March is Women’s History Month, and to celebrate Converge is highlighting some of the brilliant women in our organization. Click through the pictures below to learn more about the women who are driving success in technology and business.

  • Carole Schenkenfelder

    In Loving Memory

  • Jessica Geis

    Blue Chip Tek Inc. A Converge Company

  • Amy Barnes

    Marketing Manager – West Region Events Management, Nordisk Systems, a Converge company

  • Rochelle Manns

    Director - Public & Hybrid Cloud, Converge Technology Solutions Corp.

  • Erika Macphee

    Vice President - Services Delivery, Becker-Carroll, a Converge Company

  • Allison Rickards VP of Marketing Converge technology solutions corp. Women in Tech

    Allison Rickards

    Vice President of Marketing and Communications, Converge Technology Solutions Corp.

  • Theodora Pajaczkowska

    Senior Consultant – Product Design and UX Development, Essextec, A Converge Company

  • Cindy Kennedy

    President of the Western Region Converge Technology Solutions Corp.

  • Fiona Bergin

    Director of PMO Converge Technology Solutions Corp.

  • Rhonda Hanes Women in tech

    Rhonda Hanes

    Vice President of Human Resources, Converge Technology Solutions Corp.

Carole Schenkenfelder

In Loving Memory

Dear Friends,

It’s been my privilege and honor to work for SIS for nearly 28.5 years. The time has come, however, for me to bid you all farewell… I’ve enjoyed getting to know so many of you and wish you all the best. I encourage each of you to continue contributing in your own unique and special way because together THIS is what has made SIS great. You are the secret sauce.

Sincerely,
Carole H. Schenkenfelder


As we conclude a month full of support for the Converge Women In IT, we would like to pay tribute to a special member of the Converge family who gave this same kind of encouragement to all she met- Carole Schenkenfelder of SIS. To highlight the incredible woman she was and the lasting mark she left at our company, in our field, and in our hearts, we think her coworkers say it best:

“Carole has had such a positive impact on so many of us. She was a very special person that positively touched our lives in so many ways. She was clearly a tremendous partner to Joe, a fabulous mother, a great friend, and a very special member of the SIS family. The positive impact she has had on the members of the SIS family and the clients that she touched in her 28-year career with SIS is so very special. What a journey it has been and how blessed we all are to have had the opportunity to have the Schenkenfelder Team as a part of our lives. Thank you, Carole and the Schenkenfelder family.” - The SIS Team and Its Extended Family

“Carole was a fellow rep that I could trust to talk over the pricing of a deal, review a client situation, laugh about the latest innovative Sales tool that was going to make our jobs easier, and just shoot the breeze. She and I had a lot in common, both work and family, and I will miss her deeply.” - Pat Cleveland

“Carole’s colleagues became her family over the years, simply because of the amazing way she could make you feel special. Shortly after I started at SIS, she befriended me, noting that the girls had to “stick together” in the technology world. She took me to lunch and spent the time to get to know me as a person. Those who knew her in the workplace knew she was fierce when it came time to close a deal. She encouraged me to be confident in my decisions at work but reminded me to lead with kindness. I remember her saying ‘you never know what someone is going through that we may not know about.’ That has certainly helped shape me as an HR professional, but also as a friend. She also, unknowingly, taught me many lessons on marriage, family, friendships, and, most importantly, where to buy the best handbags and shoes. Even after her passing, she is still teaching me: Carole Schenkenfelder lived a very full life. Therefore, the memories of her are constantly reminding me to live with passion, love fiercely, and, of course, not waste time of cheap shoes! I will never forget my last words to Carole and how they described our relationship so accurately: ‘Love always for my Carole… the lady I want to be when I grow up.’” - Candace French

Jessica Geis

Blue Chip Tek Inc. A Converge Company

Q: How did you get started in the technology sector
I was recruited to work for a dotcom in San Francisco from a former LA co-worker. I wasn’t very familiar with the tech industry but we were a startup and I learned an extraordinary amount working with cross functional teams and wearing multiple hats. After the “dotbomb” that ensued in 2001, I found myself smitten with the high-paced, innovative Silicon Valley and landed my next job in tech sales and never looked back.

What is the greatest advancement in technology you’ve seen during your career?
On demand computing. AWS created a true compute utility model that not only allows for easier DR, faster time to market and incredible scalability, but the model has allowed for more startups and innovators to have their shot while lowering the initial investment and expense of delivering a minimum viable product or business model.

Q: What career accomplishments would you like to highlight?
During this tumultuous time, I was reflecting on all of the big moves and changes that led to further career advancements and my personal growth. Each big move came at a time of creating opportunity in a downturn or out of necessity. There’s not one standout accomplishment I’m incredibly proud of as much as I’m proud of my mindset, grit and willingness to take calculated risks. I have enough self confidence to move forward and keep going when things are hard. When I know I’ve made a poor decision. I own it, work to fix it and am better for it.

Q: What is your favorite part about working in technology?
100% the customers we get to support. Our customers amaze me. They are disruptors who make the world better for all of us and literally change the way we do things. I also love that our partner network is fluid. There are so many great technologies out there and we get to partner with many companies who help drive our customer’s visions to success.

Q: What do you like to do in your free time?
Watch my kids play sports, workout, be with friends, family and loved ones. Cook. Listen to great new books on audible or podcasts. I like to stay active. So many things…

Q: What is your favorite quote?
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” -Maya Angelou

Amy Barnes

Marketing Manager – West Region Events Management, Nordisk Systems, a Converge company

Q: How did you get started in the technology sector?
I was first introduced to the technology industry shortly after Y2K. I started working part time as a telemarketer for a local IT company while putting myself through college. I was quickly promoted to a full time Inside Sales Support role. I advanced to the Marketing Manager I am today through hard work, dedication, and continued education.

Q: What is the greatest advancement in technology you’ve seen during your career?
I would have to say smart phones have been one of the greatest technology advancements. When I first started in the tech industry my work was performed primarily on desktops PC’s. Now, with the capabilities and compute power smart phones can offer, we have a way to access work any place at any time with a device that fits in your pocket. As Steve Jobs said, “The ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

Q: What career accomplishments would you like to highlight?
While I have had many accomplishments over the years I am proud of, the one that sticks out most is my community involvement. I had an opportunity to present “what it’s like to be a woman in the IT industry” to a local non-profit organization that supports young women in the Portland area. Being able to help guide these young ladies who are looking for direction, motivation, and support so they can become our next generation leaders was an inspiring experience that I will never forget.

Q: What is your favorite part about working in technology? I enjoy seeing the advancements in technology and how it can help society as a whole. Everything from fighting cybersecurity “bullies” to the growth in medical technology through cognitive computing with analytics, AI, and advanced imaging.

Q: What do you like to do in your free time?
I enjoy spending time outdoors and exploring the great state of Oregon with my husband and dog. I enjoy everything, from camping and hiking, to visiting local museums and attending music concerts. I am proud to call myself a true Oregonian.

Q: What is your favorite quote?
“Bravery is acknowledging your fear and doing it anyway.” -- Chery Strayed, the award-winning author of Wild and Brave Enough.

Rochelle Manns

Director - Public & Hybrid Cloud, Converge Technology Solutions Corp.

Q: How did you get started in the technology sector?
My mom recently found a picture of me in middle school when I was setting up my first radio shack computer. I was 18 when I had my first paying job as a burn-in technician for my college co-op. I’ve always loved science and technology. I’m an information nerd.

Q: What is the greatest advancement in technology you’ve seen during your career?
The internet. The access and sharing of information- if made accessible and affordable and used respectively and responsibly- really can be a wonderful catalyst for advancement of all in society.

Q: What career accomplishments would you like to highlight?
Longevity and growth in a field that was not always so accepting!

Q: What is your favorite part about working in technology?
The people I meet and helping my customers achieve technology wins.

What do you like to do in your free time?
In recent years, my mother has become my best friend. She is helping me monetize a design patent that I was issued for a home fragrance product 10 years ago. During the weekends we bring one of a kind experiences to our home décor customers in the East Village of San Diego. It has been mentioned a few times that we should have our own reality show. For those that know me I have given up HPDE for flowers and fragrances!

Q: What is your favorite quote?
Always be who you want to be, not what “society” says you should be. Don’t comprise the essence of you in the pursuit of career or conformity. Keep it real and keep it fun. If you start to lose yourself or it is no longer fun, it is time to move on! -Rochelle Manns

Erika Macphee

Vice President - Services Delivery, Becker-Carroll, a Converge Company

Q: How did you get started in the technology sector?
Directly out of university, I interviewed for a job for which I was vastly and obviously underqualified. At the end of the interview, the recruiter was kind enough to provide some “new grad” advice to me. As a sign of appreciation, I mailed her a thank you letter. This follow-up made an impression, so she passed along my resume to a contact that was hiring for a tech start-up. I was coding for said start-up a week later.

Q: What is the greatest advancement in technology you’ve seen during your career?
This is a difficult question for me, because the answer is so contextual. However, I am going to go with the shift from waterfall approach to agile/iterative approach for project management. The latter’s focus on the user combined with early and on-going stakeholder engagement makes for much more transformative solutions. From a development perspective, the methodology promotes a collaborative, solution-oriented environment for the project team, which inspires great output.

Q: What career accomplishments would you like to highlight?
The constant in my career has been working with teams to deliver solutions that solve client problems. When I reconnect with a former client and they tell me an application we created for them is still running and making their business better, up to a decade later, it feels like an accomplishment. Technology changes so quickly. When a technology-based solution stands the test of time, it confirms our team was successful in creating a scalable and valuable solution.

Q: What is your favorite part about working in technology?
The people. Regardless of the company or project with which I am engaged, I am consistently challenged to up my game by the people around me. The technology field tends to attract those who are curious, focused, and motivated by change. This personality-type makes an excellent colleague and client.

Q: What do you like to do in your free time?
If I am not travelling with my family, I am usually skiing, kayaking, or at the cross-fit gym.

Q: What is your favorite quote?
“Whatever the problem, be part of the solution. Don’t just sit around raising questions and pointing out obstacles.” ~Tina Fey
Allison Rickards VP of Marketing Converge technology solutions corp. Women in Tech

Allison Rickards

Vice President of Marketing and Communications, Converge Technology Solutions Corp.

Q: How did you get started in the technology sector?
My career has always been linked to the Technology sector. Before joining Corus360, I worked for a documentation and training company developing technical manuals and online training courses for ERP systems. Twelve years ago, I started working at Corus360, a company that grew from a startup to one of the fastest growing companies in Georgia under the Converge banner. During that time, our team has evolved and embraced the changes and challenges of our marketplace and the ever-evolving technology platforms present in the industry.

Q: What is the greatest advancement in technology you’ve seen during your career?
The Internet. We use the Internet for almost everything now. It has revolutionized the way we communicate, the way we work, and the way we make purchases. It has impacted healthcare, education, the way we consume information, and how we go about our day-to-day activities. We have access to the information that we need for our jobs at our fingertips, the option to make video conference calls, and the ability to connect with people all over the world. We are now all part of a global community and the Internet is responsible for that. It’s mind boggling to think about how much the marketing industry has evolved in such a short period of time; and to think that social media has changed our lives not only in terms of communication but also in terms of business and branding. The days of mass mailings are over; customer relationship management, social engagement, and relationship marketing have opened many new channels to do business through. Businesses are connected through media channels 24/7, building connections and educating their audiences while sharing information on a global level.

What career accomplishments would you like to highlight?
I grew up having two strong role models: My grandmothers. My grandma Rosie taught me that anything is possible with the right amount of tenacity and hard work. Her ambition encouraged me to follow my dreams and face the obstacles that I encountered on my path to achieving both my career personal goals. She taught me that mentoring others is the best way to make an impact on the world around you. As a result, I am passionate about building and nurturing teams of young professionals and helping them grow in their roles.

To see my employees grow professionally and personally is the biggest accomplishment I can achieve as a manager. I was given the opportunity to build a Marketing team with a group of creative, energetic, and passionate individuals. I started with two interns supporting one company and now my team consists of nine employees that support twelve organizations and counting!

Q: What is your favorite part about working in technology?
Learning something new every day. Working for a technology company allows me to stay ahead of the latest industry trends and platforms by working closely with our partners and technology vendors. Technology continues to evolve, and it changes quickly. Transformation is key to the growth of organizations, and we must drive change within our organization by embracing new technologies

Q: What do you like to do in your free time?
I love traveling and spending time with my family. One of my favorite hobbies is exploring different countries and cities. I enjoy learning about different cultures, traditions, and histories with the people I care about. I take pictures of all of my favorite parts; travel photography has almost become a separate hobby.

Q: What is your favorite quote?
“Never stop believing in yourself no matter how hard the journey gets. Dreams come true for those who work hard and push through adversity.” – Rosie Rickards

Theodora Pajaczkowska

Senior Consultant – Product Design and UX Development, Essextec, A Converge Company

Q: How did you get started in the technology sector?
I was first introduced to computer science when applying to college. My favorite subjects in high school were math, art, and physics, so I searched for a degree that would allow me to study all three. I applied to the Digital Media Design program at the University of Pennsylvania (the only engineering major that required an art portfolio as part of the application) and graduated in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science and Engineering degree with an art minor.

Q: What is the greatest advancement in technology you’ve seen during your career?
My aunt is an illustrator and was an early adopter of Adobe products. She taught me how to use Photoshop and a Wacom Tablet at a young age. I’d already been creating digital art for 20+ years when I first used an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil, and it still blew my mind. It captured the look and feel of drawing with a real pencil in a way that I had never seen before. In my fee time, I use it to sketch.

Q: What career accomplishments would you like to highlight?
Building strong relationships with my clients, based on trust and empathy, is incredibly important to me so I was honored to win the Essextec 2018 Professional Services Stand-Out Award and the 2019 Outstanding Project Team Award.

In honor of Women’s History Month, I’d like to highlight the accomplishments of Betty Snyder Holberton, Jean Jennings Barik, Kay McNulty Mauchly Antonelli, Marlyn Wescoff Meltzer, Ruth Lichterman Teitelbaum, and Frances Bilas Spence. In 1946, these women programmed the first all-electronic, programmable computer, the ENIAC, a project financed by the U.S. Army in Philadelphia as part of a secret World War II initiative. These women learned to program without programming languages or tools (none existed at the time)—only logical diagrams. By the time they were finished, ENIAC ran a ballistics trajectory—a differential calculus equation—in seconds. Yet, when the ENIAC was unveiled to the press and the public in 1946, the women were never introduced; they remained invisible.

I highly recommend the documentary The Computers to learn more about how these women revolutionized programming without receiving any credit for their contributions.

Q: What is your favorite part about working in technology?
Programming and building applications have always appealed to that same part of my brain that loves to create art. Drafting, iterating on an idea, and constructing a final result, is incredibly satisfying—whether it’s an animation, an application, or a Christmas sweater. Christmas sweater

What do you like to do in your free time?
I love to travel, draw, bake, listen to audiobooks, and recommend restaurants to family, friends, and coworkers.

Q: What is your favorite quote?
“That brain of mine is something more than merely mortal; as time will show…” - Ada Lovelace, creator of the first computer program in history, in a letter to Charles Babbage, ~1843

Cindy Kennedy

President of the Western Region Converge Technology Solutions Corp.

Q: How did you get started in the technology sector?
I got started in technology in 1993, as a member of the Sales team at Intel.

Q: What is the greatest advancement in technology you’ve seen during your career?
Smartphones, Virtualization, 3D Printing, Virtual Reality, Autonomous Cars, and Cloud to name a few.

Q: What is your favorite part about working in technology?
I really enjoy the change, including new and disruptive technologies.

Q: What do you like to do in your free time?
I enjoy skiing, hiking, running, and spending time with my daughters and granddaughter.

Q: What is your favorite quote?
“Our comfort zone is a beautiful place where we feel safe, at ease and secure but it does not allow us to grow. Growth begins with one step outside of your comfort zone.” – Anonymous

Fiona Bergin

Director of PMO Converge Technology Solutions Corp.

Q: How did you get started in the technology sector?
I entered the tech world in 2001 after graduating with a commercial software development degree. My first job was working as a JSP Developer, and I enjoyed the fact that I could see immediate results from what I was doing and the positive impact that my work had on customers. However, I knew that development was not where I saw myself long-term. I wanted to remain in the technology sector since I enjoyed the fast-moving pace of the industry, though, so I sought a role with more day-to-day people engagement and was fortunate enough to have great managers who could see my skillset was better suited for Project Management and guided me down this path. With encouragement, I re-trained to add PMP, Prince2, and Agile to my skillset. Thankfully, within the technology industry there is not just one path you can take, and I love the growth possibilities within the PMO world.

Q: What is the greatest advancement in technology you’ve seen during your career?
Being based in Ireland, the greatest advancement I’ve seen is that project management teams no longer need to be centralized and collaboration has become so much easier. When I began in this field, it was hard to imagine that it would be possible to manage a team or projects through email alone and without face-to-face meetings. I’m guilty of taking today’s technology for granted, but things like Webex, Teams, OneDrive, and specialized project management software make it possible to manage working with twelve companies in different time zones across the U.S. and Canada. We can now share project plans, review progress, and produce reports for internal and external use all via the internet using cloud-based computing!

Q: What do you like to do in your free time?
You would think it’s picking up Nerf bullets with the amount of time I spend doing that! Most of my free time is spent with family and, having two kids, there is always something fun to experience and memories to create. I’m an avid reader – and a new convert to audiobooks. Cooking, baking, and juicing are also passions of mine, which I balance out by swimming, hiking, beach walks, and cycling. I also enjoy the gym and Pilates, as it alleviates stress, boosts my energy, and keeps me happy. Finally, I like to fill the “in-betweens” with some well-sourced wine!

Q: What is your favorite quote?
“Do what you love and success will follow. Passion is the fuel behind a successful career.” -- Meg Whitman, former CEO of Hewlett Packard
Rhonda Hanes Women in tech

Rhonda Hanes

Vice President of Human Resources, Converge Technology Solutions Corp.

Q: How did you get started in the technology sector?
I originally began working in technology with Canvas Systems in 2004.

Q: What career accomplishments would you like to highlight?
2019 was a busy year for Human Resources. I’m proud of how we were able to merge all nine U.S. Converge companies into a complete benefits plan, including 401k.

Q: What is your favorite part about working in technology?
The people. Every type of personality you can imagine is in technology.

Q: What do you like to do in your free time?
I love to workout, read, spend time with my friends, and visit my two kids in college.

Q: What is your favorite quote?
“Time you enjoyed wasting, was not wasted.” -John Lennon