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100 Diverse Corporate Leaders in STEM - Yolanda Conyers of Lenovo

The 100 Diverse Corporate Leaders in STEM blog series features a new business executive Monday-Friday and the exemplary work his or her company is doing to support 21st century STEM learning and workforce development- particularly for women, minorities and under-represented groups. Learn more and download the whole copy at Follow the conversation on social media using #100STEMLeaders. Today's Diverse Corporate Leader is Yolanda Conyers, vice president, global HR operations and chief diversity officer at Lenovo.

Yolanda Conyers, Lenovo

Yolanda Conyers
Vice President, Global HR Operations and Chief Diversity Officer

Yolanda Conyers is the vice president of global human resources operations and the chief diversity officer at Lenovo, the #1 PC vendor in the world. In addition to founding the first-ever diversity office for a company of Chinese heritage, she has transformed Lenovo’s day-to-day human resources operations by ensuring consistency of processes, systems and data for a complex global company with employees in more than 60 nations.

Throughout her tenure, Yolanda has ensured increasing diversity in the Lenovo workforce and has continually strengthened the foundation of “The Lenovo Way” – a blending of eastern and western business cultures, philosophies and ideas. She is also the co-author of, The Lenovo Way – Managing a Diverse Global Company for Optimal Performance, which reveals the story behind Lenovo’s iconic journey to become a global leader.

With a Bachelor’s degree in computer science from Lamar University and an MBA in international business from Our Lady of the Lake Executive MBA Program, Ms. Conyers has a passion for promoting STEM with young people. She currently serves as a member of the Executive Leadership Council (ELC). Prior to joining Lenovo, Ms. Conyers spent 15 years at Dell, Inc., before which she served as a systems analyst at Texas Instruments. Ms. Conyers is married and has three boys.

About Lenovo

Lenovo is a US$39 billion personal technology company, the largest PC company in the world, serving customers in more than 160 countries. Dedicated to building exceptionally engineered PCs and mobile internet devices, Lenovo’s business is built on product innovation, a highly-efficient global supply chain and strong strategic execution. The company develops, manufactures and markets reliable, high-quality, secure and easy-to-use technology products and services. Its product lines include legendary Think-branded commercial PCs and Idea-branded consumer PCs, as well as servers, workstations, and a family of mobile internet devices, including tablets and smartphones. Furthermore, Lenovo is a global industry leader in the education market and we are uniquely positioned to make a sustainable difference through our support of education related programs and initiatives. Lenovo aims to advance, enhance and extend education at all levels in both K-12 and higher education.

Yolanda on Diversity and STEM

How has your corporation coordinated investments in education with future workforce needs?

Education is the passport to our growth and economic prosperity, and at Lenovo we support education related programs/initiatives through our industry leading products and technologies, community investments and sponsorships. We don’t limit the scope of our education related social investments but rather consider each opportunity based on its own unique merits. We donate equipment, provide cash contributions and lend our expertise to schools and related organizations across all global markets. For example, Lenovo recently announced a new agreement with the National Academy Foundation to bring a robust mobile app development curriculum and delivery program to NAF academies in the United States - the Lenovo Scholar Network. Whilst in the UK, Lenovo is in the third year of a University Placement Programme which offers 1 year placements to university students during their degree course.

What principles do you apply to your professional and personal life to advance STEM education?

My computer science degree from the college of engineering, coupled with over 25 years of working for three high tech companies gives me the perfect opportunity to talk to youth about the opportunities with STEM. I live by the three basic principles of how to problem solve, how to take big concepts and make them real, and how to be creative leveraging different inputs from data or people. These are easy to for young people to understand and translate into real life. My passion is encouraging young people, especially children from disadvantaged backgrounds, to focus on math and science in school in order to pursue careers in programming and engineering. Most recently I attended the National Society of Black Engineers Conference where I gave a speech on this topic: As I told attendees, I believe an engineering degree is a passport whose usefulness extends beyond the job itself.

How is your company connecting diversity initiatives with STEM initiatives? Is this a part of your comprehensive strategy?

Our vision for diversity is to develop and enable the very diverse talent of our people globally to spark the innovation, creativity and the performance excellence needed to be the world’s leading personal technology company. In order to achieve this vision, we have to ensure that children from all backgrounds are prepared to join technology companies like Lenovo. To support this we are involved in numerous initiatives. Examples include being a founding partner of the Kramden Institute, a non-profit organization, whose mission is to help less advantaged students in grades 3-12 cross the digital divide. Through a network of over 2,500 volunteers, Kramden refurbishes used computers and works with school districts across the state to place them, free of charge, into homes of students in low-income areas. Kramden volunteers include middle and high-school students, and Lenovo employees. Lenovo’s partnership with Kramden has exposed the student volunteers to careers in STEM, helping to ignite a spark for the next generation of innovators. Also in support of STEM, we have established the Fran O’Sullivan Scholarship which awards a scholarship annually to a college woman who is majoring in engineering.

What is your vision for the future of STEM careers, through diversity?

I truly believe that having a diverse employee population gives Lenovo a competitive advantage. In fact, I just launched a book, called The Lenovo Way, in which I talk about how our strength is in our ability to leverage diverse perspectives in the design, development, marketing and sales of our products. Our vision of having a diverse, multicultural company cannot be achieved if we don’t focus on preparing our children to be able to compete for and pursue technical careers. A lack of inclusiveness will mean that we will miss out on all the innovative and creative ideas that this group can bring to work place. Therefore, we must always look for ways to encourage more diversity in high tech companies. I wrote The Lenovo Way because I thought it was time to share my story of how STEM has helped me become a global executive for a Fortune 500 company. I hope that my successes and challenges in this book will help influence others, especially women and minorities, to consider this path.

Are you a mentor and what is your view of mentorship?

As an African American girl who grew up in southeast Texas, I didn’t know that I could be a global executive someday! My mentor in high school, who recognized my knack for math and science, influenced me to take a computer science class and later, pursue a computer science degree in college. It was yet another mentor in college who introduced me to an organization called the National Society of Black Engineers; he said this conference would change my life and he was right - I landed a job with Texas Instruments! This all led to a 25 years+ career in high tech companies. My mentors encouraged me and now I have to pay it forward, so I mentor at all levels. I have been a mentor for years and through my mentoring have encouraged many to pursue or stick with engineering during their most difficult times. Having someone to see your talent and encourage and guide you through unfamiliar, and sometimes intimidating areas, is necessary. I would not have been given the career opportunities without a STEM education that was driven by my great mentors.

CollegeWeekLive and STEMconnector Partner to Encourage the Pursuit of STEM Degrees

CollegeWeekLive and STEMconnector Partner to Encourage the Pursuit of STEM Degrees
Joint Virtual Events at will Showcase STEM Education and Career Opportunities

Boston — October 29, 2014 | CollegeWeekLive, the leading website where students and colleges meet live online, today announced that it has forged an alliance with STEMconnector®, the definitive source for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) information. This partnership will highlight the importance of STEM in society and how graduates with STEM degrees are driving breakthrough innovations. Students will discover how pursuing a STEM education can lead to exciting career opportunities in fields such as food security, medical research, mobile application design and more.

Students and their families, teachers, and high school counselors are invited to participate in CollegeWeekLive’s popular All Access Virtual College Fair on November 13, 2014 where they can:

  • Watch live video presentations about STEM careers which are in demand
  • Hear about special initiatives such as Million Women Mentors that help young women earn STEM degrees and enter the workforce
  • Chat live with STEMconnector representatives
  • Enter to win the event’s $2,500 Scholarship

“80 percent of the fastest growing occupations in the U.S. depend on the mastery of mathematics and sciences,” said CollegeWeekLive President and CEO Robert Rosenbloom. “We’re pleased to have experts from STEMconnector join us to help students realize the tremendous advantages of pursuing STEM fields and empower them to achieve their goals.”

“We are excited to partner with CollegeWeekLive to help spread the message of how important STEM is to our country and how students can benefit in the long run by pursuing careers that incorporate STEM education,” said Edie Fraser, CEO of STEMconnector. “The opportunity for us to inform students of programs and partners in the STEM ecosystem helps us better achieve our mission to promote STEM education and workforce development.”

Visit to learn more about upcoming All Access Virtual College Fairs, or contact CollegeWeekLive at 888-697-0050 or

CollegeWeekLive is the leading channel where students and colleges meet online. More than 1,500,000 students from 192 countries rely on CollegeWeekLive to help navigate college admissions. This live channel provides unprecedented access to expert presentations and enables students to have unscripted conversations with college students and admissions counselors from hundreds of colleges and universities. Students turn to CollegeWeekLive to gain insights from current students, admission representatives, and leading experts, whether they are narrowing their choice of schools or making post-admission decisions. Through live text and video chats, students, parents, and counselors can engage directly with universities at every stage of the enrollment process.

STEMconnector® is a consortium of companies, nonprofit associations and professional societies, STEM-related research and policy organizations, government entities, universities, and academic institutions concerned with STEM education and the future of human capital in the United States. STEMconnector® is both a resource and a service, designed to link "all things STEM" through a comprehensive website that connects national, state, and local STEM entities. The STEMconnector® website contains profiles of more than 20 categories of STEM-related entities and details “Who is Doing What” at more than 6,000 STEM-related organizations all 50 states.



100 Diverse Corporate Leaders in STEM - Eduardo Conrado of Motorola Solutions

The 100 Diverse Corporate Leaders in STEM blog series features a new business executive Monday-Friday and the exemplary work his or her company is doing to support 21st century STEM learning and workforce development- particularly for women, minorities and under-represented groups. Learn more and download the whole copy at Follow the conversation on social media using #100STEMLeaders. Today's Diverse Corporate Leader is Eduardo Conrado, senior vice president, marketing & IT at Motorola Solutions.

Eduardo Conrado, Motorola Solutions

Eduardo Conrado
Senior Vice President, Marketing & IT
Motorola Solutions

Eduardo Conrado is senior vice president, marketing & IT, for Motorola Solutions. He joined Motorola in 1992 and has served in a variety of marketing leadership roles in the company’s paging, cellular, satellite, cable, and enterprise mobility, government businesses. He has had multiple international business and marketing assignments in a range of consumer and commercial segments across Motorola. He earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Texas Tech University; a master’s degree in business administration from ESADE in Barcelona, Spain; and a master’s degree in international management from Thunderbird School of Global Management.

About Motorola Solutions

Motorola Solutions is a leading provider of mission-critical communication solutions and services for our customers. Our passion to provide solutions that connect people, businesses and governments in the moments that matter is what motivates our employees’ volunteer efforts and our philanthropic giving in the communities where we operate. We work closely with the Motorola Solutions Foundation, our charitable and philanthropic arm, to ensure our charitable giving and product donations benefit these communities. With our history deeply entrenched in technology and innovation, we remain committed to supporting educational programs that help the next generation strengthen their skills and interest in these careers. We are an active supporter of education programs, particularly those focused on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education in the United States and around the world.

Eduardo on Diversity and STEM

What traits do corporate leaders need to effectively support and advance STEM education today?

Corporate leaders need to understand that STEM is always changing. There are no “traditional” STEM roles. But core education and skills need to be built before today’s youth can become tomorrow’s STEM leaders. Corporate leaders must be willing to embrace STEM, even if it is not their area of expertise. They need to understand what role STEM plays in their organization both today, and in the future. With this background, corporate leaders can see how important hiring individuals with a STEM background are to ensuring the future success of their organization. Leaders with this type of understanding and vision are most likely to take initiatives to support and advance STEM education today. They understand that not supporting STEM education can cause a huge skills gap in their corporation tomorrow.

How has your corporation coordinated investments in education with future workforce needs?

In 2013, the Motorola Solutions Foundation provided over $4.7 million in grants to support educational programs, with a specific emphasis on STEM education. In North America, approximately 150,000 students received an average of 92 hours of STEM education from programs Motorola Solutions Foundation supported during 2013. For example, the Motorola Solutions Foundation joined Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s initiative to help cultivate the next generation of scientists and engineers in February 2012 by supporting a new early college STEM school, the Chicago Vocational Career Academy. More than 100 Motorola Solutions employees are working with administrators, teachers, students and parents at the school to support approximately 150 students in their pursuit of science- and technology-related careers through curriculum development, extracurricular activities and mentorship. Our goal in 2014 is to reach over 150,000 students and teachers in STEM education efforts, globally.

What is the STEM initiative that your company has supported are you most proud?

I am most proud of our support of the FIRST® Robotics Competition. Motorola is a founding sponsor of the FIRST Robotics Competition since 1989. Teams of students work together at these competitions to create robots, which are tested in regional and national FIRST Robotics competitions. In 2013, the Motorola Solutions Foundation sponsored 110 Girl Scout robotics teams of approximately 660 girls in STEM education throughout targeted Motorola Solutions communities and other U.S. locations. In addition, several of our employees act as advisors to local teams, donating their time and expertise to students.

Leaders are in great demand as business builders and role models. What advice do you have for minorities and women coming “up” the system?

My advice is to always take the time to evaluate and understand yourself. Individuals growing in their career need to understand and accept their strengths, weaknesses and areas of opportunity. I would also recommend finding a mentor or manager that can be your advocate. Having someone else keeping an eye out for opportunities for you to highlight your skills is crucial to growing your career.

What is your vision for the future of STEM careers, through diversity?

Diversity can play a huge role in the success of U.S.-based companies because diverse individuals can attract the best technical talent, something nearly every U.S. company needs. Diversity brings a worldly perspective to the company, which is important in this global economy. Diversity will open new doors for those in STEM careers, and it will continue to evolve what it means to have a STEM background.

Women of Color STEM Conference Recognizes 10 Northrop Grumman Employees

This is a press release from Northrop Grumman

FALLS CHURCH, Va. – Oct. 27, 2014 | Ten Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) employees received awards for their achievements at the 19th Annual Women of Color STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) Conference in Detroit, Michigan, this weekend. The conference recognizes outstanding women in the STEM fields and provides opportunities for professional development, networking and recruiting.

Shawn Purvis, sector vice president and general manager, Cyber division, Northrop Grumman Information Systems, received a Managerial Leadership-Industry award. She leads a group responsible for delivering cyber and security solutions to intelligence, defense, federal, state and international customers. Previously she was vice president of Integrated Intelligence Systems. Prior to joining Northrop Grumman, Purvis was a senior vice president at SAIC in Intelligence Systems and senior systems engineer at Lockheed Martin. She earned a bachelor's degree in computer science from Hampton University and a master's in information systems from George Mason University.
Ragini Saxena received a Career Achievement-Industry award. She is the acting hardware engineering director and sensor engineering manager for Northrop Grumman Electronics Systems and is responsible for directing cross-functional engineering teams and developing high accuracy sensors for various navigation applications in space, air, land and sea. Previously, Saxena served as chief systems engineer and architect for the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye Inertial Navigation, Control and Display Systems where she received patents for the first 17" diagonal ruggedized display for the all-glass cockpit. In her 25-year career in sensors and optical engineering, she has received six patents and authored 27 peer-reviewed articles. She earned a bachelor's degree in physics and master's in nuclear physics from Banaras Hindu University, India, and a doctorate in quantum optics from the University of Hyderabad, India.
Jessica Sun is an information technology program manager for Northrop Grumman Enterprise Shared Services responsible for delivering cost-effective solutions that drive superior business performance. She received a New Media/IT Leadership award. She recently led the deployment of a digital signage solution and the consolidation of intranet and collaboration systems. She earned a bachelor's degree in computer science from the University of Maryland at College Park and a master's in software engineering from the University of Maryland University College.
Northrop Grumman employees receiving Technology All-Star awards at the conference were Melissa Botticelli and Gina Woullard. Employees receiving Rising Stars awards were: Emily Blair, Liliana Bocanegra, Phuong Mai, Lindsay May and Gretchen Valle.
Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in unmanned systems, cyber, C4ISR, and logistics and modernization to government and commercial customers worldwide. Please visit for more information.



100 Diverse Corporate Leaders in STEM - Tammara Combs of Serendipity Interactive

The 100 Diverse Corporate Leaders in STEM blog series features a new business executive Monday-Friday and the exemplary work his or her company is doing to support 21st century STEM learning and workforce development- particularly for women, minorities and under-represented groups. Learn more and download the whole copy at Follow the conversation on social media using #100STEMLeaders. Today's Diverse Corporate Leader is Tammara Combs, founder and chief executive officer at Serendipity Interactive.

Tammara Combs, Serendipity Interactive

Tammara Combs
Founder & CEO
Serendipity Interactive

Dr. Tammara Combs is recognized in digital marketing, social technology and data security. She’s held leadership positions in conceiving and executing innovations in technology, market strategy and business development for corporations, startups, and universities. Dr. Combs’ specialties include online communities, social networking, and engaging social influencers within organizations. She has served as interim CEO of technology startups, enhancing the value of companies while securing customers and funding. As a VP at Lowe’s, Dr. Combs held responsibility for the e-commerce website, online strategy and customer loyalty program, MyLowes. As an engineer & research manager at Microsoft, her work included product development, enhancing grassroots creativity and company-wide innovation. Dr. Combs is a member of the Executive Leadership Council, an organization dedicated to empowering corporate leaders to make significant and impactful contributions in the global marketplace and their communities. Dr. Combs resides in North Carolina with her two young sons.

About Serendipity Interactive

Serendipity Interactive, LLC is a marketing technology firm that develops strategies to match products and services with the right customers. Headquartered north of Charlotte, NC, the company develops software, conducts market research, and builds market strategies for clients looking to understand ever-changing consumer mindsets, obtaining competitive insights, and achieving executive buy-in. The company specializes in digital strategy, web development, operations planning and celebrity engagements. Serendipity Interactive was founded in 2010 and has served organizations throughout the United States and globally. For more information, visit, or follow on Twitter @Innovate4You.

Tammara on Diversity and STEM

How do we encourage students to continue their study of STEM subjects, particularly women and underrepresented minorities?

Women and minorities in STEM roles in organizations have to be touchable and show examples of hard work and hard play. The beauty of the diversity of STEM fields is that it can be used to make games for pure enjoyment as well as to develop medicine and apparatuses to save lives. It is exciting to see students’ minds open when they see the science in everyday things. For instance, I remember when I was taught to recognize that the Fibonacci Sequence occurs in nature in many difference occasions – in strawberries, pine cones, sunflowers, etc. I was so intrigued that I began to look for the sequence everywhere. We encourage students to continue their studies in STEM by finding something that truly intrigues them and by cultivating their curiosity, situating their natural thirst for knowledge in something STEM-related.

What do corporations need to do to create more STEM careers and fill existing jobs?

Sometimes we make the mistake of thinking if someone has a STEM-related degree that we no longer have to worry about retaining their interest in the field. That could not be further from the truth. There are many who have survived the grueling nights of writing and compiling code, developing cool apps and memorizing theorems only to find that the real world applications of their studies are not what they expected. In some cases, it is the divergent mind-set and of their work colleagues that have them wanting to explore different career options. In working with our clients, many executives recognize the need to do something different but there are many reasons why they do not move quickly. One main reason for a slowed pace of transition is the often heard mantra of the inability to find appropriate candidates. Corporations will need to partner with colleges and universities to recruit talented students and spend time trolling online communities for STEM-enthusiasts who may not have completed college but are skilled in their craft.

What counsel would you provide around "collaborating to achieve success" in STEM education and the workforce?

As we look to the next-generation global leader, current corporate executives must recognize that students today work in a highly collaborative environment at school, at home and in extracurricular activities. In order to foster collaboration between STEM educators, students and the workforce, more formal and informal intervention programs need to be established to allow students to see the diversity of STEM. They must see that for every success story, there were a dozen failures and many more lessons learned, understanding that no great success was ever achieved without failure. Educators should have their students research and study not just the commercial STEM projects that have succeeded but also those which were major blunders and what the industry learned. “When we give ourselves permission to fail, we, at the same time, give ourselves permission to excel.” - Eloise Ristad

How can we advance mentorships and apprenticeships in the STEM pipeline?

We need programs that maximize the matching process for students to corporate leaders. Students will be able to apprentice with someone who would be of benefit to them and the corporate leaders will have eager students with whom to work. Even before individuals reach the level of working in a corporation, I am a firm believe in reaching while you climb. That means, at every level you find yourself, there is at least one person you can mentor who is trying to achieve the level you have completed. If you are in high school, mentor someone is middle or elementary school. Mentorship and apprenticeship should embody the meaning of paying forward.

How should those working to improve the STEM workforce measure success?

The most obvious answer to key performance indicators for improvements in STEM is the number of talented people, including women and underrepresented minorities, in the pipeline. Additionally, we must hold ourselves to a higher standard. Many programs that are developed lack a systematic procedure for measuring success and those that do, are evaluated by internal employees with no audits or checks in the process at the level of sourcing and hiring.

Girlstart receives STEM grant from the Freescale Foundation to inspire girls in Central Texas

Girlstart receives STEM grant from the Freescale Foundation to inspire girls in Central Texas

AUSTIN, Texas – Oct. 27, 2014 – Girlstart, the nonprofit that inspires girls’ interest and engagement in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), has received a grant from the Freescale Foundation. The grant will help support Girlstart’s innovative, nationally recognized STEM education programs, such as Girlstart After School, and enable the organization to bring high-quality STEM education to thousands of fourth and fifth-grade girls in the Central Texas community.

“We are honored to be awarded this grant from the Freescale Foundation,” said Tamara Hudgins, Ph.D., executive director of Girlstart. “They understand what we are trying to accomplish in the Austin and surrounding communities and this grant is a testament to our program’s success in getting young women interested in STEM careers. Thanks to partnerships like the Freescale Foundation, we will be able to continue to expand our reach to thousands of girls throughout Central Texas.”

The Foundation grant will help the organization empower young women in the areas of STEM, thereby encouraging them to pursue higher education in these important fields. Girlstart After School, one of the designated programs the contribution will help impact, enhances girls' STEM learning through fun, informal, hands-on and inquiry-based activities while exploring various subject areas such as aeronautical, aerospace, electrical, manufacturing, mechanical, petrochemical, and structural engineering.

Designed to reach girls who have limited or no access to high-quality extracurricular STEM education, Girlstart After School influenced nearly 1,000 girls in the fall of 2013 and anticipates impacting more than 1,200 girls throughout 2014, directly serving more girls than any other after school STEM program in the country.

In the past decade, growth in STEM jobs grew three times faster than growth in non-STEM jobs, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. In addition, STEM occupations are projected to grow by 17 percent through 2018, compared to 9.8 percent growth for non-STEM occupations. However, women hold a disproportionately low share of STEM undergraduate degrees with only 24 percent of the STEM workforce being women.

“The Freescale Foundation is committed to STEM initiatives that inspire the diverse innovation leaders of tomorrow,” said Karen Rapp, Freescale Foundation board member. “Freescale employees have been volunteering with Girlstart for many years and we recognize the importance of investing in STEM education.”

Girlstart will be joined by Freescale employees and representatives of the Freescale Foundation during its Game Changers Annual Luncheon on Thursday, October 30, 2014. The luncheon is a special celebration honoring women who have made a significant impact locally or nationally utilizing their STEM education.

Girlstart, founded in Austin in 1997, is the only community-based, informal STEM education nonprofit in the nation. Specifically dedicated to empowering and equipping girls in STEM, Girlstart provides year-round programming that promotes girls’ early engagement and academic success in STEM, encourages girls' aspirations and persistence in STEM education and careers, and incubates a talented and diverse STEM workforce. Its innovative, nationally recognized programs include after-school and summer camps for students, professional development for teachers, and community and online STEM education outreach programs. Girlstart cultivates a culture where risk is rewarded, curiosity is encouraged, and creativity is expected. As a result, Girlstart girls are connected, brave, and resilient. Girlstart makes girls more successful, and inspires them to take on the world’s greatest challenges.

Founded in 2013, the Freescale Foundation is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education for K-12 students in the communities where Freescale employees live and work. Whether it is unveiling the fun science behind model rockets, the engineering that enables robots or the technology that drives automotive advancement, the Foundation aims to empower the innovators of tomorrow.

Phil West, Orange Cone Agency, for Girlstart 512.769.3838,
Jacey Zuniga, Corporate Public Relations, Freescale 512.895.7398,


100 Diverse Corporate Leaders in STEM - Dexter Cole of Discovery Communications

The 100 Diverse Corporate Leaders in STEM blog series features a new business executive Monday-Friday and the exemplary work his or her company is doing to support 21st century STEM learning and workforce development- particularly for women, minorities and under-represented groups. Learn more and download the whole copy at Follow the conversation on social media using #100STEMLeaders. Today's Diverse Corporate Leader is Dexter Cole, vice president of programming for the Science Channel at Discovery Communications.

Dexter Cole, Discovery Communications

Dexter Cole
Vice President of Programming, Science Channel
Discovery Communications

In his current role as VP of Programming for the Science Channel, Dexter oversees the programming strategy for the network and is responsible for identifying new programming genres to grow the network’s audience. Since his arrival at Science Channel, he has helped introduce hit series such as Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman, An Idiot Abroad and Firefly to primetime. As a result, the network has experienced its most-watched year for three consecutive years in primetime. Dexter returned to Discovery in 2010 after a two-year term as Vice President of Research for TV One. Prior to working for TV One, Dexter was employed at Discovery Communications, LLC for ten years and during his tenure managed research for each of the five major Discovery networks: Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Travel Channel and Discovery Health Channel. He received both his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Howard University in Washington, D.C., with a Bachelor of Arts, Magna Cum Laude, in Journalism and an MBA.

About Discovery Communications

Discovery Communications is the world’s #1 independent programmer reaching 2.7 billion cumulative subscribers in more than 220 countries and territories. Discovery is dedicated to satisfying curiosity, engaging and entertaining viewers with high-quality content on worldwide television networks, led by Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Investigation Discovery and Science, as well as U.S. joint venture network OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. Discovery also is a leading provider of educational products and services to schools, through Discovery Education, and a digital leader with a diversified online portfolio, including Discovery Digital Networks. Science Channel, a division of Discovery Communications, Inc., is home for the thought provocateur, the individual who is unafraid to ask the killer questions of “how” and “why not.” Science Channel looks for innovation in mysterious new worlds as well as in its own backyard. Science Channel reaches nearly 80 million U.S. households.

Dexter on Diversity and STEM

STEM education is such a major focus because it affects our most precious commodities, our children. STEM is their future and will pervade every aspect of their lives, including the fastest-growing occupations, such as engineering, system analytics, accounting, and finance. It is clear that STEM will be the future of the working world, and therefore represents a critical knowledge base for both boys and girls who hope to have a chance at sustaining a fruitful career. New technology, from robotics to 3D printing, continues to transform job roles in a multitude of industries and if the U.S. is to maintain its competitive position as a global economic superpower, then we must motivate students to enter STEM fields.

To that end, there are many steps that we can take to guide our youth in that direction. We should encourage students to pursue work that is not only interesting and stimulating, but that also allows them to make a difference in the world. Reinforcing this message will be key to any successful STEM workforce strategy, and our education system must be refocused so that STEM subjects are introduced and emphasized early as a foundational component of career preparation.

That said, our job does not end there. We must stick with our students as they advance through the educational pipeline. Experts say that one of the most effective ways to encourage students’ persistence in STEM is to give them a sense of what college-level STEM courses involve at middle and high school levels. The coursework that students do must therefore be rigorous, relevant to workforce skills, and stimulating.

Mentorships are also very important in retaining students’ interest in STEM. Never underestimate the impact of a face-to-face conversation between a student and an inspiring STEM leader; these interactions can be the spark for a lifetime’s worth of interest. Here at Discovery, I work to encourage just those kinds of interactions by leveraging our community of STEM professionals to spread the ‘gospel of STEM’ through formal mentorship programs and role modeling. We enlist our colleagues who have engaged in mentorships to encourage students, especially first-generation college students, to include STEM fields among their career options.

Encouraging first-generation college students is just one front in our effort to promote diversity in STEM, an area where we as a country need to focus more attention and support. Specifically, there is a glaring lack of women and minorities in STEM jobs. By using incentives such as scholarships, internships and mentorships, we can work to correct that imbalance and give everyone access to opportunities that some might not otherwise be exposed to.

One of the initiatives that I am most proud of from my tenure here at Discovery Communications was in this vein. Earlier this year at the White House Science Fair, we launched a new effort to encourage girls to become engaged in STEM with a cross-channel public service announcement (PSA) on our 14 U.S. networks. The content of the message focused on the importance of STEM education and the need to recruit STEM mentors to help encourage students and especially girls at a young age to get involved in STEM subjects.

I personally have served as a mentor for many years, both in the corporate world and on a personal level, and have enjoyed tremendously the time that I’ve invested in helping to guide and inspire the next generation. My hope is that young people know that there are executives that are willing to help and counsel them, whether in STEM or in another career of their dreams. I would encourage them to have the confidence to seek out those with experience, and ask them for guidance.

In conclusion, the future is clear: STEM jobs are expected to grow by 17% between 2008 and 2018, and to meet the growing demand, we must emphasize STEM skills in early childhood, K-12 and higher education. We must actively recruit women and minorities into STEM majors, using Title IX to improve school climates for females at every age. We need to do more than just tell young women and minorities that they can be scientists and medical professionals, we must act to make these possibilities real. If the U.S. is to remain at the forefront of global innovation, it is essential that we follow through in making STEM education a top national priority. Our country’s economic stability, security, and welfare depend on it.

I am so privileged to work in an organization such as Discovery Communications, and with the Science Channel specifically, where we are on the front lines of trying to make a difference in this effort. I can only hope that the type of programming that we create and promote will drive the next generation into STEM fields so that they can pave the way for those to come.

Teachers: Win a share of $2 million in Samsung technology for your school!

This is a press release from Samsung

Engage your students in the excitement of STEM by showing how they can apply STEM to help improve their local community for a chance to win the latest technology for your school. 

For more information and to enter the Solve for Tomorrow Contest, please visit Enter now! Entries close October 31, 2014.

The national education contest reaches students in grades 6-12 through a school-based model that encourages students to combine their creativity and STEM knowledge to become the innovators of tomorrow by asking them to answer this challenge: Show how STEM can be applied to help improve your local community.

The $2 million contest is open to all public middle and high school teachers and students in the U.S. Prizes are awarded throughout the competition, starting with 255 State Finalists, from which one winner from each state receives a video technology kit to compete in the video phase of the contest. Fifteen finalists chosen from that pool win additional prizes in technology and the opportunity to be chosen as one of five Grand Prize Winners - three by a panel of judges, one by Samsung employees, and one by public online voting. The five grand prize winners are honored at a special awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.


Emerson to Invest $500,000 in Girl Scouts STEM Programs

This is a press release from Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri

Emerson is committed to developing women leaders in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics), and demonstrates this commitment with the announcement of a $500,000 investment in Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri’s STEM programs. Their investment will provide opportunities and experiences for today’s girls so they can reach their full potential and become the leaders of tomorrow.
By the time today’s girls’ graduate college, the United States will need 3 million additional scientists and engineers. More than 50 percent of college graduates are women, yet only 20 percent of the graduates in physics, engineering and computer science are women. Recognizing the underrepresentation of women in STEM careers coupled with a need for strong leadership in these fields, Girl Scouts has identified STEM as a programmatic focus area.
“When girls succeed in STEM fields, so do our communities,” said Bonnie Barczykowski, CEO for Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri. With Emerson’s investment, Girl Scouts will be able to offer opportunities for the 46,000 Girl Scouts in urban, suburban and rural areas of eastern Missouri. They will have the chance to explore this fascinating world of STEM in a non-intimidating environment with progressive programs that do not duplicate, but boost what they are learning in the classroom. The programs will be offered to girls as early as Kindergarten, all the way through seniors in high school and provide opportunities to engage parents and guardians so they can reinforce and encourage their girls at home. 
Girls are the pipeline for the future workforce. It is important that they be exposed to real-world STEM careers to help them develop a deeper understanding of how STEM fields impact the world. Girl Scout programs teach young girls to ask questions about their world, problem solve and take action. Girl Scouts knows that not every girl may decide to be a future scientist or engineer, but the skills she learns through the STEM programs like critical thinking, teamwork and ingenuity will help her in all facets of life.
“Emerson is a visionary global leader in bringing technology and engineering together to provide innovative solutions for markets around the world,” said Cynthia Heath, Vice President for Emerson. “We are proud to support Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri. Together we will provide the girls in our communities with the tools they need to succeed.”
Girl Scouts created a STEM Advisory Committee in Spring 2014 to build and strengthen partnerships, craft initiatives and launch ideas for STEM programming. Area participating companies have joined together with Girl Scouts and Emerson to invest in girls and change the world. They will serve as STEM community partners and will help Girl Scouts develop programs that refine untapped skills and aptitudes in our diverse population of girls for years to come. 
Girls are engineering tomorrow and Girl Scouts and Emerson are dedicated to helping them reach their full potential. 
About Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri
Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri is committed to building girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place. To join, volunteer or donate to Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri, call 800.727.GIRL (800.727.4475) or visit Girl Scouts is a proud United Way member and is supported by the following United Way agencies: United Way of Greater St. Louis, United Way of the Mark Twain Area, United Way of Adair County/Northeast Missouri and Franklin County Area United Way. Follow Girl Scouts on Twitter and Facebook
About Emerson 
Emerson (NYSE: EMR), based in St. Louis, Missouri (USA), is a global leader in bringing technology and engineering together to provide innovative solutions for customers in industrial, commercial, and consumer markets around the world. The company is comprised of five business segments: Process Management, Industrial Automation, Network Power, Climate Technologies, and Commercial & Residential Solutions. Sales in fiscal 2013 were $24.7 billion. For more information, visit

100 Diverse Corporate Leaders in STEM - Ted Colbert of Boeing

The 100 Diverse Corporate Leaders in STEM blog series features a new business executive Monday-Friday and the exemplary work his or her company is doing to support 21st century STEM learning and workforce development- particularly for women, minorities and under-represented groups. Learn more and download the whole copy at Follow the conversation on social media using #100STEMLeaders. Today's Diverse Corporate Leader is Ted Colbert, chief information officer at The Boeing Company.

Ted Colbert, Boeing

Ted Colbert
Chief Information Officer, Vice President of IT
The Boeing Company

Ted Colbert is Chief Information Officer of The Boeing Company and vice president of Information Technology. Colbert, who was named to this role in November 2013, is responsible for the IT strategy, operations, processes and more than 7,300 IT people of the world's largest aerospace company. In his previous role as vice president of Information Technology Infrastructure, Colbert was responsible for developing and maintaining IT solutions inclusive of network, computing, server, storage, collaboration and infrastructure across the entire Boeing enterprise. Previously, Ted was vice president of IT Business Systems, where he was responsible for developing and maintaining the computing application systems that support Boeing Finance, Human Resources, Corporate, Commercial Capital Business Units as well as the company’s internal systems. Colbert started with Boeing in 2009 as director of Enterprise Network Services after having spent 2.5 years at Citigroup as a senior vice president of Enterprise Architecture.
Prior to joining Citigroup, Colbert spent 11 years with Ford Motor Company's Information Technology organization. Colbert completed the Dual Degree Engineering Program at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia with degrees in Industrial and Systems Engineering and Interdisciplinary Science.
About Boeing

Boeing is the world's largest aerospace company and leading manufacturer of commercial jetliners and defense, space and security systems. A top U.S. exporter, the company supports airlines and U.S. and allied government customers in 150 countries. Boeing products and tailored services include commercial and military aircraft, satellites, weapons, electronic and defense systems, launch systems, advanced information and communication systems, and performance-based logistics and training. With corporate offices in Chicago, Boeing employs more than 169,000 people across the United States and in more than 65 countries.
Ted on Diversity and STEM

Why is STEM Education/workforce development critical to the future of our nation?

As a leader in the aerospace industry, Boeing is particularly concerned with the ability of the United States to sustain a leadership role in technology and innovation. We are committed to working with students even before they enter kindergarten to acquire what we’re calling 21st century skills - to think critically and solve problems, collaborate well, be creative and communicate effectively. Problems and challenges faced in STEM are well-suited to the development of these skills, something that our future workforce will need regardless of their chosen professions. The US Department of Labor projected that only 16% of bachelor’s degrees in 2020 will specialize in STEM, while 80% of the jobs in the next decade will require technical skills. Unless we can close this gap, there will be grave consequences for our nation’s competitiveness, security and ability to innovate.

How is your company infusing diversity with STEM initiatives? Is this a part of your comprehensive strategy?

The way Boeing stays competitive is to attract the best people from the widest possible pool, and having a diverse, inclusive workplace is absolutely part of our strategy for STEM and all other aspects of our business. We have a dedicated IT STEM outreach program where our employees share experiences and engage with students to help them understand, appreciate and develop a passion for STEM and Boeing IT careers. Our university recruiting effort focuses on several Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), where we fund extracurricular STEM activities such as the SpelBOTS Robotics Program at Spelman College.

Leaders are in great demand as business builders and role models. What advice do you have for minorities and women coming “up” in the system?

Lay the groundwork from Day One to step up when there’s an opportunity. I had my first management assignment at the Ford Motor Company when I was 26 years old, and when my mentor recommended me for a high-profile position, my work history was thoroughly vetted to make sure I was ready. After all, their reputations were riding on my ability to produce, so the people I had worked with at each level of my career were asked to weigh in on whether I was right for the job. If even one person had had a poor experience with me or my work, it wouldn’t have happened.

What Employee Resource Groups does your company have in place?

Currently, there are hundreds of affinity groups registered in the U.S. alone, including the Boeing Asian-American Professional Association, Boeing Black Employees Association, Boeing Employees Association of Gay, Lesbian, Bi and Transgender Employees & Friends (BEAGLES), Boeing Employees Veterans Association, Boeing Hispanic Employees Network and Boeing Women in Leadership, to name just a few. We also have our own IT Diversity and Inclusion Council, working alongside other Councils in the enterprise and sponsoring education, events and mentoring opportunities to people interested in pursuing STEM career paths.

Are you a mentor and what is your view of mentorship?

I am a mentor and strongly believe that mentorship is the key to developing the kind of diverse, connected STEM workforce that we’ll need to compete in the future. Right now the Department of Labor statistics are sobering, to say the least: of the  4 million students who enter kindergarten each year, only 1.7 percent will earn a four-year degree in engineering. The percent of women and minorities included in that figure is an even slimmer slice. Add that to the 1.3 million won’t finish high school, and the opportunity cost is staggering. At Boeing, our work extends beyond creating a strong pipeline of aerospace engineers; we’re committed to building a skilled workforce capable of doing great things across the full spectrum of careers. Making a personal investment in others and mentoring the next generation of leaders will help secure the future of innovation.


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