1) Dealing With the Boys’ Club

2) Imposter Syndrome

3) Work-Life Balance

4) The Big Switch

Dealing With the Boys’ Club

Join industry leaders who will discuss how they have faced obstacles in advancement, in being accepted as a woman in a male-dominated industry, in gaining respect from their male co-workers, or felt excluded from groups of male peers.


Yuvonise Thurmond (moderator) worked as a programmer analyst in various positions before joining Kansas City Power and Light Company (KCP&L) as a Senior Applications Programmer/Analyst.  Currently, she is the Technical Lead for the Applications Team on a project to upgrade the infrastructure for KCP&L’s Customer Information System.  She is the coordinator for the KCP&L IT Internship Program and KCP&L IT Research Competition that is held twice per year at Northwest Missouri State University and the University of Central Missouri.  She is a member of the Computer Science/Information Systems Professional Advisory Board at Northwest Missouri State University, and she will serve as an Industry Mentor for the Northwest Missouri State University Science/Technology/Engineering/Mathematics (STEM) Program.  Yuvonise attended the University of Missouri – Kansas City, and graduated from Northwest Missouri State University with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Computer Science in 1992.


Jill Marie Brungardt is the Director of Information Security for Commerce Bank.  She has 15 years of experience in the Information Security field.  Prior to coming to Commerce 10 years ago she was an Information Security consultant for many corporations across the US including software companies, large Retail merchants, and Financial Institutions.  Her background includes installation and configuration of various security platforms, network penetration testing, security architecture design, security program development, secure application program development, Risk Management, and expertise in GLBA, HIPAA, and PCI Data Security Standards controls and implementations.  She is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional and participates in many security chapters including ISSA, OWASP, FS-ISAC, BITS, InfraGard, and CyberCrime user groups.


Meilani Conley graduated with a B.S. in Computer Science and Mathematics from Southwest Baptist University in 2008. Following graduation she joined the Cerner Corporation, a leading healthcare IT company, where she was employed for about 4 years. While at Cerner, she completed her Masters of Information Systems through the University of Phoenix, receiving her degree in 2010. Having developed an interest in government contracting, she left Cerner to work as a System Administrator for the Marine Corp Enterprise IT data center and later moved into the USDA sector on the configuration management team to manage the release and configuration items for the data warehouse team. After 5 years in the IT industry she returned to her alma mater, Southwest Baptist University, to take a position as Professor of Computer & Information Sciences.


Thuy Copeland graduated with a B.S. in Interactive Digital Media from Northwest Missouri State University as a first-generation college student. She applied her cross-disciplinary problem solving abilities to the Ag industry as a Web Developer for the Angus Journal. After helping the Journal establish industry-leading web standards and accessibility, she gained an interest in mobile sites, which then extended into the realm of mobile apps.


Last spring Thuy applied to and was accepted by the Disruption Institute into their flagship program in iOS Development. The program accepted only 10 applicants and boasted sponsors such as Google, Sprint and AdventureTech.  It was an intensive 12 week program introducing key concepts in Objective-C, object-oriented programming, Git and the Xcode interface.  After completing the program and producing two professional-level iOS apps for the Angus Journal, she was recruited by Uhlig, LLC where she currently works as a Mobile Applications Developer building easy-to-use apps for complex financial and legal B2B products.


Thuy currently resides in the Kansas City area with her husband, 4-year-old son and two cats.


Nicole Wosje is the Vice President of Global Solutions at Perceptive Software. She is responsible for directing global go-to-market strategy for Perceptive in the areas of healthcare, government, education, and back office.  Industry teams under her leadership match customers’ requirements and anticipated needs with Perceptive’s capabilities to provide them value-added solutions.


Prior to assuming this role in February of 2013, Wosje was Director of Products and Solutions at Perceptive. In that position, she managed a team of product managers who were responsible for the entire product lifecycle. She also directed the strategic initiative to deploy industry-specific product management focuses within the solutions team.


Previously, she worked as a telecommunications consultant for Accenture. Wosje holds a bachelor’s degree in management information systems and accounting from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Imposter Syndrome

This panel addresses confidence problems that women often have upon entering the computing field.  Many young women starting out in undergraduate computing majors and believe that they are not as qualified as men.  At the 2011 conference, the Imposter’s Panel was made up of technology female executives who openly shared their confidence problems, especially their original belief that they were not as qualified as men.


Gudrun Neumann (moderator) is Chief Technology Officer and senior vice president of Information Technology for American Century Investments, a premier investment manager headquartered in Kansas City, Mo.


Ms. Neumann, who joined the company in 1998, is responsible for all Information Technology services at the firm.  Previously, she was vice president of Corporate Services for American Century Investments.  Prior to joining the company, she spent 16 years with IBM’s Global Services Banking, Finance & Securities organization, where she was responsible for outsourcing contracts. During that time, her experience at IBM included systems integration, application development and maintenance, data center and distributed systems support and network and database administration.


Ms. Neumann was the recipient of American Century Investments’ Leadership Award in November 1999 and was featured in the 2005 CIO Magazine’s “One to Watch” article, selected for her demonstrated leadership, innovation and contributions of value to information technology and the business.


Ms. Neumann holds a bachelor’s of commerce degree from McGill University, Montreal, Canada.


Angela Johnston is a Knowledge Architect at Cerner Corporation. After graduating with a BS degree in Computer Science, she joined Cerner as a Software Engineer and has spent the last 11 years developing health care software using a variety of languages, including C++ and java. Over the years, Angela’s interest in building high performance software has grown into a passion for building high performing software engineering teams.


Laura Los has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Hope College (Holland, MI) and a Master’s degree in Human Resources and Labor Relations from Michigan State University (East Lansing, MI).  Laura started with Microsoft in 2009 and is currently a college recruiter.  Past companies include Adecco, Shell Oil, and the Power Consulting Group.


In her free time, Laura enjoys renovating her home, running, and hanging out with her husband and two dogs.


Tenley Metcalf is a Manager of Technical Support teams at NetApp.  She has been with Netapp for about 2.5 years and was with LSI for about 5.5 years before that company was acquired by NetApp.  Her hometown is Holton, Kansas where the school system is still populated with apple products.  She was always very interested in computers, since using an Apple 2E in kindergarten.  She attended Friends University as a ballet major straight out of high school and held a job in the University helpdesk supporting students using macs.  She quickly changed to a management information systems major and took additional programming classes to satisfy her interests.  She started working in a level 1 position at LSI shortly after and has since held many jobs in technical support and engineering in her 8 years at the site.
She is married and has two daughters, Abigail, 4, and Charlotte, 3.  Both are in preschool and are a total blast.


Lori Yancey As a young woman growing up on a small sheep farm in rural SE Iowa, Lori Yancey never imagined one day being responsible for strategies & operations for an R&D organization in a leading Agriculture Biotechnology company like Monsanto Company in St. Louis, Missouri.  Lori joined Monsanto in 1999 as a researcher to identify genes involved in pig reproduction.  She held positions of increasing responsibility in the animal division until she took a risk and joined the R&D IT organization to lead a team developing custom laboratory data management software.  Other turns in her career path led her to discover her passion for process improvement and talent resourcing and to her current role as Process Optimization Lead for Trait Field Solutions.  Lori has a BA in Biology from Coe College and an MS in Genetics from Iowa State University.  Job experiences prior to Monsanto include working as a Quality Assurance Technician at a Cargill specialties plant in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and as a research technician at the Chicago Lying-In Hospital Genetics Research lab investigating candidate genes for spontaneous recurrent abortion and infertility in humans.  She also managed an academic lab at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, where students performed genome-wide searches for genes impacting quantitative traits in livestock.


Work-Life Balance

Panelists will talk about what obstacles they have faced in trying to maintain a successful career while also fostering a healthy home life and, perhaps, even trying to complete a graduate degree.


Alicia Dwyer Cianciolo (moderator) is an aerospace engineer in the Atmospheric Flight and Entry Systems Branch at the NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA.  She develops simulations of spacecraft in atmospheric flight, designs planetary missions and identifies areas of technology development that will enable future missions.  Alicia has had a role in designing several Mars explorers, including the 2001 Odyssey orbiter, the 2003 Exploration rovers Spirit and Opportunity, the 2005 Reconnaissance Orbiter and most recently, the 2012 Mars Science Laboratory Rover, Curiosity. Her responsibility in the latest project was to develop computer software to simulate and analyze the entry, descent and landing of Curiosity – a task that NASA likens to “throwing a dart at a moving target.”


In 1999 Alicia received her bachelor’s degree in Physics from Creighton University in Omaha, NE.  She earned an MS degree in Mechanical Engineering from The George Washington University in 2001.


Alicia is the mother of four children, ages 1, 4, 7 and 9 years.  Except for quarterly trips to Langley and other NASA centers, she is able to live and work in her home near St. Joseph, Missouri.  Through the power of the internet, Alicia has been able to combine her work at NASA with raising a family.   About her job, she says, “You wont get rich in a government job, but you cannot find toys like these anywhere else.”


Tish Best is a Senior Firmware Developer at NetApp, developing firmware for their E-Series Storage Systems.  She earned a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Wichita State University, where her research focused in Computer Networking.  In addition to her experience as a firmware developer, Tish spent five years as an IT Systems Analyst at Spirit Aerosystems in Wichita, Kansas.  She has also worked as a Research Scientist in the Advanced Networking Research Institute at Wichita State University and taught various courses at Wichita State.


Michelle Moseman Miller (BS ComS ’98) is the Senior Director of Engineering Operations at Cerner Corporation in Kansas City, Missouri.  Cerner is contributing to the systemic change of health and care delivery by offering the most comprehensive array of information software, professional services, medical device integration, remote hosting and employer health and wellness services.  Michelle is responsible for intellectual property (IP) development business intelligence reporting, regulatory compliance, software development processes, release management, and release documentation. She currently serves on the corporate intern council, policy board, and the business intelligence executive council.  She joined Cerner in June 1998. Her prior roles include project leader, software architect and software engineer.  Among her accomplishments, Michelle has enabled IP to become a data-driven organization. In addition, she holds two critical care patents and has two more critical care patents filed/pending. She was a charter member of the C++ Programming Language Board and co-founded the IP Ambassador Program.  Michelle has received a number of awards, including: Iowa State University’s 2006 Outstanding Young Alumni Award, YouthFriends’ 2004 Employer Partner Volunteer of the Year, Cerner Top Gun 2000 and 2001, and Cerner Millennium Club 2003 and 2005.  Michelle served a five year term on the Iowa State University Alumni Association Board of Directors. Michelle joined the ECpE External Advisory Board at Iowa State in 2013.


Lyndsey Padget is a software architect and team lead at Perceptive Software, where she has worked for four years.  Prior to that, she spent five years at Cerner Corporation after graduating from UMKC with a bachelors in computer science.  She is married with two children, a five year old and a two month old.  Her hobbies include running and sewing.


Brandy Vandiver is Director of ERP Applications at Garmin International, headquartered in Olathe, KS. She has been with Garmins IT department since 2003. As Director of ERP Applications, Brandy has global responsibility for Garmins business applications strategy and footprint. Brandy and team have led many ERP and Business Application implementations  for Garmin offices across the globe including North America, Canada, Australia, Spain, United Kingdom, and Scandinavia.


Prior to Garmin, Brandy worked at BV Solutions Group as a Business Analyst/Consultant for 2.5 years. During her time with BVSG, Brandy worked on may projects for customers like Black & Veatch and General Motors. Brandy is a graduate of Northwest Missouri State University. She completed her Masters in Business Administration MIS emphasis in 2000, Bachelors of Science in Information Technology in 1999, and Bachelors of Science in Public Accounting in 2004.  During her studies at NWMSU, Brandy participated in two international exchange programs. In 1998, Brandy did an internship on the Bloomberg IT Helpdesk in London, England as part of the Missouri-London program and in 1997 she was part of the inaugural Magellan Exchange program to Hogeschool International Business School in Sittard, Netherlands.


The Big Switch

Life in college consists of naps, flexible study hours, sleeping in until noon and late night runs for pizza. But when you start your first job there are expectations that you keep a schedule, set goals and meet deadlines. A new job takes time to get used to, from getting to know your boss and co-workers, and acclimating yourself to sitting at your desk for 8 hours a day to finding new activities outside of work. Each panelist has made the “big switch” from the academic life to working in industry in the last few years and is eager to share their experiences with the audience.


Elise Jones (moderator) holds a position of Senior Software Analyst for Cerner Corporation. She graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Interactive Digital Media and Computer Science from Northwest Missouri State University. Shortly after her graduation in December of 2011, she joined Cerner and is looking forward to sharing her experiences troubleshooting software and team collaborating.


Jasmine Black is a recent graduate of Northwest Missouri State University. She graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Interactive Digital Media with a Computer Science emphasis. Right after graduation, she became a Database Administer at Garmin International. She is looking forward to sharing her thoughts and experiments after making the Big Switch.


Sarah Peters is a recent graduate of Northwest Missouri State University. After completing her masters in Applied Computer Science she joined American Century Investments as a Programmer/Analyst. Since completing the Big Switch herself, she is looking forward to sharing her thoughts and ideas on helping others make this transition.


Abbey Trotta is a Java Application Developer for Silpada Designs Inc.  She graduated from University of Missouri Kansas City with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and began her first job in the industry at Silpada in 2010. She is excited to share her experiences finding opportunities both at work and outside of work after graduation.