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.
Tickets are sold out for 2023! We look forward to seeing you there!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Associate Support Developer
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 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.
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.
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.
CEO & Chief Performance Officer
Prince Performance LLC
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
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.
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.
Enova is a multinational company based in the U.S. that uses technology to develop innovative financial products and services for individuals and businesses. We have unique technology, analytics and customer service capabilities that let us rapidly evaluate new data sources to offer consumers and small businesses the right amount of credit or financing when and how they want it.
Here at Deloitte, we are continuously evolving how we work and how we look at marketplace challenges so we can continue to deliver measurable, sustainable results for our clients and our communities.
Protiviti is a global consulting firm that delivers deep expertise, objective insights, a tailored approach, and unparalleled collaboration to help leaders confidently face the future. Protiviti and our independent and locally owned Member Firms provide clients with consulting and managed solutions in finance, technology, operations, data, digital, legal, HR, governance, risk, and internal audit through our network of more than 85 offices in over 25 countries.
Named to the 2023 Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For® list, Protiviti has served more than 80 percent of Fortune 100 and nearly 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies. The firm also works with smaller, growing companies, including those looking to go public, as well as with government agencies. Protiviti is a wholly owned subsidiary of Robert Half (NYSE: RHI). Founded in 1948, Robert Half is a member of the S&P 500 index.
Paths aren’t divided into learn, work, and retire like they were before. Today, there are so many more ways to live a fulfilling life. But with this opportunity comes the need to plan for it. And that’s where Transamerica fits in. We’re here to help people live their best lives and make the most of their time.
As the first and largest digital platform for finding in-home care, Sittercity, a Bright Horizons company, has come a long way since 2001. We were the first to make online child care an employee benefit and we continue to connect millions of parents with babysitters and nannies every year. We’re radically simplifying the way families search for, screen, and hire trusted care—whether in person or virtually.
We're a global digital consultancy with thousands of skilled strategists and technologists in the U.S., Latin America, and India. We're making a difference by transforming how the world’s biggest brands connect with customers and grow their business. With Perficient, you get experience and expertise, speed and agility, and a healthy dose of pragmatism to drive your business forward.
Swoon is one of the fastest-growing, woman-owned and led talent and consulting firms with an expanding client roster of Fortune 1000 companies, Best-of Awards, and legions of talented professionals in our network. Our team of more than 200 individuals are passionate advocates who know our clients are striving for greatness and deserve nothing less from us. We pick up the phone when you call, approach your search with care and urgency, and treat your business like it’s our business. So, if you’re ready to take that next step in building up your team with talented individuals, we’re here to listen to your needs and find the best fit for you.
CDW is a leading multi-brand technology solutions provider to business, government, education and healthcare organizations in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. A Fortune 500 company with multinational capabilities, CDW features dedicated account managers who help customers choose the right technology products and services to meet their needs. The company’s solution architects offer expertise in designing customized solutions, while its advanced technology engineers assist customers with the implementation and long-term management of those solutions. Our broad array of offerings range from discrete hardware and software products to integrated IT solutions such as mobility, security, cloud, data center and collaboration.
Everyday, you're out there making things happen. That's why the CEO, Pat Vihtelic, created Home Chef: to provide everything you need to bring more delicious meals and moments to the table, no matter how busy you are. From online, to doorstep, to your kitchen table, Home Chef makes home-cooking simple by providing fresh, pre-portioned ingredients and easy-to-follow recipes straight to your door. Since the creation of the company in 2013, there has been over 30 million meals delivered across the U.S. Home Chef is bringing people together, one home-cooked meal at a time.
Since 2001, Basis Technologies (formerly Centro) has provided unified software and services to simplify and automate digital media operations, and drive increased profitability and greater efficiency for marketing organizations. Today, Basis is one of the most comprehensive media automation and intelligence platform in the industry—and the only platform to consolidate planning, digital operations, reporting, and financial reconciliation across programmatic, publisher-direct, search, and social.
GoHealth has an ambitious mission: to improve the health care system in America. Achieving this mission relies on hiring and developing great people, which is why our team is our top priority. We encourage employees to do their best work through innovation and risk taking. Our environment is fun yet constructive, thanks to leaders whose doors are always open. And most importantly, we’ll never stop investing in you and your career. For the 3rd consecutive year, GoHealth has once again won the award, Chicago (2019) Best and Brightest Companies to Work For!