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Elizabeth Gordon interview Atlanta’s Women in Technology (WIT) on the Chic Perspectives Show


Today on The Chic Perspectives Show I had on some fabulous women from Atlanta’s Women in Technology.  Heather Rocker, Executive Director of Women in Technology & the WIT Foundation joined me in the studio to talk about WIT and her path to becoming a leader.

Heather Rocker joined WIT in March 2007 as the organization’s first-ever executive director. She was named to the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s “Top 40 Under 40”, awarded “Outstanding Young Alumna” by Georgia Tech and most recently won the Turknett Leadership Character Award in the “Inspiritor” category.

Heather currently authors a blog about strategic volunteering and speaks to nonprofit and corporate groups about incorporating this concept into their leadership development plans.

Heather talked about Strategic Volunteering  – it’s about making the most of your limited time while making an impact in your community

In order to create the best volunteer role for yourself: you have to know what to look for, where to go, and how to get into the right placement

She suggested women consider expanding their network by volunteering.  Here are some questions to ask yourself if volunteering would be a good move for you: Outside of work, where am I involved?  What is the list of people that I could call today for a favor or introduction?  Could the leaders of organizations for which I volunteer serve as a reference for me?

Heather also suggested  you create a strategic volunteering action plan: use your performance reviews/goals to align your professional goals with your volunteer goals

Check out WIT’s new website @

Find more about Heather Rocker and Women in Technology (WIT)

My next guest was Fela Strickland-Smith is the COO and Managing Partner at Satori Consulting, Inc.

With more than 15 years as a senior Information Technology professional, Fela provides clients with results-focused user centered processes, design , information architecture and usability  for traditional and web-based applications. Fela’s customer-focused leadership approach has led clients including Wachovia, JP Morgan, American Express Global Network Services and Chase Manhattan bank to achieve their business goals.

Prior to founding Satori Consulting, Fela led technology initiatives, developed products and established business processes for leading companies including Equity Residential Properties, GE Capital Corporate Treasury’s Short Term Funding Group and Accenture.

Fela is also holds a position as an adjunct professor with the Art Institute of Atlanta’s – Interactive Media and Design Department and also serves as an account manager for Women in Technology’s Strategic Alliances Outreach Program.

Fela earned her Bachelor of Science degree with a concentration in Math and Computer Science from Virginia Union University. Originally from the Northeast, Fela resides in Atlanta with her husband and two children.

Fela shared that  research is the secret weapon for an effective web site because it tells you the most important fact you need: how your customers use your product or service

When it comes to web sites, everyone wants to know the secret to customer loyalty. The key is RESEARCH FIRST, build and design LATER. Given a choice, the customer will buy based on their needs – not on design

The number one question they get asked at Satori Consulting: “why aren’t our customers buying from our web site?”  The answer: they’ve invested heavily in the technology and design of the site without understanding how their target audience will use the site

Fela recommended practicing the “Three E’s” – Examine your business goals, Enlighten yourself with research, Evolve your web site to meet your customers needs

She reminded us that it is important to also ask yourself: who is your web site’s intended user, and what are your business goals? Then find a way to marry the two.

Satori Consulting builds relationships with their clients while providing world-class consulting services. The result: clients know Satori Consulting will provide results-oriented solutions based on first-hand experience.

Web application development with a customer focus and product development with an emphasis on new product idea generation is a necessity for businesses building an effective web presence. Satori Consulting is a leader in developing web applications and new products for our clients to build their businesses while focusing on customer loyalty.

Find out more about Satori Consulting @ – 1200 Abernathy Rd., Ste. 1700 Atlanta, GA 30328

My next guest was Jamie Greene, who is a Partner at Kilpatrick Stockton.

Jamie is a patent attorney with Kilpatrick Stockton where she has been obtaining and providing legal advice relating to biotechnology and pharmaceutical patents for over 25 years. As a co-leader of the Kilpatrick Stockton Health and Life Sciences Team, Jamie advises individuals, universities, and small start-up companies to large international companies on intellectual property issues.

She received a degree from Wellesley College in Molecular Biology, a law degree from Emory University and a Masters in Immunology from Emory and has been an adjunct professor of Intellectual Property at Emory Law School. In addition to being the immediate past-president of Women in Technology, Jamie is on the board of the Huntington’s Disease Society of America and Childspring International, and is a member of the Emory University Conflict of Interest Committee, the Georgia BIO Education and Workforce Development Committee and the CDC Foundation National Advisory Council.

Jamie shared her story and told us that it wasn’t easy being the first female patent attorney in Atlanta, but she has a determination to succeed.

As the graduate of an all-women’s college, Jamie is not easily intimidated. She is driven and passionate about the improvement of health and prevention of disease

She had a dream to contribute to something that had a huge impact on the health of humans and animals and started as a scientist in cancer research, but the results didn’t come fast enough.

Most people don’t realize that improvements in healthcare are directly related to patents

Discoveries must be patentable to provide business with the incentive to develop technology that will improve health.

By helping scientists obtain patents, Jamie achieves her original goal and has actually contributed to the eradication of illness and disease.

She has worked on obtaining patents involving human papillomavirus, the infection that can cause cervical cancer and death if not diagnosed and treated

The patents enabled a company to obtain the funds to develop a test that is now used to diagnose HPV infection at an early stage, resulting in the prevention of many deaths

Currently, she is helping  a scientist obtain patents on a diagnostic method for the early detection of breast cancer. He had to start his own company in order to develop and produce diagnostic tests based on his discovery. Patents were essential to funding and funding was necessary for successful research and development.

So was all the hard work worth it?   Organic Chemistry class, demeaning law professors, the Patent Bar exam and all those late nights studying and writing patent applications, when asked if she would do it all over again, Jamie Green answers an unequivocal -Yes, in a heartbeat.

To contact Jamie go to

Next up was Tricia Dempsey, the founder and CEO of Agile, the IT staffing and consulting firm that works with technology leaders to speed their time to talent.  Tricia also serves as a board director for both Women in Technology and Komen for the Cure – Greater Atlanta.

Tricia talked about research that shows top talent is 250% more productive than average employees and what her firm does to help companies find the right people fast.

To hire someone with top talent, you must understand your need (beyond your job description) by creating a performance profile.

Tricia says the performance profile should “start with the end in mind” – you should consider what you will be reviewing  the winning candidate on one year from the date of hire.

Additionally, performance profiles consider hard skills, but also soft skills, values/motivators and behavioral style.

The bottom line – Hire slow…fire fast

Find out more about Agile the IT staffing company @

Next in the group was Mary Lou Heastings, President of Executive Alliance

As president of Executive Alliance, Mary Lou Heastings has responsibility for guiding the expansion of the company’s portfolio of technology related leadership award recognition programs, executive summits, roundtables, and custom programs across the U.S. Her leadership has resulted in the establishment of a national network for senior level executives in Fortune 1000 organizations. An avid boater, she also received her Captain’s license in 2004.

Mary Lou told us that it’s not enough to be good at what you do, people need to know how good you are

She recommends you stake out a corner – the key to building great recognition is “know me for this”  You want to showcase not what is most different, but most compelling.

Promote your vision; lead strategically, emphasize the journey, and focus on the vision

Leaders in a market are thought leaders, thought leadership is message based

Build great messages for yourself or your company that start with a named problem that needs to be solved for your customer or your organization

Recognized leaders have built “journey messages”; they showcase their intermediary wins to validate their journey

The real test of a great message is how your message is retold.  Leverage your visibility and recognition; maintain differentiation, aura, and momentum

Check out more about Executive Alliance @

We talked about some of the trends to lookout for in technology as well as the importance of supporting math and science education for women and girls.

Thank you again to Heather Rocker bringing all these wonderful Women in Technology into the studio for a fantastic show.

P.S. Check out the after-show video