DETROIT – The Michigan Council of Women in Technology Foundation named Diane Jones its “Woman of the Year in Technology.” Jones is executive director of administration for Information and Technology Services and the office of the vice president for information technology and chief information officer, University of Michigan.

The fourth annual MCWT award recognizes women in Michigan leading or driving change for other women in information technology careers or fields of study. MCWT Foundation President Jane Sydlowski presented the honor at the nonprofit’s signature Gala on Nov. 2 in Lathrup Village, Michigan. Hosted by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, the 13th annual event raised a record $565,000 in gross revenue for programs that help inspire and grow girls and women in technology.  

“MCWT partners understand that supporting our mission helps us make a substantial impact on Michigan’s IT community,” said Sydlowski. “With their support, MCWT delivers programming that educates, engages and empowers girls and women throughout the state, with the ultimate goal of making Michigan the No. 1 state for women in technology. The Woman of the Year in Technology award exemplifies this by creating a space for women to be recognized for their outstanding efforts in promoting a diverse and inclusive IT community.”

Jones has made significant impact in advancing women in IT roles through both professional and personal efforts. She was instrumental in bringing MCWT’s first annual GET IT Connection Summit to the University of Michigan campus, where more than 300 girls learned about exciting opportunities in IT, skill-building and learning. She sponsors U-M’s Information and Technology Services Diversity, Equity and Inclusion program and an annual student internship program. While working with Detroit Public Schools, she worked to ensure free internet for over 700 homeless students.

“Diane is a passionate and committed advocate for empowering women and underrepresented groups in information technology,” said Ravi Pendse PhD, vice president for information technology and chief information officer, University of Michigan. “She is a driver of change, from her involvement in the Girls Who Code events, to her sponsorship of our organization’s student internship program, and most recently the inaugural GET-IT Connection Summit held at the University of Michigan’s Ann Arbor campus. I am thrilled and grateful that her outstanding efforts are being recognized.”

Jones inspired the audience as she accepted her award.

“We must help girls to realize their dreams and their inner potential and power,” said Jones. “It can seem daunting sometimes because there’s so much need, but we must reach forward, help our girls lean into their future and let the mission continue.”

MCWT reviewed the award nominations to identify the woman who best personified its mission of inspiring and growing women in IT. The nonprofit works to broadly reach young girls to encourage them to consider technology and deeply connects with women who choose the IT path—with the continued support of its 115 partners and over 1,000 members. 

“As one of the largest employers of IT professionals in the state, Blue Cross understands the importance of a diverse workforce within which women are represented and supported in the industry,” said Bill Fandrich, senior vice president and chief information officer at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. “Our partnership with the Michigan Council of Women in Technology allows us to take part in the critical work being done to help empower females in technology and continue to address the disproportionately low rate of those entering the field every year.”

In 2019, an additional 37 companies joined in support of MCWT’s mission, nearly doubling the amount from 2018, for a total of over 115 corporate partners. More than 56 companies sponsored the Gala, including host sponsor Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and empowerment sponsor TD Ameritrade. Over 650 IT professionals and leaders attended the fundraising affair.

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