Ep 8: Rising Up with Sue Schade and Kate Catlin

In this episode, we spotlight two diverse women leaders helping build and support a strong community of women in technology. Kate Catlin, millennial founder of Women Rising, a new and exploding network of women in tech, invited us to attend a fireside chat with “Baby Boomer” Sue Schade, CIO of the University of Michigan Hospitals & Health Centers. We share the mission of Kate’s new program and Sue’s equally inspiring story focused on a career that spans three decades.

Like many women, Kate first entered technology by accident. While working as a community manager for Grand Circus, a tech training institute in Downtown Detroit, she decided to try out a coding class. She loved learning how to code and soon after entered Detroit Lab’s apprenticeship program to further develop her skills.  Around this time Kate began looking up to a friend and mentor, Erika Carlson, co-founder of Girl Develop IT Detroit. She learned how important mentorship is for women, sparking the idea for Women Rising.

Women Rising is an online-based platform with an algorithm to match women in tech to appropriate mentors, monthly. The group also hosts frequent events bringing leaders like Sue Schade to the community. Kate shares how Women Rising works and what she hopes women in tech get out of it in order to “rise up.”

What’s one thing Kate would like to see women get from her platform?

“Greater ‘Ballsy- ness’,” said Kate. “There’s a certain gumption that it takes to rise up. You have to be really willing to put yourself out there and fail. You have to know that other people have your back.”

She hopes Women Rising helps women in tech know there’s an entire community here that has your back. It’s free to create a profile and get started connecting inside their network. Check out Women Rising online at:

Next we spoke with Sue Schade, CIO of the University of Michigan Hospitals & Health Centers, who has spent over 30 years in the world of technology management and shared some great tips on leadership. Sue started as a developer but a year later moved into a business analyst position. She then was asked to move into management and lead a newly-formed team, before becoming a regional CIO.

How did Sue make the leap into management? The first thought that came to her when asked to manage was: “I don’t know what these people do!” She quickly realized that was okay, as long as she could ask the right questions and oversee the work. She learned a lot along the way, including the following crucial management tips:

  • Be very genuine and authentic as a person

  • Be clear about your values

  • Lead by example

  • Think strategically and execute

For women leaders she says it’s not easy. You have to recognize your own strengths and be true to yourself. She wants women in technology to know they don’t have to manage like men to be effective, but develop their own unique styles.

Sue says she “grew up” in an organization over a 12 year period where she eventually became a regional CIO. During this time she took a number of courses to help develop her skills. In her opinion, you can learn skills, but you have to develop your own personal leadership style.  She now has a large role as CIO of the University of Michigan Hospitals and Health System, frequently named as one of the top 10 healthcare systems in the United States.

More recently, Sue has been very actively speaking out on women in technology. A diverse workforce she believes is vital for competing in a global economy, and the numbers around women in technology and STEM are way behind. But Sue says that it is not just about the numbers, it’s about the applications and innovations that come from diverse people collaborating. Do we have a balanced viewpoint from the perspective of both women and men?

You can learn more about Sue Schade by visiting her Health IT Connect blog at

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Ep 6: Christina Mathes: Propelling Innovation at Rocket Speed

On this episode we spoke with Christina Mathes, Vice President of Client Experience for Rocket Fiber. Rocket Fiber is Detroit's newest, exciting Gigabit Internet provider serving residents and businesses with 100 times faster Internet speeds.

Christina has a degree in Psychology from the University of Detroit Mercy, but was uncertain what to do with it!  So she started off in a position in mortgage banking at fast-growing Quicken Loans, where her career evolved over the past 15 years. About four years ago she moved to the Mouse Trap team, the “innovation arm” of Quicken Loans. Then she moved this past year to Rocket Fiber.

When Christina first made a move into technology, joining Mouse Trap, she was excited to learn and bring her first-hand business experience to the tech team. She loved being in a setting that supported positive breakthroughs. Mouse Trap helps Quicken Loans with vetting new ideas to propel innovation, in both technology and other aspects of the business. Her team also helped lead “bullet time,” a four hour weekly session on Mondays for technologists to learn new skills or work on new projects.

When one of the co-founders of Rocket Fiber submitted a concept to the idea portal of Mouse Trap to get Google Fiber to Detroit, they explored it. The Mouse Trap team conducted feasibility studies to see if the concept was viable in Detroit. Google wasn’t interested in entering the market, so Rocket Fiber was spun off about a year ago, to make the idea a reality.

Why is Gigabit Internet vital for Detroit? Christina said that it helps both new entrepreneurs and the  growing cadre of second stage companies in Detroit. For her, it is a “no brainer” that faster online connections can significantly help with the city’s growth trajectory! Christina pointed out that everyone has to have Internet these days, and she’s excited to provide a better client service experience for those accessing it. Rocket Fiber plans to use online tools, community events, and more to empower people to use the Internet.

“I’m excited about bringing our customers something they deserve. Folks are pigeon-holed into just a few options, and have poor experiences,” she said.

Bringing 100 times faster speeds will help residents save time, and businesses execute faster. For Christina, she likes to remind others it’s far more about what getting online speedily does for humans, and their endeavors, than just using the technology.

Christina shared some great advice for women entering or staying in technology fields:

  • If you want to try something, just try it.

  • It can be easy to achieve a good work / life balance if you focus on achieving it.

  • Surround yourself with others who share similar interests and challenges.

  • Meet everyone you can. Ask others what they’ve done.

  • Keep your head up, look around and meet people.

A noteworthy organization that helped Christina was We Build Character --- a program devoted to pairing emerging professionals with top-notch mentors.  WBC helped her meet diverse colleagues, and receive constructive feedback from her mentors and others in the program.

Christina is Vice President of Client Experience at Rocket Fiber :

Christina mentions and recommends the following technology organizations throughout this episode:

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Ep 5: Rosemary Bayer: GodMother of Good Data

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

Learn more about The Michigan Council of Women In Technology:

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Diva Tech Talk - Women in Tech Podcast Launch

Take a listen to the launch of the Diva Tech Talk Podcast Series as this episode was recorded live from Demo Camp hosted by the Michigan Technology Network (MITN) held at the Michigan Historic Museum on December 18, 2014. At this event, Nicole Johnson Scheffler was able to announce this new adventure live on stage. She explains the concept of the Diva Tech Talk podcast that launched officially in 2015 and invited all the women at the event on stage to share a picture and make the first official tweet! 

The Diva Tech Talk group was co-founded by Nicole Johnson Scheffler (@tech_nicole), Amanda Lewan (@Amanda_Jenn), and Kathleen Norton-Schock (@katensch). They produce podcasts featuring stories of women making it happen in the technology field across all disciplines. The Divas publish podcasts where they speak with high profile women in technology to share their career journey, current roles, and advice to women in the field. As a National podcast, they also compile episodes from various technology events and conferences.

The Divas publish the podcast episodes with a complete blog write up on this website. We would also love for you to engage on social media with us as we focus on quality content around women in technology. 
Twitter: @divatechtalks

This episode begins with an interview with Alex Dethloff, the Michigan Technology Network (MITN) President. The Lansing MITN Chapter provides a Technology Community, Networking Events, and Educational opportunities. 
More information on MITN is available here:
During the event, there was a live demo for the attendees of Oculus Rift that is a game coming out of the Michigan State University (MSU) Games for Entertainment and Learning. Oculus Rift is a virtual reality head-mounted display that promises to transform gaming as we know it by putting the users "into" the experience. 

Brian Winn was interviewed and is a MSU Professor who lead this effort and you can check out their college programs here online at
Additional information on the MSU Gaming Program Information can be found here:
MSU also has a great summer camp for young women interested in Technology/Media:

Nicole also spoke time with Jeff Pompliano, MITN Vice President and Project Manager at Gravity Works, as he talks about his perspective of women in tech. 
Gravity Works:

One of the crowd favorites of the night was poochie bowl. This dog bowl is designed for dogs with big ears, but has other innovations that has been incorporated into the design. They also shared their brick and mortar store that goes beyond products and into hands-on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) learning for kids.
The poochie bowl is available here:
Here is the link to the Physical Store in Lansing, MI:

Many other applications and technologies were showcased on the main stage. Another popular app that was shared helped connect LGBT people within the community.
The People like Me (LGBT) App is available here:

Thanks for all the great community support and that of our friends and family as we go on this journey for the good of women in technology everywhere!

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