2023 Agenda & Presenters

Join WiIT Cincy for an exciting day of presentations, mentoring, team challenges, and great prizes! A light breakfast and lunch are included, and transportation assistance is available as needed.

Start Time Agenda Item
9:00 AM Registration & Breakfast
9:40 AM Event Kickoff
9:45 AM Student & Mentor Ice Breaker
9:55 AM Welcome Message from Sheri Thomas, AVP & CIO of Xavier University
10:00 AM Fireside Chat: Embracing Risk in Your Career & Life
Elisha Herrmann (Moderator), Erica Day, and Jocelyn Whitfield
10:40 AM Break
10:50 AM Tech Challenge & Lunch
12:35 PM College Student Panel
1:15 PM Student & Mentor Networking
1:25 PM Final Presentation and Awards
1:30 PM Dismissal

Xavier University Welcome Address

Sheri Thomas, AVP & CIO, Xavier University

Sheri Thomas graduated from Bowling Green State University with her BS in CS in 1995 and her MBA in 2020.

She has over 25 years of experience working in Information Technology in various industries including transportation, health care and higher education.

She has held the positions of Application Developer, Project Manager, Director and is now the AVP and CIO of Xavier University.

Meet the Keynote Panel!

Elisha Herrmann (Moderator), Worldwide Cross Industry Solution Manager, Amazon

Elisha’s focus is on growth strategy for companies from seed to large enterprise creating innovation opportunities. She uses decades of experience to understand how technology can be leveraged to solve problems. She was the first person to connect SAP with Irish Customs, conducted LG’s first block chain consortium POC and the first to capture data of bee patterns through IoT and satellite. She has played the role of COO and VP of Innovation Strategy which provides the unique ability to create tangible action plans to accelerate top line goal success. From the set of Shark Tank to the Amazon offices, she’s always looking for ways to improve our personal and customer experience.

Jocelyn Whitfield, Vice President, & Director, Information Security Engineering, Fifth Third Bank

Jocelyn Whitfield works as a strategic leader on the banks efforts to revolutionize Digital Software Delivery and bring customers a first-in-class digital banking experience with a new cloud-hosted mobile banking platform. She was awarded the “Incubating Talent” award for her mentorship and career development work with many young females and minority engineers in the workplace. She has achieved several designations from Amazon Web Services such as Certified Solutions Architect, Certified Developer, and Certified Cloud Practitioner. Jocelyn received her Master’s in Business Informatics (Software Development and Information Security) from Northern Kentucky University and her B.S. in Computer Engineering from the University of Cincinnati.

Erica Day, Director Cyber Security, Identity & Access Management, First Financial Bank Erica started her career in call center operations, relationship management, and consulting. She later transitioned into Information Technology where she led technical projects and later managed a Support Services Team. Five years ago, Erica applied her project management expertise, technical acumen, and passion for continuous improvement to problems faced in the world of cyber security. She has built a strong Identity and Access Management program reducing the risk of cyber-attacks, improving the company’s insurability, and spreading cyber awareness. Erica is an alumnus of the Cincinnati Chamber’s WeLead Women’s Executive training program Class 17 and is passionate about personal development and mentoring others. She leads a personal and professional development program for the women in First Financial Bank’s Information Security department. The program focuses on increasing self-confidence, building relationships, and preparing for the future. In her personal time, Erica enjoys spending time with her family and friends, gardening, event planning, and interior design.

Meet the College Student Panel!

Avery Strychasz is a senior double major from Xavier University in Business Analytics and Marketing from Cleveland, Ohio. Avery currently works as the Student Strategic Initiative Coordinator for the XU Data and Analytics Apprenticeship Program. Over the course of her college career, she has had two internships, at Whirlpool and Unilever. On campus she is involved as the President of Delta Sigma Pi, a national professional fraternity.

Fareena Khan, a third-year Computer Science student at the University of Cincinnati, has gained valuable experience through multiple co-ops at 84.51°. As an INTERalliance Alum, she’s passionate about empowering young minds and encouraging their journey in technology!

Gillian Howard, a fourth-year Information Systems and Entrepreneurship major at the University of Cincinnati. She is taking multiple IS courses and is excited to graduate and continue expanding her knowledge in the workforce. The summer of 2023, she interned at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. There she shadowed over 15 teams in their Information Services department and learned about their business processes. Her interests include data management, data virtualization, and no code software. In her spare time, she likes to read, watch movies, and play with her cats!

Cassidy Gebhart is a recent graduate of Miami University with a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Design, a Bachelor’s degree in Interactive Media Studies, and is pursuing her Masters at Miami in Entrepreneurship and Emerging Technology. She has just finished up her final project, doing research on the topic of web accessibility with a focus on higher education, wondering how the increase in online schooling in recent years impacted equal access to learning in the virtual classroom. While doing this, she also works for Miami’s Advancement division on the Marketing, Communications, and Technology team, where one of her major focuses is building and maintaining their websites and email newsletters with an emphasis on increasing accessibility.

Jessie Gentles is a Junior Software Engineering Major at Miami University Oxford. Jessie currently works as an Information Technology Intern at Aramark. She also serves as the President of the Computer Science and Software Engineering Student Council at Miami University and as a hackathon committee member at Rewriting the Code Black Wings.