Women in Tech

Our Journey as Women in Tech

Key takeaways

  • Ellucian has developed a Women in Tech employee resource group (ERG)
  • The group is founded and guided by a three-person steering committee of women within the IT organization

The Women in Tech employee resource group

The Women in Tech employee resource group (ERG) originated from the Women in Technology Panel held at the 2019 IT Geek Week Conference. This panel consisted of six women from various backgrounds who told stories about their professional journeys and some of the hurdles they faced along the way.

The panel was a meaningful event that left everyone in the room feeling enthusiastic about the future of IT for women. Shortly thereafter, the Women in Tech group was founded. The group is dedicated to promoting and fostering a culture that empowers and supports the advancement of technical and non-technical women in their respective fields through mentoring/coaching, professional and personal development, and supportive connections.

Here are the stories of some of these remarkable women:

Eliane Kalukuta

Eliane KalukutaEliane is a senior director on the Ellucian Information Technology team. She currently manages the Salesforce and web applications team. She works out of the Reston, Virginia office and lives in Washington, DC. She holds an undergraduate degree in marketing from University of Houston and an MBA in international business from the University of St. Thomas. Outside of work, her life tends to focus on her family—her husband Ewerton and their two cats (Mina and Molake). She enjoys long walks, hiking, hot yoga, pilates, and boxing as well as traveling.

“Fashion was (and still is) one of my great loves. A career in tech was never in the cards for me, but I always knew that I wanted to transform culture, business, and people. I was born with a talent for solving problems or approaching solutions creatively. With a bachelor’s degree in marketing and an MBA in international business, I began my career in tech when I ‘accidentally’ became the Salesforce administrator for a nonprofit organization in the DC metro area. The hardest part in my tech journey was building strong relationships and having a support system. I never felt like I belonged anywhere because I was ‘different.’ I am an introvert who was born and raised in the Democratic Republic of Congo and because of the war between Uganda and Rwanda, my family moved a lot. I moved to the United States in 2002 as a refugee without speaking English. My career really began to take off in tech when I fully accepted that it is OK to be different. I am equally as competent and capable of being in this industry as any other successful professional man or woman. I decided to be my own advocate, to become more curious, to find allies and mentors, to develop a support system for others, and to speak up when necessary. I love what I do, especially when I see how something I created or how information I provided makes a large or small impact. That’s the most rewarding part for me.”

Eliane Kalukuta

Tishena Moss

Tishena MossTishena Moss is a senior desktop engineer on the IT Asset Management Team. She works with her colleagues to provide optimal end-user support for employees, ensuring that they can successfully use Ellucian’s key tools and access resources—whether they are in the office or working remotely. She also is responsible for moderating the weekly IT new-hire training session for all US- and Latin America-based employees. She works out of the Malvern, Pennsylvania office and lives in Bear, Delaware. Tishena enjoys spending time with her family and friends, serving on various ministries at her church, singing with the HildaMan Chorale community choir, and working on projects for her family’s Ania Lynn Moss Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization that awards yearly scholarships to graduating high school seniors.

“Technology was never a front runner in my career interests back when I was in high school. Growing up, I would tell everyone that I wanted to be a pediatrician, an optometrist, or a dentist, but after visiting and talking with a few doctors about my aspirations, I decided all those years of schooling and internships was not for me. As I entered college, I wanted something challenging and I eventually decided that finance was the path for me. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree with a finance concentration and a minor in management information systems, and I later went on to obtain an MBA. I initially interviewed for a job as a financial consultant for Ellucian but ended up being hired as a Lotus Notes administrator. In the early days, I was the only female on my team and only one of maybe three or four other African Americans in the entire building. I often felt like I stuck out like a sore thumb. In those early days, I felt intimidated working in a field that, at the time, was dominated by mostly white men, with very few faces of other men and women who looked like me. In spite of those early feelings, I knew what I was capable of doing. I was raised to walk with my head held high, to speak intelligently, and to always put my best foot forward—so that’s exactly what I did (and am still doing!). Through the years, I still value the words spoken to me by my very first boss here at Ellucian. One day I asked him some questions about a project I had been assigned. His response to me was, ‘You’re smart! You figure it out. That’s why I hired you! You can do it!’ Now, 20-plus years later, I still hear him in my ears cheering me on. No, this journey has not always been easy, but all the stress, tears, and challenges have all been worth it. Technology is such an exciting field. I think I’ve stayed the course so long because this is a field that allows me to exude confidence, to be articulate, to be assertive, to be a team player, and most importantly, it’s a field that allows me to be creative and think outside the box.”

Robin Howell

Robin HowellRobin is a current member of the IT PMO organization and holds an undergraduate degree from Bennett College as well as a graduate degree from North Carolina A&T State University. A central Jersey native, Robin currently works out of the Reston, Virginia office and resides in Herndon, Virginia. Outside of work, she enjoys reading, socializing with friends, and participating in community service projects through her beloved Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.

“My journey in technology began after working in my liberal arts major for a few years before realizing that I was quite bored. I knew that I had an interest in the field of technology and was determined to discover how to mesh my undergraduate English and graduate adult education and counseling degrees with some form of IT. Fresh off an eight-year stint with Charter Communications (formerly Time Warner Cable), I wanted to continue my career in project management (PM). My recruiter asked if I was familiar with Ellucian and mentioned their need for a senior project manager. After researching the company and being highly impressed by the employee reviews, the culture, and the IT organization, I was excited to work at Ellucian! Once I was hired, I was able to apply my knowledge and experience from both of my degrees to the PM process. My journey has often been uncomfortable, as there were and still are many instances where I am the only female in the room. Couple that with being the only person of color in the room! I've experienced ‘Why is she here?’ stares time and time again. However, once I became confident in my abilities while knowing what I had to bring to the table, things became less and less uncomfortable. I’ve been able to make contributions in project and program management and have gained plenty of respect along the way. Although it hasn’t always been an easy path, my career certainly has given me the strength I needed to tackle difficult situations and resolve conflicts peacefully. I like technology because I believe in progress and improving the lives of others in a way that makes completing tasks easier. And technology does just that! As I reflect back, I know that this career path is and has always been the right one for me.