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On September 12 the Salt Lake technology community joined the Women Tech Council to celebrate and honor women who are driving innovation, leading technology companies and making an impact in the community.

This was my fourth experience at the sixth annual Women Tech Awards and Thursday’s event was just as inspiring and motivating as my first experience. Our state offers women who are interested in technology, science, engineering and math an array of opportunities to succeed and contribute. I am in awe of the remarkable women that make a difference at their companies, in their community and to technology.
This event certainly emulates what the Women Tech Council serves to do in its mission to bring women in technology together to build, innovate and mentor.
The keynote address was given by Jennifer Lawton, President of MakerBot a 3D printing leader. Jennifer gave a fascinating overview of MakerBot and their products and services. MakerBot was founded in 2009 by entrepreneurs who wanted a 3D printer but couldn’t afford the $200,000 price tag so they decided to make one themselves. Since then it has delivered more than 15,000 desktop printers being used by engineers, designers, researchers, and people who want to make things.

robohandIt’s clear from Jennifer’s keynote that her she is passionate about the inspirational projects MakerBot is involved with. Robohand is a set of fingers that open and close to grasp things based on the motion of the wrist. It gives parents of children who need prosthetics a cost effective solution. Because children grow so quickly typically they are not fitted for prosthetics because they are so expensive. Jennifer noted “it’s an incredible experience to take a technology and make such a difference.” Indeed!

She is also a believer in MakerBot as an awesome tool for kids to learn science, technology, engineering and math principles by seeing how things work.
Jennifer also inspired me with her story of how she got to MakerBot. She has certainly not taken a linear path to get where she’s gotten. She spoke of who she is inherently and the impact her mother had on shaping the path she has taken. “My mom told me I could do anything and I took her seriously,” was a lesson she shared. She shared many of her life lessons; of note to me were:
  • Ask and take. You have to be willing to ask for help, for what you want, for what you need. She believes that is how she was able to get Stephen King to a book signing when she owned a small book store in Greenwich, CT.
  • Don’t feel resentful. If you do, it may be time to move on.
  • Life is not a dress rehearsal. There are no do-overs so make sure you’re always giving it your best.


cory-schaeffer-women-tech-awardsFollowing Jennifer’s keynote the 17 finalists were presented via the video presentation below. I am honored to work with Cory Schaeffer who has certainly made an impact in my life and has contributed to the AV industry in countless ways.

A selection committee from technology, venture, and government communities selected the finalists and then recognized the award recipients for varied categories.The 2013 award recipients are: Academic Excellence: Dayna Stevenson, Westminster College, Trailblazer: Catherine Ball, Ancestry.comHuman Capital Leadership: Cathy Donahoe, DOMO, Rising Star: Clare Wysocki, ATK, Business Excellence: Sarah Lehman, ENVE CompositesTechnical Excellence: Zlatina Todorov, O.C. TannerLeadership Excellence: Lynda Talgo, eBay

Huge congratulations and thank you to the award winners. Over the last six years the Women Tech Council has recognized 90 women for their innovation, leadership, and contributions to the community. I look forward to being inspired by next year’s finalists.
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