Grit AND Grace of Women at IT conference


On July 26th and 27th hundreds of talented women and several men allies convened in Denver Colorado for the second annual WITness Success conference. The conference was originally started in 2017 by several amazing leaders of Salesforce Women in IT (WIT) groups.


This years’ conference was officially kicked off by Leah McGowen-Hare, A Developer Evangelist at Salesforce. During her motivational opening keynote where she shared her story of resilience; She told the audience that if one door closes they should “build their own door”.  She ended her talk by encouraging everyone to “wake up with intention” and to “walk through today with gratitude.”


Breakout session topics ranged from career planning topics around negotiation and training, to personal development topics like mindfulness and self-defense. And we’re not just talking about dark empty parking lot self-defense–an unpleasant reality was learning how to fend off unwanted advances.


Beth Comstock, who is publishing a book on best practices she utilized as a powerful executive, reminded everyone that failure is important to success. Her keynote was full of useful tips to spark ideas and left everyone inspired to imagine a better future.


Several panelist, including myself, shared their personal journeys covering the Grit and Grace it took to succeed in the IT world. It turns out that most females suffer from the so-called “Imposter Syndrome” where they lack self-confidence. 

Dr. Naralie Petohoff shared some research from various sources, including from a Leading Digital and Innovators Dilemma, on how companies benefit from more diverse groups. She encouraged achieving this through Two Dimensional Diversity (2D Diversity) where companies seek not only representation but also inclusion.


There were many heartbreaking statistics shared around the pay gap between females and males. The hope is to someday eliminate this and thus the need for WIT conferences such as these. Everyone left confident that we will succeed in full equality of women in IT. As Beth Comstock said “Change seems impossible until it happens and then it seems like it was always inevitable.”

Susan Thayer


Susan is an experienced CRM and digital marketing consultant with nearly 15 years of managing discovery, implementation and strategic use of CRM solutions and related programs. Prior to joining the consulting world, she served as director of marketing and other leadership roles for leading businesses in both the B2B and Consumer Goods industries. Past corporate employment includes digital marketing and e-commerce for a leading global auto parts corporation, medical products and a website design firm. Susan is a current board member for the Junior League of Lincoln and President of her HOA. She is a past board member for the American Marketing Association of Lincoln and past Public Relations Officer for the state of Arizona Toastmasters.

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