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EXCLUSIVE REPORTS
From the April 15, 2005 print edition

Women in Technology
Tech's leading ladies

Justin Rubner 
Staff Writer

The Technology Association of Georgia's biggest society, Women in Technology, has chosen its three most outstanding female leaders in the Atlanta tech scene. 

Elaine Norman of The United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta, Bonnie Herron of Intelligent Systems Corp. (Amex: INS), and Pamela Pure of McKesson Corp. (NYSE: MCK) are the 2005 recipients of The Women of the Year awards -- which were expanded this year from one woman to three. The awards, given during a April 14 ceremony at The Fox Theatre, recognized female leaders whose roles in the male-heavy technology sector have had significant impact in both their organizations and communities. 

This year's event had the most nominations ever, about 80, said TAG president Tino Mantella. The reason for the increased interest -- double that of 2004 -- is due to the resurgent tech economy and WIT's massive public relations effort, he said. 

"This year in particular, the judges had a very difficult time concluding who the three winners would be," said Mantella. 

WIT award organizers decided to honor three women this year to include the challenges faced in smaller businesses to large. In addition, the nonprofit sector was added. 

"They're all very strong and they're all very different, and they're different because they're in a different environment," Mantella said. 

"Oh my goodness, it's still very much a male world, particularly in engineering and electronics," said Grant Thornton LLP partner Andre Schnabl, who co-founded the event six years ago. "Although it is a changing environment, technology is still dominated by men. They need all the encouragement they can get." 

Here's a rundown of the winners: 

Nonprofit 

Elaine Norman, who was named 2002 CIO of the Year by the Georgia CIO Leadership Association, serves as vice president and chief information officer at United Way's metro Atlanta division. 

As CIO, she oversees all the organization's information technology strategies, business practices and operations.

Under her leadership, United Way met its goals on streamlining the way pledges are processed throughout the organization's system. According to WIT, her pledging project resulted in more than a 90 percent reduction in the costs of running a campaign for corporate partners; an 85 percent savings in administration costs to process such pledges; and a 60 percent reduction in pledge processing cycle time. 

As for her leadership in the community, Norman is a member of the state CIO Leadership Association. In addition, she serves as a mentor with Georgia 100, an executive development program run by Atlanta-based The MindField Group Inc. targeting midlevel businesswomen. 

United Way raises money for various endeavors, from the Boy Scouts to the 211 program, the national dialing code for free access to health services. In 2003 to 2004, United Way generated $4.1 billion in revenues. United Way of Metro Atlanta is the sixth-largest United Way in the United States. In 2004, the Atlanta office raised $75.1 million. 

Small/midsized business 

Bonnie Herron serves as vice president and chief financial officer of tech incubator Intelligent Systems. 

Herron helps identify potential investments, performs due diligence and often serves on the boards of her company's partners. 

According to WIT, Herron has taken on numerous roles over the past 15 years. In 2003, she was elected chairwoman of the National Business Incubation Association. She also has served on the board of the Southeastern Software Association and was the first chairwoman of the Entrepreneurial Forum. 

Herron also co-founded the Growth Capital Forum, has served for four years on the Southeast American Electronics Association's board and is a member of the CFO Group of the Technology Executives Roundtable. 

Atlanta-based Intelligent Systems is the longest-running, privately funded incubator program in the country, the company says. Some investments include e-mail marketer SilverPop Systems Inc. and network security provider Lancope Inc. 

Enterprise

Pamela Pure serves as executive vice president of pharmaceuticals distributing giant McKesson and president of one of its divisions, McKesson Provider Technologies. In addition, she is the executive sponsor of the company's medications safety initiative. 

As president of the $1.4 billion division, Pure provides both strategic and operational leadership. 

Since she arrived at the division, WIT says, its software sales growth has doubled. In 2003, Pure launched an excellence program that resulted in a realignment of the division. 

As for community involvement, Pure led endeavors with her Alpharetta employees with the American Heart Foundation, the McKesson Foundation, The Salvation Army's Angel Tree program and Habitat for Humanity. 

McKesson, based in San Francisco, pulled in $69.6 billion in sales in 2004. 

Reach Rubner at jrubner@bizjournals.com.

2005 American City Business Journals Inc.
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