Indy chapter of largest national women’s organization supporting entrepreneurs grows, thrives
The National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) is the largest national women’s organization that propels women entrepreneurs into economic, social and political spheres of power worldwide. As one of the largest chapters in the United States, NAWBO-Indianapolis’ mission is to impact, influence and propel Indiana to be a leading state for women-owned businesses, just as we want Indiana to be a leading state for technology.
While chapter members run businesses in a variety of industries, the women who run technology companies and support the tech sector continues to grow and thrive in the chapter. NAWBO-Indianapolis is a driving force for women in business and, as a result, women in technology in Indianapolis. Meet some of the women of NAWBO who are helping our tech community thrive and their thoughts on the technology ecosystem.
Carol Curran, Phoenix Data Corporation
Carol Curran has a history of growing successful entrepreneurial businesses that are focused on technology processes and integration in order to streamline business operations. Prior to Phoenix Data Corporation, Carol was the owner and CEO of two technology companies, ETC and Curran Data Technologies. Both companies were acquired because of their success.
As the CEO of Phoenix, Carol has helped the company grow exponentially by providing technical expertise in a variety of areas, including electronic warfare optimization, computational intelligence training, confirmation management and more. Phoenix has worked large organizations such as the State of Indiana, the United States Department of Defense, the United States Navy and major healthcare companies.
Lindsay Farley, StrategyNest
After 12 years in Global Marketing & Human Resources for Dow, Lindsay set out to build a company that approaches marketing strategy and brand management differently by trying to understand the client, their culture and objectives. StrategyNest offers branding services, website design and development, graphic design and social media marketing.
In addition to the services the provide, StrategyNext offers an artificial intelligence technology to help companies be a leader in their space. The social artificial intelligence has helped a variety of companies from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies transform how, when, and where companies market their business.
Andrea Sloan, Adona Group
An Indiana native with over 10 years of sales and solution management experience, Andrea is the President and Founder of the Adona Group. Andrea leads the company’s corporate strategy and develops relationships with customers and corporate partners. As a United States Army veteran, she brings in those same core values and principles into Adona Group business practices.
Adona Group provides organizations of all sizes with IT solutions. In the ever-evolving technology market, the Adona Group believed that companies need reliable allies who can guide them through the challenges that accompany technological growth. They provide cloud, security and mobility services.
Audrey Taylor, netlogx
As the founder and CEO of netlogx, Audrey Taylor has served in the information technology discipline for over 25 years. Audrey is a visionary strategist with complex business challenges as her forte. Her skills extend into the areas of client relationship management, sales, service delivery, and staff development.
Since founding netlogx in 1998 she has led by example seeing it grow from a local organization here in Indianapolis to a thriving business active in 8 states and starting to develop a European presence. The company’s focus has been on data and its provenance, providing organizations with practical and pragmatic approaches to understanding the key role data and data governance plays in leveraging data into actionable information. netlogx serves public and private sector clients including State and local governments, healthcare, insurance, utility and education-focused organizations.
How can women in technology today pave the way for future women-in-technology leaders?
CC: Women in technology today can give back with mentorship and by leading women. It’s also important to be involved with leading organizations such as NAWBO and other tech organizations. These organizations allow you to share needs, gather information and network with strategic connections that lead to additional opportunities; connections that provide opportunities for bonding, contracts, partnerships and assistance.
LF: I strongly believe in supporting women in tech – whether they are young and starting out, looking to make a change or experienced with ambitious career goals. It’s the women who are already in technology that are tasked with helping those who have an interest or are starting their careers.
We can help other woman by continuing to challenge the established norms that are currently set up for the small but significant number of women in super senior roles to help other women move up the ladder.
It’s also critical that we have real visibility as role models, so “walking the talk” by being on stage and sharing our stories and encouraging others to take that step out in front.
AS: As a part of NAWBO, a new initiative this year is reaching out to young college-age women interested in entrepreneurship. I think it’s pertinent to engaging young women early and helping guide them to the abundant opportunities available.
AT: I believe leaders observe and encourage the best in others while holding their team accountable for results. Early on in my career, I was offered wise counsel that to step into the next job I needed to both learn and observe the occupant of the role I wanted. I also needed to be actively working to replace myself in my current role. This has stood me in good stead.
In technology change is inevitable; the new app, the new platform, the new methodology, the new disruption. Learning to be comfortable with taking risks to actively seek out opportunities to be part of a change will provide opportunities to learn and develop leadership skills.
As women in leadership positions, we should share our journey and mentor our teams — actively seeking to replace ourselves with the next generation — and thereby opening ourselves up for the next opportunity.
What do you think the Indianapolis technology scene does well?
CC: What Indianapolis does well is provide a wealth of opportunity with a climate rich in entrepreneurship. Indianapolis is significantly growing its technology scene, creating leaders of tomorrow. We’re hungry for new talent and are able to help businesses grow by bringing talent and resources from the top schools here.
LF: I think that Indianapolis does an amazing job of not only attracting great technology companies to Indy but also helping new ones get started. Our city has an immense amount of talent, an influx of start-ups and a low cost of living. This allows entrepreneurs the ability to start technology companies in a city that supports their ventures and has the talent to help them grow.
With the large number of technology startups in Indianapolis, the city has also encouraged clubs, meet-ups and other networking events where entrepreneurs can gather to learn and teach. The city has also invested heavily in co-working spaces to allow entrepreneurs to gather, work and grow their network.
Indianapolis also does a fantastic job of working with the local universities to allow businesses to tap into world-class talent. The graduates are top-notch science, technology, engineering and business majors. The universities work hard to showcase their talent at events around the city.
All of these things have taken Indianapolis on the map as a technology hub for not just the Midwest but globally. In the last few years investors have also leveraged the success of technology in Indianapolis by investing in companies all across the city. Investors now view Indianapolis as a viable investment community.
AS: The vibrant incubation community in Indianapolis is amazing!
AT: At the heart of Indy’s success I believe is the spirit of “Hoosier Hospitality,” the collaboration of our leading educational institutes, the celebration of all our tech businesses success (a win for one is a win for all) and the focus of the champions of the sector in keeping the attention on being ready to support tech. We have talent, we can grow the next generation and we have innovative thinkers with ideas and the attention of city and state leaders.
What does Indianapolis need to improve (if anything) to be a serious contender in the national and global markets?
CC: As Indianapolis continues to become a “tech” nucleus, the continuation of the ability to provide top-of-the-line opportunities in the tech sector in state, federal and defense-private sector will set us apart from others and allow us to become the national/global markets we are capable of.
LF: I believe that Indianapolis will continue to grow to become a serious contender in the national and global markets in the next decade. As with anything there are always things that can be done to make that happen faster. A few things that I believe the city can do to help are:
1) Add more direct national and global flights in/out of Indianapolis. It is imperative that executives, investors and employees can travel quickly to visit clients. Without this we may not get the growth needed to be a global contender.
2) Create a higher quality of life to attract more companies to the city. Candidates/companies from many parts of the country are expecting Indianapolis to provide a clean, green and safe environment for their citizens. Creating more green space, better infrastructure and a strong city brand would give Indianapolis a competitive edge over other competing cities.
AS: From a technical aspect, we need to continue to evangelize and market what great things we are doing locally.
AT: We need to stay focused on the work at hand and continue to emphasize our city as a contender. As a community, we need to remain focused on inclusivity and creating a diverse workforce to bring the best of ideas to the table resulting in stronger products and services.
We also need to continue to add direct flights from the airport. Continuing to actively celebrate success and support building the city’s brand.
LF: I am thankful to live in Indianapolis and be a part of the technology sector for entrepreneurs. The environment is strong with growth and encouragement. Indianapolis is a city that will continue to thrive for technology companies.
AT: As a member of our tech scene I believe I grow, my team grows and netlogx’s business grows by purposefully and actively engaging in the tech scene. Supporting hackathons, attending continuing education events, participating in the champions of tech events hosted here. At its heart, success in tech requires being open to challenging the way it’s been done and seeking to do it better and being actively curious ensures you’re ready to participate in reimagining the future!
On a personal level, I am proud to serve as President of Women & Hi Tech following my passion as our organization works to connect female STEM professionals with each other and our community in Indianapolis. Our members and sponsors represent a wide array of STEM fields, including life sciences, engineering, accounting, psychology, statistics, and information technology. They work as engineers, analysts, scientists, business developers, marketers, educators, and more.
It takes boldness, curiosity, and diligence to pursue studies and a career in STEM, regardless of your gender. However, there’s also no denying that these industries have long been male-dominated. That’s not because the people in them don’t want change; it’s because organizations like Women & Hi Tech need support to make that change happen. From guiding young women through some of their first experiments, to recognizing industry-leading expertise at our Leading Light awards, the support system and networking opportunities we provide engage both female STEM professionals and girls who aspire to STEM careers.
When we work together on a level playing field, the outcomes are stronger for everyone. Women & Hi Tech wants to see STEM industries transformed by collaboration, and every day we promote, support, and cheer on the women already working to make it happen.
Thanks to Carol, Lindsay, Andrea and Audrey for sharing their thoughts on the Indianapolis tech community!