Women in Technology: Strength, Survival, Success, and Beyond

Problem Statement

What does success as women in technology look like, and how do we create paths for greater participation in it? What are some of the complex issues necessary to understand for creating these paths individually and institutionally?

Does the individual success of some women in our industry constitute a genuine shift for all women, or only represent one person’s successful navigation of existing structures and systems? There are many factors that contribute to the success of women working in technology today, and even the best intentions can leave women and many others behind. If the change we’re seeking is a more inclusive workplace and affirming culture, then women in technology is not just about women—it’s a facet of a greater effort and connected issues. These include the connection of race, ethnicity, and LGBT identities to exclusion, and our ability to acknowledge institutional racism along with other institutionalized exclusions; understanding how we as women are perceived and interpreted workforce dynamics; and understanding how people and organizations can take inclusive actions.

Too often, we’re told to “lean in” and “believe in ourselves,” which leaves little room for interpretation of into what we’re leaning in the first place. Even the most affirming personal strategies do not create lasting change unless connected to broader understanding and action. This session and its panelists, instead of sharing personal success paths, will attempt to unpack the true complexities and change mechanisms necessary to support women in technology as part of broader actions to bring inclusive workplaces to light, better supporting us as both individuals and organizations.


  • Better understanding of the roles that structures like institutional racism, sexism, and homophobia play in our advancement and lives as women in technology
  • How unconscious bias works, and how to identify it
  • Microaggression effects, and how to address them
  • How to better understand the interpretation of our own communication and actions in the workplace, and when they can help/hinder us
  • How anyone can be an active accomplice to women in the technology workplace, and how to put our hands out for other women
Rev. Tracy Kronzak
Partner Training & Enablement Manager
Tracy is a CRM implementation strategy, change management, and organizational leadership and technology adoption expert. She has 20 years of experience in the nonprofit ecosystem and its related industries, including philanthropy, activism, research, technology management, and Salesforce CRM platform consulting and consulting business development. Tracy frequently presents at conferences nationwide on CRM selection/implementation, technology strategy, and women in technology. She attended Cornell University, holds a Master of Public Administration degree from New York University, and is a Salesforce Certified Administrator, Sales Cloud Consultant, and Platform App Builder. Prior to joining Salesforce.org, she was Co-Founder of BrightStep Partners, a strategic Salesforce consulting firm for nonprofits. She is a Salesforce MVP alumna, and served as an Implementation Partner Representative to the Salesforce.org Nonprofit Starter Pack Advisory Board, and as a proud NTEN Community member and former NTC and Leading Change Advisory Boards member. She is a member of the Temple of Isis in Geyserville, CA , a Goddess church community where she is an ordained Rev. Priestess. In her free time, she is a ceramic artist and potter, avid skier, bicyclist and hiker, and burgeoning markswoman.

Rakia Finley
Surge Assembly & FIN Digital

Shonnah Hughes
Minneapolis Institute of Art
CRM Technical Lead
Shonnah Hughes has spent over a decade leveraging the Salesforce.com platform and other tools to create technical solutions for streamlining and optimizing processes wrought with manual dependencies. Additionally, Shonnah has incorporated her training expertise in conjunction with her process improvement methodologies to effectively and efficiently train customers, end users and stakeholders. Because Shonnah started her career in customer service, the end user's satisfaction and adoption of software is always at the forefront of the solutions that she designs. She is determined that her team maintain results with solutions and service that is done right. Shonnah is focused on providing her colleagues and customers with dependable and secure solutions that amplifies their satisfaction and success. Shonnah has managed SFDC in many industries including Finance, Medical, Real Estate and Non-Profit. She has worked as both a member of the IT Group as well as with the Business Development groups and has often times worked as the liaison between the two. Because she believes in giving back, Shonnah supports non-profits and whole-heartedly champions SFDC's touted '1:1:1 model'. She recently created the Women In Tech Diversity Chapter to address the unique challenges and stigmas faced by minority women. This group provides support, encouragement, mentoring and opportunities to collaborate and network. On the rare occasion that she is not thinking about new solutions or volunteering, Shonnah appreciates the time she spends with her family and friends enjoying life's simple pleasures: football, basketball, movie watching, hosting game nights and collecting passport stamps with her children.

Amy Sample Ward
Nonprofit Technology Network
Amy Sample Ward is NTEN's CEO. She is also a speaker and author focused on leveraging social technologies for social change. In 2013, Amy co-authored Social Change Anytime Everywhere with Allyson Kapin. She previously co-authored Social by Social: a handbook in using new technologies for social impact. She has worked in and with advocacy organizations, private foundations, and community groups in the US, UK and around the world.