ChiWiTCon™ is an inspiring gathering of technologists from Chicago and beyond. Open to all genders across all platforms and technologies, the ChiWiTCon™ brings the achievements, aspirations, and career interests of inspiring individuals in technology to the forefront. Listen to exciting speakers with plenty of discussion time and enjoy a fireside chat. Stay for the fun, relaxing networking opportunity following the conference.
Veronica is the Co-founder and CTO of TangoCode, a Chicago based tech firm. As a woman in the tech sector, Veronica considers it essential to not only create a diverse and progressive culture within her own company but also promote diversity within the tech community.TangoCode was built upon the principles of innovation, continuous improvement, and diversity.
Prior to TangoCode, Veronica was a Co-founder of GeneXus USA, a development services firm for automation platforms, workflows, and automatic code generation solutions for enterprises working in more than 50 mission critical projects along her career automating distribution centers, PO solutions, workflow enablement and more.
Throughout her entire career, she has maintained focus on automation, using technology to build a better world where people perform added-value tasks. This focus has led both herself and TangoCode to become subject matter experts on bringing scale to companies in the digital media space. Creating custom platforms to make companies more competitive, efficient, and help them provide better value to their clients.
Web Developer/Lead Instructor
Actualize Coding Bootcamp
Josh is a Lead Rails Instructor at The Actualize Coding Bootcamp. He puts a high value on stewarding new people into our community, adding to the richness and range of our culture as coders. Mr. Nixon has taught students of very different backgrounds for years and has found that is where ALL the best ideas come from. Similar to the royal family, it’s best to look outside of the same circle when finding a person to pair with, mix it up for better results.
He started his career as an entertainer in Los Angeles, which is a combination of several roles such as entrepreneur, artist, marketer, writer, engineer, counselor, etc. His artist's life was/is a collection of different perspectives, experiences, and many times failures. These contributed to Josh’s philosophy that diverse backgrounds bring wisdom and a more complete picture when searching for solutions.
He likes a good cup of coffee in the morning, smokey jazz in the evening and building furniture in his spare time, not that he has a lot of spare time.
Jenny Farver is a Chicago-based technology leader and CTO at advertising creative platform Popular Pays. Jenny was formerly the VP of Engineering at Civis Analytics where she led product management, design and engineering and grew the product development organization from 10 to 50. Jenny is an Adjunct Professor of Data Analytics at Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management, sits on the board of 8th Light custom software consultancy and was a 2017 Chicago TechWeek 100 Honoree. She holds a masters and PhD from MIT and an undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley. She's a late bloomer and a former stay-at-home mom.
Michelle Y. Bess
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Lead
Sprout Social, Inc.
Michelle Y. Bess is a premier connector striving to connect people of color to opportunities in order to create the most diverse cohort of leadership the City of Chicago has ever seen. She currently serves as Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Lead at Sprout Social, a leading provider of social media analytics, engagement and advocacy solutions for business. Prior to Sprout Social, Michelle worked in college persistence at OneGoal and Posse Chicago. She attended Whitworth University as a recipient of the Act Six Full-Ride Leadership Scholarship and earned a B.A. in Biology.
Bess serves as a Board Director of Degrees of Change and as President at the Chicago Public Library Foundation junior board. Michelle is a native of Washington state and resides in Hyde Park on the South Side of Chicago.
EVP, Chief Strategy & Transformation Officer
As Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer with RR Donnelley, Elif is responsible for driving the execution of RRD’s transformational growth strategy and overseeing the strategic planning process for each of RRD’s businesses.
Elif joined RRD in June 2018. Prior to joining RRD, Elif served as the Vice President of Strategy for Fortune Brands. She also held leadership roles in strategy and business development at Hillshire Brands and Sara Lee Corporation and has several years of global consulting experience, most recently with Booz & Company. Elif is also serving at the Board of YWCA Metropolitan Chicago.
Elif lives in Chicago with her husband and 2 kids.
Dr. Helen Sun
Chief Technology Officer
Dr. Helen Sun is the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at STATS, overseeing STATS’ product, engineering, artificial intelligence and data production teams. Helen joined STATS in 2018 with over 22 years of experience as a technology strategist and thought leaders, most recently serving as the CTO of JPMorgan Chase’s Commercial Banking division. Helen has been a Chicago Business Journal “Business Woman of the Year” and is part of Crain’s Tech 50 of 2018. Helen received a Ph.D. in Education Technology and Information Systems from The University of Toledo.
IT Security Risk Management
CEO and Founder
McCann Partners and ARA Co-Founder
DRW Holdings, LLC
Chief Analytics Officer
Joe joined Enova as Chief Analytics Officer in 2014. As CAO, Joe leads a multi-disciplinary analytics team that provides end-to-end data and analytic services including data warehousing, business intelligence, business analytics, fraud, credit risk and marketing. His team supports the global online financial services offered by Enova International and delivers on-demand decision-making technology and real-time predictive analytics services to clients through the Enova Decisions® brand. Prior to working at Enova, he served as Director and Practice Leader of Advanced Analytics for Chicago-based West Monroe Partners. He has also held a number of executive positions at HAVI Global Solutions and the Allant Group. Joe received a B.A. in economics from Lewis University and an M.A. in economics from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is Immediate Past-President of the Chicago Chapter of the American Statistical Association and is on the Advisory Board of the UIC College of Business Administration. Joe lives in the Chicago area with his wife and daughters.
Owner/Business Development Coach
Better Than Before
Melissa McSherry is an International Business Development Coach and Speaker. As an entrepreneur since 2010, she has launched two successful businesses, doubled her monthly income, and created a true life by design, all while raising a six year old son. She has worked with hundreds of people helping them slash their stress while doubling their income, doubling their free time, and creating everything they want out of their business and their life.
Bradford Garrett Group, Inc. (BGG)
Tina is the President and Practice Leader of CISO Advisory Services for Bradford Garrett Group a full service Security Consulting Group. Tina brings a considered and practical viewpoint to the executive core with clear direction, guidance, and results orientation. With rich technical and executive leadership focused primarily in Financial Services, Tina also has public sector experience, most recently the CISO for the City of Chicago. Formerly the Global CISO for Aon, CIO of Kudoz.com, Director of Enterprise Risk Management for Discover Financial Services, Global Information Security Project and Program leader for Swiss Bank/UBS, Tina has led successful global teams, world-class programs, and; is a sought after mentor. Tina enjoys public speaking and is frequently called upon as a panel facilitator due to her knack for creating lively, thoughtful discussions while encouraging audience engagement.
Committed to a better Cyber future and directly impacting the future leaders in technology, Tina is currently an Adjunct Professor teaching IT Risk Management and member of the Industry Advisory Board of the Master of Science in Information Technology, McCormick School of Engineering at Northwestern University. As the President Emeritus of the Chicago Chapter of the ISSA, Executive Board Member of AITP, and Co-Founder of the Chicago CISO of the Year Award program, Tina continuously works to elevate the position of, respect for, and viability of the role of the CISO. Community service has always been a core value so Tina has actively supported and engaged with Catholic Charities, Habitat for Humanity, JDRF, KABOOM, Lamb’s Farm, OAI, Inc, and World Vision.
Formal and Continuing Education
Ms. Hauri holds an Executive MBA from the Quinlan School of Business at Loyola University of Chicago and a Bachelors degree from Northwestern University. She has completed ongoing professional educational programs in Executive Financial and Strategic Leadership at Boston University, with the Bank Card Management with American Bankers Association, and Executive Education coursework in Strategic Marketing at Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management. She is also a graduate of the Society of Information Management (SIM) MidAtlantic Regional Learning Forum.
Chief Technology Officer
Farm Journal Media
Julianna “Julie” Cole is an experienced technology and operations executive with more than 25 years of corporate, non-profit, consulting, and entrepreneurial experience. Her career reflects a series of leadership positions at organizations focused on leveraging information technology, business process improvements, and data-driven initiatives to respond to disruptive technologies while mobilizing for top- line growth.
Julianna is currently Chief Technology Officer for Farm Journal Media, the nation’s leading business information and media company serving the agricultural market via a range of digital products including websites, mobile apps and paid business services, business magazines, national events, and nationally broadcast television and radio programs. In this role she provides technical leadership for the development of new digital products and oversight of technology systems for the enterprise. Prior to her role at ACHE, Julianna held a series of executive technology and operational leadership roles including Chief Information Officer for the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE), Chief Digital Officer of Black Heritage Network TV (BHNTV), the dual role of Chief Operating Officer and Chief Information Officer at the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago, Chief Technology Officer at Johnson Publishing, and Chief Technology Officer at Tribune Interactive.
Julianna was an early and active participant in the Internet ecosystem via her role as the primary software developer for ResearchTV – the first B2B internet product sold by Tribune Media Services to national network affiliates in the 90s. Her passion for technology and its promise evolved over the years to include the growth and oversight of the software engineering team responsible for the infrastructure powering high-transaction, media consumer websites including latimes.com and chicagotribune.com, the initial expansion of digital properties and e-commerce solutions for Fashion Fair Cosmetics, the establishment of social media capabilities and mobile applications for the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago, and recognition of the organization as a Computerworld Honors Laureate for the innovative use of geographic information systems technology (GIS) to benefit society.
Julianna is a technology executive that acknowledges the impact of early mentors on her exposure to career possibilities and volunteers as a way of giving back to the community. She has served as a member of the board for i.c.Stars and chair of the i.c.Stars Program Committee – a technology-based workforce development and leadership training program for low-income adults.
Julianna is a native Chicagoan who received her MBA at the University of Illinois- Chicago and a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from the Illinois Institute of Technology. A life-long learner, she attended the MIT Sloan Executive Education program and was awarded a certificate in Strategy and Innovation and completed Big Data and Human Computer Interaction classes at DePaul University.
Everyday, you're out there making things happen. That's why the CEO, Pat Vihtelic, created Home Chef: to provide everything you need to bring more delicious meals and moments to the table, no matter how busy you are. From online, to doorstep, to your kitchen table, Home Chef makes home-cooking simple by providing fresh, pre-portioned ingredients and easy-to-follow recipes straight to your door. Since the creation of the company in 2013, there has been over 30 million meals delivered across the U.S. Home Chef is bringing people together, one home-cooked meal at a time.
Reverb.com is the online marketplace for musicians to buy, sell and learn about new, used, vintage, and handmade gear. When we launched in 2013, we were guided by the principle that buying and selling musical instruments should be easy and affordable. Since then, we’ve become a thriving marketplace made up of hundreds of thousands of buyers and sellers – from beginner musicians to collectors, mom-and-pop shops to large retailers, and popular manufacturers to boutique builders and luthiers. We're proud to foster an inclusive, accessible community of people from all walks of life, making the world a more musical place.
Centro is a provider of enterprise-class software for digital advertising organizations. Its technology platform, Basis, is the first of its kind SaaS advertising solution unifying programmatic and direct media buying, along with workflow automation, cross-channel campaign planning, universal reporting, and business intelligence. It boosts media, team and business performance by enabling advertisers to plan, buy and analyze real-time bidding (RTB), direct, search and social campaigns in a single platform. Headquartered in Chicago with 40 offices in North America, Centro has received numerous accolades for its commitment to employees and workplace culture.
We help marketers unlock new revenue by arming them with the technology and expertise they need to succeed in mobile marketing. The Vibes Mobile Engagement Platform enables marketers to easily manage all mobile communication channels including text messaging, push notifications, Apple Wallet, Google Pay and mobile web campaigns — all through a single interface. Vibes has delivered more than ten billion mobile experiences on behalf of customers that include Chipotle, Discover, Old Navy, Home Depot, PetSmart, Foot Locker and Allstate, and is recognized as one of only four Tier 1 aggregators by the Common Short Code Administration (CSCA). To learn more about Vibes, visit www.vibes.com.
Brad’s Deals was founded on the principle that you should never have to pay full price. As a college student in 2001, Brad Wilson got sticker shock at his college’s bookstore and started helping fellow students find better prices online. He developed a following of deal-seekers, giving him the idea to start a company where he could continue to “evangelize frugality,” as he puts it. Brad learned to build a website and set up shop in his Chicago apartment, and soon after, Brad's Deals was born. The company has grown from a one-person operation to a dynamic, 70-person team that helped shoppers save more than $227 Million in 2016 alone.
STATS is the global leader in sports intelligence, operating at the intersection of sports and technology. The world’s most innovative brands, technology companies, leagues and dozens of world championship teams trust STATS to find their winning edge. STATS combines the industry’s fastest and most accurate data platform with video analysis, sports content and research, player tracking, and the latest in artificial intelligence and machine learning to provide unparalleled media and team performance solutions.
Workday is a leading provider of enterprise cloud applications for finance and human resources. Founded in 2005, Workday delivers financial management, human capital management, and analytics applications designed for the world’s largest companies, educational institutions, and government agencies. Organizations ranging from medium-sized businesses to Fortune 50 enterprises have selected Workday.
ARA aspires to Attract, Retain, and Advance women in technology by cultivating and nurturing relationships via mentorship and events/programs, thereby building strong female leaders to support and influence the IT community.
Enova is a multinational company based in the U.S. that uses technology to develop innovative financial products and services for individuals and businesses. We have unique technology, analytics and customer service capabilities that let us rapidly evaluate new data sources to offer consumers and small businesses the right amount of credit or financing when and how they want it.