnilink Systems was successfully acquired by Numerex in 2014. She was CEO and President of Omnilink Systems.
Kelly is the past Chairman, CEO and President of KnowledgeStorm, an online media company providing search, lead generation, and marketing services to global technology organizations. Kelly led KnowledgeStorm from start-up to annual sales of $20 million, and from a significant operating loss to profitability. This success earned the company prestigious rankings and awards, including the Inc. 500, the Deloitte Technology Fast 500, BtoB's Media Power 50, and Software Magazine's Software 500. KnowledgeStorm was acquired by TechTarget (NASDAQ: TTGT) in 2007.
Prior to joining KnowledgeStorm, Kelly led IBM in the entertainment, publishing, printing, advertising, broadcast, cable and sports markets as Vice President of IBM's North American Media and Entertainment division. During her tenure, the IBM business unit grew to $1.2 billion in sales, with 18% annual growth over a three-year period.
Kelly has recently been recognized by The Indus Entrepreneurs as a 2015 Atlanta Top Entrepreneur, Connected World magazine in their inaugural list of the Women of M2M, and M2M Now in their inaugural list of the Women of IoT.
Kelly is a magna cum laude graduate of Newcomb College of Tulane University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics. She was the first Newcomb College recipient in the school’s history to receive the Murphy Prize in Political Economy, awarded by the Murphy Institute.
Medium / Mid-Size Organization Category:
Sr. Vice President and Chief Information Officer | Gwinnett Health System
Patty is the Sr. Vice President and Chief Information Officer of Gwinnett Medical Center where she provides the business leadership and vision for the strategic development, successful implementation and management of information resources and technology for the Gwinnett Health System. She is also the founder of CIO Consulting, LLC. She has more than 20 years of experience as a leader in healthcare information technology.
She has served as Chief Information Officer for three regional health systems, developing each organization’s IT strategy and implementing operational improvements and technology-related regulatory compliance policies. Her experience includes, and is not limited to, developing IT governance, implementing EMRs, relocating data centers, spearheading major system selection and long-range planning. Patty has participated in the planning and development of both statewide and local health information exchanges, serving as Chair of both the Georgia Health Information Technology and Transparency Advisory Board and the Chatham County Safety Net Planning Council’s IT Consortium. She has maintained industry involvement throughout her career, including participation in national organizations, such as VHA, HIMSS, ACHE and CHIME. Her interviews and publications are distributed via multiple media formats for national IT journals and their audiences.
Chief Information Officer | Fulton County Schools
Serena Sacks has been a transformational business and Information Technology leader for more than 25 years across corporate, non-profit, and government sectors. She has gained a comprehensive perspective through a variety of executive leadership positions and C-level consulting roles, working for organizations such as IBM, Walt Disney World, Harcourt, Wyndham, Florida Virtual School, and, now, Fulton County School District in Atlanta. Ms. Sacks earned her B.A. and M.S. in an accelerated program at SUNY Stony Brook, graduating Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa and had the honor of being selected as a Presidential Management Intern. She holds certifications in Enterprise IT Governance from ISACA, Six Sigma/LEAN Process Excellence, and Professional Project Management (PMI) and has extensive training in Strategic Execution through the Balanced Scorecard Collaborative. Appreciated for her strategic vision, excellence in operational delivery, and strong relationship skills, Ms. Sacks has effectively driven top line growth, customer satisfaction, and cost savings programs – depending on the needs of the organization.
Director, IT | Georgia Public Library Service
Emily Almond is the Director of Information Technology for the Georgia Public Library Service. Prior to joining the team at the GPLS, she was a project manager and archive manager for ajc.com, an electronic services coordinator for Emory University, and a metadata specialist for CNN. She currently manages the statewide library network, open-source software development, strategic planning and business process design for the Georgia Public Library Service. She graduated from Kennesaw State University with a B.S. in Communications, and has a Master of Science degree in Information Studies from Florida State University
Large / Enterprice Organization Category
Vice President, Digital Content Studio | Scientific Games
With 27 years of experience, Amy Hill leads the Digital Content Studio for the Lottery division of Scientific Games, a leading developer of technology-based products and services and associated content for worldwide gaming, lottery and interactive markets. She manages the development of a product portfolio encompassing promotional web sites, players clubs, loyalty programs, mobile apps, and interactive games. Her work entails creating new global solutions to leverage omni-channel technology to engage today’s consumer. Amy’s passion for new products is evident. She is an inventor on 10 issued patents for Scientific Games. Previously, Amy was responsible for our lottery linked game program, creating exciting national consumer promotions tied to popular television game shows such as Deal or No Deal®.
She developed business models to drive bottom line profitability and made lottery linked games a success. Her initial position was in product management/marketing for lottery draw systems solutions where she created a market presence for Scientific Games building a robust new game portfolio. Amy also worked at IGT-OES for 14 years where she progressively served in the capacities of retail product marketing, customer account management, strategic marketing planning, advertising, market analysis and product development. Amy holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington and is certified in Quantitative Marketing Analysis.
Senior Vice President of Global Solutions Delivery | IHG
As SVP of the Global Solutions Delivery team, Laura sets the strategic direction, development and delivery of IHG’s guests, hotels, partners, employee and corporate technology solutions as well as for IHG’s data & quality assurance programs. Laura is responsible for 600 reports and $100M annual budget. Laura holds 20+ years of technology experience and spent 10 years in senior leadership roles. Prior to joining IHG, Laura served as SVP at First Data Corporation, a global technology and payments processing leader serving more than six million merchant locations, thousands of card issuers, and millions of consumers worldwide. At First Data, set the strategic direction of the North America Financial Services Platforms. Also during her tenure at First Data, Laura held other key leadership roles including leadership of Asia Pacific, Latin America and Caribbean, Europe, Middle East and Africa Application Development teams, establishment of the Testing Center of Excellence, development and execution of a global demand management process and the implementation of the CA Clarity PPM solution. Laura was responsible for approximately 1,200 employees and a $120M annual budget. Laura holds a Bachelor of Science in Information Systems Management and Masters of Science in Computer Systems Management from the University of Maryland. She is a certified Project Management Professional and a member of the Project Management Institute (PMI) and the Society for Information Mgmt. (SIM).
SVP, Governance Relations, McKesson Corporation | McKesson Corporation
Loretta Cecil is Senior Vice President, Governance Relations, McKesson Corporation, and General Counsel, McKesson Technology Solutions. With annual revenues of $179 billion, McKesson Corporation is 11th on the Fortune 100, and one of world’s largest healthcare companies. Entering her 34th year as a practicing attorney, Loretta supports McKesson’s Board of Directors, Chairman and CEO, and other members of McKesson’s Executive Committee regarding governance and related investor outreach. Loretta also provides all legal support for McKesson Technology Solutions, one of two reporting segments for McKesson Corporation.
In 2014, Loretta also was asked to serve in a special one‐year assignment as Senior Vice President, Public Affairs, McKesson Corporation. In this position, she was responsible for leading McKesson’s public policy and external lobbying efforts. Loretta successfully held the foregoing three senior executive positions simultaneously, leveraging her significant knowledge of McKesson and legal and policy issues.
Prior to her nine years at McKesson, Loretta held senior positions at AT&T Corp where she was AT&T’s top attorney and regulatory and legislative lobbyist in the South, and also NCR Corporation where she was General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer for NCR’s Retail Division. Loretta also has been a member of Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, LLP, where she led the law firm’s Telecommunications Practice Group and Georgia Government Relations Practice Group. Loretta’s legal, lobbying, and compliance experience covers all aspects of technology creation and promotion, including product development, intellectual property protection, sales, marketing, as well as government regulation and advocacy.