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Chief Executive Officer | Georgia FIRST Robotics
Connie is the Chief Executive Officer for FIRST in the state of Georgia, responsible for the daily operations of all four FIRST programs (FIRST Lego League Jr., FIRST Lego League, FIRST Tech Challenge and FIRST Robotics Competition). She is a member of the GeorgiaFIRST Board of Directors, GeorgiaFIRST Advisory Council, GeorgiaFIRST Leadership Committee, GeorgiaFIRST Tech Challenge Planning Committee, and the director of Georgia FIRST for Career Technical Education. Responsibilities include securing sponsorship and fostering relationships with industry, government and the education world for the operations of GeorgiaFIRST programs. This also includes sustainability of current FIRST teams and the development of new teams with GeorgiaFIRST programs. She has worked with the FIRST organization for over twenty years, being instrumental in bringing FIRST Lego League to Georgia and FIRST Robotics to Tennessee and Georgia. She is a former educator with a Masters Degree in Early Childhood and Gifted Education. In addition, she has served on the Governor’s Task Force for STEM Education in Georgia, the Governor’s High Demand Career Initiative for IT Task Force and the steering committee for TAG STEM awards and serves of the Board for Johnson STEM Center. Connie has the driving force behind GeorgiaFIRST obtaining the designation within our state A Career Technical Student Organization pathway.
Principal Research Scientist | Georgia Tech Research Institute
Dr. Lynn Fountain is a native of Atlanta who graduated from Lakeside High School. She earned a B.S. in Physics and a M.S. Electrical Engineering from Tennessee Technological University and a Ph.D. in Physics from Georgia Tech. From 1991-1996, Dr. Fountain worked for Georgia Tech’s Center for the Integration of Science, Mathematics, and Computing, which coordinated Georgia Tech’s K-12 STEM outreach. She focused on programs to encourage teachers to use more hands-on activities in science classrooms and to encourage more girls and women to pursue STEM careers. In 1996, Dr. Fountain joined the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI). From 1996 until 2010, Dr. Fountain’s work at GTRI focused on the study of radar cross section values measured from airborne or spaced based platforms and the use of electromagnetic codes to predict the performance of a wideband, co-planar antennas being developed by GTRI. Dr. Fountain coordinated the Radar Cross Section Reduction Short Course from 1996 until 2009. From 2016 until mid-2018, Dr. Fountain served at the Branch Lead of the Intelligence Analysis Branch in the Signals and Systems Division (SASD) of the Advanced Concepts Laboratory at GTRI. In mid-2018, she became Division Chief of SASD where she leads researchers. In 2009, Dr. Fountain won the Outstanding Staff Member award as part of the Georgia Tech Women’s Leadership Conference.
VP and Venture Partner | Atlanta Tech Village and Atlanta Ventures
As the Vice President of Atlanta Tech Village, America’s 4th largest tech startup hub, Karen Houghton has spoken with over 1,000 Founders and empowers and serves startups as an active Advisor. With a Master’s Degree in Psychology, Karen uses her leadership and communication skills to build communities that bring social good and economic empowerment. In just six years, the Village has grown annual revenue from $0 to $5M+ and has maintained a 100% occupancy rate since day one. Village startups have raised over $893M, created more than 6,500 jobs in Atlanta, and are a driving force behind the rise of innovation in our city. Karen is also one of the 8% of women in venture capital, serving as a Venture Partner with Atlanta Ventures. Atlanta Ventures invests in entrepreneurs though a startup studio that supports outstanding founders who are building companies from scratch. They have launched three companies this year while also providing early stage investments for startups building software as a service in the southeast. Karen has built three companies from the ground up, one of them as a Founder. She enjoys leading workshops that empower and connect women in technology with the goal of achieving parity in the tech industry. She has been recognized as one of 39 Atlanta Female Leaders to Follow on Social Media and one of Salesforce’s 10 Small Business Women Who Inspire.
Director of Information Technology | The Weather Channel
Dorren has 30 years of IT experience in academia and enterprise. With 19 years at The Weather Channel, she has led initiatives in virtualization, enterprise application, data migration, cyber-security, and migrating to the public cloud. Dorren and her team are responsible for the server, network, storage, and security infrastructure as well as the public cloud environment. Dorren is redefining the corporate security strategy for The Weather Channel. Prior to joining the network, she has been the Board Chair for TAG DevOps society, fundraising chair for TAG-ED, and a board member for Gwinnett Technical College, Holy Cross High School and the St. Joseph Academy. Dorren holds a B.S, M.ED, M.A., and Ph.Ds. Dorren has received a variety of honors and awards during her career; the youngest Ph.D. graduate at the UNO, the first recipient of The Weather Company Leadership Award (2013 Q1), The Weather Channel Storm Award nominee 2005, 2009, 2011, and outstanding graduate SJA 1997, SMDC 2005.
VP, Commercial Applications | Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG)
Noni Gonzalez is Vice President, Commercial Applications, at InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), where she leads the ongoing development, operation and maintenance of the company’s global revenue-generating technology systems in support of more than 5,700 hotels worldwide. Among her key accomplishments, she led the transition of IHG’s reservation systems into the cloud and led development and rollout of a game-changing hotel user interface that combines interactive workflow with IHG’s reservation and revenue systems. Additionally, Noni has full responsibility for the business-to-business platform used by online travel agencies, including Expedia. Her responsibilities include overseeing the revenue management systems that create pricing for all IHG hotels, as well as driving a new Revenue Services user experience for Hotel Revenue Managers. Noni also leads IHG’s worldwide sales, hotel content management and various revenue-based systems that provide high value for all IHG hotels, a Salesforce center of excellence, hotel content management systems and hotel owner technology solutions. Before joining IHG in late 2015, Noni held a series of progressive senior technology leadership roles at AT&T, spanning cloud platforms and solution engineering, business network and corporate solutions IT. She has also held technology leadership roles at Oracle and ADP.
SRI VAISHNAVI GHANTASALA
Senior | Chattahoochee High School
Sri Vaishnavi Ghantasala is an aspiring Data Analyst who enjoys helping others and participating in national and international competitions in various fields comprising math, world languages, and programming. Sri is pursuing her interests by serving as the Vice President of Chattahoochee High School’s CS (Computer Science) for Girls club, a Team Captain of her schools Modern Physics Club, and the President of Medha club (a part of her cultural group). In her sophomore year, Sri co-founded SpeakPro, a public speaking-oriented club at her school, to help her peers improve their communication skills. In her spare time, Sri enjoys sketching, singing, playing badminton, and learning new languages (she is currently trilingual and hopes to learn more languages). She plans to study Computer Science and Math in college.
Enterprise Technology Executive – Data | State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Companies®
DeWayne Griffin is an executive for State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Companies. In his executive role in Enterprise Technology, DeWayne has oversight of areas responsible for data and analytics, including strategy, management and modernization. He is responsible for the processes, standards and governance that ensure data is recognized and protected. He is also responsible for helping the enterprise leverage data to produce insights that deliver competitive advantage. DeWayne has more than 17 years of experience with State Farm.
DeWayne joined State Farm in 2000 and has served in a variety of IT leadership roles, where he has experience building high-performing teams, working on high-pressure and time-sensitive business challenges and delivering results. He assumed his current position in January 2018.
DeWayne received a bachelor's degree in computer science from California University of Pennsylvania. He earned his General Insurance designation in 2003 and Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation in 2007.
Director of Transformation at ADP | CEO of Innovative Events
As a technology senior leader and change management champion, I have more than 15 years of experience leading innovation, building quality programs, championing department startups and reorganizations, driving profitable growth, managing risk, recruiting talent, and driving process improvements that align business units with companywide strategic and financial objectives. As an organization transformation and restructuring expert, I have built critical technology teams and shared services departments that set the standard for program innovation and service excellence. My experience is across a broad range of business segments including Information Technology, Internal Audit, Operations and Claims.
Rachel has unselfishly dedicated over 5 years to volunteering for Women In Technology.
In this role as an industry and college engagement leader, I help connect students to their dream jobs by connecting them to companies seeking interns and entry-level hires. The WIT Campus Program serves 14 colleges and universities in and around Atlanta, and as far as Statesboro and Columbus. I lead a team of 70 volunteers and the WIT Campus Program serves approximately 1000 female students in STEAM related degrees. I develop and strengthen industry relationships in the Atlanta market as well as identify prospective external partners for outreach. In addition, I evaluate, plan and host on-campus employer recruiting visits and events, provide career coaching and lead strategic professional development events for WIT Campus students. I'm intimately engaged in the career development process and have a comprehensive understanding of the technical job market. WIT Campus is a student-centered program that requires collaboration of volunteers, college faculty and staff, and students in order to support the success of the students who are members of the WIT on-campus clubs.
Donates her time and resources as a Cub Scout and Weblos Pack leader. She also believes in supporting young women in Technology through her regular and long standing mentorship in the WIT organization of the last 5 years. Currently the Sr. Volunteer Director of the WIT Campus Program.