LST Honoree Speaker Series: Judy Spitz, Part II

See the first part of this interview here!

Welcome back! This is the second part of Judy Spitz’s incredible interview with Seidenberg student Niamh Fitzsimon. The event is the first in a series featuring previous winners of our prestigious Leadership and Service in Technology (LST) award.

Tickets for the LST Awards in April are available now!

One of the topics that kept reoccurring during Niamh’s interview with Judy is something very close to our heart at the Seidenberg School: women in technology. Niamh herself is Vice President of the student organization Pace Women in Tech. She asked whether Judy found that being a woman ever played a part in how she worked with her teams.

“No, it never changed anything that I did, one way or the other. I will say that there’s all this data that shows that women feel like they need to meet 120% of the job requirements to apply for the job. Men are in the 50-60% range. Don’t look at job ads and say oh I can’t do that part I shouldn’t apply for it. Men look and say ‘oh, I can do most of those things’ and that’s plenty.

“Once, early in my career, I got called into the senior executive’s office and he said ‘I want to give you this job’. I said to him ‘I’m not sure that I’m qualified for that job’. He looked at me like I had three heads. I’m not sure he’d ever had anyone in that office he’d offered a promotion to who said no, thanks. The lesson is that if someone who knows you thinks you’re qualified for a job, you probably are.”

Judy went on to tell the audience to trust themselves more. “Your instincts are usually the right instincts.”

While on the topic of women in tech, Judy took some time to talk about how WiTNY came to be.

“The number of jobs in the technology industry has gone up but the number of women participating has gone down. During my time at Verizon, I became alarmed at the small amount of women coming up behind me. Who was going to be the next CIO? I got the WiTNY program going, a 5 year initiative to get more women studying STEM.”

The Women in Technology and Entrepreneurship in New York, or WiTNY initiative, aims to significantly increase the participation of women in STEM fields in the New York market. Through strategic initiatives, WiTNY mainly works on enabling high school girls preparing for college to focus on STEM paths and secure rewarding and lucrative careers within the tech field.

As an institution with our own Women in Technology initiatives, like STEM Women Achieve Greatness (SWAG) and Pace Women in Tech, we think WiTNY is a wonderful, extremely valuable project.

Head to part 3 of Judy Spitz’s amazing interview here!

This was the first event in our three-event series, with the next taking place on March 22nd with Nicholas Donofrio, IBM Fellow Emeritus (Ret.) IBM Executive Vice President, Innovation and Technology, on our Westchester campus. The final event will be an interview with Austin A. Adams, Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer (Ret.), JPMorgan Chase, at our NYC campus on April 19th.

The LST Honoree Speaker Series is part of a run up to our annual benefit, the Leadership and Service in Technology Awards. Tickets are available now!

Part 3

LST Honoree Speaker Series kicks off on International Women’s Day with Judy Spitz

Although it wasn’t planned, the fact that the first of our LST Honoree Speaker Series fell on International Women’s Day was serendipitous to say the least. The event was part of a run-up to the Leadership and Service in Technology (LST) Awards, an annual benefit for the Seidenberg School during which we celebrate outstanding individuals who best exemplify leadership and innovation in the tech field. This year’s award will be going to Suresh Kumar, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer at BNY Mellon. Tickets can be purchased at various levels for this fantastic opportunity to attend the reception, network with industry professionals and alumni, and support the Seidenberg School.

Judy Spitz is the Founding Program Directory of the Initiative for Women in Technology and Entrepreneurship in New York (WiTNY). She received the LST award in 2012, when she was the Senior Vice President and CIO at Verizon. On Wednesday March 8, a crowd of over 100 students, alums, and friends from the Pace community got to hear an incredible interview where Judy shared the wisdom she has collected over an eventful career.

The event was introduced by Seidenberg advisory board member, Helen Altshuler, a senior engineering leader at Google, who remarked that “progressing in technology and making strides is a common goal for women and for men. The more people we can bring into this conversation, the more we can progress as a community.”

Progress was a key theme of the event. As Seidenberg student Niamh Fitzsimon opened the interview by asking about Judy’s career and advice for success, it quickly became clear that being open to different paths of progress is crucial.

“Don’t be so tunnel visioned,” Judy cautioned. “While you’re en route to doing what you want to do, there will be opportunities that come onto your radar and the key is not to be too rigid about whether it meets your checklist; whether you think it’s the right move. It’s a jungle gym, not a ladder. This idea where you’re going to get the next job then the next and the next in a linear fashion – that’s not going to happen. In a jungle gym, there are lots of different ways to get to one place. If some paths opens to you, move in that direction. You might end up having to turn back, but you’ll have learned something along the way.”

Words many of our extremely driven, motivated students needed to hear. When you are so focused on following a strict career path to get to where you want to be, you could become blinded to opportunities that offer an alternative route to the end goal – or even ones that take you somewhere else entirely, somewhere that ends up better than your original plan.

Judy also outlined her 5 steps to success. Given the 8 step plan offered by Amtrak CIO Jason Molfetas during his Big Data Innovator talk last fall, perhaps the first and foremost step should be “Come up with a list of steps”!

Judy Spitz’s 5 Steps to Success

1. Be a great storyteller

“It doesn’t matter where you are in your career,” Judy said, “Whether you’re at the beginning and you need talk to the people you work for about what you are doing and why it matters, or you’re middle management and it’s about collaboration with your peers, or whether you’re in a leadership potion and you need to motivate the people you expect to follow along, you’ve got to be able to tell a great story.

“Storytelling has a beginning, a middle, and an end. You get better by thinking about it ahead of time, finding a hook; that hook is how people follow along. And rehearse your story. There has never been one time when I’ve had to stand up and give a presentation when I haven’t rehearsed it beforehand, out loud. Just standing there and reading what you think you want to say is a cognitive process. If you just practice in your room beforehand, I guarantee you will fumble it.”

2. Think non-linearly but execute in a linear fashion

“See both the forest and the trees: you have to be able to stand back and get the big picture so you can get an idea of what matters and what doesn’t,” Judy said. By seeing the big picture, you learn which smaller parts are the most important and can execute tasks in a way that makes sense on both the minute and grand levels.

“However, you also have to be the kind of person who can go down to the minute letter and actually do the work.”

3. Have passion

“Passion is what drives you to go to work when you have reasons not to.”

4. Be accountable

“Don’t ask yourself ‘did I do what I was supposed to do?‘, but ask whether the project did what it was supposed to do. If you just think about your own performance, you’ll never get promoted. Ask people what you can do to help them.”

5. Have humility

“It’s never about you.” As close as you can get to a project, sometimes the decision you want to make isn’t always the right one for the project. Remember that it’s not about you, it’s about the work.

Continue reading part 2 of Judy Spitz’s interview here!

This was the first event in our three-event series, with the next taking place on March 22nd with Nicholas Donofrio, IBM Fellow Emeritus (Ret.) IBM Executive Vice President, Innovation and Technology, on our Westchester campus. The final event will be an interview with Austin A. Adams, Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer (Ret.), JPMorgan Chase, at our NYC campus on April 19th.

The LST Honoree Speaker Series is part of a run up to our annual benefit, the Leadership and Service in Technology Awards. Tickets are available now!

Part 2

Pace Women in Tech celebrates official club status in first meeting

The Pace Women in Tech club held its first meeting as an official Pace organization on Monday, February 6, 2017. Led by Seidenberg students Eiman Ahmed and Niamh Fitzsimon, the meeting was a brief introduction to the club and the plans for the upcoming semester.

Aimed to be a welcoming group where members can make new friends and build a peer network, Pace Women in Tech already has a lot planned for this year. Hackathons, internship workshops, and potential attendance to the 2017 Grace Hopper Celebration conference in Orlando, Florida, were just some of the things on the table.

The group aims to meet every two weeks and new members are welcome to join them for discussions, workshops and the chance to meet guest speakers from the tech industry – all over free pizza, of course.

“We want to spread awareness for the underrepresented group of women in technology,” said Ava Posner (BS in IT ’18). “My goal is to bring Seidenberg students – especially women – together so they have a network of individuals they can share experiences with, ask questions, and make new friends.”

Pace Women in Tech has an active Facebook group that is recommended for members not only so they can stay up to date with meetings and events here at Seidenberg but for local hackathons and other events taking place outside Pace.

Jean Coppola receives Women in Tech award (again!)

On October 20th, the Westchester County Association (WCA) will be recognizing five women for their extraordinary efforts in STEM fields as part of their third annual “Women in Tech” awards. One of these women happens to be our very own, Professor Jean Coppola!

The WCA started this event in 2014 in order to recognize women for their remarkable contributions and achievements while working in science, technology, math and engineering (STEM).

Professor Coppola will be recognized as an award-winning educator, author and professor of gerontechnology at Pace University.

“We are delighted at this recognition of Dr. Jean Coppola’s work,” said Seidenberg Dean Jonathan Hill. “Through her research into healthcare IT in general and gerontechnology specifically, Jean has made great contributions to the discipline and, through this work, has made vital contributions to the Westchester County community. Her work has enabled hundreds of Pace University students to become engaged with their neighbors in life saving ways and we all benefit from this work.”

Coppola has won numerous national awards for her extensive research and work with the effects of technology on the quality of life for older adults, including attitudes towards aging and cognitive functioning.

We can’t wait for Professor Coppola to receive this award on October 20th. Want to see it happen? You can attend!

Congratulations Professor Coppola!

Seidenberg hits the 2016 Women in Cybersecurity Conference

twoAs a student in the Seidenberg School you have ample opportunities for professional and personal development, and adventure! Along these lines, a Seidenberg team attended the 2016 Women in Cybersecurity Conference (WiCyS) in Dallas, TX last week. The team, comprised of amazing students pursuing degrees with a cybersecurity focus, included Alexa Piccoli (MS/CS’16), Norissa Lamaute (MS/CS’17), Siobhan Kiernan (BS/IT’17) and Adriana Aluia (BS/IT’18). In addition, the team also included Lindsay Peckham (AAS/Cybersecurity’17) and Sara DaCosta (AAS/Cybersecurity’18) from Westchester Community College, a Pace Cybersecurity Academic partner.

Not only are women underrepresented in the IT field, but a report sponsored by ISC2 and Booz Allen Hamilton found that in 2013 women made up just 11 percent of global cybersecurity workforce and only nine percent were in senior leadership roles. It is in this context that WiCyS aims to bring together female students, faculty, researchers, and professionals in cybersecurity for knowledge sharing, networking and mentoring. The conference aims to raise awareness about the importance and nature of cybersecurity careers and to generate interest among students to consider cybersecurity as a viable career option.

From left to right: Lindsay Peckham, Alexa Piccoli, Sara DaCosta, Andrea Wright (Bank of America) Adriana Aluia, Siobhan Kiernan, and Norissa Lamaute
From left to right: Lindsay Peckham, Alexa Piccoli, Sara DaCosta, Andrea Wright (Bank of America) Adriana Aluia, Siobhan Kiernan, and Norissa Lamaute

2016 WiCyS had great energy and blended both academic and professional speakers and content. The conference gathered more than 700 attendees! The tech talks included reverse engineering, cyber criminology, perspectives on research, exploit development, cyber-physical system security. Other professional talks covered tools and strategies for education as well as workshops oriented toward specific career tracks in cyber security. A job fair with over 30 prominent employers and numerous “networking socials” provided students with the opportunity to learn specifics about the skills in need in the industry, and in many cases get job offers on the spot.

Here is what the some of the participants had to say about the conference experience:

One take away from the WiCyS conference was the ample opportunity and support for women in cybersecurity. While the statistic showcase the dramatic lack of women in this field, it felt great to be in a place where women in cyber were encouraged to do great things. I really enjoyed the key note speakers from various top companies and felt empowered and driven to one day be at the level they are at. I got to meet many academics and professionals who offered guidance and reassurance that this is what I want to do as a lifelong career. I learned that it is okay to feel confused at times, and that if you keep working hard, you can reach your goals. I was inspired to take on new opportunities and dig deeper into my school work and cyber related topics.

Alexa Piccoli (MS/CS’16)

squiggleLindsay Peckham (AAS/Cybersecurity ‘17, Westchester Community College): There were so many inspiring moments that it’s difficult to choose only one so I would love to share two items that have stuck with me since returning home.

First, the field of cyber security offers everything I desire in a career: technology, cutting-edge ideas, innovations and helping others but there are many specialties within the field that I had to be exposed to and barely understood in the real-world sense.   Personally, the conference offered me a way to navigate the many career opportunities in this field.  Through anecdotes, insightful speeches, networking opportunities and plentiful resources, I spent nearly 3 days putting myself in the shoes of others and thinking about how that career specialty may suit me in the future.

Second, one of my hopes for attending WiCyS was to learn about what other schools are doing for their cyber security clubs.  It’s been one of my passions at WCC to improve and grow our club in meaningful and exciting ways. Attending the “CyberSecurity Club: 101 from Inception to Installment and Beyond” workshop gave me an opportunity to see what other colleges, both community and university, are doing in their clubs.  […] I am very excited for 2016-2017 school year because I think some really neat changes are going to be made!

Many thanks to Dr. Li-Chiou Chen and Andreea Cotoranu for making this experience possible!

squiggle2Are you working on cybersecurity related projects and have an interest in attending the next edition of WiCyS? Submit a research poster or just apply for a scholarship to attend the conference! Contact Andreea Cotoranu for questions related to future participation in this event.

Interested in learning more about cybersecurity? No problem! The Seidenberg School invites you to take cybersecurity courses, join the Pace Cyber Team, or apply for the CyberCorps scholarship program!

Seidenberg students represent at the Conference for Women Computer Science Students

The first annual New York City Conference for Women Computer Science Students took place at the Microsoft Headquarters in New York City on April 1, 2016.  The Seidenberg School, a strong supporter of Women in Technology (WIT@Pace) was represented at this historic event by computer science undergraduates Karishma Saini (BS/CS’18) and Rohana Sosa (BS/CS’19).

I enjoyed the event because it was a great learning experience for me. I learned more the importance of computer science and technology in today’s world. I also received numerous tips and advice for my future career. We were encouraged to combine out interests with computer science and technology. Overall, it was a comfortable atmosphere to be surrounded by other women who had the same dreams of pursuing a career in computer science/technology the same way I do.

Karishma Saini (BS/CS’18)

The all-day conference organized by the NY Technology Council was focused on building community and career support for undergraduate women studying computer science and related fields. The event, co-sponsored by Microsoft and Google, featured keynote presentations from leading computer science experts in industry and academia; panel discussions on topics pertaining to entrepreneurship, career development, and networking; and networking opportunities for students to connect with industry leaders.

Karishma Saini (left) and Rohana Sosa (right)
Karishma Saini (left) and Rohana Sosa (right)

The most enriching part of visiting Microsoft was listening to the inspiring experiences of the keynote speakers as well as of the other CS students. All sessions served as useful resources for expanding my knowledge and CS network. I loved becoming friends with six CS​ students and introducing myself to the CEO of the startup called Stowaway Cosmetics!

Rohana Sosa (BS/CS’19)

See you there next year!