Women in Technology Event is Sold Out, Speakers include SDI’s Noah Levin

by | May 31, 2018

A few weeks ago, at 7:30am, almost 300 profes­sion­als converged on Buckhead’s Maggiano’s to enjoy a beau­ti­ful break­fast spread, network and listen to a panel discus­sion how inno­va­tion and tech­nol­ogy have changed the face of retail and ecom­merce.

Our own Digital Media Disci­pline Lead, Noah Omri Levin, joined two Home Depot Senior Managers of IT and Tech­nol­ogy, Eliz­a­beth Wolf and Sheetal Wrze­sien on the panel. Penny Collins, First Data’s VP and Chief IT Control Officer, moder­ated and opened the discus­sion with the main theme of the morning asking Noah what chal­lenges are happen­ing in this space and how are retail­ers adjust­ing to change.

Inno­va­tion and compe­ti­tion have increased customers’ trans­parency into how retail­ers work and have empow­ered them to demand smooth and seam­less expe­ri­ences” Noah mentioned.

Sheetal added, “With mobile tech­nol­ogy, you can shop 247 and carry a store with you in your pocket.” high­light­ing the increased complex­ity in the chan­nels customers can use to engage with retail­ers.

Discussing the ways in which Brands are address­ing change and build­ing frame­works for success, Eliz­a­beth high­lighted the impor­tance of part­ner­ships that Home Depot has made both in tech­nol­ogy — with Fintech compa­nies like First Data and support of Paypal and Apple Pay — but also on the people side where Home Depot has part­nered with Georgia Tech to create Orange­works, their student-powered inno­va­tion lab.

Eliz­a­beth noted how the lab gives Home Depot “a pulse on the talent that’s out there” and that hackathons “encour­age them to test new tech­nol­ogy”.

Trust, vulner­a­bil­ity and account­abil­ity” were the ingre­di­ents Noah noted that have driven inno­va­tion at Search Discovery. He focused on how finding the right people and giving them freedom both in time and in allow­ing them to take risks is required for real progress. Noah also mentioned how most of today’s inno­va­tion is “break­ing down the compo­nent parts of exist­ing systems, under­stand­ing them and finding ways to re-orga­nize them to achieve greater busi­ness impact.”

The discus­sion contin­ued explor­ing what chal­lenges retail­ers are facing. The women from Home Depot mentioned how, as teams grow, people become distant and it’s hard to ensure members feel rele­vant and included.

Eliz­a­beth stress a focus on “devel­op­ing trust and not blaming if there is failure.”
“Tech­nol­ogy is often well prepared for inno­va­tion but the people within an orga­ni­za­tion may not be.”

Noah contin­ued, high­light­ing how Search Discovery is increas­ingly finding ourselves working with brands to align and inte­grate depart­ments to better lever­age data analyt­ics to help make easier, faster, more accu­rate or more impact­ful busi­ness deci­sions across client orga­ni­za­tions. “We often find retail­ers need to step back and focus on better data collec­tion and gover­nance to achieve their busi­ness objec­tives.”

Penny ended the panel asking some personal ques­tions to the panelists includ­ing who has made the biggest impact on their careers and what advice they would give to their younger selves.

Women don’t often speak as loudly and proudly as men” Sheetal said also mention­ing the impor­tance to “Slow down, you can’t do every­thing at once.”

Eliz­a­beth high­lighted a mentor who always pushed her to bring 3 solu­tions to every problem she brought to him, a tactic she encour­aged the room to imple­ment because it made her a better mentor and problem solver. “I would have encour­aged myself to get out and network more” she noted adding that she would encour­age her younger self to enjoy the journey of her career.

Trust your intu­ition but also check your­self with thought­ful, emotion­ally intel­li­gent mentors” was Noah’s advice to his younger self. He also high­lighted the impact his father and wife have had to his career from their coach­ing train­ing, opening his mind to how “Most people have the best inten­tions and many of our disagree­ments come from having differ­ent perspec­tives.”

It was an honor for WiT to include us as part of the event. See below for the bios of the panelists, or if you want to see what other events we are involved with and to connect, click here!

BIOS

Penny Collins is Vice Pres­i­dent, Chief Tech­nol­ogy Control Officer for First Data Corpo­ra­tion. In this role, she over­sees the compa­nies’ Tech­nol­ogy Controls Program coor­di­nat­ing with compli­ance, legal, secu­rity and tech­nol­ogy proac­tively ensur­ing that IT Controls are effec­tive within our oper­a­tional and busi­ness processes, commu­ni­cates tech­nol­ogy stan­dards and poli­cies, and moni­tors the compa­nies’ compli­ance to these stan­dards and poli­cies. Prior­ity areas of focus include Regu­la­tory Exams (FFIEC, OCC, PCI, SOC, State Exam­i­na­tions), Inter­nal Audits, Client Audits, Risk Manage­ment, Risk & Control Self Assess­ments, Targeted Control Assess­ments, Inves­ti­ga­tions, Compli­ance Moni­tor­ing as well as other miscel­la­neous audit, risk and control activ­i­ties across all tech­nolo­gies.

Penny also leads our Global Secu­rity and Controls PMO directly report­ing into First Data’s Pres­i­dent, Chief Control Officer and CISO. In this role, she is respon­si­ble for driving First Data’s top secu­rity programs glob­ally. In addi­tion, Penny leads glob­ally our Disas­ter Recov­ery efforts for appli­ca­tion devel­op­ment respon­si­ble for the roadmap devel­op­ment, imple­men­ta­tion and main­te­nance of this program.
Penny has over a decade worth of expe­ri­ence leading global teams across the United States, Europe, Australia and Asia.

She serves as Atlanta Chapter Lead for First Data’s Women’s Lead­er­ship Council, leads the Women in Tech­nol­ogy program for First Data, and drives various char­i­ties across Atlanta.

Sheetal has 20+ years of expe­ri­ence in Web and Mobile Tech­nol­ogy, build­ing diverse, top-perform­ing teams that trans­form ideas into inno­v­a­tive cutting-edge omni-channel appli­ca­tions used by millions. She joined The Home Depot in 2012 to lead THD’s entry into Mobile Tech­nol­ogy and helped to make Home Depot the indus­try leader in Mobile Commerce. Now Sheetal is leading the Tech­nol­ogy for THD’s entry into the online Home Décor market with HD Home. Prior to joining THD, Sheetal led web and mobile devel­op­ment efforts at The Weather Channel and S1 Corpo­ra­tion. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Georgia Tech.

Eliz­a­beth “Eli” Wolf has been in Infor­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy since 1988, when she grad­u­ated from Bowling Green State Univer­sity with degrees in Manage­ment Infor­ma­tion Systems and Inter­na­tional Busi­ness and started working at The Univer­sity of Georgia as an engi­neer (go Bull­dogs!). She has been with The Home Depot for over 18 years, currently serving as a Soft­ware Engi­neer­ing Senior Manager support­ing Customer Loyalty. In addi­tion to her current role, Eliz­a­beth has also enjoyed various diverse posi­tions through­out her THD career, includ­ing Lead Busi­ness Analyst and Sr. Product Manager within orga­ni­za­tions such as EDI, Supply Chain, Fuel Store, Store Selling Systems and Finance. She is driven to help her balanced teams build high quality, reli­able, modern soft­ware.

Noah’s agency side expe­ri­ence and award-winning career includes work for Gamestop, Atlanta Ballet, ADT Secu­rity, Michaels Arts & Crafts, Apartments.com, Apart­ment Finder, Chick-fil-A, and many more. With back­grounds in finance and a passion for tech­nol­ogy, testing, and consumer behav­ior, Noah leads the Media Disci­pline at Search Discovery opti­miz­ing adver­tis­ing perfor­mance across Paid Search, Display, Social & every­thing digital. He is a grad­u­ate from the Leonard Stern School of Busi­ness of New York Univer­sity and attrib­utes all of his success and moti­va­tion to his wife Kayla and four chil­dren Adina, Zahava, Moshe and Rivka.

ABOUT MYWIT.ORG

Founded in 1992, Women In Tech­nol­ogy (WIT) serves as a passion­ate advo­cate for women and girls at every stage of their STEAM careers – from the class­room to the board­room. WIT utilizes its programs, connec­tions, volun­teer oppor­tu­ni­ties and events to enable the devel­op­ment of the WIT commu­nity through recog­ni­tion, thought lead­er­ship and foun­da­tion efforts. WIT is driven to help women and girls write their own stories of success through­out the full life­cy­cle of their careers and contin­ued evolu­tion as STEAM leaders in Georgia.