Robin Steis of Interactive Intelligence to lead Alumnae Alliance
By Eliza Williams
Friday, February 20, 2015
The Indiana University Center of Excellence for Women in Technology (CEWiT) Alumnae Advisory Board officially launched in December 2014. The group consists of six IU alumnae and meets on a bi-weekly basis. Together they aim to support CEWiT students and alumnae through networking, exposure and opportunities.
Robin Steis, Director of Federal Sales for Interactive Intelligence, serves as the Alumnae Advisory Board chair. Robin graduated from the IU Kelley School of Business with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and, today, helps federal agencies solve communication and customer service problems through the use of technology.
Robin saw an opportunity through CEWiT for IU alumnae on LinkedIn. Upon joining the group and educating herself on CEWiT, she quickly realized that while the organization had a lot of campus opportunities for students, it lacked the support of a strong alumnae network.
“I reached out to [CEWiT director] Maureen Biggers explaining who I am and what I had done in my local tech program. We connected and started talking about what I saw as an opportunity and desire for alumnae to get more involved,” said Steis. “We put together a list of women and started reaching out, and no one said no.”
Today Robin works with fellow Alumnae Advisory Board members Donna Shank, Jennifer Bohac, Christine Buckingham, Rebecca Webster and Emily Collins to create a network of support for students and alumnae and raise awareness about careers related to technology. The group aims to engage alumnae and give students exposure and knowledge that they can’t necessarily get in a classroom setting. They stress the importance of students connecting with other women in the field and not being afraid to ask for guidance.
“Learn as much as you can from others in the business. Someone would rather help you then for you to struggle on your own,” said Buckingham.
The Alumnae Advisory Board is contributing to and participating in the annual CEWiT Techie Women Have More… conference on March 6 and 7. The conference will feature workshops, panels, speakers, a career fair and networking opportunities for alumnae, faculty, staff and students. Three board members will be participating in a panel at the conference, speaking to women from multiple disciplines and paths of study about the importance of women in technology.
Robin hopes that the panel helps women understand that a STEM degree is not necessarily a requirement to pursue a career in technology.
“I started my career in technology through networking. I wish that more young women knew that there is a lifecycle of career choices available in technology including software development, design, delivery, marketing, copy writing, documentation, sales and consulting. None of us on the Alumnae Advisory Board [participating in the panel] got informatics degrees yet we are all in technology,” said Robin.
The Techie Women Have More… conference is taking place from 10 a.m. Friday, March 6 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, March 7. For more information and to register, visit: https://techiewomenhavemore.wordpress.com.