Mentorship and Advocacy: Enablers for Equal Opportunity

WITI and Pluralsight present a panel discussion on using Mentorship and Advocacy as tools to enable equal opportunity in the workplace.

Studies have shown that increased workforce diversity strengthens the bottom line and improves employee satisfaction. Thus, many organizations have committed themselves to expanded efforts to fully engage previously underutilized talent. Because WITI is a women's advocacy organization, our panel will begin with a discussion on how leaders can determine the changes required in their organizations to provide opportunities without gender bias. We'll provide tips on:

- Ways to develop strategies to reach the desired state
- Proactive measures to encourage buy-in throughout the organization
- The powerful role of mentorship in employees' long-term development
- Guidance for establishing company mentorship programs
- Best practices for both mentors and mentees
- How managers can employ mentorship programs to ensure smart career paths for future leaders

Next we'll discuss the use of Advocacy to enable change at the enterprise level, and how to coax active participation in equal-opportunity initiatives. We'll review ways in which both men and women can advocate for fair treatment and productive methods for speaking up in uncomfortable situations.

Join us and our sponsors Pluralsight for a discussion that may seem to be ahead of its time but is actually right on cue.

Featured Speaker(s)

Amy Gradnik is currently the Chief Operating Officer for Global Digital Infrastructure at S&P Global responsible for the development of the Digital Infrastructure strategy in alignment with enterprise priorities. In this role, she also leads the teams' M&A activities, oversees the execution of Strategic Programs, provides financial management and transparency for our customers, maintains our IT Service Management processes and procedures, and ensures proper management and governance of our vendors.

Amy joined S&P Global from Visa, Inc. where she established and managed a global team focused on the delivery of agile and best-in-class infrastructure solutions by providing effective Portfolio Management and Project Management capabilities. Prior to Visa, Amy was the Managing Director and Head of Strategy and Governance for Bank of New York Mellon's infrastructure organization. Throughout her 11 years at the firm, Amy spearheaded the transformation of BNYM's Infrastructure organization towards a service-centric, client-focused organization.

Amy holds a B.S. from the University of Pittsburgh and an MBA from Robert Morris University. She is originally from Pittsburgh, PA, now residing in Holmdel, NJ, with her husband of 12 years, two crazy kids, and one amazing (but elderly) dog.

Markus Hiller has over 21 years of management consulting, global technology program & operations management and pre- and post- sale customer relationship management experience.

He joined CHG-MERIDIAN in 2014 as Principal North America. He is responsible for CHG-MERIDIAN's national consulting practice and value-added technology management services.

Prior to joining CHG-MERIDIAN, Markus spent most of his career at Siemens in international technology operations management roles and at KPMG in management consulting related to Mergers and Acquisitions.

Markus is certified in program management, ITIL and health care management. He has a track record of successful client consulting, sales support and program/service delivery management.

Markus holds a German degree in Industry Electronics from Robert Bosch GmbH and the Carl Schaefer School of Business in Baden Wuerttemberg Germany. He resides in Chicago, Illinois.

Lauren Acquista serves on the founding leadership team of United Technologies' Digital Accelerator, a team of product managers, designers, data scientists and software engineers building solutions for UTC's world-class product and service portfolio. As head of product for their building systems group, Lauren and her team seek to bring to market consumer offerings to support the future of homes, buildings and cities.

Prior to joining UTC, Lauren spent 9 years in American Express' consumer organization in roles spanning marketing, business development and digital product management. While at Amex, Lauren established an innovation team focused on incubating new products, services and lines of business. She also initiated and led a centralized team to direct staffing, investment allocation and change management to support their digital transformation.

A native Michigander, Lauren started her career with Valassis, a media and marketing services company near Detroit.

Lauren holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Michigan's Stephen M. Ross School of Business and a certificate in New Venture Strategy from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Lauren lives in Lower Manhattan with her daughter and husband.

Judeann Strauss is currently a Sr. Manager of Application Development in UPS Information Technology. Judeann is currently in the Office of the CIO, responsible for Skill Development for UPS IT Professionals as UPS progresses on its Digital Transformation journey.

Judeann has been in I.T. for 33 years, 27 of which have been with UPS. During her 33 years in I.T., Judeann has held numerous positions of increasing responsibility. Just prior to her current assignment, she was in the I.T. Strategy Group, responsible for defining the I.T. Transformation effort. Most of her career was in the Customer Technology Business Unit where she was accountable for: The PMO, Business Analysis, Testing Practices, and Global Development Strategy / Vendor Management. She began her career has a Programmer / Analyst for AT&T. She has functioned as both a Mentor and Mentee on many occasions, formally and informally.

Judeann has a B.S. from the Carroll School of Management at Boston College, with concentrations in Marketing and Computer Science. In addition, she has a M.S. in Management Information Systems from The New Jersey Institute of Technology.

Schedule of Events

5:30 pm Check-in and networking
6:15 pm WITI Welcome & Introductions
6:30 pm Panel Presentation & Questions
8:00 pm WITI Raffles
8:15 pm Wrap up