We have 3 great panels this year! Click below to see what the panel is all about and who is on it.

  1. Women Entrepreneurs and Tech Startups Panel
  2. Internships and Launching your Career Panel
  3. Imposter Syndrome Panel

Women Entrepreneurs and Tech Startups Panel

This panel will talk about what its like to be a women entrepreneur and what its like to work in a tech startup. Panelists will share their experiences in taking risks to push boundaries and unleash their potential.


Jeanne Johnson, Microsoft (moderator)
Coming to the MINK WIC conference from the Redmond, WA Headquarters of the Microsoft Corporation, Jeanne Johnson is a Senior Strategist and a member of the Global Black Belt Organization. Specializing in Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery utilizing Enterprise Datacenters, Hoster/Service Providers, and Public Cloud, Jeanne manages the Enterprise partner community in Canada, United States and Latin America.


Prior to being recruited to Microsoft Jeanne started up, grew and profitably sold a technology consulting firm from 2002 to 2009. During her time as the owner of Server Centric Consulting, she received the WIPP Fast Five Award in the White House, and was an Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalist for the Midwest.


A serial entrepreneur, Jeanne also started up many other companies ranging from Online Bill Pay companies, Property Management Firms, Marketing and Event Management businesses, Software Development companies, and Wind Energy Start Ups. As an entrepreneur, she also worked as a lobbyist for Women Impacting Public Policy, speaking before the Senate subcommittee on Small Business on issues specific to Women Owned Businesses.


Mother of 3 adults, Jeanne is a motorcyclist, a stage performer, a stained glass artist, and a mentor to Entrepreneurs.


Laura Gowans, SpiderOak
Laura Gowans graduated from Scripps College in 2009 with a B.A. in History and French. After graduating, she returned home to Kansas City to join a small startup named SpiderOak as its eighth employee. Over the following years, as SpiderOak grew from a small startup into an internationally recognized company, Lauras role grew from the single customer support representative to the manager of the customer support department and finally to Director of Customer Experience. This role entails not only managing the CS department but also working on designs for upcoming products and helping direct the future of the company. In her free time Laura enjoys volleyball, hiking, and reading.


Angela Hurt, Veracity Consulting
Angela Hurt is the Founder and CEO of Veracity Consulting and has more than 15 years of experience in the technology industry. Her career began in 1999 with a Kansas City-based consulting firm where she committed to learning from those around her. She focused on developing collaborative relationships with peers and associates in the field, which created opportunities for her to test her skills and gain experience working for national firms. Her expertise in business development, systems integration, business IT standards and processes, and management consulting was the impetus for her to found Veracity Consulting in 2006. Her vision was to build success through thoughtful relationship building and the conscientious understanding of individual work environments. As a driving force at Veracity, Angela has led the company to where it is today. She is also passionate about giving her time and talent to local organizations and outreach programs supporting the character development, personal growth, and education of women and girls, particularly local and regional STEM initiatives. Angela is also the Co-Chair for Kansas City’s 2015 GoRed for Women Campaign, which raises awareness of women’s heart health issues.


Amy Vikander, CivicPlus
Amy Vikander is the General Manager to CivicReady a product of CivicPlus headquartered out of Manhattan, KS. She has been with CivicPlus since 2007 maintaining several positions. As the General Manager of CivicReady, Amy is responsible for the overall go-to-market strategy of the newest product offering of CivicPlus. Prior to accepting the position with CivicReady, Amy worked As the Director of Client Care and helped define the strategy and vision for CivicPlus while leading a team of Account Managers and Support Specialists. Throughout her career, she has focused her efforts on building teams that focus on continual growth both personally and professionally. Amy is the mother of four boys, ages 7,8,10 and 15. Outside of work, her life is full of baseball, football, and any other typical sporting event her children find to participate in.


Denise Case, Northwest Missouri State University
Denise Case is an Assistant Professor at Northwest Missouri State University. Her career includes 20 years as a licensed professional engineer with Black & Veatch, a global engineering, consulting, and construction company working on information systems and analytics for critical infrastructure industries. While raising five kids and a half-dozen animals, she decided to leave the 8-5 routine and start her own consulting business. She built a business plan and a growing client base, working on innovative projects for regulatory agencies and Fortune 500 companies. She graduated with a BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Missouri at Columbia in 1985 and 30 years later, earned a PhD in Computer Science from Kansas State University.


Chrys Sullivan, Useagility
Chrys Sullivan is Founder at Kansas City-based UX firm, Useagility.  Under her leadership, the company has ranked among KC’s fastest-growing companies. She and her team are elevating exposure of user-centered design as critical to success of digital products at established companies and innovative start-ups.  Chrys is also an advocate for women in the technology workforce and a company culture that supports work-life balance.

Internships and Launching your Career Panel

This panel will talk about what it takes to get an internship and how to position yourself for starting a successful career. Panelists will share advice from how to find an internship, nailing the interview, how to make a good impression, and what to do to land that first job.


Hannah May, Northwest Missouri State University (moderator)
I am a senior at Northwest Missouri State University, expecting to graduate May 2016 with a Bachelor’s degree in Interactive Digital Media with an emphasis in Computer Science and New Media. On campus I am a member of ACM-W, Digem, STEM and Sigma Kappa Sorority. I work on campus in career services as Web Page assistant, and also as a teaching assistant for Computer Science classes. The summer of 2014 I interned at Gallup Polls doing Quality Assurance work as well social media planning. I spent this past summer interning at Garmin as a Web Business Analyst. During the fall I continue to work for Gallup as an instructor for their high school program “Get Hip” on Saturdays. I enjoy getting involved with things on campus and traveling with the Northwest road show to talk about the importance of technology and getting kids involved.


Yuvonise Thurmond, Kansas City Power and Light
Yuvonise Thurmond worked as a Programmer Analyst in various positions before joining Kansas City Power and Light Company (KCP&L) in 2006. Currently, she is the IT Supervisor for the OMS (Outage Management System) Team at KCP&L. In addition, she is the coordinator for the KCP&L IT Internship Program and is a member of the Computer Science/Information Systems Professional Advisory Board at Northwest Missouri State University. 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.


Regan Katz, Southwest Baptist University
Regan Katz is a student at Southwest Baptist University where she will graduate with a B.S. in Computer Information Science in 2017. Recently, Regan finished an internship at Leggett and Platt Manufacturing in Carthage, Missouri and had the opportunity to compete in the national Phi Beta Lambda/FBLA business competition, where she received second place in Project Management and fourth place in Information Management. Additionally, she is currently the Systers Chair of SBU’s student chapter of the ACM and is treasurer of the SBU Wind Symphony.


Kati Medler, Target
Kati grew up in St. Louis, MO and received her degree in Information Technology Management from the University of Notre Dame. She currently lives in Minneapolis and works at for Target in their Technology Services area.


Dr. Joy Hatch, Fort Hays State University
Joy Hatch is the Vice President for Technology at Fort Hays State University where she is bringing together information technology components from across the campus into an effective and efficient way that aligns with the needs of the FHSU students, faculty, and staff. She is passionate about technology and the intersection of technology with education, and is constantly searching for new or innovative ways that technology can solve everyday problems. She participates in various technology organizations within higher education, including the EDUCAUSE Board, Campus Technology Advisory Board, and various other vendor advisory groups. In addition to higher education, Dr. Hatch has technology experience in manufacturing, broadcasting and K-12 school systems. With over two decades of experience in higher education, she joined the FHSU Tiger family in January 2015.


Imposter Syndrome Panel

The imposter syndrome panel will explore the confidence problems that young women face in the field of computing. Often young women in computing may feel like fakes or attribute their success to luck. They may also feel unqualified or inadequate in comparison to men. Panelists will talk about their own experiences with the imposter syndrome.
Debbie Jasiczek, Garmin International (moderator)
Debbie Jasiczek is a Software Engineering Manager at Garmin International. She is the math nerd daughter of two math nerds. After majoring in Math & Computer Science at MidAmerica Nazarene University, Debbie found embedded software as a great way to apply her love of math! She joined Garmin right out of college and began working on the core GPS and sensor algorithms. 13+ years later, Debbie now leads the Software Technology group for Garmin’s Consumer products with teams focusing on GPS, sensors, file systems, Wi-Fi, operating systems, and ConnectIQ. She just completed a Master’s Degree in Mathematics from Emporia State University. In her free time, Debbie loves to travel, play games, and spend time with her husband and 3 fur-babies (2 dogs and 1 cat)
Amber Beerends, Cerner
Amber Beerends is a Lead Architect at Cerner Corporation.  She leads an edge development team based in Victoria, BC while working remotely from her home in central Iowa.  Amber graduated from Northwest Missouri State University in 2000 with a degree in Computer Science.  She has worked at Cerner for most of the last 15 years having experience in a plethora of Java based technologies.  Ambers interest in Imposter Syndrome is one of personal self-discovery.  When not chauffeuring her kids to various activities she enjoys running and biking.


Kari Gazdich, Carnegie Mellon University
As Director of Admissions, Kari oversees the INI admissions and recruitment process, which includes formulating and implementing strategies for all programs. Her work entails directing the work and activities of the admissions team and the admissions review committees. She also serves as a member of the INI leadership team.


With more than 15 years of experience in the international and higher education fields, Kari has rich experience in recruiting and advising foreign students. Most recently, she held a project management position with the federal government in conjunction with the Vietnam Education Foundation.


Throughout the year, Kari is frequently on the road recruiting, cultivating relationships and visiting universities and other organizations, both in the U.S. and internationallyall with the goals of raising the profile of the INI programs globally and building a diverse, talented student body. She holds a Master of Public Management degree from Carnegie Mellon.


Erin Wilson, Lexmark
Erin graduated with a B.S. in Computer Science from Baker University in May of 2014. Since her graduation she has worked at Lexmark Enterprise Software as a Software Engineer. At Lexmark she has worked on the Business Process Management and Forms teams. Outside of work she has a long list of hobbies, some of which include quilting, biking, and baking.


Tanya Sargeon, American Century Investments
Tanya Sargeon is a Senior Information Technology Manager for American Century Investments.  She holds a BS degree in Information Technology from Rockhurst College.  After fifteen years as a software developer, Tanya decided to move to a manager role within the company.  She has lead the Investment Operations team, which managed the fund accounting and pricing of funds at ACI, and currently manages the Corporate Applications team.  Tanya and team are responsible for all systems related to Corporate Finance, Human Resources, Facilities Management, Physical Security and Payroll.  When she isn’t glued to a computer screen, she spends her time cheering on her youngest son’s basketball team as well as the Royals and the Chiefs!