Avis Yates Rivers, President & CEO
Technology Concepts Group
Avis Yates-Rivers is the President and CEO of Technology Concepts Group International, LLC, (TCGi), an information technology solutions provider and full-service equipment leasing firm. She possesses more than thirty years of general management experience in the information technology industry. Ms. Yates Rivers has been a successful entrepreneur for 28 years.
TCGi supports the public and private sector in the areas of IT Asset Management, equipment financing, professional and technical services (field mobility, network/desktop support, break/fix, voice/data cabling and asset management solutions). The firm also provides project and program management, business analysis and planning, implementation, and training.
Prior to establishing her first company in 1985, Ms. Yates Rivers enjoyed an 11-year career at Exxon Corporation and its subsidiaries. She rose to the rank of Account Executive as a result of successfully marketing the line of technology products of Exxon Office Systems Company in New York City.
Ms. Yates Rivers has worked tirelessly to increase the development and utilization of minority and women-owned businesses in both the public and private sectors. She has held leadership positions in various supplier diversity advocacy organizations such as the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), the Women Presidents’ Educational Organization (WPEO), the NJ Small Business Development Center, the Newark Regional Business Partnership, and the BPU Supplier Diversity Development Council.
Ms. Yates Rivers is also a staunch advocate for increasing girls’ and women’s participation in Information Technology. She is a Director of the National Center for Women and Information Technology (www.ncwit.org) and was recently honored as a White House Champion of Change in STEM.
Ms. Yates Rivers and TCGi have been the recipient of local and national recognition (please visit her web site for the list).
Ms. Yates Rivers makes her home in Somerset, New Jersey. She is married to Robert Rivers and they have four children and six grandchildren. She graduated City University of NY with a degree in Business Administration. Additionally, she is a graduate of the Executive Management Programs at the Amos Tuck School of Business, the Kellogg Graduate School of Management, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
She is a highly sought after business leader, a nationally recognized advocate for the utilization of minority and women-owned businesses and women in Computing, and a proficient public speaker/presenter.
For more information about Technology Concepts Group International and Avis Yates Rivers, please visit www.technologyconcepts.com.
Jennifer Baxley, Founder & Owner Severien
Jennifer Baxley, founder and owner of Severien, a boutique IT consulting firm, provides software consulting and applications support for a wide variety of clients located throughout the United States.
Prior to founding Severien in October 2002, Jennifer worked for a global technology company in a number of consulting roles. She has extensive experience in project and client management, product development and data analysis, and client and staff education. A Columbia native, she is dedicated to mentoring and providing internships to local college students in technology.
In addition to her software consulting role, Jennifer has also been involved in theater, film, photography, and fine art since her undergraduate years at Furman University. In the past ten years, Jennifer has produced eight music videos and an increasing number of independent films. She is the creator and executive producer of the Rocumentarian, an organization that promotes non-profits through custom music videos. In 2010, the Rocumentarian was awarded a Palmetto Pillar Award by the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce and the Information Technology Council for Technology in the Arts.
Most recently Jennifer joined Midlands Technical College in early 2013 as an adjunct instructor in Corporate and Continuing Education. She is the lead AIT (Associate in Insurance Technology) instructor for Midlands Technical College’s GRIT (Growing Resources for Information Technology) grant.
Martha Bode, IT Director
Martha Bode has more than 25 years of experience in Information Systems including Application Development, Project Management, and Technical Management. She is an IT Director at SCANA (www.scana.com), and is responsible for multiple areas including IT Project Management, Financial and HR Systems Support, Compliance & Controls, Communication & Education Services, and IST Recruiting, which includes a summer intern program.
Martha has a BS in Computer Science from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and joined SCANA as a software developer in 1987. Martha is an advocate for STEM education in schools, and posts STEM, recruiting, and other info @marthabode.
Tanya Butts, Head of Business Management & Governance, US Technology Solutions
Tanya Butts is currently Head of Business Management and Governance for U.S. Technology Solutions, TD Bank. Tanya joined TD in October 2010 as a Senior Vice President and Head of Bank Operations Innovation & Excellence where she built and led a multi-disciplined group within Bank Operations responsible for implementation of strategic frameworks and execution models related to risk management, process improvement, cross functional projects, decision support tools and business partner experience analytics. Tanya moved over to lead the Retail Lending Operations area in 2012 and recently transitioned into a new role in US Technology Solutions.
Prior to 2010, Tanya was a member of The South Financial Group (TSFG) Executive Management Team where she was responsible for Technology, Operations and BSA/AML.
With over 25 years of experience in financial services, including two years in the United Kingdom, Tanya has successfully led large Operations and Technology divisions through tremendous growth and transformation while staying focused on risk management, customer satisfaction and financial results.
Tanya established the Bank Operations Diversity & Inclusion Council at TD Bank. She serves on the Rocky Creek Elementary School Advisory Council and is Vice Chair of the Education & Advocacy Committee of Women in Philanthropy, a nonprofit organization dedicated to making a positive difference in communities through leadership, fundraising, grant awards, advocacy and mentoring.
Tanya graduated magma cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree from Jacksonville University.
Beth Dinndorf, President
Elizabeth “Beth” Dinndorf is the 18th president of Columbia College. An attorney and business executive with 17 years of leadership experience with a private women’s liberal arts college in her home state of Minnesota, Beth assumed office on July 1, 2012.
A veteran senior business executive, Beth is the former senior vice president and manager of student banking services at U.S. Bank in St. Paul, MN. She also served as senior vice president and national sales manager of education financial services at Wells Fargo Bank.
Beth served in a variety of roles since the 1980s on the Board of Trustees of the College of Saint Benedict, a nationally ranked liberal arts college for women in St. Joseph, Minn. She chaired the board from 2010 until accepting her appointment at Columbia College.
Beth received a Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics from the College of St. Benedict, and earned her Juris Doctor degree, cum laude, from William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul in 1982. She is also a graduate of the Pacific Coast Banking School in Seattle.
Renee Evans, Senior Project Manager
Renee Evans, a senior level project manager with Innovation Group, a global technology company, has more than 15 years of software development and professional services experience in Property and Casualty insurance systems. She has extensive expertise in Analytics, Rating and Underwriting, for both personal and commercial lines of insurance.
Renee is skilled in project management, planning, tracking, budgeting and forecasting, employee communications and customer relationship management. She also has extensive experience in successfully managing resources based around the globe.
Renee graduated from the University of South Carolina with a degree in Computer Science. Her other advanced certifications and training experiences include Six Sigma, Executive Institute and Leadership Columbia.
Tiera Michelle Garman, Student, Air Force Veteran
Tiera Michelle Jarman, a senior at Columbia College, will be graduating in December 2013 with a major in Computer and Information Science and a minor in Leadership. She is also currently an IT Intern with the City of Columbia.
Originally from Bowie, MD, Tiera joined the Air Force immediately after high school graduation and served 8 years as a Civil Engineering Assistant. In addition to serving multiple tours of duty overseas, she earned an Associate’s degree in Construction Technology with the Community College of the Air Force and an Associate’s degree in Information Security from Prince George’s Community College, Largo, Maryland.
In addition to her academic activities, Tiera is an accomplished musician, specializing in the clarinet and Caribbean Steel Drums.
Eileen Potter, Marketing Leader
Eileen Potter is a Marketing leader in the global insurance marketing team at Accenture Software, creating internal and external communications, collateral and website content. As a lead writer, she has a central role in the creation of messaging and advertising campaigns, including social media.
She has approximately 25 years of insurance and insurance technology experience with extensive knowledge of commercial, personal and specialty lines, including insurance operations on both the agency and company levels.
Her software background includes insurance systems marketing from sales support and product positioning perspectives as well as system implementations. She has worked in independent agency operations in a variety of roles including commercial marketing and underwriting.
Eileen has also served in several leadership role in the iTs/SC organization, most recently as the Director of Marketing. iTs/SC, Columbia’s Insurance Technology & Services Cluster, is dedicated to promoting the Greater Columbia area’s wealth of opportunities within the insurance technology and services sector. Its mission is to foster a collaborative environment where the private sector, government, and higher education work to strengthen industry competitiveness, develop a world class talent pool, and enhance Columbia, South Carolina’s reputation as a premier destination for insurance technology and services.
Amy Scully, Program Manager
Midlands Technical College
Amy Scully has over 25 years of experience in IT training and education as the manager of training for large corporations, as an entrepreneur, and currently as Program Director for Computer and Information Technology for Midlands Technical College’s Corporate and Continuing Education Division. In this role she consults with corporate customers to assist them with their IT training and consulting needs.
Amy holds a Master of Education degree in Higher Education Administration and a Certificate of Graduate Study in Leadership from the University of SC, and a Bachelor of Science from the University of New Hampshire.
Karen Stritzinger, Graduate Student
Karen Stritzinger is currently a student at Clemson University working on her Master of Fine Arts degree in Digital Production Arts. She finished her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Arts with a concentration in Drawing at Clemson University in 2011.
Her primary areas of focus are surfacing and lighting and she recently completed a summer internship with DreamWorks Studio. She enjoys the challenge of taking plain gray models and dark scenes and creating things that look real and tell an interesting story. She is also working on developing her matte painting skills because that technique combines aspects of surfacing and lighting that she enjoys.
Karen Tebrich, Consulting Services Manager
Karen Tebrich is currently the Consulting Services Manager for the North American staff of FINEOS, an Irish software vendor. With over 30 years of technology experience serving the Life and Disability Income, Property & Casualty, and Healthcare markets, she is experienced in project/program management, professional services, software development and SaaS implementations.
Karen has held senior management positions in a variety of companies, ranging from start-ups to large global software vendors. Through her leadership roles, she has become skilled in client relationship management, team building and staff development. Mentoring employees and developing high potential individuals are key areas of focus and interest for Karen.
Karen has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Western Illinois and numerous professional designations including Project Management Professional (PMP), Fellow Life Management Institute (FLMI) and Health Insurance Association of America certification.
Joyce Vonada, Chief Information Officer
Joyce Vonada is Chief Information Officer & Managing Director of EDENS, one of the nation’s leading private owners, operators and developers of retail real estate. The Company has approximately $4 billion invested in 111 retail centers along the East Coast totaling over 17 million square feet.
Vonada joined EDENS as CIO in 2012, to deliver innovative technology solutions that empower EDENS’ employees, enrich customers’ shopping experiences and create connectivity between shopping centers, retailers and communities. Vonada has over 27 years of technology experience with 16 years focused in Retail. She has worked in diverse environments ranging from start ups to Fortune 50 companies.
Before joining EDENS, Vonada was Senior Vice President of IT Business Solutions at Lowe’s Companies where she was responsible for delivering in-store, online and mobile integrated solutions to enable Lowe’s omnichannel retail strategy.
Prior to Lowe’s, Vonada was CIO at AutoNation Inc. where she built the team and systems to support dealership and e-commerce operations during a period of explosive growth ($0-$20B in revenue) driven by acquisition. Vonada started her career at Andersen Consulting where she advanced to Senior Manager, specializing in industrial and consumer products industry sectors. She is a graduate of the University of Miami with a bachelor’s degree in computer information systems.
Vonada is a Board Member for the South Carolina Governor’s School of Science and Math. She was a Board Member for the Enterprise Development Corporation (EDC), a South Florida not for profit that supports entrepreneurial efforts with a focus on early stage science and technology companies, from 2005-2009.
Carol Wallace, IT Manager
Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina
Carol Wallace has over 35 years of experience in Information Technology including Application Development, Project Management, and Customer Management. She started her career as a programmer in the manufacturing industry before moving to the health industry supporting both private health and government health programs at various levels of management. She is currently responsible for the Leveraged Applications and Leveraged Systems Support areas at BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina.
On a personal note, Carol is an avid runner and was a half mile from the finish at the Boston Marathon this year when the bombs exploded. The 2013 event was her second attempt at Boston, and she had crossed the finish joyfully in 2012. Until the bombs exploded, the 2013 race was near perfection for her. After much internal debate, she recently accepted the Boston race organizers’ offer to let 2013 non-finishers return in 2014. As reported in a recent State article on her experience, she believes “You can’t be a quitter and be a marathoner.”