The Michigan Council of Women in Technology Foundation, along with Host Sponsor Dow Inc., gathered 650 professionals to celebrate and empower leaders changing the world through technology in Michigan. The nonprofit’s 14th annual Signature Gala in Detroit on Nov. 5 raised a record $600,000 in gross proceeds for programs that inspire and grow girls and women in tech.
“It was a night of celebration as the Foundation is in its 20th year of impact and our host sponsor Dow celebrates its 125th anniversary,” said Chris Rydzewski, MCWT executive director. “We are both firmly committed to advancing diversity and inclusion in our tech community.”
Dow Chairman and CEO Jim Fitterling inspired Gala participants and reinforced that he is an ally of the MCWT cause.
“Just imagine how much better your community will be when we persuade just one more high school girl that there’s a very bright future in the technology field and it’s waiting for her right here in Michigan,” said Fitterling. “Together we can work to raise awareness of the opportunities within tech, introduce more women to STEM experiences and grow a diverse tech workforce that’s so critical to business success.”
MCWT’s growing influence across the state led to six new initiatives in 2022. One new program is the MCWT Returnship designed to bring women back into the tech workforce.
“The pandemic has disproportionately impacted women who’ve had to drop out of the workforce due to many challenges while demand for tech talent has increased,” said Rajani Sinha, MCWT president and senior director, Industry Solutions and Strategy, Automotive for Salesforce. “With relevant programs, we plan to provide women with resources and connections to enable them to thrive in a technology career.”
Throughout 2022, MCWT encouraged students and supported the advancement of more women in technology fields. A sampling of impact:
- Provided $165,000 total in scholarship awards for 43 students, more than half of which have engaged in MCWT programs and events.
- Increased leadership programming for first-line to middle managers to ensure women advance in tech careers.
- Resumed in-person technology camps for 140 middle and high school girls in Metro Detroit, Saginaw and Grand Rapids.
With a theme of “Imagine Better,” 54 companies sponsored the event.