Sandy Welfare is an accomplished executive with a proven record of success in global operations management, talent acquisition management, software development and implementation (SAP and Oracle). She began her career in Connecticut as the Controller for an insurance agency, and then quickly advanced through progressively more challenging roles with international telecommunications leader, Lucent Technologies. While at Lucent, her responsibilities included the management of the Singapore shared services hub for the Asia Pacific region as well as managing the Australia/New Zealand in-country operations.
Sandy was then recruited by business process outsourcing company, Xchanging. Advancing to the role of Managing Director of their office in London, UK, Sandy was responsible for building the company’s India business process outsourcing/offshoring capabilities for the various sectors/business units to align with the company’s strategic intent and change management. She was integrally involved in business initiatives that accounted for a profitability turn-around for the company.
While at Xchanging, Sandy was a committed volunteer for the Cool Girls organization. When she returned to the U.S. she continued that involvement, volunteering her time to the Cool Girls After-School Program and Cool Sister Program. She went on to join the Cool Girls Board of Directors – becoming the Board Chair in 2008. In 2009, the organization asked her to become Executive Director – A decision that had a tremendous positive impact on the organization. Through Sandy’s work and commitment to the organization, Cool Girls was able to expand its budget, extend their programs, and most importantly create greater impact with their mission of improving the lives of at-risk girls.
During her time with Cool Girls, Sandy realized even more clearly, the challenges that women and girls face in breaking through the barriers of the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. And it was that challenge that she wanted to take on as she accepted the Executive Director role with Women in Technology (WIT) Atlanta. WIT’s mission is to support women at every stage of their STEM careers—from the classroom to the boardroom. It is a mission for which Sandy is extremely passionate:
“One of my high school teachers pushed me towards Math when she realized that it came pretty easy to me. As time has gone by, my career has allowed me to align math to an organization’s financial operation. There are so many STEM paths available to girls now from science, technology, engineering and math because the industries have opened up to jobs of the future. I want girls to embrace their intelligence and take their knowledge of math, science, or whatever they love to the next level.”
– Sandy Welfare
WIT creates and manages events throughout the year, working in partnership with Atlanta companies, to introduce young women to the many possibilities of careers in science, technology, engineering, and math. For women already in the workforce, WIT offers monthly networking forums with STEM leaders, which offer continued guidance, encouragement and insight into how they can continue to advance in STEM fields – Never losing site of the most important aspect, this is a shared journey.
We asked Sandy, how companies can advance women in STEM within their organization and what are the initiatives of WIT to also advance women.
“Whether I am talking with a small, medium or large company, they are all looking to bring in the best talent for their organizations. Many of these companies have diversity and inclusion strategic plans in place to bring on more women in STEM. As I share with them, advancing women in STEM is really about effective change management – part of the entire strategic plan for the organization with real intention and deliverables to move the company forward. We want women and girls equipped to take on the STEM careers of the future with companies across all industries.
Within WIT, we have programs and events that allow us to support women and girls from the classroom to the boardroom. Whether you are a WIT Girl in the 8th grade, or a new hire at an engineering or tech company, WIT is there as a resource to support you. We are also excited about a recent $100,000 grant award, WIT programs will further connect to WIT Girls and WIT Campus for our young ladies in the under-served communities. This funding will allow us to make a bigger impact in the state of Georgia.”
More About Sandy Welfare
Reading: I am currently reading “STEM Gems” by Stephanie Espy, which is the story of 40 fabulous STEM women. At the start of each new year, I re-read “Seat of the Soul” by Gary Zukav, as it is one of my favorite books of all times and a must read for anyone who does self-reflection.
Best Advice You’ve Ever Received: My best advice was from Johnny Cochran, who shared with me that success comes from ‘Preparation, preparation, preparation.’