Diversity Strengthens Higher Ed & Higher Tech

The Waterfront Tech Series soared into its second season with Episode 5: Higher Tech, Higher Ed. This time, the quarterly learning and networking event examined how technology is being used to develop and retain talent at all levels. Whether you are preparing students for college or graduates for the workforce, tech plays a vital role in getting people ready for what comes next.

MOXIE Promotion’s Laura Gaworecki assembled a dynamic panel of educators, technologists, entrepreneurs, employers and amalgams of all of the above. Corinne Brinnier Brassfield and her team hosted the event at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School because, if you’re looking for prestigious colleges on the Baltimore waterfront, Carey is your go-to.

The result: another triumph of community collaboration on the Inner Harbor.

Diversity + Education = Human-Centered Design

Our MINDs in attendance appreciated the interplay of the morning’s recurring themes because they’re our bread and butter, the Mind Over Machines wheelhouse. When you have a diverse group of people (and we mean ALL the diversities: backgrounds, worldviews, cultures . . . the list goes on) and you teach them how to think about tech, you end up putting people first. You solve human problems – wait for it – using technology.

Carey Business School MBA Faculty Chris Harris made the point that, with the speed of tech today, you simply can’t teach the tech. You teach business fundamentals and goals. You teach how to approach technology and what you can expect from it, the types of tools and the problems they solve. You equip people to think critically so they can pick the right tech tool available at the time.

Another panelist garnered a lot of attention applying this same people-before-tech principle in a different sphere. Rajesh Eshwar is finishing up his first year as T. Rowe Price’s head of Client Experience & Delivery Transformation, finding better ways to give customers more of what they want. It’s all part of the global investment management firm’s plan “to use technology as a strategic differentiator.”

Hey! That sounds familiar.

Our Career-Changing Educators

Mind Over Machines has always valued our diversity of backgrounds and professional experiences; it makes us a stronger consultancy. A big part of consulting is education – teaching, learning and growing together with our clients. So it makes sense that many of our MINDs have interesting education backgrounds. Director of Emerging Technologies Tim Kulp studied religion and art history; now he uses storytelling to make complex tech more accessible. Tim Gavin spent a decade as a math teacher; now he uses math and data to help businesses find the connections that make them grow. Globetrotting educator Sean Astrakhan was teaching in China when he signed on with us; now he teaches fellow developers how to pass Microsoft exams and build custom webhooks.

We have so many career changers, we made it the focus of our table at this latest #WFTech Series installment. Mike Rolfes was a professional baseball player turned application architect; now he’s a business development coach. Joe Begly was (and still is) a musician who now makes applications that sing. When we gather our varied expertise and experiences around a business puzzle, we generally produce a spot-on, right-fit solution. We can make that magic because we were creative thinkers even before we became IT wizards.

Lifelong Talent Development

#WFTech Episode 5 was a great chance for us to return to our higher ed roots and recognize how those roots are still with us today. Tim Kulp observed, “Mind Over Machines doesn’t just roll in, drop tech, and roll out. We roll in, learn about business needs, deliver appropriate solutions, and teach people how to use them.”

It was also a welcome opportunity for uniting as a community to discuss how we can help each other continuously develop the talent our region needs to succeed in an ever-evolving business landscape. Our MINDs began conversations with both the Carey Business School and Maryland Institute College of Art Open Studies about partnering to meet our talent development needs as we expand our team to meet clients' growing business needs. 

Thanks to all those who attended #WFTech Series Episode 5. We’ll see you in December for Episode 6: Women in Tech, moderated by our very own Chief Delivery Officer Carrie Schuckle.