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SIM San Diego Launches Initiative for Women Tech Leaders

SIM San Diego, a nonprofit that connects senior information technology (IT) executives across the region, has entered its eleventh year after a decade of bringing together some of the brightest technical minds in the industry.

Founded in 2010, SIM San Diego was co-founded by Barb Munro its membership Chair and Yasmin Shah its marketing chair. The San Diego chapter has grown to over 170 members with executives from San Diego’s companies including Qualcomm, Illumina, Dexcom, Jack in the Box and Quidel, among others.

Fast Growing Chapter

The nonprofit was pegged as the fastest growing chapter for a medium-sized chapter, said Munro co-founder of SIM San Diego, she added that the organization was formed to allow local tech leaders to collaborate, network, while also giving back to the community.

The chapter produces quarterly events such as an annual daylong CIO Summit which typically draws in hundreds of people, discussing various topics, such as the future of the CIO role.

In addition, the nonprofit provides networking opportunities at the local and national level, access to research, and leadership training and development programs.

It grew out of a broader Southern California chapter, and it has a distinct San Diego character. Half of the local chapter’s membership is from the health care or pharmaceutical sector.

“Technology touches every facet of an organization, it spans from finance to marketing and everything else. We welcome in chief marketing officers, chief scientific officers, chief technology officers — any one at that executive level that is a technology stakeholder in the organization.”

Supporting Women Executives

Last year, SIM San Diego launched its Women in Technology initiative aimed to provide support for aspiring female technology professionals.

The goal is to help women gain skills and confidence to grow their careers while retaining female talent for member organizations.

“We kicked off our WIT Group event just before COVID in February. We hosted a mentorship program to match them with other SIM members. In total we held four events last year, including a woman’s leadership event bringing together executives from Illumina, Quidel Arena Pharmaceuticals, and NuVasive,” said Munro.

So far, the group comprises 45 women, with plans to double that number in 2021. We expect to expand in the years to come, said Munro.

$165,000 Donated to Students

In effort to give back to the local community, the San Diego chapter distributes scholarships to students preparing for technology careers each year. In December 2020, the group distributed a total of $27,000 in scholarships to students. Since inception, money given to local university students have total over $165,000.

“Giving back to our universities is key, as its helps the technology growth in the region. Instead of them leaving for Silicon Valley or elsewhere, we want students to get to know the companies right here in San Diego,” said Munro. “There is so much available to them.”

It partners with all of San Diego’s colleges including UC San Diego, Cal State San Marcos, University of San Diego, Point Loma Nazarene University, and San Diego State University.

Headquartered in San Diego, 12 members currently sit on SIM San Diego’s board. SIM San Diego’s president is Steve Phillpott, who’s also the chief information officer of Western Digital Corp. 

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