DETROIT – Long-time entrepreneur Jane Sydlowski has been named the 2019 president for the Michigan Council of Women in Technology Foundation. Sydlowski replaces Rebecca Bray, who led the organization last year.
Sydlowski is founder and CEO of AMI Strategies, a software data management company. She has been an MCWT volunteer and leader for more than a decade, having served in various roles on the board. She grew up in Muskegon.
“We work every day to inspire and grow girls and women in technology, and it certainly takes a village,” said Sydlowski. “We look forward to engaging everyone in our network so they feel ownership of this mission and see their role in bringing it to life. Together we can help ensure our workforce reflects our community.”
Melanie Kalmar will assume the role of vice president. Kalmar is corporate vice president, CIO and chief digital officer for The Dow Chemical Company.
“Rebecca was instrumental in expanding all areas of MCWT’s programming to influence thousands of girls and women in Michigan, with help from record contributions and growing corporate support on the state’s west side,” said Sydlowski. “Thanks to her leadership and the ongoing dedication of our volunteers and partners, we are well on our way to make Michigan the No. 1 state for women in IT.”
Sydlowski, Kalmar and Rydzewski worked with the MCWT team to identify key priorities in 2019, including leveraging MCWT’s core programs with clear understanding of impact and outcomes, and driving additional community and stakeholder connections.
One way MCWT delivers impact is through its annual scholarship program. Since 2006, the group has awarded 164 women with scholarships totaling more than $1.1 million. Retention of women in technology majors in college is below 10 percent; among MCWT scholarship recipients that rate is over 90 percent. This year’s scholarship applications are open until Jan. 31; women interested can find more information and apply at mcwt.org.
Sydlowski founded AMI Strategies 25 years ago and has been recognized by Crain’s Detroit Business as a “Notable Woman in Tech,” Michigan State University as a “distinguished alumni,” Lawrence Technological University as a “Leader and Innovator,” and Rhonda Walker as a “Powerful Woman of Purpose.” Sydlowski also serves on the boards of Midwest Technology Leaders, We Build Character and Greenpath.
Learn more about her on the Diva Tech Talk podcast and blog. She resides in Plymouth, Michigan.
Kalmar’s engagement with MCWT started four years ago when the nonprofit’s programs inspired her to get her company involved. Dow has since sponsored three Camp Infinity technology camps for middle and high-school girls.
“It’s rewarding to watch our summer camp participants’ reactions after successfully programming a robot or designing an app,” said Kalmar. “One of the parents said to me, ‘Wow, if I would have an opportunity like this, my life would have been very different.’ Moments like that reinforce the importance of our cause. We must continue to model what a career in technology is – fun, challenging and collaborative.”
At Dow, Kalmar drives the global strategy for information technology and digital capabilities to advance the company’s growth and business strategies. She is also a member of the Executive Leadership Team, Dow’s most senior executive committee that sets the strategic direction, defines priorities and is accountable for delivering enterprise-level results. Kalmar is actively involved in helping drive Dow’s diversity and inclusion strategy as a member of the President’s Inclusion Council, and executive sponsor of the newly formed PRIME employee resource group. She resides in Midland, Michigan.
The Michigan Council of Women in Technology Foundation strives to inspire and grow girls and women in technology fields, with a vision to make Michigan the No. 1 state for women in technology. The organization supports Michigan’s female IT workforce, students, corporate partners, schools and the overall community with networking, learning, mentoring, and technology experiences for professionals and students.