News & Content: ITA Take Aways

Second Annual City-Wide Shadow Day

Tuesday, March 12, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Kaylin Berg
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In commemoration of International Women’s Day on March 8th, ITA hosted the second annual City-Wide Shadow Day. One hundred young women from 14 area high-schools came together with 20 Chicago tech companies for a day of learning and inspiration about STEM-based careers (full lists below).

The brainchild of ITA’s Women Influence Chicago initiative, City-Wide Shadow Day provides an opportunity for these young women to gain hands-on experience and witness “a day in the life” of experienced professionals.  One of the goals of Shadow Day, aside from mentorship and hands-on experience, was for the young women to gain insight into the variety of careers available at technology companies – marketing, design, engineering, product management, customer support and many others. Through programs like Shadow Day, ITA is focused on enabling and supporting getting more women into technology through mentorship, education and STEM.

Based on current research conducted by Women Influence Chicago, only 24% of corporate leadership in the US is female and only 6% of Chicago technology companies have a female CEO. It has never been more important to empower our female population at a young age and show them the infinite opportunities for representation in STEM. 

Through ITA’s philanthropic arm, TechForward, we are working to build the next generation of industry leaders through programming and initiatives such as the City-Wide Shadow Day. TechForward works to increase interest and awareness in STEM careers by connecting corporations, nonprofits, students and underrepresented populations together to advance the industry.

Feedback from the students that participated in City-Wide Shadow Day was very positive. Some quick takes: 

“Today, I learned that it’s important to have balance and time management,” said a Kennedy High School Student. “It’s made me realize that I’m more open to a career in business and there’s a lot of different ways to get in to tech.”

“This sounded like a really good experience to me because I’ve never done something like it before but have always wanted to shadow a professional. I hadn’t heard of anything specifically for girls, and this was empowering to get to talk to women and see what they do. You can see that there are a lot of opportunities for women to do what men do,” said a Chicago Tech Academy Student.

“This was a great opportunity for young women, put on by women,” remarked another Kennedy High School Student. “It excites me to be part of the movement for women to come into stronger roles in businesses, especially in Chicago.”

In addition, Elise Fleischaker, VP of Marketing at one of the participating mentor companies, Trading Technologies, recently shared her thoughts on the women-in-tech movement, and the efforts that Trading Technologies is taking to increase awareness. They just announced the launch of TTWomen in Tech, a group for women of the company to provide a space for internal networking and mentoring, create a formal diversity and inclusion plan to drive more hiring of women and more. Read all about the amazing efforts here!

Stay tuned for additional announcements regarding efforts around increasing women in technology next week! Also, be sure to check out the Flickr album from the event, here.


Participating Companies:

  • Avionos
  • Backstop Solutions
  • CDW
  • Centro
  • Enova 
  • HighGround
  • HomeChef
  • IMC
  • Jellyvision
  • Microsoft
  • Morningstar
  • Narrative Science
  • One North
  • Relativity
  • ShopperTrak
  • Solstice
  • Trading Technologies
  • Transunion
  • Trunk Club
  • Vibes

 Participating Schools:

  • Chicago Tech Academy
  • Chicago Vocational
  • Collins Academy High School
  • Corliss High School
  • Curie High School
  • De La Salle Institute
    Kennedy High School
  • Lake View High School
  • Mather High School
  • Michele Clark High School
  • Ogden International
  • Social Justice High School
  • Westinghouse
  • Von Steuben High School


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