Trailblazers: Arizona’s Women in Tech E15
This episode of AZTechCast looks at the incredible women revolutionizing our lives, Arizona and the world, through technology. Much has been written about male domination of the tech world. Many tech companies are run by men, and female role models are few and far between. And while Arizona’s technology sector is booming, women make up just 30% of the state’s tech employment. Clearly, much more needs to be done to advance women in technology from the classroom to the boardroom.
Hosted by Phoenix Business RadioX and moderated by Arizona Technology Council VP Karla Morales, a distinguished panel of female tech leaders will join Arizona Technology Council CEO Steve Zylstra to discuss their experiences in the tech industry, share their story, lessons learned on how they got to where they are today, give advice on some of the issues to look out for, as well as discuss the women who have inspired them.
Raytheon Technologies accelerates ideas to solve some of the world’s biggest challenges by bringing together the brightest, most innovative minds across aviation, space and defense.
By pushing the limits of known science and redefine how it connects and protects our world, Raytheon is advancing aviation, building smarter defense systems and creating innovations to take us deeper into space.
With more than 100 years of experience developing transformative technologies, Raytheon’s research and development team is creating breakthrough technologies in fields such as artificial intelligence, advanced propulsion, electrification and thermal management.
Currently, Ivonne May is the Portfolio Director for the Advance Air Dominance Programs for the Advanced Technologies Mission Area. Previously, May led Griffin®, HARM®, and Maverick® (GHM) were she was responsible for the growth, production, improvements, development of new variants and sustainment of the missiles in the portfolio.
Additional prior roles include Program Management Excellence (PMX) director for the Air Warfare Product Line; NAMD Core and Technologies Director for the NAMD-Naval and Area Mission Defense product line; the director for the STANDARD Missile 2 (SM-2) programs; and the Deputy Program Director for the Evolved SeaSparrow Missile (ESSM), in which she led the development of new variants of the ESSM and missile production for the US Navy, ESSM Consortium Members, and other international customers.
In addition, May previously served as director for the Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV) Development & Sustainment contract (DSC) and the EKV Program Deputy in the Air & Missile Defense Systems (A&MDS) product line, as well as the Department Manager for the Advanced Modeling Concepts (AMC) Department.
May earned a bachelor’s in electrical engineering from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus and a master’s in signal processing from the University of Southern California (USC).
Honeywell Aerospace is a manufacturer of aircraft engines and avionics, as well as a producer of auxiliary power units (APUs) and other aviation products. Headquartered in Phoenix, Ariz., it is a division of the Honeywell International conglomerate.
The innovative company generates approximately $10 billion in annual revenue from a 50/50 mix of commercial and defense contracts. Honeywell Aerospace products and services are found on virtually every commercial, defense and space aircraft in the world.
With an unmatched heritage of innovation that spans more than a century, the company’s aim is to solve the greatest challenges CEOs, pilots, operators, passengers, finance, maintenance and cabin crews face — and transform the way we all fly.
Heather Monthie, PhD is an accomplished cybersecurity professional, STEM leader, author, podcaster, and mentor. She has nearly 25 years of experience in aviation, cybersecurity, and STEM education. She has served in STEM and CTE education positions in K-12 and higher education.
A former Professor and Dean, Heather is currently a cybersecurity architect, educator, podcaster, and author. Monthie has also published the book, “Beginner’s Guide to Developing a High School Cybersecurity Program” designed to help homeschool families and high school teachers support their children learn more about cybersecurity. She is also the host of the Cyber Coffee Talk podcast (formerly About the ‘T’ in STEM”) at www.CyberCoffeeTalk.com.
Dr. Monthie currently serves on the Board of Directors for the AZ Cyber Initiative, a non-profit dedicated to high school cybersecurity education. Monthie has also served on AZ Governor Ducey’s Arizona Cyber Team as a higher education representative, served as co-chair of the collegiate working group of the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE), and served on the Executive Council of CompTIA AITP.
As part of her work in higher education, Monthie was the recipient of the Gen Cyber grant to provide training to high school teachers on cybersecurity. In addition, she worked with Code.org to help train Arizona high school teachers in computer science.
Passionate about STEM and aviation, Heather is the founder of Educators Who Drone, an online community of teachers, parents, and pilots who are dedicated to introducing kids to aviation and other STEM disciplines through drones.
Monthie has earned a Bachelor’s in Computer Science, a Master’s in Teaching with a Computer Science emphasis, and a Ph.D. in Information Technology. She holds a Certified Cybersecurity Systems Architect certification. She is also an FAA Certificated Flight Instructor, Commercial Pilot with an Instrument rating, Advanced Ground Instructor, and Part 107 Unmanned Aircraft Pilot.
Digital Air Strike is the leading social media, intelligent lead response, and consumer engagement technology company helping businesses increase consumer response and conversions in digital and social media environments while generating measurable ROI.
A pioneer in digital response, social media marketing and online reputation management solutions, Digital Air Strike deploys industry specific mobile apps, software, intelligent messaging and managed service platforms to monitor, engage, improve and manage consumer interactions for thousands of businesses in the United States, Canada and 11 additional countries, including working with seven of the largest automotive manufacturers.
Alexi Venneri is the co-founder and CEO of Digital Air Strike, the award-winning social media, intelligent lead response, and consumer engagement technology company. In 2010, in the middle of a recession, Venneri saw a need for dealerships to revolutionize the way they use social media and review sites to sell more cars and build customer loyalty.
Because of her leadership and vision, Digital Air Strike has grown to over 150 employees with four offices nationwide. Today, Digital Air Strike’s products, solutions, team, and technology influence 37% of all vehicle sales nationwide.
Venneri’s prior positions include President of Auto Media/Blue Flame 6 (part of The Van Tuyl Automotive Group), VP of Marketing, PR & Investor Relations at DealerTrack (TRAK), CMO at Who’s Calling and Director of Marketing for Major League Baseball’s Seattle Mariners. Venneri is an accomplished public speaker and author of the best-selling book Balls! Six Rules for Winning Today’s Business Game. In 2015, Venneri was named by Automotive News as one of the 100 Leading Women in the automotive industry.
Venneri has a B.A. in Marketing from the University of Calgary and is an accredited trainer at the University of Washington, as well as The Pacific Institute. Venneri supports numerous charitable organizations and works closely with ARME and the Beagle Freedom Project, nonprofit organizations that rescue and rehabilitate animals.
Karla Morales, VP of Arizona Technology Council, has more than 20 years of experience in the region’s education, nonprofit and governmental communities. Morales currently serves on several community boards including Earn to Learn and as the chairwoman of the board for the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
She holds a Bachelor of Science in education with a minor in bilingual studies from The University of Arizona, and she expects to earn her MBA from its Eller College of Management in May 2022.
Connect with Karla on LinkedIn.
About AZ TechCast
AZ TechCast is dedicated to covering innovation and technology in Arizona and beyond.
Through the art of connected conversation, AZ TechCast’s guests will share their expertise, success stories, news and analysis about the region’s leading startups, companies and emerging technologies, as well as the latest industry trends and critical issues propelling the state’s growing technology ecosystem.
About Your Hosts
Steve Zylstra serves as president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council, a role he assumed in 2007. He is responsible for strategy, operations, finance and policy development. Zylstra is a vocal spokesman for the value technology can provide in raising social and economic standards in Arizona.
Zylstra serves on numerous councils, committees and boards, was named “Leader of the Year, Technology,” by the Arizona Capitol Times, and “Most Admired Leader” by the Phoenix Business Journal. In addition, he was awarded an honorary doctorate of science in technology from the University of Advancing Technology in Tempe, Ariz.
Zylstra earned a bachelor’s degree in automotive engineering technology from Western Michigan University.
Karen Nowicki is a successful author, speaker and the creator of Deep Impact Leadership™ and SoulMarks Coaching™. She is a two-time recipient of the prestigious national Choice Award® for her book and personal development retreat. Karen was crowned the first-ever “Mompreneur of the Year” Award in 2010 for the southwestern states. She was recognized for her leadership, business acumen, and work-life balance.
Karen has been an expert guest on regional TV and radio shows, including Fox Phoenix Morning Show, Sonoran Living, Good Morning Arizona, The Chat Room, and Mid-Day Arizona. She has been a regular contributor to many print and online magazines – publishing articles and blogs for business and education.
In addition to working with private coaching clients, Karen is also the Owner & President of Phoenix Business RadioX. The Business RadioX Network amplifies the voice of business – serving the Fortune 500,000, not just the Fortune 500. Phoenix Business RadioX helps local businesses and professional associations get the word out about the important work they’re doing to serve their market, profession, and community.
Of all the experiences Karen has had the privilege of participating in over her vast career, she shares that Phoenix Business RadioX is a pinnacle adventure!
About Our Sponsor
The Arizona Technology Council, Arizona’s only statewide organization serving the technology sector, fosters a climate of innovation to enhance technology in Arizona.
A trusted resource in strengthening Arizona’s technology industry, the Council proactively eliminates impediments that companies face, accelerates the entrepreneurial mindset in the state’s expanding innovation ecosystem, and works to create a destination for companies to be, thrive and stay.