On March 28th 2019, in conjunction with the Women in IT Awards, the first annual Women in IT Summit was held in New York City. Marie Wiese of Marketing CoPilot was honored to meet and speak to so many amazing women! Besides her panel discussion and moderator opportunity in two Fireside Chat topics, Navigating your way in the world of tech and Over mentored and not enough sponsorship, we also listened to many stories about emerging technologies, leadership, diversity and cyber security.
Each one of these sessions were lead by outstanding women in their fields and taught us so many fascinating insights about the future of the tech industry not just for women but for everyone.
1. Artificial Intelligence and it's economic impact
While Artificial Intelligence (AI) is not a new topic, previous conversations focused on what technology can do and very few focused on it's economic and societal impact. During the first panel discussion, Is AI for everyone?, four talented women brought up some very real and important things to consider as the industry starts to introduce this technology. While AI seems fun and exciting, economically it will have an adverse affect on many other industries, such as the services industry. AI will likely be reducing jobs just as many times as it will increase jobs in the tech sector. It will also be creating a new gap in the industry in regards to ethics and governance. To minimize negative economic impact, it is our job in the tech industry to create better education and awareness early on.
2. There are multiple layers to cyber security
This summit had two compelling presentations about cyber security that highlighted two areas of cyber security that is rarely addressed but that will definitely be seen come to the forefront in the future.
First was the presentation by Lisa O'Connor from Accenture Security. Lisa stated it plain and simple; "the internet is under pressure". As we continue to build, rely, and grow the internet there are many significant flaws we have not addressed. In her presentation she highlights how rebuilding trust in the digital economy will be critical for the future as well as independent strategies you can take on to be more vigilant of your digital footprint.
The second presentation was from Neal O'Farrell founder of Schooled in Security. He calls on the technology industry to revamp the stereotypes of cyber security and continue to shed light on the many job opportunities in this field. His presentation highlights the current culture the cyber security community is struggling with as far as the lack of people entering this path. Neal focuses on the importance of gaining momentum early on as he discusses initiatives and programs to encourage more people to get educated on cyber security starting at the high school age.
3. Diversity has strong ROI
One of the most interesting lessons learned at the Women in IT Summit was not so much technology related as it was corporation and organization focused. Throughout the day there were many conversations about how we in the technology and IT community can focus on making the industry better through diversity. These conversations were rooted in the fact that diversity does not just mean gender but also race and skill. It is our job as organizations to take on diversity as a holistic approach to make our companies better and make our products better. Diversity is an overall strategy for better ROI.
When organizations become more intentional about diversity, it is not just their social impact they are increasing but diversity also increases revenue and ROI. When we work with diverse minds and diverse people it is reflected in the bottom line of every company.