Laurie Burns McRobbie

Welcome to CEWiT’s Second Anniversary


Welcome, everyone, to CEWiT’s second anniversary celebration. It’s been another exciting year, watching CEWiT continue its development as a vital part of this campus. CEWiT’s remarkable growth includes a student alliance of more than 2,000 undergraduates and graduate students, a faculty alliance of more than 350 faculty members, and a staff alliance of more than 425 professionals that spans all eight IU campuses. And, we have more than 1,200 IU alumnae in computing and tech-related professions who are working to connect with our students—filling a critical role of mentorship and support.

Before I go further, I’d like to recognize Maureen Biggers, who has been an instrumental and tireless leader for CEWiT from the very beginning. Maureen, thank you for your hard work and inspiration—it’s been a joy to work with you and to see CEWiT evolve under your leadership.

I also want to thank Jenny Hertel and Julianne Martin, CEWiT’s indefatigable staffers, the leaders of our four alliances, and the members of CEWiT’s Advisory Council, who have provided crucial guidance in setting priorities and further embedding CEWiT in the life of IU Bloomington.

And last but not least, I want to thank Lauren Robel, IUB’s wonderful and visionary Provost, for her unflagging support of CEWiT from the very beginning.

And thank all of you for coming today—I know we will all be inspired and charged up by Kelly Hoey’s talk this afternoon.

CEWiT: What It’s All About

So let me update you about CEWiT and how it is creating positive change for everyone at IU and in the tech community at large.

Increasing the numbers of women in computing and technology is fundamental to CEWiT’s mission. But CEWiT is also committed to a larger and visionary goal: empowering and motivating women so they want to remain in tech and computing, as well as in the tech-enabled careers of the 21st century.

In a recent New York Times op-ed piece, Eileen Pollack, who has written on women in science and technology, referred to the research of psychologist Sapna Cheryan, a University of Washington researcher who studies the influence of stereotypes on attitudes and behaviors. Dr. Cheryan talks about something she calls an “ambient sense of belonging” that connects us to the fields and professions we choose to pursue in life. For women, when this “ambient sense of belonging” is eroded or even destroyed by negative stereotypes, unconscious biases, consciously negative behaviors—and other ways in which the tech world can be an unwelcome one—it can make the difference in whether they remain in the sector, or even take their first professional or academic steps.

But as Pollack wrote, “Computer scientists and engineers are going to be designing the future that everyone inhabits. We need women and minorities to enjoy an ambient sense of belonging in those professions if the future they create is going to be one in which all of us feel at home.”

This captures the real spirit of CEWiT as well as anything I’ve seen or read—we want every woman who is interested in technology, regardless of discipline or life stage, to feel that “ambient sense of belonging” as a techie woman.

CEWiT’s integrated approach sets us apart from other programs focused on supporting women in technology fields. Our pioneering model is one that reaches across disciplines, career paths, and life stages to strengthen and ensure inclusivity for women who are interested in technology at Indiana University. CEWiT is a living example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts, even when those parts—our four alliance groups—are themselves each active, engaged communities of women.

CEWiT’s Alliances

Let me tell you a little more about each of them. Our staff alliance, IU Women in Technology, or IUWIT, spans all eight IU campuses and these members are essential to attracting and retaining females in the tech workforce at IU. Through leadership events and community development activities, IUWIT provides resources and opportunities—like tech job shadowing for students—to keep women in the tech pipelines. IUWIT’s influence on promoting and celebrating the excellence of women in technology is directly impacting IU and tech communities across the state of Indiana and beyond.

Faculty Alliance Members of the CEWiT Faculty Alliance are working across departments to participate in Faculty Mentoring Circles and CEWiT Salons to advance interdisciplinary support and research collaboration. This fall, over 20 CEWiT faculty women participated in workshops for IU’s Grand Challenges program, an innovative and far-reaching initiative that seeks to identify and fund solutions for problems whose scope spans institutional and disciplinary boundaries, and whose solutions require new knowledge, new tools, and new treatments.

Members of CEWiT’s faculty alliance are also participating in the CEWiT Emerging Scholars Research Experience for Undergraduate Women. This program matches students at IU Bloomington’s campus with faculty mentors to conduct research that features a technology or computing related component. This program has supported more than 20 projects that encompass a wide variety of departments across campus.

This fall, the program enrolled 30 new freshmen and sophomores and they have just begun working in the labs! From education to chemistry, communications to psychology, professors and students utilize—and benefit from—CEWiT’s goal to support and strengthen interdisciplinary research at all institutional levels.


Over 2,000 undergraduate and graduate students comprise the student alliance WESIT, or Women Empowering Success in Technology. Our WESiT members are creating a vibrant culture of inclusion through their enthusiasm and extracurricular events that introduce and engage women with various forms of technology.

WESiT hosts software training, social media and web design workshops, employer information sessions, and “Student Salons” to highlight the research of WESiT members across campus. WESiT events often include some form of “play time” where you’re free to fool around with emerging technologies, like the Oculus Rift, new wearables, or e-textiles.

By building this positive, collaborative, inclusive, and inspiring atmosphere, WESiT members personify CEWiT. These students are our future trailblazers, and they will transform the field of technology and computing.

Alumnae Alliance

Through the Alumni Association and social media, CEWiT has connected with over a thousand IU women in computing and technology-related professions. We look forward to mutually supporting these alumnae and the students that seek mentoring in these fields.

And joining us this afternoon to say more about the alumnae alliance is its chair, Robin Steis. Robin is Sales Director at Interactive Intelligence, living and working in the Washington, D.C. area. An alumna of the Kelley School of Business, Robin says she would have gotten an Informatics degree if the school existed when she was on campus. She’s been a great addition to the CEWiT leadership team. Thank you, Robin.

I have just a few more updates before I introduce our keynote speaker this afternoon.

CEWiT has now hosted two successful “Techie Women Have More” Conferences, which include speakers, plenary sessions, poster sessions, and networking opportunities for students, faculty, and staff to learn more about engagement in technology. This conference will take place again in the spring term, on February 26 and 27.

CEWiT is also proud to announce a partnership with the library and UITS to provide 3-D printing lab on the fourth floor of the library. Watch soon for more information about a workshop schedule for beginning users, and we encourage you to try it.

It is clear that—after just two years—CEWiT has stepped in and stepped up opportunities for women across IU. By interconnecting communities and driving positive change, CEWiT continues to encourage, support, link, and celebrate women in technology. I look forward to celebrating future CEWiT’s successes as we continue to engage more women in tech at IU.

Introduction of Kelly Hoey

It is now my great pleasure to introduce our keynote speaker for today, Kelly Hoey.

Kelly is an inspiring entrepreneur, recognized for her leadership in the promotion of women in tech. Kelly is an angel investor and a Limited Partner in a fund. She’s writing a book on networking. She writes for She is a keynote speaker. And she’s an advisor to the New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and Canadian Tech Accelerator startup initiatives. She is clearly blazing new trails for women in tech.

Kelly discovered her passion for empowering women in tech about four years ago, when she started angel investing and found the opportunity to invest in female-founded startups. Her experience in corporate law and law firm management, along with her recognition of an impending tech talent shortage, have fueled Kelly’s advocacy for inclusion in technology.

Forbes named Kelly one of five Women Changing the World of Venture Capital and Entrepreneurship. Fast Company recognized her as one of the 25 Smartest Women on Twitter. And CraigConnects listed her as one of six Inspirational Women in Tech.

These accolades and Kelly’s career transformation have relied on a pivotal moment when she stopped playing it safe and took the path unknown. I know we’re in for a real treat this afternoon as Kelly takes us on this path.

Without further ado, please join me in welcoming Kelly to the podium.