Technology has been a male-dominated industry for quite some time. In the US, evidence suggests that women hold more degrees than men and make up almost 58% of the professional workforce, but their representation in Information Communication Technology (ICT) is very low, at less than 25%. Negative stereotypes, lack of role models, discouragement, and low self-confidence are some of the barriers that hinder a woman’s path. Tracey Welson-Rossman, CMO of Chariot Solutions and the founder of TechGirlz, a non-profit organization, works toward inspiring middle school girls to consider careers in technology.
Filling the Gap
After graduating from Drexel University, Tracey started her career in retail management and advertising sales, where she learned things like leadership development, marketing, and distribution. But she was always an entrepreneur at heart. Tracey witnessed a hole in the industry and mindset which was not being addressed: the absence of girls who believed that technology was a promising career for them. This led to the start of TechGirlz in 2009 to provide the support, resources, and education that girls need in their early years to learn the truth about tech, as she knew first-hand how satisfying and flexible a career in technology can be.
Encouraging Tech Pursuit
Tracey noticed a major disconnect between the market and the tech industry, and to address this issue, she founded TechGirlz to inspire middle school girls to explore the possibilities of technology to empower their careers. Tracey’s mission is to help adolescent girls understand that a future in technology does not necessarily equate to a “boring computer job” but instead transcends the cubicle into nearly every field imaginable.
Funded by individuals, small tech companies, developers, and large companies such as the SAP Foundation, who share Tracey’s singular vision, TechGirlz offers technology events, classes, programs, peers, mentors, role models, and online and offline resources. To date, Tracey has worked with more than 5,000 girls across the country and impacted their lives for the better. Through the creation of free, fun, interactive TechShopz led by industry professionals, leaders, and students, the free workshop curriculum is shared with companies, organizations, schools, and community groups to inspire girls around the world to step into the world of technology. Funded by donations, an Entrepreneur Summer Camp is held every year to remedy the under-representation of women in tech startups.
Technology in Business
Tracey understands what makes the IT community tick and what resonates with them, prompting her to start Chariot Solutions in 2002, a leading Philadelphia area enterprise application and mobile development consulting firm. As the Chief Marketing Officer of the company, she is responsible for branding, marketing, social media, and managing the sales team, besides taking market trends into consideration and turning them into business opportunities.
The firm offers software development, systems integration, mobile application development, and training using cutting-edge programming languages and frameworks. Chariot Solutions has been twice recognized as a top place to work in Philadelphia and has grown from a staff strength of 10 to over 50 full-time employees, over 90% of whom are technologists.
Donning Many Hats
Tracey also works towards strengthening the community as a whole and is the founder and current chair of the Emerging Technologies for the Enterprise Conference (ETE), which is held in Philadelphia each year and attracts world-renowned thought leaders in cutting-edge technologies. She is also one of the founding board members of Philadelphia Startup Leaders, a regional organization dedicated to growing technology startups. Among the many feathers on her hat, few include being honored as a Woman of Distinction in 2015, one of the Most Valuable Women in Tech in 2016, and one of 40 Women to Watch over 40 worldwide in 2013.
Empower, Mentor, and Guide
Tracey Welson-Rossman brought her years of experience in the technology and entrepreneurial space, along with her own healthcare journey navigating a chronic condition, to create an easy-to-use app called Journal My Health in 2021 to capture, learn from, and share patients’ vital personal health information.
As a message to women who fear taking that leap of faith, Tracey says, “The opportunity is unlimited, so just take it up and move forward.”
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