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VU Women in Tech Hosts Third Annual Tech Conference

VILLANOVA, Pa., February 12, 2018 – Last month, Villanova University presented the third annual VU Women in Tech conference to celebrate women who are leading, innovating, and inspiring with technology. This one-day event brought together more than 215 students, faculty, staff, alumnae and professionals to encourage women to explore the possibilities of technology-based careers; learn about successes and failures; increase participation in technology; and network across schools, disciplines, and generations.

“This year’s conference focused on FinTech and its underlying technologies such as machine learning and blockchain,” said Sue McFarland Metzger, VU Women in Tech faculty advisor and instructor, Accounting & Information Systems. “The topics are timely, as is the need for women in tech to share and inspire each other.”

Joyce E. A.  Russell, the Helen and William O’Toole Dean of Villanova School of Business (VSB), opened the conference and introduced the keynote speaker, Karin Risi ’94 VSB, ’99 MBA, managing director of Vanguard’s Retail Investor Group. Risi joined Vanguard in 1997 as an investment analyst and has held various leadership roles within the company’s Corporate, Institutional, and Retail divisions, including Vanguard Personal Advisor Services. She is a founding member of Vanguard’s Women’s Initiative for Leadership Success.

Risi shared that as she took on roles with increasing responsibility at Vanguard, it was clear that she would need to become more technology savvy. “Technology is not a separate department anymore; it is integrated with everything we do,” she explained.  

Following Risi’s address, attendees selected from several breakout sessions, hearing from women who have utilized technology extensively in their careers. Session topics ranged from “Blockchain Unraveled” to “Unconscious Bias: Can Data Shine a Light on our Blind Spots?”

The day concluded with blockchain thought-leader Bettina Warburg detailing the significant impact blockchain will have on managing the transfer of assets across so many industries.

The speaker line-up included 15 distinguished women who have made their mark in technology:

  • Erin Arvedlund, Journalist, Philadelphia Inquirer
  • Aronte Bennett, Associate Chair, Marketing & Business Law, Villanova University
  • Teresa Boyer, Director, Anne Welsh McNulty Institute for Women’s Leadership
  • Taryn Cahill, Director of Client Success, Amino Payment
  • Colleen Connors, Director of Sys Ops, Verif-Y
  • Reka Daniel-Weiner, Data Scientist, Dstillery
  • Julapa Jagtiani, Senior Special Advisor, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia
  • Whitney Kellett, Chief Information Officer, Aqua America
  • Sara Mathieson, Visiting Assistant Professor, Swarthmore College
  • Taylor McCauley, GC Product Manager, Facebook
  • Clare McGrory, CFO & Chief Compliance Officer, Atairos
  • Susan Ramonat, Founder & CEO, Spiritus
  • Karin Risi, Managing Director, Vanguard
  • Seema Thomas, Director, SAP Labs
  • Bettina Warburg, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, Animal Ventures

The VU Women in Tech conference left attendees energized and inspired. For more information about the event, please visit

The Villanova School of Business (VSB) undergraduate program is ranked #1 in the nation by Bloomberg Businessweek and has been at the forefront of business education since it was founded in 1922. The VSB part-time MBA program is ranked #12 in the nation by Bloomberg Businessweek. VSB also offers Executive and Online MBA programs, as well as a Master of Finance and Master of Accounting with Data Analytics, and our #1 ranked online grad programs by U.S. News & World Report, the Master of Science in Analytics and Master of Science in Church Management. Serving over 2,500 undergraduate and graduate students, VSB is known for academic rigor; creativity and innovation; hands-on and service learning opportunities; a firm grounding in ethics; and an applied education that prepares students to become outstanding leaders and global citizens within the global, complex, and fast-paced world of business. For more, visit