Women leave tech-intensive industries at a higher rate than their male counterparts because of a lack of encouragement and support, said Renee Keffer, citing a 2014 report by Catalyst.
The STEMMy awards will be presented to female contributors, business or civic leaders and entrepreneurs who have blazed trails for the advancement of women in STEMM fields. A program of Central Exchange and its Women in STEMM Committee (WiSTEMM), the gala is set for Sept. 27 at the Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland. About 450 people have attended in previous years, Keffer said.
“We wanted to celebrate their accomplishments,” she said, “Everyone in the room gets so inspired by what these women have done.”
The goal is to highlight the fact that STEMM careers are significant and making significant impact in the community, said Courtney Thomas, CEO of Central Exchange.
“And to highlight women who sometimes are seen as behind the scenes instead of the true leaders making those advancements,” she continued. “We want to bring women to the front of the line to ensure that they received the recognition that they deserve and the support they need to continue to carry forward their objective.”
Award categories include Groundbreaking Leadership, Rising Trendsetter, Enterprising Innovator, Corporate Hero, WiSTEMM Educator, Student Achiever, and WiSTEMM Champion.
WiSTEMM Champion is a new category now open for male nominations, as the WiSTEMM committee acknowledges that men often play pivotal roles in women’s careers in STEMM, Keffer said.
Central Exchange has been in a part of the KC landscape since 1980 and its mission is as relevant now than it ever was, Thomas said.
“Given all the things that we’ve seen [recently] regarding harassment in the workplace, not enough opportunity, the lack of equity, those sorts of things, now more than ever is the time for organization with individuals to get behind our mission and say, ‘We want to be known as an organization that supports women. We are making a commitment that we want to see 20 percent female representation at our leadership table or our board table,’” she said.“Let’s not talk about it anymore. Let’s do something about it.”
Click here to make a nomination.