Women in STEM Leadership

Conference Presenters

Take Your Seat at the Table and Make Your Voice Heard

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Kelly Flowers

Kelly Flowers is a wife, a mother of 3 beautiful grown children, and a CEO. She holds a BA in Business. She is the CEO and Founder of WLT Unlimited and the Founder of .......
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Dr. Sandra Blanke

Dr. Sandra Blanke joined the University of Dallas ‚Äď Irving, Texas in 2005 and is an Associate Professor in Cyber Security Education. She serves as the Director for the Center of Cyber...
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Ogechi Ugwulebo

Ogechi Ugwulebo is a Wife, Mother, Certified Information Security Manager with advanced technical skills and hands on experience in software development, information security ...
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Dr Susan McGinty

Dr Susan McGinty is a global STEM leadership development expert, speaker and author. An award-winning scientist .....
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Jeffrey Price

Jeffrey Price is an accomplished IT executive with nearly 30 years of professional experience in various roles within the health..
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Melissa Carter

Melissa is a familiar voice in Atlanta, serving as Host on several popular morning shows there over the past 25 years. She’s also hosted several ...
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Stephanie Richard-Obire

Stephanie Richard-Obire is a passionate technology leader with extensive experience building and empowering high performing teams to provide high quality solutions to complex business issues.
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Kate Mason

Kate is a professional with over 17 years of experience in the non-profit industry. She has held various roles including program director, director of development and administration, and director of community ..
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Terriekka Cardenas

Terriekka Cardenas is the President and CEO of Perceptive Engineering and Construction Services (PECS, LLC) in Dallas, TX, where she consults, trains and manages projects for multiple disciplines and possesses ...

Dr. Christian Nielsen

Dr. Nielsen is an accomplished IT professional with extensive work experience and a strong educational background in technology with a focus on computer and information related technology.

Sheryle Gillihan

I’m an idealistic realist. I hold onto hope for a better, brighter future, but realize that life is full of challenges and hard decisions. I accept that I can’t do it all, but I do my part to make a difference. After all, we shouldn’t let the realities of life get in the way of our dreams.

Presenters

Brief Bio of Our Presenters

Dr Susan McGinty
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Dr Susan McGinty is a global STEM leadership development expert, speaker and author. An award-winning scientist and highly regarded leader and leadership coach, with 25 years’ experience in STEM, Defence and National Security, Susan is inspired to transform the profile of leadership for women in STEM- and security-related organisations across the world.

Susan has a PhD in Medicinal & Organic Chemistry and a Master of Leadership. Following over ten years in research, Susan spent 14 years (12 of those in leadership positions) in Defence and National Security leading a range of specialised scientific and technical teams, managing key international Defence and national security partnerships and advising on key Defence domestic and international strategic, operational and scientific policies.

Inspired by the challenges of her own leadership journey, Susan is passionate about increasing gender diversity in STEM and security leadership. As the Founder and Director of Aya Leadership, she works with women in these professions globally to master their leadership purpose, skills and experience through education, resources and coaching. She also works with organisations to develop strategies and deliver training to ensure they have the leaders they need now and into the future. Susan understands the challenges women in STEM and security-related professions can experience on their leadership journey, and delivers practical, actionable strategies that make a real difference.

Susan has fifteen years‚Äô experience in adult education, coaching and mentoring in the university, research, corporate, government and community sectors. She is a co-author of the #1 international best-selling book ‚ÄėWomen Transforming the Landscape of Science and Tech‚Äô, a speaker, certified coach and certified NLP Practitioner.

Susan was identified by The Australian Business Journal as one of the 20 Australian leadership experts to watch in 2021. She is a strategic partner of the Australian Women in Security Network and an Executive Member of Women in STEM Leadership.

Experienced Technology Executive | Solutions-oriented Servant Leader | Data-driven Decision Maker | Lifelong Learner

 

Jeffrey Price is an accomplished IT executive with nearly 30 years of professional experience in various roles within the health insurance industry. As a graduate of Texas Tech University, he understands the value of education and continuous learning. Jeffrey has honed his expertise in driving successful technology initiatives while recognizing the inherent relational nature of human beings. Although an introvert himself, Jeffrey recognizes everyone has an intrinsic, deep-rooted desire to know and be known by others and has leveraged this understanding to build diverse and high-performing technology teams throughout his career. He is passionate about identifying and nurturing these core curiosities and unique strengths in others. Jeffrey emphasizes that true leadership is not dependent on an official title, but rather on seeking to demonstrate “radically ordinary” humility, honesty, and kindness in everyday interactions.

 

When Jeffrey is not nerding out on data or AI, you may find him in his backyard, smoking a brisket for an intimate gathering of family and friends. As almost-empty-nesters of two college-age children (Salem and Ryan), Jeffrey and his wife, Chantell, also find joy in exploring unpaved backcountry roads with their beloved dog, Rowdy.

Jeffrey Price
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Kelly Flowers

Kelly Flowers is a wife, a mother of 3 beautiful grown children, and a CEO. She holds a BA in Business. She is the CEO and Founder of WLT Unlimited and the Founder of Women Leading Technology a 501c3. She is a technology trusted partner and a diversity supplier consultant with over 10 years of experience in the technology industry. Throughout her career, she has helped many companies elevate their organizations through various technology solutions to pivot their businesses to the next level of success. She received many recognitions for her hard work and contribution to the technology industry. She has been recognized as one of the top sales leaders in her industry throughout her career. She received many accolades and awards as a top sales leader in the technology industry. She received the Women In Technology award from the Dallas Business Journal and she also received the Women In Technology award from the Mission Critical Magazine. She was featured on WFAA, ShoutOut DFW, and Voyage Dallas for her work in the community.

She is passionate about empowering women and paving the way for girls to explore a career in the STEM/ STEAAM discipline. She is the founder of a few amazing organizations. Women Leading Technology, WLT Unlimited, WLT STEAAM Experience for Girls, and WLT Media. She is building an empire to share with some amazing women that are beside her every step of the way.

Kelly is relentless in her efforts to pave the way for our future leaders of tomorrow. Her personal experience and passion will open many doors along the way. Her mission is to bridge the diversity, equity, and inclusion gap through STEAAM education. She is inspiring young ladies and women around the world to become servant leaders and pay it forward to the next generation.

Ogechi Ugwulebo is a Wife, Mother, Certified Information Security Manager with advanced technical skills and hands on experience in software development, information security governance/risk management, data privacy, and regulatory requirements. She has over 20 years-experience specifically within the Healthcare Information Technology industry. Ogechi also serves as the Founder and National President of the Association of Nigerian Women Entrepreneurs and Professionals (ANWEP), a 501c3 non-profit organization registered in the state of Texas that focuses on women empowerment by working to increase the number of girls/women in STEM education/careers through mentorship, outreach programs, coding workshops/boot camps, role modeling and support for women in crisis.

Through ANWEP, Ogechi created Women in STEM Leadership (WISL) as a mentorship platform designed to educate, equip and empower women and girls with the necessary skills and confidence to succeed in STEM careers. It is Ogechi’ s mission to increase the number of women in STEM through WISL’s career-focused programs and initiatives.

The mission of Women in STEM Leadership is to provide opportunities for professional women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to advance into leadership roles in the male dominated STEM ecosystem. 

Ogechi Ugwulebo

To accomplish this mission, Ogechi and her team are working to: 

‚Äʬ†Address industry workforce shortages and diversity challenges by providing awareness and education and advocating for women in STEM.¬†
‚Äʬ†Create more career and leadership opportunities for women in STEM by providing professional development opportunities.¬†
‚Äʬ†Connect professional women in STEM through networking and mentorship opportunities.

Ogechi understands that role models and mentors help young women visualize themselves as Professionals and future Leaders which is why her mentoring efforts not only provide successful role models for future women in STEM, but also showcase the range of opportunities a STEM education makes possible. Ogechi recognizes that female education is a crucial component to poverty alleviation and investing in girls education also helps delay early marriage and parenthood. Ogechi believes that the key to ensure that aspiring women scientists stay in STEM, are mentors and role models that they can emulate.

Ogechi is originally from Nigeria and moved to the United States in 1996. Prior to moving to the United States, Ogechi obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from the University of Calabar in Nigeria. Upon her arrival in the United States, Ogechi decided to pursue another Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science & Engineering from the University of Nevada in Reno and later obtained a Master of Science Degree in Cybersecurity from the University of Dallas.

Among Ogechi’s many talents, one of her greatest passions is to give back to her community through active participation in empowering the next generation of women leaders and entrepreneurs. As a leader, Ogechi inspires other minority women living in the state of Texas to give back to their immediate communities by making a positive impact through volunteerism and practical philanthropy.

Ogechi’s full bio and work experience is available on her LinkedIn page at  https://www.linkedin.com/in/ogechi-ugwulebo/

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Dr. Sandra Blanke

Biography ‚Äď Dr. Sandra Blanke, Associate Professor, CISSP, CRISC

Dr. Sandra Blanke joined the University of Dallas ‚Äď Irving, Texas in 2005 and is an Associate Professor in Cyber Security Education. She serves as the Director for the Center of Cyber Security Education, Cyber Intelligence and is the Ellis Endowed Chair in Management Technology. Dr. Blanke is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) and maintains a Certification in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC).¬† Dr. Blanke‚Äôs Ph.D. is in Computer and Information Sciences.¬†¬†


Dr. Blanke’s research, teaching and consulting areas of expertise include cybersecurity, risk management, disaster recovery, emerging technologies, artificial intelligence and developing cybersecurity talent. She teaches graduate courses in cybersecurity and serves, as chair for Ph.D. candidates within her research areas.  Blanke is a former Verizon Executive with over 20 years in Enterprise Management and Technology.

Melissa Carter

Melissa is a familiar voice in Atlanta, serving as Host on several popular morning shows there over the past 25 years.¬† She‚Äôs also hosted several podcasts, co-authored the children’s book Whale of an Idea, and is a longtime Featured Columnist for an Atlanta¬†LGBT+ paper.¬† Celebrating the 20th anniversary of her kidney transplant last November, she is grateful for good health and the blessing of her 8-year-old son.

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Stephanie Richard-Obire
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Stephanie Richard-Obire is a passionate technology leader with extensive experience building and empowering high performing teams to provide high quality solutions to complex business issues. She is currently a Software Development Manager at American Airlines where she leads Digital Transformation while shaping culture and fostering an environment where people feel seen, heard, and supported. She has an insatiable love of learning and loves to help people believe the impossible and become the best version of themselves.

 

She holds a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Florida Institute of Technology, an MBA in Information Technology from Campbellsville University, and a Professional Certificate in Digital Transformation from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

 

Outside of work, she loves to workout, travel, spend time with family and friends, listen to music, dance, and volunteer in the community.

Kate is a professional with over 17 years of experience in the non-profit industry. She has held various roles including program director, director of development and administration, and director of community relations/communications. Kate has served at nonprofits in the areas of education, youth development, health & human services, social justice, arts & culture and more. Kate volunteered the Key Spouse Mentor and a Key Spouse for the Air Force in Florida, Washington, and California and earned Key Spouse of the year for the 1st Special Operations Wing.

Kate holds an MBA from Louisiana State University and BA in Applied Behavioral Sciences from Ashford University and is Lean Certified.

Her hobbies include wood working, crafts, cooking, baking and anything on the water. Kate loves to travel, read and spend time with her dog.

Kate Mason
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Terriekka Cardenas

Terriekka Cardenas is the President and CEO of Perceptive Engineering and Construction Services (PECS, LLC) in Dallas, TX, where she consults, trains and manages projects for multiple disciplines and possesses expertise in a several areas within the Industrial Manufacturing and Construction sector. She holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Tulsa and is  a certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt who has worked in the manufacturing industry for over 15 years in varied capacities and department leadership roles. She is a proven influencer, leader and analytical problem solver.  

Terriekka is a huge STEM/STEAM career advocate and she spends her time heavily involved in outreach in the local community and abroad working with organizations developing STEM and Workforce Programs to bridge the gap present in those underrepresented in multiple industries such as Engineering, Aviation & Aerospace, and Computer Science, to name a few. She is currently the Executive Director of Persistence Development Foundation and serves on the board of directors for CodeStream Studios, SimiDigi, Inc. and Tranzmt, Inc.

Dr. Nielsen is an accomplished IT professional with extensive work experience and a strong educational background in technology with a focus on computer and information related technology. He has held positions at leading tech companies, where he has played pivotal roles in designing and implementing innovative solutions. His expertise spans across multiple domains, including software development, system architecture, artificial intelligence, data security and privacy, and communications technologies. He has broad experience performing technical tasks as well as managing and mentoring technical employees.

Throughout his professional career, Dr. Nielsen has continued his formal education to complement his on-the-job training. In addition to an undergraduate degree, Dr. Nielsen holds an MBA in Telecommunications Management from the University of Dallas and a Ph.D. in Information Systems from Nova Southeastern University. All his degrees were earned while remaining on the job.

During his academic and professional work journey, Dr. Nielsen has developed a deep understanding of programming languages, software development, network and application security, computers, and various other technical concepts. Dr. Nielsen firmly believes in the transformative power of technology and its potential to drive change in society. But he also recognizes that change is not always beneficial of all. Education and the application of critical thinking is key to maximizing the benefit of new technologies in business and society.

 

Dr. Christian Nielsen
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For over 20 years, Dr. Nielsen has taught technology subjects to graduate students on their way to master’s degrees. The majority of this was done as an adjunct professor teaching part time while continuing to work full time. He did swap roles for a couple of years teaching full time while continuing to consult part time but returned to full time consulting.

In his current role as a Senior Technical Manager at Jefferson Wells, Dr. Nielsen provides assessment and consulting services supporting development and evaluation of cutting-edge solutions to modern business challenges. His exceptional problem-solving skills and attention to detail ensured the delivery of high-quality, cost-effective products within tight deadlines. His experience and educational background provide a solid framework for developing a detailed analysis of both benefits and issues that can develop using new technologies and communicating those costs and benefits to multiple levels of management.

Dr. Nielsen is committed to staying at the forefront of technological advancements. He actively participates in industry conferences, workshops, and online courses to expand his knowledge and stay updated with the latest trends and technologies. He maintains multiple industry certifications in security, cloud, privacy, and auditing. His goal is to use his knowledge to educate his clients on the potential of new developments as they might apply to their unique environments. He is dedicated to pushing the boundaries of what is possible, leveraging technology to create meaningful secure solutions and shape a better future.

Sheryle Gillihan
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I’m an idealistic realist. I hold onto hope for a better, brighter future, but realize that life is full of challenges and hard decisions. I accept that I can’t do it all, but I do my part to make a difference. After all, we shouldn’t let the realities of life get in the way of our dreams.

I have over 20 years of leadership experience and strive to help everyone use their gifts for the greater good. I speak often about using technology and business as forces for good. I facilitate events, panels, and workshops with nonprofits and social enterprises.

At CauseLabs, a custom web development agency using technology to create and scale impact, I help lead an awesomely talented team that builds tools for great causes. We believe that everyone deserves the life-changing benefits of technology and we strive our best to use our talents to create positive impact.

In my free time, I garden and tend to my chickens on our mini-farm, volunteer in my community, and do my best to be a supportive and loving daughter, mother, and wife. I love to travel, read, learn new languages and take pictures. I love tea, especially white tea, and I am an avid believer in meditation. I am altruistic, I believe in the good of all people, and I believe that I can be a whole woman everywhere that I show up.

See my digital resume (of sorts) on Linkedin to find out more about my past and present experience.