On Episode 5 of the Diva Tech Talk Podcast, we visit with Rosemary Bayer, an engineer by training and a leader by nature. Rosemary is the co-founder and Chief Inspiration Officer for ardentCause L3C, the first low profit, limited liability company in Michigan, a "for profit company with a non-profit soul." She is also a founder of The Michigan Council of Women In Technology, the premier non-profit association/foundation supporting and inspiring women in technology.
Co-founding ardentCause L3C in 2009, as one of the few women-founded and women-owned technology companies in the Midwest, Rosemary and her team have exclusively served major nonprofit agencies, funders, and educational groups. ardentCause helps nonprofits measure their impact, utilizing online data solutions to achieve better outcomes, through innovative software for data collection, analysis, visualization and communication of information. With a background that includes product invention for major computer companies, and leading large business operations, Rosemary is ardentCause’s primary force behind the invention and implementation of innovative technology solutions to help nonprofits succeed.
Rosemary entered the world of technology in college because she said: “I found it interesting, creative and realized that it changed all the time….and the sector was brand new; women, at that time, could be a solid 50% of the field!” Years later, she and her partners made a “big leap” into entrepreneurship, after having worked for decades at large companies in the sector in order to make “giving back” an integral part of their careers. Her partner is our very own Kathleen Norton-Schock.
ardentCause was started to “fix the biggest, baddest problems” that Rosemary and her team could find. Their solutions are focused on the aggregation, analysis and warehousing of data that measure the outcomes and prove the impact that those selfless people working on homelessness, literacy, hunger, mental health, poverty issues etc. are having.
“What we are turning out to be is a group of innovators: bringing the use of information to a sector that still doesn’t know how to use it,” Rosemary says. “We’re helping non-profit leaders and staff understand how the use of data can help them make better decisions, and know what’s working and what’s not.”
“To listen to customers, and to hear what they really need is probably the most important skill,” according to Rosemary, for entrepreneurs, leaders, and team members. As a woman leader, she characterizes her style as one well suited to entrepreneurship. “It is open, collaborative, consensual.” However, she also laments that the Midwest does not rival the West Coast in terms of available funding, which is a potential barrier to entrepreneurship.
Rosemary offers four pieces of practical advice to women entering and aspiring to lead in the tech field. “It is really important to find role models,” she says. “Develop ‘emotional intelligence’. You need to be yourself, which means you also need to know yourself. Oh, and don’t volunteer to make the coffee.”
According to Rosemary, many girls and women don’t enter the computer field because “it is hard for them to see the social value.” On the other hand, at ardentCause she feels that her team is working for the greater social good every day.
You can find more about ardentcause at www.ardentcause.com
Learn more about The Michigan Council of Women In Technology: http://www.mcwt.org/
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