The Women’s High-Tech Coalition was formed in November 2000 (“Y2K”) to connect women leaders in technology from across the business community with their counterparts in the public sector. In the wake of some high-profile corporate accounting scandals, the WHTC’s leadership expected women to start moving into CEO and corporate leadership roles in greater numbers. The WHTC was envisioned as a strong support network and even a pipeline for future female leaders.
While the pace of women’s corporate ascension has been somewhat slower than anticipated, there is still a great need for building a support base for female leaders. Perhaps there is an even greater need today, given that the rate of women reaching the CEO level in Fortune 500 companies has been flat, hovering around 4.5 percent, for over a decade.
At the very first meeting of the WHTC, held in the Rayburn Building of the U.S. House of Representatives, seven elected members of Congress attended to lend their voices to what they felt was an important new idea. Women elected officials told the WHTC leadership that they too lacked a national support system. They were looking for opportunities to speak and get their messages to private sector leaders.
From day one, female members of Congress have been especially supportive of the WHTC. From our Honorary Founding Co-Chairs, U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and former U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO), to our prior Congressional Co-Chairs then-Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-CA) and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), to our current Congressional Co-Chairs, Reps. Susan Brooks (R-IL) and Suzan DelBene (D-WA), the WHTC has been privileged to work with very capable women leaders.
In the years since that first meeting, the WHTC has hosted countless lunches, receptions, dinners and events to bring together mid-to-senior level women professionals from the public and private sectors. Most events have been in Washington, DC, but there have also been several outside of the Beltway, including in Silicon Valley, Boston, and New York. In the coming years, we hope to extend into other areas of the country with expanding tech corridors.
In 2013, the WHTC became a member of the Affinity Group Alliance of the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT). Being part of the NCWIT’s AGA connects our members to an umbrella organization of over 84,000 women in technology.
The WHTC is a dynamic organization, still growing and still committed to building a support network for women who share an interest in technology policy. The uniting threads have been technology and the federal regulations and legislation that affect technology. Below is a sampling of the speakers we have had since the organization’s inception. To learn more about the WHTC, become a member, or inquire about sponsorship opportunities, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.