Meet the New Mexico Tech Council’s women in technology

Writer: Kevin Robinson-Avila

Betty Chao, keynote speaker at the New Mexico Technology Council’s fourth annual Women in Technology awards, urged women to be “bold” and “fierce” in pursuing careers.

The awards ceremony, held at the Albuquerque Marriott Pyramid. Thursday morning, honored 10 women from around the state for their achievements in technology fields, and for encouraging other women to pursue careers and leadership roles in technology. The Council also recognized 10 young women, high school seniors, in New Mexico who won scholarships to pursue their education in a field of technology at any trade school, community college or university in the state.

Chao is founder, president and CEO of Albuquerque-based WESTECH International Inc. Chao, who launched WESTECH in 1994 after 11 years at Sandia National Laboratories, has grown her business into an 800-employee operation with up to $45 million in annual revenue.

“Be bold in your life journey, and be bold in your career,” Chao told the audience. “It’s better to strive to be extraordinary than to stick to your comfort zone. Extraordinary means shaping your own destiny and leaving a lasting legacy well into the future.”

She urged women to be curious and ask lots of questions, and she counseled them not to fear making mistakes.

“We learn from our mistakes,” Chao said. “Light a fire of passion in your belly. Don’t take the back seat – be the driver in shaping your destiny.”

The Women in Technology winners were chosen from a list of 25 nominees. This year’s awardees include:

* Becky Borowski, technology instructor at Carrizozo Municipal Schools
* Erika Edgerly, a manager at Intel Corp.
* Jeanne Gleason, director of New Mexico State
* Michelle King, Soul Candy Studio owner and principal designer
* Elizabeth Lopez, a senior technical staff member at Sandia National
* Susan Rempe, principal member of Sandia’s Nanobiology Department technical staff
* Suzanne Roberts, Technology Ventures Corp
* Barbara Stoller, director of TVC’s Small Business Innovation Research program
* Julie Wilder, associate scientist at Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute
* Virginia DeBolt, web teacher for the BlogHer Web Standards Project

Scholarship winners were chosen from 29 nominees from communities statewide.

“Mentoring and encouraging students like these [are key focuses] of the Technology Council,” Laflin said. “The future of technology depends on students.”

Women in Technology winner Barbara Stoller said the Council awards help build career opportunities in New Mexico.

“It supports women in a non-traditional industry,” Stoller said. “Technology is the future. It creates jobs and small businesses.”

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