Become a Member


Recap WITI Boston - May 8, 2014

Deb Stark

  • Share:    
"Speed Coaching to Maximize Your Unique Value & CIO One-on-One Connections"
Recap WITI Boston - May 8, 2014
By Deb Stark, Regional Network Director

In May, WITI members and non-members gathered at the IBM Innovation Center in Cambridge to engage with C-level executives and obtain one-on-one career advice from professional coaches.

Upon arrival, attendees were asked to sign in for a speed coaching session with one of 11 coaches; some of the early arrivals were able to take advantage of two sessions. Those that chose not to get coached or arrived late enjoyed beverages, a light dinner, and networking.

For those of you unfamiliar with the ins and outs of speed coaching, picture multiple coaches positioned around a room as you enter. You find your coach and the clock starts. Over the next 10 minutes, each attendee, privately, states a question or issue and the assigned coach guides the conversation and provides valuable feedback. Then the clock stops, and you move to another coach and do it again. It was a bit crazy, but worked !

After our one hour of speed coaching, we moved to another room and listened to a panel of C-level executives to obtain more career advice and hear career stories of trial and tribulation. Our moderator, Donna Ceriani, (who was also a coach), asked key questions including:

What career advice do you wish someone had told you early on in your career?

- Jay Leader, CIO, Rocket Software: "You are who you are, don't change, and know that not everything will be a fit. Simply leverage who you are and what you are"
- Daryl Crockett, CEO, Validus Solutions: "Learn to listen, practice this skill. Take feedback and know that you can't control everything"
- Chandra Jacobs, CEO, tripchi: "Relax, think, step back. Don't jump to send an email response, think about the message, content, and your reputation"
- Kathy Lane, Former CIO at TJX, GE, Gillette, and now giving back through TAC: "That hard work doesn't necessarily get you ahead. Take time to navigate and understand the politics. Work smart, keep organized, ask questions and find your voice"

What skills are key to success as a leader?

- Jay Leader: "Develop your skills that can go across industries such as data analytics, business process, sales, etc. As a developer or engineer, don't just concentrate on one language, broaden your skill set and learn the business acumen"
- Daryl Crockett: "Learn how to sell your ideas and develop your negotiating skills. Communications is key and knowing how to "translate" between the business user and the technologist is critical"
- Chandra Jacobs: "Practice and deliver confidently your elevator pitch. Speak concisely and know how to put forth your message."
- Kathy Lane: "Always be curious; take advantage of continual education and life-long learning. Ask questions, don't be afraid to speak up. And if you are in a global organization, understand cultural differences; be aware of the customs in place."

Thanks to our host IBM, our sponsors, The Advisory Council (TAC) and Hollister Staffing along with our 11 coaches, 4 C-level panelists, our moderator and the WITI Boston team for their assistance. It truly was an extraordinary WITI event and personal experience. Many women walked away from this program with a better understanding of themselves and ideas of how to achieve their goals, become better leaders, and more. The evening finished with a WITI raffle and additional networking time.

About Our Guest Author:
Deb Stark is the network director for WITI Boston and has been an active member for 3+ years. Deb is currently a marketing manager at Charles River Development, a leading investment management solutions company based in Burlington, MA. Deb delivers content rich marketing programs and manages all seminars, client conferences and events for the Americas. Formerly at CXO Media's CIO Executive Council, Deb was responsible for brand positioning, demand generation, sales enablement, and a variety of virtual and in-person events. Prior to CXO Media, Deb was the marketing director for Industry Insights at IDC and implemented brand and lead management programs for the financial services, government, manufacturing and retail sectors. Prior to marketing research, Deb provided marketing services for technology companies including Financial Fusion, Sybase and Powersoft. Deb holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from Northeastern University. Deb loves to "live in the outside" and enjoys skiing, cycling, kayaking, running, hiking and traveling.

About Women in Technology Boston:
The Boston affiliation of Women in Technology International offers multiple events throughout the year in metro Boston and downtown. Our focus is to provide ways in which women of all ages, skill sets and backgrounds connect with other women both locally and globally to advance their careers and improve their leadership development skills. To learn more and see what's up next, visit

About our Coaches:

  • Donna Ceriani, Executive Coach, The Real Journey
  • Click here to meet Donna.
  • Kim Meninger, Executive Coach & Career Strategist, Executive Career Success
  • Click here to meet Kim.
  • Marie Bankuti, Leadership/Team Coach and President, Tether Free Vision
  • Click here to meet Marie.
  • Samantha Sutton, Founder, Career Coach & Strategist, Sutton Life Solutions
  • Click here to meet Samantha.
  • Dawn Quesnel, President, Quesnel Companies
  • Click here to meet Dawn.
  • Gina Lincoln, Consultant, Professional Coach, Be Multidimensional
  • Click here to meet Gina.
  • Shannon Kelly, Career Coach, The Coaches Training Institute
  • Click here to meet Shannon.
  • Carly Goldsmith, Career Coach, Carly Goldsmith Coaching
  • Click here to meet Carly.
  • Pauline Fournier, Owner, PCF Coaching
  • Click here to meet Pauline.
  • Lisa Borchetta, Firebird Life Coaching
  • Click here to meet Lisa.
  • Kerri Whelan, Handel Group Private Coaching
  • Click here to meet Kerri.

    Become a WITI Member!

    Are you interested in boosting your career, personal development, networking, and giving back? If so, WITI is the place for you! Become a WITI Member and receive exclusive access to attend our WITI members-only events, webinars, online coaching circles, find mentorship opportunities (become a mentor; find a mentor), and more!

    Become a Member

    Our Story

    Founded in 1989, WITI (Women in Technology International) is committed to empowering innovators, inspiring future generations and building inclusive cultures, worldwide. WITI is redefining the way women and men collaborate to drive innovation and business growth and is helping corporate partners create and foster gender inclusive cultures. A leading authority of women in technology and business, WITI has been advocating and recognizing women's contributions in the industry for more than 30 years.

    Read More

    The organization delivers leading edge programs and platforms for individuals and companies -- designed to empower professionals, boost competitiveness and cultivate partnerships, globally. WITI’s ecosystem includes more than a million professionals, 60 networks and 300 partners, worldwide.

    WITI's Mission

    Empower Innovators.
    Inspire Future Generations.
    Build Inclusive Cultures.

    As Part of That Mission WITI Is Committed to

    Building Your Network.
    Building Your Brand.
    Advancing Your Career.