November 2022 Women IT Changemakers Newsletter

Women IT ChangeMakers Connect

A newsletter for the statewide employee resource group (ERG)

Woman with Minnesota state capitol and abstract connection lines.

Letter from the Co-Chairs

It’s hard to believe that the Women IT ChangeMakers ERG has been in place for almost three years. We are so excited that this community continues to grow and provide a place for women to learn from each other and be inspired by the work we deliver on behalf of all Minnesotans. Part of our growth means lifting other women up to participate in ERG leadership roles. 

Recent changes to the Governance Committee 

Our former Champion, Stefanie Horvath and Annie Porbeni, former Co-chair have left state service. These events have left the Women IT ChangeMakers with a couple open opportunities. Your help is needed in building our Governance Committee and shaping our work that lies ahead for 2023 and beyond.  

Chairs/Co-Chairs: Ellena Schoop (continues)/Colette Johnson (new) 
Champions: Jenna Covey (continues)/Zarina Baber (new) 
Secretary: Kendall Johnson (moved from Outreach)   

Subcommittees Chair/Co-Chair 
Outreach:           Axelina Swenson- Chair/ Co-Chair (Open) 
 Accountability:  Marie Kennedy- Chair/ Co-Chair (Open) 
Leadership:        Colette Johnson- Chair/ Cathy Russell- Co-Chair (new) 

Terms are generally two (2) years. We know you have other commitments so if you would like to fill an open position for a year, let's chat. Time commitment is generally a monthly planning meeting and participation in Governance Committee Meetings as needed.   

If you are interested in any of the open positions, or would like to contest any of the selections please let me know by December 2, 2022.  

We invite you to sign up to participate in the important work we have ahead of us. Thank you for your continued leadership and support. 


Ellena Schoop — Enterprise Data Architect, Minnesota IT Services
Colette Johnson — Applications Architect, Minnesota IT Services

Upcoming ERG Events

Monthly Lunch & Learns 

The ERG is hosts a monthly Lunch & Learn session. This event is time for the membership to hear from a speaker, Ted Talk, or to openly discuss trending topics. Sign up to receive the monthly invite or reach out to Colette Johnson to find out more information.  

November 17th L & L Topic: How to Make Stress Your Friend 

Stress. It makes your heart pound, your breathing quicken, and your forehead sweat. But while stress has been made into a public health enemy, new research suggests that stress may only be bad for you if you believe that to be the case. Psychologist Kelly McGonigal urges us to see stress as a positive and introduces us to an unsung mechanism for stress reduction: reaching out to others. Download Invite

January 26th L & L Topic: Lollipop Moments 

We have all changed someone's life -- usually without even realizing it. In this funny talk, Drew Dudley calls on all of us to celebrate leadership as the everyday act of improving each other's lives. Download Invite


Other Events Worth Attending! 

The Women IT ChangMakers supports all the activities of our partner State of Minnesota ERGs. See upcoming events for alll ERGs. 

"Trans Families, Trans Rights" Panel- Hosted by MnClusive ERG
December 9th @Noon Join the Teams Meeting

In honor Human Rights Day and Transgender Awareness Week, MNclusive is hosting a panel discussion focused on the experience of state employees who are part of trans families. Panelists will explore the issues of transness, trans acceptance, and rights such as access to healthcare and public education through the lens of their family relationships. Join the Teams Meeting

Women in Public Service Annual Conference Hamline University,
November 18th @12:30 in Room 111

The Women IT Changemakers will be hosting a panel discussion entitled “How Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) support its employees and each other through intersectionality”.  Building a safe space for supportive and sometimes difficult conversations.  An educational and collaborative experience.  Panelist will share their experience, why they started their ERG along with the role of executive sponsor and how to engage stakeholders. 

Panelists will include Ellena Schoop (Moderator), Colette Johnson, Brittany McClendon, Elizabeth Stephens, and Veronica Deenanath.