ChiWitCon : Breaking Barriers
Women taking charge and pushing forward no matter what the barriers may be.

October 4, 2023

Breaking barriers is a testament to the indomitable spirit of women, who fearlessly embrace the challenges ahead, shatter stereotypes, and forge a path of progress.  Join the powerful community of Chicago’s women technologists for this year’s CHIWITCON: Breaking Barriers, a day of inspiring conversations and workshops designed to expand your network, broaden your community, and help you craft your narrative in this new chapter.

CHIWITCON™ is an inspiring gathering of technologists from Chicago and beyond. Open to all genders across all platforms and technologies, the CHIWITCON™ brings the achievements, aspirations, and career interests of inspiring individuals in technology to the forefront. Listen to exciting speakers with plenty of discussion time and enjoy a fireside chat. Stay for the fun, relaxing networking opportunity following the conference.

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Tickets are sold out for 2023! We look forward to seeing you there!


Semira Allen

Site Reliability Engineer


Semira has played a role in planning and facilitating tech meetups since 2017. She was involved with both Cyber Security Non-Profit, an organization that aims to make cyber security education attainable for all people as well as Chicago Agile Open Space which was a collaborative community for Chicago based agile practitioners. She has also been involved with the program team for Agile 2023 and 2024. In her spare time Semira mentors young people in college towards their professional goals and explores her city through food.

Aïcha Ly


SITB (Start in the Beginning)

Aïcha is an executive, speaker, and CEO with 15 years of experience in Strategic Insights across multiple industries and Fortune 500 companies including Comcast, Independence Blue Cross, and URBN Inc. She is currently Head of Consumer Insights at Opensignal, the leading global provider of insights integrating network experience and market performance. As Founder & CEO of Start in The Beginning (SITB), she helps professionals and entrepreneurs learn how to communicate their value so they can make a lasting impression, expand their influence, and accelerate their growth. A native of Senegal, West Africa, she draws from her experience being a triple minority in leadership – female, a foreigner, and Black – to champion and advocate for others.

Meghan Anzelc

Chief Data and Analytics Officer

Three Arc Advisory

Meghan Anzelc, Ph.D. is an experienced executive in driving positive business impact through the use of data, artificial intelligence and technology. Previously Global Head of Data and Analytics at Spencer Stuart and Chief Analytics Officer at AXIS Capital, Dr. Anzelc is skilled at determining how existing and emerging technologies can be applied to business problems and providing jargon-free guidance to senior executives on technology and digital strategy and decision trade-offs. After receiving her PhD in experimental high-energy particle physics from Northwestern University, Dr. Anzelc went on to a decade-long career in the property/casualty insurance industry and was then recruited into Spencer Stuart, a >$1B leading executive search and leadership advisory firm, to build their data and analytics function from scratch.

Dr. Anzelc’s global experience in data and AI have made her uniquely qualified to shape strategy at businesses adapting to new and emerging AI capabilities ethically while managing risk appropriately. She has given voice to the capture and understanding of data and helped organizations unlock value from their data assets. Her skills in determining how existing and emerging technologies can be applied to business problems and her M and A strategy and due diligence experience have been an asset to companies experiencing transition and disruption. Her leadership has positively impacted multi-billion dollar books of business driving top and bottom line improvements at organizations from $1B to $25B and she serves as a strategic advisor to C-suite executives and boards of directors on AI, data, and digital transformation across strategy and operations.

Dr. Anzelc currently serves as an Advisor to startups, served on the board and as chair of the Nom/Gov Committee of the Chicago Literacy Alliance, on the Grantmaking Committee of the Chicago Foundation for Women’s Young Women’s Giving Council, on the Steering Committee of the Women in Insurance Networking Group, and as an Advisory Board member to the American Physical Society's Advancing Graduate Leadership initiative. She holds a Master’s and PhD in Physics and Astronomy from Northwestern University and a Bachelor’s in Physics from Loyola University Chicago.

Pamela Coley

Senior Manager, Talent & Recruiting

Bully Pulpit Interactive

Pamela Coley, CHRP, CIR, is a highly accomplished Senior Manager of Talent & Recruiting currently working for Bully Pulpit Interactive, bringing over 15 years of consulting and company-aiding expertise. She is a true industry expert with an extensive background in optimizing operational processes and promoting organizational growth across companies of all sizes. Pamela has lent her talents to start-ups and Fortune 1000 companies alike, including Kellogg, Deloitte (DTTS) Division, and McDonald's, where she contributed to the successful digital transformation of their Global Divisions. Her expertise has been instrumental in helping Exact Data, MiQ, and HeathiPASS scale by creating a solid talent framework and streamlining their operations. Additionally, Pamela is the CEO and founder of geekfinders, a company specializing in Career Coaching and Staffing. With her deep understanding of technology and unwavering dedication to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives, Pamela is an engaging speaker, passionate about people, and an asset to any organization fortunate enough to work with her.

Christina Fernandes-D'Souza

Director of Data Science

Three Arc Advisory

Christina Fernandes-D’Souza is a Data and Analytics Leader with over 15 years of global, cross-industry experience combining strategy, data, analytics, machine learning, artificial intelligence and technology, in both the private and public sectors, delivering business opportunities and competitive advantage. Currently, Director of Data Science at Three Arc Advisory, guiding startups and established companies on how to drive positive business impact. Previously, Director of Data Science at Spencer Stuart and various roles at Zurich North America. She holds a Master’s in Applied Mathematics.

Miriam Gordillo-Chavez

Associate Support Developer

United Airlines

Miriam Gordillo-Chavez is a former i.c.stars intern who went on to work at United Airlines as an Associate Support Developer and recently celebrated her first work anniversary. She enjoys learning new technologies and languages to contribute to her team's work and success and takes on any learning opportunity with gratitude. She is passionate about helping others along their career journey, enjoys making different types of salads, and is a cat lover.

Mary Ann Korenic


The Chicago Trust Company, N.A.

As Chief Executive Officer for The Chicago Trust Company, Mary Ann Korenic is responsible for creating, communicating, and implementing the firm’s vision, mission, and overall strategic business development efforts.

She brings over 26 years of wealth management, trust, estate planning, and fiduciary expertise to the role. Upon joining Wintrust in 2013, she started in the Trust Company as a Trust Officer and Senior Wealth Advisor. From there, Mary Ann broadened her responsibilities within the Wintrust Wealth Services group leading business development initiatives and operating as the key point of contact for high net worth clients, business owners, and prospects in matters relating to trust and estate planning. In 2018, Mary Ann was promoted to Managing Director in Wealth Services, taking responsibility for leading the team of private bankers in the Chicago market.

Rain Leander

Developer Advocate

Temporal Technologies

Rain Leander is a systematic, slightly psychic, interdisciplinary community liaison with a Bachelor’s in dance and a Master’s in IT. An epic public speaker, they have disappeared within a box stuffed with swords, created life, and went skydiving with the Queen. Seriously. Rain is an active technical contributor with Temporal, CockroachDB, Tinkerbell, OpenStack, RDO, TripleO, Fedora, and DjangoGirls. Come say hello. Bring cake.

Meghan McCann

CEO, Founder

McCann Partners

Megan McCann is an established IT recruitment and technology services leader known for building and leading highly successful IT services firms, and for her work to advance diversity and cultivate talent across the technology industry.

Megan is the CEO of the leading IT recruitment firm McCann Partners, which she founded in 2011. She and her team deliver IT recruitment with intention and integrity to a growing portfolio of innovative organizations—from Chicago-based startups to companies with a global footprint. McCann Partners is dedicated to creating a more equitable and diverse workforce, and proud that more than 70% of their talent placements since 2020 have been diverse hires. Prior to McCann Partners, Megan co-founded and helped build Geneva Technical Services (GTS) and was a strategic force in growing SelecTech—both premier IT recruitment firms.

Megan’s impact on the tech community far exceeds her day-to-day work as CEO of her own firm. Passionate about attracting, retaining, and advancing women in technology, Megan is a proud co-founder of ARA, a national organization that seeks to promote women in technology and leadership through mentorship, events, and programs.

She is also a founding partner of the Chicago Executive Women’s Networking Group, an active member of Chicago Innovation’s Women’s Mentoring Co-Op, a judge for both the Chicago Innovation Awards and 1871’s Momentum Awards, and a Chicago Tech Academy High School (ChiTech) board member, where she recently served on the search committee to hire a new principal. In addition, she is a Chicago Business Journal Bizwomen Headliner in Technology, Chicago Business Journal Women of Influence, a three-time Midwest Women in Tech Awards finalist, and an Illinois Technology Association CityLIGHTS finalist. In 2021, Megan was named to Staffing Industry Analysts inaugural Top 50 DE&I Influencers list and selected as a ChiTech Young Women's Leadership Society Ambassador of the Year. Earlier this year, Megan was honored by Chicago Innovation with a Celebrating Women in Innovation Award and named a Top 100 Staffing Leaders to Watch by World Staffing Summit.

Nina Meehan

Chief Creativity Officer


I am a creativity and communication expert, Founder and CEO, award-winning director, playwright, producer,  and an internationally recognized arts educator. My work in innovation and creativity, which has reached over a million people, takes me across the globe as a workshop leader, coach, and consultant, and I bring together the power of story and innovation to unlock human potential through play and creative expression. My work and clients span sectors from tech and web3 to education and nonprofits.

A two time TedX speaker, I have had the honor of being an invited speaker for various organizations including the National Endowment for the Arts, Entrepreneurs Organization, Oath Care Summit, Podfest Global, Montalvo Educator Conference, Junior Theatre Festival Australia and Visioni in Bologna.

My writing and work have been spotlighted in numerous publications including, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, American Theatre Magazine, San Francisco Chronicle, Barron’s, Red Tricycle, ABC News, NBC News, and CBS News.

With a background as an artist, storyteller, educator, founder and CEO, I am uniquely qualified to bring the tools of innovation to the workplace, home, school, and beyond.  I hold my BS in theatre from Northwestern University, a Master’s of Nonprofit Administration from the University of San Francisco, and am currently working on my PhD in Creativity, Innovation and Leadership. I am also a certified yoga instructor.

When not consulting, training or speaking, I am a nature-lover who can be found hiking in the mountains, on a lake doing SUP yoga or cross country skiing in the winter with my 3 kids.

Tiffany Prince

CEO & Chief Performance Officer

Prince Performance LLC

Tiffany Prince, founder of Prince Performance LLC, is an internationally renowned speaker with extensive experience in leading, developing, and empowering others. Serving a wide array of corporate and government clients, she develops and delivers customized coaching, training, and workshops that help organizations fill employees’ skill gaps, neutralize the negative effects of globalization, and build more inclusive workplaces. Tiffany obtained her Master’s degree in Business Administration, majoring in Global Business Management, from Pepperdine University. She is certified as an ICF ACC Executive Leadership coach and has served in multiple board member roles for the Association of Talent Development (ATD), including as the President of the Metro DC Chapter, VP of Membership of ATD Chicagoland, and recently as a National Advisor for Chapters for ATD. She currently is serving on the Business Intelligence Council of Chief Learning Officer. Tiffany is the author of the book, “Top of the Mountain Leadership: The Future of Performance and Productivity in a Technology Changing World.”

Sasha Reznik

Senior Business Analyst


Sasha Reznik is a Senior Business Analyst within the Strategy, Planning and Business Operations team at Cisco Systems. She has been at Cisco for the last three years upon graduating with her Business Analytics and Organizational Communications undergraduate degrees from the University of Miami FL - at the height of the pandemic. As a recent MBA graduate from Loyola University Chicago, she strives to better align expectations, communications, and information across product functions and business units. She is also a huge advocate for early-in-career growth, and curates’ specific people-programming events for women in engineering, and young professionals through various employee resource groups at the company. Outside of work, she enjoys dog-watching at the Chicago lakefront, and building her ever-growing set of vinyl records

Temitope Sadiku

Strategic Planning Lead – Strategy, Transformation, Agile and Revolution

The Kraft Heinz Company

Tope has an eclectic background, majoring in finance, economics, psychology, and human-centric design. Tope has partnered with multiple Fortune 500 organisations, integrating her academic knowledge to drive profitability in a more responsible conscientious manner. She has worked with Kraft Heinz for the past six years and has relocated from London to Chicago. Currently serving as their Strategic Planning Lead within the Strategy, Transformation, Agile and Revolution org, Tope’s focus is to tell Kraft Heinz’s transformation story focusing on the intersection of the future of food and technology. Tope is a thought leader in the area of Future of Work, Tech and Food, actively contributing towards research and experimentation in how people interact, achieve objectives, connect and collaborate between physical and virtual spaces. She also serves as a Board Member for; the Institute of Work and Economy, the Science and Technology Coalition, The Luminarts Cultural Foundation, YWCA Women in Tech and is the Executive Chair of the Network of Executive Women, exploring how societies and economies will achieve the promise of work and life through technology and the arts. She enjoys experimenting and draws inspiration from abstract concepts as well as nature.

Christine Sandman Stone


Deliver at Scale

Christine pairs a master’s in management and organizational behavior with experience working with a large community of tech start-ups and with elite companies like Dell, McDonald’s, Volkswagen, and Groupon.
As a trusted advisor to organizations and leaders–and a mentor to hundreds of working professionals–her transformational and pragmatic guidance drives results at scale.   She is a partner to one, parent to four, author of The Modern Management Mentor, and a mentor to many.
And for fun, she likes to track the number of women she helps get new jobs, promotions, and raises.

Jeanne Szromba

Senior Trial Attorney


Jeanne Szromba is a trial attorney in the EEOC’s Chicago District Office where she has been for the past 26 years. During her tenure, Jeanne has litigated a wide range of employment discrimination cases against both large and small employers accused of discrimination based on race, sex, age, religion, and disability. Prior to joining the EEOC, Jeanne was an associate at Sidley Austin. Jeanne received her JD from Yale Law School and her BA in English from the University of Notre Dame.



  1. 08:00 AM - 09:00 AM : Registration and Networking
  2. 09:00 AM - 09:15 AM : Intro and Opening Remarks

    Join Ana Lebron in the main room for opening remarks

    Location: Oak

  3. 09:15 AM - 10:00 AM : Morning Keynote- Know & Speak Your Value - Aïcha Ly

    Create your success story by mastering the art of conveying your value with confidence and clarity

    Location: Oak

  4. 10:10 AM - 10:40 AM : Track - Leadership Skills - From Here to There: Unlocking Your Potential - Nina Meehan

    Stuck in stress and overwhelm? Frustrated that you know a change needs to happen, but there is no path forward? Learn the process of getting “From Here to There.” Identify where you are stuck–creativity, connection or communication–and understand the tools to go from idea to action.

    Location: Oak

  5. 10:10 AM - 10:40 AM : Track - Career Development - Diving Into New Technologies: Hacks to Work More Efficiently learning - Rain Leander

    As a Software Developer, I’m constantly exploring new technologies, and currently, I’m delving into a fresh backend tool; join me as I share insights, practical examples, and tips for efficient learning.

    Room: Lincoln III

  6. 10:50 AM - 11:20 AM : Track - Leadership Skills - Leveling the Playing Field in Executive Recruitment - Meghan Anzelc and Christina Fernandes-D'Souza

    We will share our experiences, including challenges and benefits, building the first Data & Analytics function at a leading global executive search firm, using analytics to improve services, including increasing consistency with which potential candidates were surfaced and reducing potential for bias.

    Location: Oak

  7. 10:50 AM - 11:20 AM : Track - Career Development - The NASA Window Concept: Positioning You For Promotion - Pamela Coley

    An HR Professional reveals the insider secrets about how The NASA Window Concept will help you spot, position, and seize the opportunities to advance your career instead of waiting on the annual reviews or your manager to promote you.

    Room: Lincoln III

  8. 11:30 AM - 12:00 PM : Track - Leadership Skills - Re-skilling in a World of Generative AI Systems - Tiffany Prince

    Amidst debates about machines taking over jobs, it’s crucial to discuss how generative AI systems like ChatGPT and MS Bing are sculpting the modern workspace.

    Location: Oak

  9. 11:30 AM - 12:00 PM : Track - Career Development - How Far We’ve Come: Developments in Sex Discrimination Law - Jeanne Szromba

    A discussion of some of the seminal cases in the area of sex discrimination in employment, the role of the EEOC, and where we are today.

    Room: Lincoln III

  10. 12:00 PM - 01:00 PM : Lunch

    Location: Oak

  11. 01:10 PM - 02:10 PM : ARA Panel - Women in Tech and Business - Breaking Barriers and Paving the Way

    Join us for inspiring and empowering fireside chats as we celebrate and recognize women’s remarkable achievements in technology and business. This portion of the Conference brings together a diverse group of accomplished women who have overcome obstacles and shattered glass ceilings and are now paving the way for the next generation of IT and business leaders.

    Location: Oak

  12. 02:20 PM - 02:50 PM : Track - Leadership Skills - Getting Sh*t Done: Becoming or Being a Modern Manager - Christine Sandman Stone

    Real talk and practical advice about how to grow your career either by moving to or being a modern manager who delivers results and gets the best from teams.

    Location: Oak

  13. 02:20 PM - 02:50 PM : Track - Career Development - How to Win Executive Buy-In on Your Great Ideas - Sasha Reznik

    Do you have a proposition for a new idea or change, but need to win over future teammates, decision makers, or senior executives? Gain valuable insights to help drive opportunity to enlist others in helping you turn your good ideas into greater solutions!

    Room: Lincoln III

  14. 03:00 PM - 03:45 PM : Afternoon Keynote - Sowing Seeds of Psychological Safety: Cultivating a Thriving Work Environment - Semira Allen

    This talk explores the parallels between gardening and fostering psychological safety in the workplace, highlighting the significance of addressing overt discrimination, subtle biases, and implementing nurturing practices to create an inclusive and empowered work environment

    Location: Oak

  15. 03:45 PM - 04:00 PM : Closing Remarks

    Join Jasmine Kent in the main room for closing remarks

    Location: Oak

  16. 04:00 PM - 06:00 PM : Happy Hour

    Location: East Room


The Metropolitan Club, 233 S Wacker Dr 67th floor, Chicago, IL 60606, USA



Chi Women In Tech Conference