DFW Alliance of Technology and Women Announces Lineup for 2023 Executive Leadership Forum

5 September 2023

The DFW Alliance of Technology and Women (DFW*ATW), a vital non-profit committed to supporting the holistic education and professional journey for girls and women in technology while increasing the number of women in leadership, has announced a lineup of esteemed speakers for its 2023 Executive Leadership Forum.

This year's theme is "Intentionally Innovate." Our speakers and our partners exude these qualities in all their areas of work. "I'm excited to share the stage with these individuals and our partners as part of our village to help make a big impact," said DFW*ATW President Valerie M. Davis. "This fundraiser is a vital part of our efforts to help serve underserved women in our community and also help girls learn more about STEM."

The funds raised will support programs such as ignITe, an upskilling and reskilling program for women in tech, and iLEADinSTEM, a scholarship-based program that introduces girls to science and technology fields." Over 18 months, 100 women attending the ignITe program have improved their career prospects and raised their wages by $1.6 million by earning tech certifications. Over 3 years, more than 400 girls ages 10 – 17 attending iLEADinSTEM experienced the fun and value in STEM and are considering joining the future workforce in technology fields.

"I am proud of everything DFW*ATW has accomplished for women and girls, and just as proud of the volunteers and sponsors that give so much of their own time to make all the magic happen. Without them, we have nothing," added Barry Shurkey, Chief Information Officer of NTT Data and DFW*ATW Advisory Board Chair.

The annual event and fundraiser slated for September 14th, 2023 at the Frisco Hall in Frisco, Texas will feature:

  • Merrilee Kick, CEO & Founder of BuzzBallz / Southern Champion - Merrilee Kick is the CEO/Founder of BuzzBallz/Southern Champion, the only woman-owned Distillery/Winery/Brewery combination in the United States. The Carrollton, Texas company manufactures ready-to-drink cocktails called BuzzBallz and Uptown Cocktails, as well as spirits like rum, vodka, gin, bourbon, and some private label brands for 7-Eleven and H-E-B. With products sold in 50 states and 27 countries, the company is family owned/operated and home to over 650 employees in the Dallas area. Merrilee is a winner of the Dallas Business Journal's Most Admired CEO Award, the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award, EY's Winning Women, Winner of the Enterprising Women's Hall of Fame Award, Winner of the Women Presidents Organization's and Chase Bank's 50 Fastest Woman Owned companies, Ranked in the Top 50 DFW Businesses by D CEO Magazine and Winner of the Top Women in Grocery, Winner of the Distinguished Alumni Award from Texas Woman's University. Merrilee has a bachelor's degree from the University of Montana, an MBA from Texas Woman's University, and she is an alumnus of Harvard Business School. Merrilee's works with her two sons Alex and Andrew.
  • Romelia H. Flores, IBM Client Engineering - Architect/Designer App Mod and IBM Distinguished Engineer & Master Inventor -Romelia Flores' industry experiences, unique software development and design expertise make her IBM Global Markets' most highly sought-after innovator. She has collaborated with leading clients in the design of Application Modernization, Space Object Analytics Systems, Health & Human Services, Electric Vehicle Systems and Airports of the Future. She holds 86 US patents and 10 patents pending. In 2023 she was quoted in the Texas CEO Magazine feature on AI for Business. In 2021, she received the Dallas Business Journal's Women in Business Award. In 2018, she was the first female ever named to the Dallas Tech Titan Hall of Fame and was the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award winner from Great Minds in STEM.
  • Nellson Burns, Co-Owner and managing partner of Destination IT - Nellson Burns is co-owner and managing partner of Destination IT, a Dallas-based IT services, staffing and placement firm. Destination IT serves clients in Dallas and across the country as a trusted business partner, delivering positive business outcomes. Nellson has one of the more recognizable names in the IT ecosystem in Dallas/Fort Worth, having served as CIO for 2 different Dallas-based Fortune 500 companies, HF Sinclair and Dal-Tile, over 15 years. During that time, Nellson became a leader in the community, serving as president for the SIM DFW chapter, a co-chair for the Evanta Dallas/Fort Worth CIO Summit, a chair of the Dallas, HMG CIO Summit, and as the Chairman of SAP's Global Advisory Council for Oil and Gas. He currently serves as the co-chair for North Texas Tech Connect, a local IT executive conference focused on developing the next generation of IT talent in the metroplex. Nellson has been recognized as a 2022 SIM National Leader of the Year, an HMG Global Leadership Institute Award, and as a finalist for the inaugural Dallas CIO of the Year award. Nellson's team's work on the Dal-Tile customer portal, ProExchange, was recognized as the 2022 winner of the Floor Coverings Dealers' choice award for the best technology across all flooring categories. In his personal time, Nellson is a devoted husband and father. He has coached his son and daughter's sports teams for the last 6 years. Nellson and his wife, Melissa, are both Texas Aggies, and they love to get back to campus for tailgates, football games, and other events where Nellson gets to practice another passion of his, barbequing.

This year DFW*ATW is announcing the inaugural Spark Award, recognizing women forging a brighter future through socially-minded innovation. In addition, the forum will feature a VIP cocktail hour with a world-renowned mixologist, Jeremy Buck founder of the restaurant Coterie, South Carolina. Attendees will have the opportunity to participate in a silent auction, play games, network with technology leaders and enjoy entertainment by innovative streaming platform Tadow presenting virtual streaming by DJ Shannell B and live music by Fitz Lauder, the Vegan DJ. This year's sponsors include, but are not limited to Tadow, Frisco Hall, GXA, LAM Technology and Shaunna Black & Associates.

Doors open to all ticket holders at 6 p.m. Tax-deductible sponsorships are available. Contact [email protected] for more information. To register and learn more, visit https://www.dfwatw.org/meetings.

About the DFW Alliance of Technology and Women

DFW Alliance of Technology and Women (DFW*ATW) is committed to quality programs and education for girls and women to increase the number on women professionals in technology fields. Founded in 2002, it is the largest organization dedicated to women in technology in Dallas. Its membership consists of women and their allies who support its mission through professional development programs, monthly education & networking meetings, advocacy, STEM initiatives, awards programs, and more. Learn more at https://www.dfwatw.org.

Media Contact

Jigna Vaghela, 
DFW Alliance of Technology and Women, 
1 2145574864, 
[email protected]


Source: prweb.com