Centare, Wisconsin’s premiere technology company, recently hosted more than 20 attendees for the state’s official live stream of the Lean Startup Conference held in San Francisco.
Organized by Centare product owner, Beth Akerlund, the December event featured presentations by dozens of entrepreneurs and high ranking executives from fast-moving companies around the world. These innovative minds shared their successes and challenges in building profitable “lean” organizations. The event was simulcast to more than 30 states and 140 countries.
“In addition to educating Southeast Wisconsin on ‘lean’ business and software development philosophies, the Centare version of the Lean Startup live stream targeted an often overlooked group in the technology sector – women,” said Akerlund. “Women are an underrepresented and underutilized talent base we must tap into to advance Wisconsin as a leader in emerging business technologies.”
Adding additional perspective to the event was guest speaker Emily Heist Moss, merchant product liaison for Groupon. A published author on Huffington Post, Jezebel and other well known blogs, she is an avid promoter of women in business and specifically, women in technology. Speaking during the event’s scheduled networking and free time, Heist Moss outlined some of her specific experiences with the coupon giant.
“I was extremely excited to see members of Milwaukee’s tech community come together and participate in such a cool event,” commented Heist Moss. “It was a casual way to be part of this educational, stimulating experience. I was both impressed and inspired by the diversity of speakers.”
According to Heist Moss, diversity in technology is not just about putting women or people of color on development teams for “the sake of it.” It’s about increasing perspectives and expanding ideas that can drive business.
“Women are both consumers and product end-users, and we miss out on huge opportunities if our product development and designs don’t include their points of view,” she continued.
Also speaking in-person at Centare was the company’s vice president of agile practice, Chad Albrecht. Albrecht explained how Centare embraces lean and agile methodologies along with the positive impact they’ve had within various organizations.
With the Lean Startup now behind her, Akerlund is quick to guide Centare’s attention to the next activity. Planning is already underway for new opportunities to meaningfully engage women and Wisconsin’s technology sector.
“The Lean Startup was just the beginning,” Akerlund noted. “One of my passions is to explore and grow the technology field, and to do so in a way that encourages insightful conversation and critical thinking extending across the gender divide.”