Empowering Women in Information Technology: The UCSB Women in Technology Initiative

Women in Technology Group at UCSB

By Lisa Klock.  In February 2017, several women and I launched the UC Santa Barbara Women in Technology (WIT) initiative, to promote women’s leadership, success, and economic advancement – in short, to empower women working in technology.

Influenced by the very successful Women in Technology (WIT) group at UCLA, and with support and encouragement from UCSB Chief Information Officer Matthew Hall, the first step was to form the WIT Steering Committee, on whose behalf I am writing this article!

We are a volunteer group of women at UCSB in a variety of roles and positions in IT. Our committee is building a coalition of women to provide opportunities for growth and skill sharing, and is cultivating a supportive environment that will encourage partnerships in all areas of technology. Our mission of empowering and bridge-building includes reaching out to women working and studying in all areas of technology, such as women graduate students and professors, and those working in the countless technology companies in the Central Coast region.

So far we have launched a Women Leaders in IT speaker series, and hosted a Project Management “lunch and learn” series throughout summer 2017. In the coming months, WIT will organize a variety of events for women on campus and in the community. These will include a book club focusing on technology-related titles, social activities to facilitate informal collaboration and conversation, and technical training opportunities.

In the future, the WIT steering committee plans to develop a mentorship program to further engage future women leaders in technology across campus. Using a framework presented at UC Computing Services Conference (UCCSC) in August 2017 by Erik Wieland, Christian Sisenstein and Winnie Wat from UCSF, the mentorship program will use a cohort structure to connect current women in IT leadership with up-and-coming leaders.

Looking beyond UCSB, WIT hopes to promote a Women in Technology track or pre-conference at future UCCSCs. By harnessing the knowledge and experience of women leaders around the university, we can overcome some of the hurdles that face women in this field.

Members of the UCSB WIT Steering Committee:

  • Masha Aksenova, associate director , Administrative & Residential Information Technology
  • Diana Antova, director, Data Services & Business Systems Support, Student Affairs Information Systems
  • Polly Bustillos, senior director UCSB Advancement Services
  • Dawn Gregory, business system support analyst UC Education Abroad Program
  • Lisa Klock, director, Finance and Operations, Letters & Science Information Technology
  • Katie Mankins, associate director, IT Operational Initiatives, Office of the Chief Information Officer
  • Victoria Manthe, acting customer relations manager, ETS Networking, Communications & Security Services
  • Elise Meyer, director, Business Operations & Planning, Enterprise Technology Services
  • Eura Szuwalski, project manager, Letters & Science Information Technology

Lisa Klock is director of Finance and Operations in Letters & Science Information Technology, UC Santa Barbara. UC Merced CIO Ann Kolvachick gave the first presentation to the group in July 2017.  Read about Kolvachick’s presentation in the UC IT Blog article, “Who Ya Gonna Call? Mythbusters, Ghostbusters or Women in IT?”

Comments (3)

  1. Victoria

    I’m continually impressed by this group of women and learn new things each time we meet. Thank you for all of your work, Lisa! I look forward to our continued success.

  2. Molly

    Nice article, thanks for sharing

  3. Sandy

    It is absolutely inspiring to read about women who support and encourage aspiring women in IT. It can be a lonely career without female mentoring and guidance. Encouraging “partnerships in all areas of technology” is a great way to go also.

    I recently read an article about inspirational and successful women in tech in Australia. Some of your women in tech might find it interesting also.



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