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Central Virginia’s premier technology conference, hosted by the RVATECH Women in Technology Forum, brings together professionals on a wide range of technology topics to learn, network, and collaborate.


(Richmond, Virginia) On October 19th, technology professionals from around the Commonwealth will converge at the Science Museum of Virginia for the 6th Annual rvatech/women Conference (formerly WomenETC). This event will feature a robust panel of keynote speakers, fascinating breakout sessions for learning about such topics as AI, digital entrepreneurship, creating an Alexa skill, and ample opportunities for networking. Previous speakers have included such technology leaders as HP CEO Meg Whitman, Cisco Senior Vice President Rebecca Jacoby, NFL CIO Michelle McKenna-Doyle, and Black Girls Code CEO Kimberly Bryant.


Keynote speakers for 2017 include MIT scientist Jeanne Ross, Microsoft VP of IT Jacky Wright, Presidential Fellow Lexa Pope, Federal Reserve VP Tammy Hornsby, and General Electric Global CISO Nasrin Rezai.


Robby Demeria, Executive Director of RVATECH said, “We’re excited to host our sixth rvatech/women Conference, featuring outstanding women in technology. We strive to provide an exceptional technology conference experience for all participants: men, women, students and senior executives, practitioners and technology enthusiasts. This year’s conference theme of “Blurred Lines” underscores how ubiquitous technology has become, and how its application can impact many facets of business, from traditional IT services to marketing, business strategy, and finance.”

9:00AM - 9:45AM / JEANNE ROSS, Principal Research Scientist, MIT CISR

Jeanne Ross Principal Research Scientist MIT CISR

Jeanne Ross is a recognized expert in enterprise architecture. Her book, Enterprise Architecture as Strategy (2006), was recently named by Forbes magazine as one of 13 must-read books for technology executives. Jeanne’s current research focuses on how established companies will transform themselves for success for the digital economy. She has helped bring architecture into senior management strategy discussions at companies like Aetna, China Mobile, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, CEMEX, Schneider Electric, and PepsiCo. Jeanne has published in major practitioner and academic journals, including The Wall Street Journal, MIT Sloan Management Review, and Harvard Business Review. She is currently writing her fourth book, a follow up to her 2006 book, which will examine architectural requirements for digital companies.

9:45AM - 10:30AM / LEXA POPE, Presidential Fellow, U.S. Digital

Lexa Pope White House Presidential Executive Fellow U.S. Digital Service

Lexa Pope is the White House Presidential Executive Fellow for the United States Digital Service, a startup at The White House, using design and technology to deliver better services to the American people. USDS partners leading technologists with dedicated public servants to improve the usability and reliability of our government's most important digital services.

10:45AM - 12:00PM / TECH BREAKOUTS 1.0

Breakout 1.1 Science Fiction is now Real Life. Speaker: Ro Meade, President & CEO, Synergy Technical (LinkedIn)

If you thought virtual reality was just about video games and movies, you have a thing or two to learn about VR. Devices such as Microsoft’s HoloLens are being used in increasingly creative ways to address some very real world problems. Learn how companies are using disruptive technologies like the HoloLens to change the way they do business.

Breakout 1.2 Transforming from Digitized to Digital Speaker: Jeanne Ross, Director and Principal Research Scientist, MIT (LinkedIn)

For 20 years, established companies have been pursuing efficiencies through digitization. Regardless of the outcomes of their digitization efforts, they must now turn their attention to developing digital offerings and the underlying capabilities that enable rapid innovation. Digital success depends on business componentization, which requires a new system environment and fundamental business redesign. In this session we will review the transformation journeys of BNY Mellon, Schneider Electric, and Philips to provide a template for digital transformations.

Breakout 1.3 Alexa Skill Workshop Speaker: Women Who Code RVA (LinkedIn)

Did you know that more than 35 million Americans will use a voice-enabled speaker at least once per month in 2017! And with over 70% of the U.S. market share, Amazon is currently dominating the voice-enabled speaker market. By the end of 2020, the install base of Alexa devices is forecasted to be 128 million users. The user base of voice-assisted devices is already very large — and growing fast! This is your chance to get in early, and build your very own Alexa skill. In partnership with the RVA Alexa meetup group we will be hosting an Alexa skills building workshop! Creating an Alexa skill is fun and simple . A basic skill can be completed within an hour! The RVA Alexa meetup group has designed this meetup to help absolutely anyone learn how to program an Alexa skill. We’ll be starting with an introduction to the Alexa voice services, and then guide you through the basic steps to build and publish a skill using the official Amazon training materials and templates. No programming knowledge needed and no prior AWS experience required. By the end of the workshop, you’ll even be able to create and publish your very own Alexa skill!

Breakout 1.4 (Repeats again as Breakout 2.4) A “Wake-Up Call” for Leadership Speaker: The Alchemy Group (LinkedIn)

The intention of this session is to “wake-up” to a greater awareness for recognizing when leadership is required, when managing is required and when coaching is required. A model for how to define and adjust levels of trust will be explored to harness the leadership capability of TRACKING TRUST. This session will also include a live coaching demonstration which will leave participants able to request coaching to support leadership intentions.
12:00PM - 1:00PM / LUNCH
1:15PM - 2:30PM / TECH BREAKOUTS 2.0

Breakout 2.1 Becoming Technical: Increase Your Coding Confidence Speaker: Andrea Goulet (LinkedIn)

Why do so many smart and accomplished people immediately discount their abilities and call themselves “non-technical”? Software isn’t magic. It’s a skill. One that can be learned — if you have the right mindset. You don’t have to go to a fancy school, spend thousands of dollars, or move across the country. This knowledge is available to you no matter where you live and no matter what industry you come from. All you need to do is change the way you think. In this talk, Andrea Goulet will share her journey from not knowing how to code to becoming a industry leader. You'll get immediately actionable insights that will help you shatter glass ceilings, increase confidence, and grow your technical prowess.

Breakout 2.2 AI: The new Electricity. Mobilize the Power of Machine Learning for Fun and Profit. Speaker: Sonali Shetty (LinkedIn)

Much as electricity transformed the human experience, AI is a fundamental technology shift that will radically revolutionize how we work and live. But… we’ve heard the hype before. What’s different this time, and how can you be early to the game? This interactive break-out opens the world of AI to you. We will demystify the hype, and stay away from the scary stories. Instead, we provide a practical approach to the field – what’s working today, what’s around the bend and a framework for examining the opportunities within your organization.

Breakout 2.3 Semicolons Not Required: Problem Solving with Pseudocode Speaker: Women Who Code RVA – Rachel Dorn, Front End Developer, Authentic. (LinkedIn)

Problem Solving is the #1 skill anyone working in tech can have. From debugging code to ensuring a project stays on schedule, solving problems is integral to building software. The language you know or framework you use today may be archaic 6 months from now, but you can stay ahead of the industry by having a strong process to think through any problem. Improve your logical thinking and problem solving skills in a hands-on, collaborative setting by solving an algorithm challenge led by Rachel Dorn, head of the Richmond Women Who Code Algorithms Community. No programming knowledge is required!

Breakout 2.4 (Repeat of Breakout 1.4) A “Wake-Up Call” for Leadership Speaker: The Alchemy Group (LinkedIn)

The intention of this session is to “wake-up” to a greater awareness for recognizing when leadership is required, when managing is required and when coaching is required. A model for how to define and adjust levels of trust will be explored to harness the leadership capability of TRACKING TRUST. This session will also include a live coaching demonstration which will leave participants able to request coaching to support leadership intentions.

2:45PM - 3:30PM / TAMMY HORNSBY-FINK, VP @ Federal Reserve System

Tammy Hornsby-Fink Vice President Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond

Tammy Hornsby-Fink is the Vice President for Secure Payments at the Federal Reserve. She works closely with the Secure Payments Task Force and is responsible for key elements of the Federal Reserve’s payment security strategy to reduce fraud risk and advance the safety, security and resiliency of the U.S. payment system.

3:30PM - 4:15PM / NASRIN REZAI, Global CISO, General Electric

Nasrin Rezai SVP, Global Chief Information & Product Cyber Security Officer General Electric

Nasrin Rezai is GE’s Global Chief Information and Product Cyber Security Officer, responsible for cybersecurity across the organization. In this role, she is responsible for all aspects of cyber security strategy and operations for GE products and enterprise, including incident response, threat intelligence, security services, architecture, commercial OT security, and regulatory & compliance. Her previous roles include Global CISO for GE Capital and head of Corporate Governance, Technology Risk and M&A security, for the industrial GE businesses. Prior to GE, she served as SVP, Chief Tech. Risk Officer in the Enterprise Risk Management Organization at State Street and as CTO of Security at Cisco Systems. Throughout her career, Nasrin has promoted engineering and architecture in designing security solutions for large enterprises. She is passionate about helping others develop their potential, and mentors many young men and women. She holds a master’s degree in business administration and a bachelor’s degree in information systems. She also holds an Executive Certification from Harvard and Cambridge.