WICT Rocky Mountain Tech It Out Denver

–By Debra Prentice, ASG Market Development Director

11.08.18 – Infinity Park Center, Denver. WICT’s Tech It Out was inspiring and insightful. Guest speakers included Suma Nallapati – CIO for the State of Colorado, Denver Mayor – Michael B. Hancock, Cathleen Quigley of Swiftwater Consulting, and many others.

Suma Nallapati: CIO, State of Colorado

The event kicked off with an inspiring presentation by Suma Nallapati, Secretary of Technology and Chief Information Officer for the State of Colorado.

“We are working at the speed of trust – we are bringing back trust in government with the use of technology.” 

Suma has led the charge to modernize the unemployment systems in Colorado and implemented a $94 million project to revamp the DMV system to reduce wait times in Colorado.

In terms of blockchain, Suma recommends its use for specific, good use cases and not to dive into blockchain without fully understanding the use case and its applications. The State of Colorado is currently looking for volunteers who are knowledgeable in blockchain to work with the state on possible use cases.

Suma warns that the talent pipeline in the IT field is not building fast enough to meet the demands for both governments and the private sector. With Denver Mayor Hancock, they have started a program to train and hire Veterans in the IT.

Suma advises that STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math) programs for youth – both boys and girls – are extremely important for the future of technology. “STEM is all about problem solving, how deep & persistent you can be. I’m a geek & I’m proud of it!.”

Suma is also proud of her 17 year old daughter. Her daughter is currently building an analytics and artificial intelligence platform to predict and help prevent the next mass shooting. Suma’s daughter was not satisfied on simply talking about the issue, she wanted to be an instrument to solve the issue. Shreya Nallapati is the founder of #NeverAgainTech which has created a nationwide team of 200 girls to create the platform, and her team has been featured in Forbes Magazine

to read the full article, click on the link: https://grobidz.com/how-this-teen-is-using-artificial-intelligence-to-stop-gun-violence/ 

 Additional thoughts from Suma:

“If there is not a seat at the table for me, I’ll pull up a fold-up chair and make room for myself at the table.”

“Don’t wait for someone to ask you to dance. Stand up and make your own dance floor, and dance like no one is watching!”

“Every field is a technology field. Girls should have a STEM foundation so that they can pursue their passions.”


Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock

By far, the best part about hearing Mayor Hancock’s speeches: they are positive, inspiring, and motivating! His speech at WICT’s Tech It Out was no exception.

“Today, we walk around with more technology in our pockets than the technology that was used on Apollo – to fly men to the moon!”mayor hancock 

The Mayor first reflected on technologies of 20 years ago and how far we have become. Remember in 1998, we had the: VHS, Pagers, and Dial-up internet. In 2018, we are never disconnected from the internet. 

Mayor Hancock states, “Billions (of dollars) have been made in the tech industry, but very few women led the way. This is due to not encouraging STEM at a young age. “We to need to work hard to ensure young ladies are not intimidated by STEM”. Mayor Hancock and Denver has paved the way for more STEM by teaming with companies to sponsor STEM Summer Camps for youth.



Click here to read more about Colorado STEM and STEM Champions: https://coloradosucceeds.org/colorado-stem/ 

When addressing how we create more women in C-suite roles, Mayor Hancock states: “We need to educate women at a young age that they can work for themselves instead of working for others.”

In addition to helping STEM for youth, Mayor Hancock stressed the importance of supporting small business success. “Denver has partnered with large companies to show small businesses how to get over their hurdles and barriers that kill small businesses.”



In 2017, Mayor Hancock won the Small Business Advocate Award by Partner America – The Mayors Small Business Initiative. Read more by clicking on the link:  http://www.partneramerica.us/small-business-advocate-award-mayor-michael-b-hancock/


Cathleen Quigley, Swiftwater Consulting

Cathleen is the inventor of over 100 U.S. and European patents, and was a key player in the development of DOCSIS (Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification). DOCSIS is an international telecommunications standard that allows for addition of high-bandwidth data transfer to an existing coaxial cable network. Additionally, Cathleen is an accomplished musician and is involved with the Quigley Foundation.

Cathleen’s presentation centered on transitions in the cable industry from the Digital Cable Revolution in 1998 and the delivery of bi-directional tv. Cathleen worked with Arris when the company was still a start-up and found her niche designing chips and writing the specs of DOCSIS which is now the foundation of all broadband technology.

Throughout her presentation, Cathleen talked about her transition from self-doubt to confidence, and she advised women that this transition takes time. Cathleen related her own personal story of transitions and states, “I am not the smartest person in the room… but I have a perspective to bring to the table, and that is valuable.” 


“In my life, I’ve been living transitions. They can be wonderful or they can be disastrous.”









Panel Discussion, Moderated by Leslie Ellis – President of Ellis Edits


From left to right: Leslie Ellis – President of Ellis Edits, Josh Seiden – VP: Comcast Innovation Labs, Daisy Henderson – Software Engineer: Comcast Viper, Kat Schelonka – Data Engineer: Wicket Labs, Patti Loyack – VP: Comcast IP Services

Panel included a lively discussion about artificial intelligence and its benefits in the cable industry, its benefits in helping with people with disabilities, and how predictive models can reduce churn of customers. The panel also showed that effective analysis of the personas of happy customers can be used to take action for less than happy customers to improve their experience.

“People value their wi-fi more than they value clean underwear.”


Danielle Shoots – VP of Finance and Business Operations, Comcast

Danielle gave a well executed presentation on how to not let obstacles keep you from obtaining your goals. Danielle offered advice on how to accomplish goals, even when the plans change.

“Never deviate from your goal, but do not get stuck on the plan. Plans always change. We often quit when a plan changes, erroneously thinking that the goal is unattainable because the plan did not work out. I can still achieve my goals despite plans changing, and I do not let walls become permanent. You must find the perfections in an imperfect journey.”


Danielle is a keynote speaker and recipient of the DBJ 40 under 40. To learn more about Danielle, you can visit her blog at https://dshoots.com/ or you can visit her Ted Talk on Millenial Leadership at https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=D8E-EcvjDOM.  





Dr. Nita Mosby Tyler, Ph.D – Chief Catalyst of The Equity Project, LLC

Nita gave a wonderful presentation about women leading the way in the power of equity. Dr. Tyler states, “Race is not diversity.  Diversity is the richness and beauty in the differences in all of us and to see inclusiveness. If you do not see yourself in the definition of diversity, then… (you do not understand diversity).”

In order to reach systems of equity, “we need to get to the sources of power that are more inclusive and diverse. 85% of the time, our systems are operating within a legitimate & coercive power (powers that come with title and negative re-enforcement). Inclusion is not bringing everyone to the table, but inclusion is about articulating what you are doing with all the diversity that you do have at the table.”

Dr. Nita Mosby Tyler left her dream job as an executive at the Children’s Hospital Colorado because she saw a need in our country to create systems of equity in which people can thrive. She founded the Equity Project, LLC which provides comprehensive tools for businesses, local governments, nonprofits and community organizations to explore equity ineffective and transformative ways.

To learn more about the Equity Project, LLC, visit: https://theequityprojectllc.com/index.php/about-theequityprojectllc/ 


Collette Carlson, CSP, CPAE Hall of Fame Speaker

Collette gave a humorous presentation on mindful communication, speaking your truth, and not being afraid to ask what you need for your success.

Collette advises to create your own network “mini board of directors”. Your mini board of directors should include a mentor and a sponsor (and know the difference!), and this board should include what Collette calls the ‘octopus’ – this is a person who seems to know everyone and who is involved in everything. 


To learn more about Collette, visit: https://colettecarlson.com/ 


Arrow Solutions Group’s Kathy Boelter – President & Debra Prentice – Market Development Director attended the event.