WIT Connect’s Thought Leadership Series

Atlanta, Georgia – June 3, 2015 – Over 50 companies are participating in this year’s 21st Annual WIT Connect to raise funds and support programs for Women in Technology’s (WITs) mission to serve as passionate advocates for women of all ages in Georgia’s STEM community.  The 2015 WIT Connect Presented by Dell, is a unique, auction-style fundraiser where companies bid on “time” with executives from top Georgia corporations.  Corporate tables and individual tickets are still available for this year’s event, held on June 11th at 6PM at the Georgia Aquarium.

WHAT:  21st Annual WIT Connect Presented by Dell

WHEN:  Thursday, June 11, 2015 @ 6PM

WHERE:  Georgia Aquarium, 225 Baker St., NW, Atlanta, GA 30313

WIT Connect: Thought Leadership Series:  Mona Charif — Prove Yourself for Yourself

With more than 20 years of diverse experience in the IT industry, Mona Charif joined Dell as vice president of Marketing and Communications for Dell Services in 2012. As a member of that organization’s senior leadership team, she leads marketing and communications strategy and execution to increase awareness and generate demand for Infrastructure and Cloud Computing, Applications and Business Process Outsourcing services, as well as industry verticals including healthcare, banking/insurance, government, manufacturing and transportation.

Mona serves as co-chair of the “Wise” Employee Resource Group at Dell, an organization dedicated to the acquisition, retention and development of female talent. Mona is actively involved in the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network (DWEN) and will serve as a panelist at the organization’s global conference in Berlin later this month, where she will discuss how digital technology helps women entrepreneurs transcend traditional barriers of doing business.

Mona serves as Dell’s Executive Sponsor to the American Red Cross, and has been active in the opening of their Digital Operations Centers in Dallas and the San Francisco Bay Area. She was recently named to the Social Arts & Science Institute’s Who’s Who list of the Top Ten Employee Advocate Rock Stars of 2015.

Mona earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s of business administration degree from the University of Texas, and has also completed executive development programs at Thunderbird, Wharton, and Cornell.

Born in the Middle East, Mona moved with her family to the United States at age 10. “I came from a part of the world that doesn’t necessarily support young girls and women in all endeavors,” she remembers. “Much is focused on what women CAN’T do, versus what they CAN do.”

And, she points out that it can be that way for women no matter where they come from, especially in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines.

“Research shows that a diverse team that’s reflective of your customer base will achieve better business results and have a positive effect on the bottom line,” she says. “But, many women are asked or expected to prove themselves over and over again.

“As I look back on some of the formative experiences in my life and my career, I realize that one of the biggest reasons I did things was because people told me that I couldn’t. So, I chose to do those things and prove it for myself.”

She admits that it hasn’t always been easy, but says it’s absolutely “doable.”

“I’ve learned so much from my mentors – whether they were women or men – about staying true to my values, working hard and still making a significant impact in business while creating the balance that’s best for me and my family.”

To rise through the ranks, Mona accepted or volunteered for assignments and responsibilities that were out of her comfort zone to widen her experience. One example was a challenge in the burgeoning early days of IT: standing up a former company’s first intranet site.

“Women have to be trailblazers and risk takers,” she says. “Too often, women think they must have 100% of the skills needed to do a job. To broaden our skills and experience, we have to raise our hands and take on tasks even if we’re not 100% qualified.”

One of the greatest influencers on Mona’s career has been Charlie Feld, whose leadership competencies helped shape her executive path in IT. Her favorite examples include practical concepts like living by positive principles of honesty, respect and fairness, even when it’s not easy to do; doing what it takes to build a great team; staying focused on solutions; pursuing the right results; and approaching your work as a challenge, not just a job.

“Ultimately it takes the support of women and men to help women succeed in IT, from Michael Dell serving on the board of Catalyst, to my female and male co-chairs who serve with me for Wise, I’m proud that Dell has so many initiatives and opportunities for women.”

She points out that Dell was first in the IT industry to pilot a learning program called Men Advocating Real Change (MARC), an initiative for men who are committed to achieving gender equality in the work place.

Mona believes in Sheryl Sandberg’s (“Lean In”) idea that it would be a better world if half of our countries and companies were run by women.

“It should be a 50/50 proposition. But until then,” she says, “let’s keep proving it for ourselves.”

PHILANTHROPY

Proceeds from WIT Connect support WIT Foundation initiatives like Girls Get IT, WIT on Campus, and grants to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) focused nonprofits and local schools. WIT is also partnering with Emory Continuing Education to enhance WIT’s professional development courses; three new Certificate Programs will begin in the fall, 2015: 1) Develop Self, 2) Manage Others and 3) Master Leadership. 

Since 2007, WIT Connect has raised more than $2 million to support WIT’s mission. Funds raised enable WIT to provide networking, thought leadership, and professional development opportunities to Georgia’s leading women in technology. 

SPONSORSHIPS

For Table Sponsorship or individual tickets, please contact Pat Hurston, phurston@mywit.org; (T) 470-823-3228.

ABOUT WOMEN IN TECHNOLOGY

Women in Technology, an Atlanta-based organization, passionately supports women at every stage of their STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) careers — from the classroom to the boardroom. WIT has set a goal of making Georgia the state with the highest percentage of women in the STEM workforce by the year 2020. WIT enables women to build strong networks, develop leadership skills and advance their careers. WIT is the largest, most active female-centered STEM organization in the metro Atlanta region.

For additional information and to register: click REGISTER.