Male Advocates and Allies: Promoting Gender Diversity in Technology

Avis Yates Rivers will be presenting the Keynote Address on January 26, 2015 at the WISE (Women in Science and Engineering) event in Charlotte, NC.  She will be highlighting the important role male advocates play in successfully advancing women and people of color in technical careers.

After her presentation, Avis will be moderating a discussion amongst a panel of esteemed CIO’s in the public and private sector.

The event will take place at Byron’s South End in Charlotte, NC.

 

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You’re invited!

 Technology Concepts Group International, LLC CEO, Avis Yates Rivers, will be speaking at two separate events this week and you are invited to join her!

This Thursday, she will be at the Leading Women Entrepreneurs and the WPEO Certification Event as a guest on the Certification Success Story Panel and will participate in the Q&A session!

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Then Friday, Avis is the keynote speaker at the New Jersey Women’s Network In Higher Education Women of Color Conference.

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TCGI CEO Avis Yates Rivers spreads the word about the Sit With Me program at USAA’s Aspire event

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San Antonia, Texas – TCGi CEO, Avis Yates Rivers, talks to KSAT.com about the importance of the Sit With Me program and encouraging girls and women to get involved in the technology field. “Making that connection for girls and women that the work that they can get involved with in designing new technology can help solve big problems.” ~ Avis Yates Rivers

IT-OLOGY SUMMIT ON COMPUTING EDUCATION FEATURES AVIS YATES RIVERS, NATIONAL SPOKESPERSON FOR SIT WITH ME CAMPAIGN

SOMERSET, NEW JERSEY,  November 8, 2013 – A free forum spotlighting the National Center for Women & Information Technology’s (NCWIT) Sit With Me campaign being hosted by IT-oLogy features its national spokesperson, Avis Yates Rivers, President and CEO of Technology Concepts Group International (TCGi) and NCWIT Board member at the IT-oLogy Theater in Columbia, South Carolina.

Sit With Me is NCWIT’s national information technology (IT) advocacy campaign to attract, encourage and inspire women to become a part of the world of computing as well as recognize women for their role in the industry. The event revolves around the symbolic action of sitting in a Red Chair and sharing perspectives on the challenges and opportunities women face in the IT field.

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley provided remarks via video that demonstrated her passion and support for growing women and girls participation in the IT career and business marketplace.  “We are so proud to be partnering with IT-oLogy and NCWIT’s Sit With Me program,” Governor Haley said.  All types of companies and jobs are coming into South Carolina, many focused on IT and “we want to make sure that young girls and women realize there are lots of opportunities in the state and across the country when it comes to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics).

“Women hold only 25% of technology and computing jobs in the U.S., though they fill more than half in other professional fields,” said Yates Rivers. “Women make up only 11% of C-level executives at Fortune 500 technology companies,” she added.

The forum included two panel discussions reflecting views of the audience and leaders and influencers in the information technology community. In addition to Yates Rivers, women taking a turn in the Red Chair includes Jennifer Baxley, Founder and Owner, Severien; Martha Bode, IT Director, SCANA; Tanya Butts, Technology Business Manager and Governance, TD Bank; Tiera Michelle Jarman, Student; Beth Dinndorf, president, Columbia College; Renee Evans, Project Manager, Innovation Group; Eileen Potter, Marketing Leader, Accenture; Amy Scully, Program Director, Midlands Technical College; Karen Stritzinger, Student; Karen Tebrich, U.S. Practice Leader, FINEOS; Carol Wallace, VP of Leveraged Systems, BlueCross BlueShield South Carolina and Joyce Vonada, CIO and Managing Director, EDENS.

IT-oLogy is a nonprofit collaboration of businesses, academic institutions and organizations dedicated to growing the IT talent pipeline, fostering economic development and advancing the IT profession.  Its three primary objectives include promoting IT (grades K-12); Teaching IT (Higher Education); and Growing IT (Professionals).

“I am proud to be a champion for change under NCWIT’s Sit With Me campaign where we sit to take a stand for women in technology,” said Yates Rivers. “Together we sit to recognize the value of women’s technical contributions and we sit to embrace women’s important perspectives and increase their participation.”  Yates Rivers was recently recognized at the White House as a Champion of Change for her efforts with women and girls in STEM.

TCGi, located in Somerset, NJ, is an information technology solutions provider and full service equipment leasing firm.  The company provides valuable IT asset management solutions to global corporations and public sector entities.

For more information about Avis Yates Rivers and Technology Concepts Group International, visit www.technologyconcepts.com

 For more information about the IT-oLogy and the forum, visit www.it-ology.org

Right Here!

The answer to the question “Where are the Black Women in IT?” is “Right Here!”

By Melissa J. Anderson (New York City) in The Glass Hammer

Avis Yates Rivers began her career at Exxon Corporation in the 1970s. She rapidly rose through the ranks of the company, moving from an administrative position to HR and training, and then into sales – which is where she really began to shine. When the company launched a new technology division (Exxon Office Systems Corporation), she took a role selling early technology in downtown Manhattan.

For Yates Rivers, part of the reason she enjoyed her job so much was the sense of adventure. “I realized how much I loved sales,” she recalled. “How much I loved walking into a door and not knowing who was going to be on the other side, and just feeling happy.”

After five successful years in technology sales at Exxon, she learned the division was going to be sold. “I began thinking seriously that I should be doing this for myself,” Yates Rivers explained. “This was after several years of overachieving my sales goals. It was something I liked and something I was good at. To me, the most reasonable step was to start my own business. This was 1985.”

Yates Rivers went on to found her own technology company, and today, she is the CEO of Technology Concepts Group International, a business that delivers critical IT asset management and leasing solutions to corporations, across many industries. A successful entrepreneur for 27 years, Yates Rivers is also on the board of the National Center for Women in Technology (NCWIT), and she participates in other groups such as the National Minority Supplier Development Council and the Women Presidents’ Educational Organization.

She shared her advice on the most important sales skills women should learn. Whether you’re working in sales or not, understanding the building blocks of a successful sales career can help you build your own.

Sales Skills to Learn

“By far, the most important skill you can have in sales is the ability to listen,” Yates Rivers said. “Many people have a misconception about sales people – that we’re fast talkers. But the best sales people are those who have the ability to listen, to hear what the customer is saying and identify what they have pain around.”

Another lesson she learned is that closing a deal requires more than a good relationship with clients. She said, “For me, being in sales from an early age, I always felt I had the support of people – that I was well liked. And at first, I felt that should translate into sales. But what I’ve learned is that it’s not about me.”

She explained, “At the end of the day, if you’re not solving critical problems or helping generate revenue for your clients, they can like you all they want. But it’s not enough to close the sale.”

This advice can translate to your career as well – advancing to the next level means more than just doing a good job (although you have to do that too) and being well-liked in the office. It means listening to supervisors, and figuring out what they need and what skills are required for that next-level position. And then communicating your own abilities effectively.

For many women, the self-promotion piece can seem daunting. “We’ve found that to be true in research NCWIT has done,” Yates Rivers said. “Women will often give their team credit as opposed to just taking the credit personally. It’s just not how we’re wired.”

But talking about your achievements is important in gaining support from the top and getting raises and promotions, she continued. “What can help women do it more effectively is talking from the perspective of how they’ve helped a customer or someone else. That means talking about outcomes and how they have positively impacted someone else.”

Finally, Yates Rivers shared, success is all about tenacity. “It boils down to persistence,” she said. “No matter what’s happening, you have to persist. If you’re not generating new business or if your expenses are getting out of hand, no matter what, you just have to keep going and working through the challenges.”

No matter what life throws at you, success means sticking to it.