Women in Technology Roundtable
Breaking Barriers, Empowering Innovations: Women Driving the Future of Technology

VIP Theater

Starts: March 13, 2024 1:00 pm
Ends: 2:00 pm
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Breaking Barriers, Empowering Innovations: Women Driving the Future of Technology


The Women in Technology panel at our annual technology conference is a celebration of the remarkable contributions, unique perspectives, and transformative leadership of women in the tech industry. Under the banner of “Breaking Barriers, Empowering Innovations,” this panel gathers inspirational female trailblazers, thought leaders, and advocates who have carved their paths in technology to share insights, challenges, and triumphs.

The discussion will spotlight the pivotal roles women play in shaping the technological landscape, driving innovation, and fostering inclusive environments within the industry. From startups to multinational corporations, our esteemed panelists will share their journeys, offering invaluable perspectives on overcoming obstacles, navigating career growth, and fostering diversity and inclusivity in tech.

Moreover, the conversation will delve into the importance of mentorship, networking, and empowering the next generation of women in technology. Attendees can expect a vibrant dialogue exploring strategies to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the tech sphere while highlighting the unique contributions and perspectives that women bring to the forefront of innovation.

Join us for an engaging and empowering session as we celebrate the achievements of women in technology, amplify their voices, and chart a path forward towards a more inclusive, diverse, and innovative future for the industry.

Debbie Christofferson - Technology Expert

Debbie Christofferson

Co-Chair, ISSA Phoenix

Fortune 500 Enterprise Wide Information Security Manager with experience across the US, Europe and Asia. Strategic security leader and consultant with broad comprehensive security and risk management experience. Know security from the ground up and what it takes to succeed. Certifications: CISSP, CISM, CCSK (Cloud Security) and CIPP/IT (privacy) (lapsed). Strong collaborator and high energy leader. 2018 Published book Women in Security, showcases 14 women's achievements, a history of our field, the endless opportunities, trends, and what you need going forward for this cyber security field. Debbie also facilitated CISM certification exam prep workshops since the CISM inception; Speaks and writes on cyber security topics and women in security; Leads virtual and onsite security and IT education events. She served 10 years as an International Board Director and is a long time Distinguished Fellow for Information Systems Security Association (ISSA); Chaired the board's CISO Advisory Council for the CISO Executive Forum 8 years. Debbie is co-founder of the local Cloud Security Alliance chapter; She hosted two ATW Summits for women in technology. Co-Chairs ISSA's Women in Security Special Interest Group (WIS SIG). Available for short or long term engagements, local or in domestic or international locations.


Charisse Richards

Former Chief Information Officer - Judicial Branch of Arizona in Maricopa County

Charisse Richards served as Chief Information Officer for the Judicial Branch of Arizona in Maricopa County, the country’s 4th largest court system, from 2019 to 2023. Richards led the transformation and delivery of IT solutions to provide the community access to the Court’s services for the county’s 4.4 million citizens. During her tenure, the Court was nationally recognized for implementing several innovative solutions supporting Criminal Justice and Public Safety during the COVID pandemic. Richards has more than 25+ years of infrastructure and operations experience and has held senior leadership roles in the Data Center, Hospitality, and Government industries. Previously, she led IT strategy as Chief Information Officer for IO Data Centers and Vice President of Global Integration for Iron Mountain Data Centers. At Choice Hotels International, her team designed the infrastructure for ChoiceADVANTAGE©, the hospitality industry’s first cloud-based property management system. In 2018, Charisse was identified as one of the TOP 5 Most Influential Women in the Data Center Industry and #9 of the Top 50 Women Leaders of Arizona for 2022 by Women We Admire. Charisse has served as Diversity and Inclusion Co-Chair and Advisory Council member for Infrastructure Masons, and has collaborated with Girl Scouts, Google, Arizona’s state universities, and various professional organizations on diversity and inclusion in STEM. Richards earned an MBA from Arizona State University with a concentration in supply chain management.

Madhuri Jha

Director of IT, Honeywell

As a seasoned IT professional, I have been fortunate to lead in diverse areas from large scale technology implementation, IT governance, PMO , Analytics services to game changing Digital Transformation initiatives. As a result, I have mastered the art of setting the vision and strategy to transform business operations but also in tactical execution including system design, project development, global technology implementation, and multimillion-dollar program execution. I'm a well-rounded technical professional with a keen interest in mentoring. What we do is rewarding, I take pride in being strategic and pragmatic leader who positions the organization for growth through robust technology solutions while also focusing on organizational change management processes, policies, and culture that is conducive to solution adoption and business value realization. I believe I've been successful in each role I take on because I have a knack for problem solving, I like figuring things out through systematic inquiry and propose solutions which get to the root of the issues. Over the years, I have consistently enabled business growth and productivity by deploying cutting-edge technology ensuring a smooth integration of business process. I also have a proven history of developing high-performing, collaborative and resilient agile teams . A few accomplishments I'm proud of include: ● Achieved $3M+ annual savings by leading the implementation of Honeywell Preboarding and Alumni portals on Service Now HRSD, automating a largely manual process. ● Enabled Data Scientists to develop artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) models for insightful decision making by ingesting data from multiple systems and developing a data pipeline. ● Enhanced oversight of employee workforce planning by deploying solutions that allowed the organization to predict and manage talent needs as well as talent cost. ● Fostered a culture of accountability and continuous improvement and development through People Leader Insights dashboard built on Snowflake backend and Tableau front end, which measures attrition, diversity of slate and other critical KPIs. Expertise: Project and Program management, Process Reengineering, Six Sigma and Lean methodology, Application portfolio management, Outsourcing, Business Relationship management I welcome making new professional acquaintances. Please reach out if you want to talk, give advice, or ask for advice.

Tina Slankas

Managing Director - Accenture

Invested my career into protecting the critical infrastructure against various threat actors. I am passionate about focusing teams to use security as an enabler for business. We must collaborate, cybersecurity is a team sport. It's important to work together! In my spare time you can find me watching my son and the Phoenix Boys Choir. I have enjoyed watching concerts in Phoenix and around the world. My favorite venue was in Vienna.

Gail P. Ricketts

Compliance Manager - Axon

Gail joined Axon in June of 2021 and currently serves as an IT Compliance Manager at Axon. In this role, she is responsible for the global functional areas of governance and compliance for the Corporate IT organization. Gail is experienced in developing, documenting, and evaluating IT policies and procedures; demonstrates success in SOX audit compliance, IT process improvement and risk reduction; and provides services including audit, compliance, and governance. Gail has more than two decades of senior level IT audit, compliance, and risk experience. Prior to joining Axon, she was a senior IT Manager at ON Semiconductor, as well as senior IT assurance manager at Sunera where she simultaneously managed full information system audits, including national and international internal IT audits, information systems projects, and systems implementations. Gail holds a bachelor’s degree in information systems from the University of Phoenix, and a master’s degree in business administration from Arizona State University. Gail is a certified information systems auditor (CISA), is certified in risk and information systems control (CRISC), and a certified data privacy solutions Engineer (CDPSE). She is also an accredited ISACA professional instructor for each of the certifications she holds. She is a member of the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA), the FAIR Institute, and the Society of Information Management (SIM).