POSSCON 2015 (4)

The team at IT-oLogy would like to take a minute to thank everyone one last time for helping make 2015 the most successful POSSCON ever!  Never before have so many people attended, volunteered, and participated as did this year. 


Just a few of the numbers we’ll be aiming to better in 2016:


  • More than 825 registered for the conference – the most ever
  • People attended from 16 states, including California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington State, and Oregon
  • People from 7 countries attended, including Brazil, France, India, Taiwan, Lybia, Turkey, and of course, the United States
  • Nine (9) – the total number of Columbia venues visited and patronized if attendees participated both Tuesday and Wednesday
  • More than 70 people volunteered – the most ever by far
  • Forty (40) of the nation’s leading experts spoke
  • Nearly 50 of the country’s top technology companies were represented.


We’re also incredibly proud to say the attendee feedback we received via survey last week has been overwhelmingly positive.  That means we’re delivering value to the people that matter most – the people that are helping us fulfil the IT-oLogy mission.


We’re already working hard to deliver another great event in 2016.  We sincerely hope even more people help us do it.


Thanks again for a fantastic 2015!


Two Organizations Team Up to Impact Change 

I have had the wonderful opportunity in my 34 year working career to be a part of a number of successful teams and organizations and the common denominator for all of them was the ability to incorporate diversity of thoughts and perspectives.  Most think of diversity as limited to ethnic or gender diversity, while it is far more than that.  However, the varying backgrounds, experiences and unique attributes that are associated with gender diversity provide some of the most vivid evidence of comparative success.

Information Technology has historically been a male dominated profession, although the percentages would indicate it is actually worse today than it has been in the past, comparing to early days and then each decade through 2000.  One organization that is a fantastic partner with IT-oLogy is the National Center for Women and IT (NCWIT) and they have been the strongest national voice for gender equity and the call for diversity in this vital and growing professional discipline called IT.

NCWIT is holding their 10th anniversary National Summit in Hilton Head, SC on May 19-21.  The event features a power packed lineup of best practice sharing from key leaders and advocates (both female and male) representing business, higher education and policy makers.  For those of you who are collaborators in our IT-oLogy non-profit organization, that model should sound familiar.  We have connected the two organizations together under the term affiliates and see the synergy of working together and many times the work starts in K-12 education and with a message to younger students.  IT-oLogy creates programs to drive more awareness and interest in IT careers to start the process of filling the pipeline.  Since women make up more than 50% of the population, it only makes sense to address “why not more women in IT”.  Our efforts together are making a difference.

According to Lucy Sanders, President and CEO of NCWIT, “The annual NCWIT Summit allows for hundreds of our K-12 and higher education influencers, entrepreneurs, corporate executives, and social scientists to put together solid plans of action for diversifying the field of technology — all based on research and effective practices. This year, we’re thrilled to have the support of IT-oLogy as an Alliance Partner and a NCWIT Summit Community Reception Sponsor.”

While there is no silver bullet to solve the issue of more women in the IT workplace, some companies have been more successful than others at hiring, developing and retaining women in their IT staff.  For instance, BlueCross BlueShield South Carolina having more than 2000 IT employees, has a 38% female population, which is significantly higher than the average.  Equally as important, 50% of their leadership team is female.  Their choices around talent management are a series of aligned programs that are focused on an IT organizational systems design model that includes culture and diversity for continued success.

A number of companies who are a part of IT-oLogy will be represented at the Summit by their high-profile female executives mostly from the southeast region of the country.  NCWIT is doing some amazing things and this Summit is a great way to learn how to get involved.

IT-oLogy has connected a number of other smaller working groups to this effort, such as Women in Open Source, led by Red Hat executive DeLisa Alexander, WISE (Women in Stem and Engineering) led by Kay Read and coding focused groups like DigiGirlz, Girls who Code, Girls of Code, Rails Girls and more.  We have also been instrumental in helping NCWIT with their wonderful Aspirations Awards for high school girls pursuing IT careers.  The IT-oLogy supply chain model for IT resources helps connect the dots for students who get interested and then take next steps, (higher ed, entrepreneurship, internships, jobs, professional development, leadership advancement, volunteerism, mentoring, etc).

Doing this repeatedly creates scale.  More women in the IT workforce create the opportunity for diversity of thoughts and skills yielding a variety of options for innovation and transformative solutions. This drives business results, economic development  and a higher level of competitiveness in this global marketplace.  AND….that is why we formed IT-oLogy and Lucy and her team formed NCWIT in the first place.

Midlands Gives

April 23rd, 2015 | Posted by Elizabeth Nottingham in IT-oLogy Defined - (0 Comments)

Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 3.15.01 PMLet IT-oLogy introduce you to one of your neighbors, a 17-year-old student named Tucker Ervin. Like many other students his age, Tucker loves technology. He creates his own websites, studies 3D printing, and dreams of pursuing a career in information technology. He’s passionate about one day creating new technologies to advance the use of robotics across the globe.

There’s just one problem. He doesn’t know how to get there. While he tries to learn on his own, he needs caring, professional guidance. Tucker needs a hero. That’s where you come in.

You’ll give Tucker the opportunity to achieve his dream through your gift to IT-oLogy. Through programs like Cyber Saturday, IT summer camps and internships, you’ll provide hands-on learning opportunities with IT experts who will inspire Tucker and other students to build a better future.

To make this future a reality, Tucker needs you. Invest in Tucker and many others today with your gift to IT-oLogy.

Thank you for investing in our leaders for tomorrow.

Please give to IT-oLogy during Midlands Gives, May 5. www.midlandsgives.org

Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 2.28.17 PMBlue Diamond Awards 2015 Committee members came together to celebrate and discuss lessons learned from the successful return of the awards program.    Planning for the 2016 Blue Diamond Awards begins this month.  We are looking for leaders and volunteers for these committees: awards – nominations – judging, marketing – PR, sponsorship, website and program. Join us to prepare for the 2016 celebration.  To volunteer or for more information, contact Kay Read, kay.read@it-ology.org.

The Problem


Once again the evolution and the promise of technologies has created the need for skills and talents crucial to a company’s well being. Big Data is a new term that combines data, process, analytical tools and skills to enable an organization to more precisely navigate the challenges relating to increasing competition, risk identification and management, customer relations, forecasting, cost control, and many other aspects of their business.


In fact, the threat that an organization faces for failing to execute on an adequate Big Data strategy may not only be unacceptably poor performance, but survival. One of the requirements of execution is a properly skilled staff to perform the complex data analysis, business analysis and the data acquisition and change functions, which are necessary for the successful manufacture of business insights for competitive advantage.


Gartner Says Big Data Creates Big Jobs: 4.4 Million IT Jobs Globally to Support Big Data By 2015. (Analysts Discuss Key Issues Facing the IT Industry during Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2012, October 21-25, in Orlando)


“By 2015, 4.4 million IT jobs globally will be created to support big data, generating 1.9 million IT jobs in the United States,” said Peter Sondergaard, senior vice president at Gartner and global head of Research. “In addition, every big data-related role in the U.S. will create employment for three people outside of IT, so over the next four years a total of 6 million jobs in the U.S. will be generated by the information economy.“

“But there is a challenge. There is not enough talent in the industry. Our public and private education systems are failing us. Therefore, only one-third of the IT jobs will be filled. Data experts will be a scarce, valuable commodity,” Mr. Sondergaard said. “IT leaders will need immediate focus on how their organization develops and attracts the skills required. These jobs will be needed to grow your business. These jobs are the future of the new information economy.”

The demand for this talent far outweighs the supply — we need to fill the gaps quickly. The skills are broader and deeper than traditional business intelligence with the range of required talent extending from deep technical capabilities to deep business analysis and decision-making.

The Approach

More than 20 organizations in the Charlotte region met April 16, 2015 to share their experiences and discuss potential solutions to this critical shortfall.


A list of questions/challenges were discussed including:


1. What is your company’s approach for finding and/or re-skilling employees to fill the gaps?

2. Are you having trouble finding all of the skills you need or are spending more on outside consulting than you want?
3. Have you considered a broader and/or better approach to solving the problem?

4. Would you like to distribute the cost of training these specific skills across a wider group?


Planning approaches to potential solutions is underway. Collaboration between business, education, and economic development in response to the IT talent challenge is the core mission of IT-oLogy. Let’s close this skills gap together and continue to build Charlotte as Big Data hub. For more information, contact kay.read@it-ology.org.

Cyber Saturday LogoThe North Carolina Science Festival is a multi-day celebration showcasing science and technology. On Saturday, April 18th, IT-oLogy Cyber Saturday partnered with the Festival, Discovery Place and STEMlympics.  Hundreds of Middle and High School students were engaged and inspired through hands-on activities, technology and science experiences, exhibits and performances.

Cyber Saturday presented a hands-on introduction to 3D printing.   Students learned about the fundamentals and the 3D printing process.   Students worked with hand held tools to develop basic designs and moved on to 3D printers to print their selected objects.

IT-oLogy Cyber Saturday offers an opportunity to celebrate technology in fun and welcoming settings. Cyber Saturday is one of the initiatives where IT-oLogy is collaborating with business, education and economic development organizations to respond to the challenges of the shortage of talent in the IT pipeline.

Mark your calendars for the upcoming Cyber Saturdays, May 16th and June 3rd.  For more information, contact Kay Read, kay.read@it-ology.org.

PIC-IT-oLogy 4-4-15 Festival(5)On Saturday, April 4th, IT-oLogy Upstate participated in the iMAGINE Upstate Festival that happened on Main Street in Greenville. We estimate over 1,400 people stopped by to find out about us and how we can help the community by growing the IT Talent Pipeline. All who visited were so excited about our operations beginning in the Upstate. We heard from Principals of middle and high schools in the area who wanted to see when IT-oLogy could get programs in their schools and get their classes interested in IT. Career counselors from area districts stopped in to see when we were returning to their career fairs. They wanted IT-oLogy to continue to build their students interests while there is still time to think about where they are heading in their career path. Parents of home schooled PIC-IT-oLogy 4-4-15 Festival(2)students were very interested in the first Cyber Saturday and when programs would begin. Kids stopped by and wanted to experiment with our 3D printer and marvel at all of the items other children had already printed. Astounding too were the many people who wanted to volunteer to either train students, speak at career fairs or attend professional development events. I was overjoyed at the response of the community and the interest level in our programs. If you would like to be a part of our success in the Upstate please contact Lisa Calhoun at lisa.calhoun@it-ology.org.

Lonnies-mugshotFrom the President, Lonnie Emard

Since 2009, IT-oLogy has been based on a collaborative model whereby businesses, team up with academic institutions, economic development groups and media specialists to contribute to the non-profit organization’s mission of advancing information technology talent in this country.   While there have been many learning moments during the last six years, one element stands out as the most difficult to fully enable.  That is the role of the aggregator.

The aggregator, in this case is IT-oLogy who pulls it all together, takes on a sort of umbrella- like strategy to cover all the pieces that fall into the process of advancing IT talent.  Wow, you might say, that is a pretty bold statement.  I say it with the humble intentions that somehow the overall supply chain process needs to be captured in a meaningful way.  In my last blog, I described the supply chain concept from the sources of talent, through development of talent to the access and application of IT talent, yielding economic development advantage.

The continuum of impact that a non-profit organization can have is based on the capacity to involve collaborators who have some level of interest and role in the process.  These collaborators participate and contribute at various levels in the non-profit organization, while at the same time operate in their own enlightened self-interest.   The role of the aggregator is to fulfill the combinatorial aspects of managing, directing, involving and influencing the pieces that no one entity would ever do on their own. The various ways the aggregator may work to ensure the process are as follows:

Managing – IT-oLogy manages programs and projects that have been funded by participating organizations.  This is the most straight-forward approach and easiest to track results.  This is narrow in the overall big picture but coverage continues to expand.

Directing – IT-oLogy teams up with other organizations of common purpose and IT-oLogy handles the budget but one or many organizations are completing efforts on related programs. This works reasonably well to capture a much greater of results and begins to provide better analysis of progress.

Involving – Joint efforts exist when IT-oLogy collaborators are involved or IT-oLogy represents them in programs, projects and advocacy efforts where some other organization has the budget and is the lead.  The key part to this is the level of involvement and the request for the summary information that can be aggregated together with other similar data to provide more comprehensive findings.

Influencing – IT-oLogy speaks, on behalf of a collective voice, and tries to influence related efforts to create a consistent message and deal with the environment that advances IT talent impacts.  This is clearly the toughest piece and requires time and attention.  The part that requires focus here is the discretionary funds required to enable resources to act on behalf of the coalition of organizations that support the non-profit.

The role of the aggregator is to ensure that all four things happen in a balanced and cohesive way because there are numerous overlapping activities happening at the same time which are controlled by numerous organizations, which may or may not be part of the collaborative activities.  Finding ways to track and aggregate the positive effects on the advancement of IT talent is the key to repeating success and cost effectively addressing this issue.

For example, IT-oLogy offers three initiatives called Promote IT focused on K-12, Teach IT focused on higher-ed and workforce development and Grow IT focused on existing professionals.  Within the Teach IT initiative is the connection between talent and job opportunities using a process and tool called the IT-Gateway.  All of the students and internships and entry level jobs can be tracked there.  That doesn’t capture the magnitude of all students and opportunities in a city, region, state or the country because not everyone uses a single system.  It would be great to add to the totals by including other company, university and organization data and aggregating the totals to get a more complete picture.

I would encourage more dialog on this topic, so please contact me or any of the IT-oLogy team.

You can also follow me @lonnieemard


We need YOU!  Because You Are IT!

On May 5th, we are asking our advocates, friends, supporters and collaborators to help us with a very special program.

You Are IT is a fund that will assist in ways our current budget doesn’t allow.  We have many requests for assistance for individuals in the community who have very specific IT needs.  We have students who can’t afford an IT-oLogy summer camp.  We have students who do not have access to a computer at home.   We have students who want to host student-run, student-led events that provide experiential learning and camaraderie among the greatest target audience we have to influence toward IT careers, high school and middle school students!

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For example, in February, we hosted a code.day event at IT-oLogy– a 24 hour code-a-thon with more than 54 teens in attendance. You can imagine how much these 54 teenagers can eat!!  This is just an example of things that are not in our budget but are VERY meaningful to the community!

We would appreciate your help in supporting these needs and will publish the results of what the funds are used for in our monthly newsletters.  Stay tuned!

So, please join us on May 5th, Midlands Gives Day, to support IT-oLogy’s You Are IT fund for these specific and truly meaningful needs that we see everyday.  It’s an easy way to make a big difference in our goals for advancing IT in the Midlands.

Click here to learn more about Midlands Gives!

For 20 years, Charlotte has recognized the best in technology at the annual Blue Diamond Awards. After an eight year hiatus, IT-oLogy led the revival of the Blue Diamond Awards celebration.


On March 3rd, more than 300 business and technology executives alongside entrepreneurial leaders and innovative development teams came together to honor the 8 category winners and finalists at the Urban Garden at 1 Bank of America Center.


The winners of the eight awards are Business Value – Small/Medium, ecomdash; Business Value – Corporate, Rubbermaid Healthcare; Business Value – Non-Profit, Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools;  Community Outreach,  Bosch Rexroth and Women Executives – WINGS program;  Cool Innovation, ecomdash;  Human Capital, Logical Advantage; IT Entrepreneur, David Jones, Peak 10 Chairman and CEO; Student Innovator, Michael Kersting, Young Engineers of Today.

The planning for the 2016 Blue Diamond Awards is underway.  To join the planning or for more information, contact Kay Read, kay.read@it-ology.org.