About Us

Our Mission

At Women in Cloud, we are a community-led economic development organization dedicated to taking collective action to generate $1B in new net economic access for women entrepreneurs and professionals by 2030 through global partnerships with corporations, community leaders, and policy makers. All of which are united by the ESG and UN Sustainable Development Goals that are driven by job creation, diversity and inclusion, technology innovation and sustainability, giving women a powerful platform to accelerate as industry leaders.

Workforce & Leadership Development

Provide access to network of people via events, programs & people network to accelerate Leadership and Cloud Workforce development with diverse talent ecosystem

Economic Development

Immersive readiness and Cosell GTM programming to win enterprise opportunities and global stage to showcase women-led tech business.

Public Policy Advocacy

Recommend policies with legislature and corporations to address data privacy and supply chain challenges

Our History: How It All Began

It always starts with an idea, with a ‘what if’ and a ‘why not’ and the passion to make it happen. Ignite WA as an organization is focused on helping small business and entrepreneurs in Washington State develop and grow by technology transformation. Ignite WA has hosted and delivered events from Innovate Her in partnership with SBA.Gov, held roundtables on digital equity, developing initiatives around digital transformation and rural access and others. However, during this work, Chaitra Vedullapalli, Karen Fassio, Gretchen O’Hara, Gavriella Schuster, Carrie Francey, and many Ignite WA members identified ideas to address the challenges businesses face every day such as:

  • Insufficient access customers market and investment via enterprise distribution channels (co-sell opportunities)
  • Difficulty to create monthly recurring revenue model (MRR) – no leading models
  • Unaware of who key contacts in the cloud industry leaders are, limited availability mentors

Over breakfast in downtown Redmond Washington, over many cups of coffee, we started the conversation with ‘what if’, ‘why not’ and ‘how can we’ and formulated a plan to focus on assisting women-led businesses to take advantage of cloud solutions and services to drive their success and growth.

We knew we couldn’t do it alone. We had seen too many women associations, groups, and network meet-ups come and go in our area. Other groups had a ‘special session ‘on women but we knew that they didn’t go far or deep enough. We needed to get tech leaders, women entrepreneurs, community leaders and associations involved to get to impact and provide a long-term offering that helps not a few but hundreds if not more.

So, we did what any enterprising business people do, we went to do our homework to put virtual ink to screen so to speak. We reached out to our network, to women executives we’ve known and know from past corporate lives, to women who were starting up a business and to women already in business but just not where they wanted to be. Over lots more cups of coffee and maybe some french fries (ok there were lots of french fries), over a bunch of late-night hours, we developed the Women in Cloud initiative.

Women in Cloud celebrates the female entrepreneurs in the tech world; a source of inspiration and support that connects and empowers women in Washington and beyond, helping them to realize their potential and reach new growth through leading cloud industry, community, and government partners. We bring together the voices and insights of a diverse range of female luminaries from the worlds of business, technology, and politics for the betterment of women who are carving their path in technology and the Cloud.

Join us and make an impact for yourselves, for your colleagues, and for your community.

Founding Members


Gretchen O’Hara
Splunk | Channel Chief, Vice President Worldwide Channels & Alliances

Chaitra Vedullapalli

Chaitra Vedullapalli
Women in Cloud | Co-Founder | President

Karen Fassio
Ex-Microsoft | WIC Cofounder

Board of Directors

Gina Fratarcangeli
Google | Managing Director

Amy Protexter
Insight | Senior Vice President Marketing


Gretchen O’Hara
Splunk | Channel Chief, Vice President Worldwide Channels & Alliances

Board of Advisors

Brea Starmer

Brea Starmer
Lions + Tigers | Founder & Executive Consultant

Andrea Perkins
Insight | Vice President, Digital Enablement

Gavriella Schuster
Board Director | CEO

Cara South

Cara South
Boeing | Global Cloud Services Senior IT Manager

Karen Cone

Karen Cone
Mastersfund, Fyrii | Venture Partner & Board Director

Ellie Wu
Bugcrowd | Vice President of Customer Experience

Frank Valdivieso

Frank Valdivieso
IAMCP/Gryphon Consulting | President & CEO

Lisa Goodman
The Benaroya Company | Executive Team

Giovanna Mingarelli
M & C Consulting | CEO & Co-Founder

Kristen Miller
Neiman Marcus | Vice President

Michelle Pruitt
Microsoft  | Director of Global Partner Marketing

Nick Hughes
Founders Live | Founder & CEO

Patti Dobrowolski
Up Your Creative Genius | CEO & Creative Activator

Sharan Hildebrand
Hitachi Solutions  | VP of Strategic Alliances, North America

Patti Burroughs
Accenture| Managing Director

David Pryor
Director, External Affairs

Board of Advisors – Emeritus

Barry Russell

Barry Russell 
Business Development (Cloud)

Patty Kuderer

Senator Patty Kuderer (WIC Board Advisor Emeritus)
Washington State Senate  | State Senator, 48th Legislative District

Carrie Francey 
ServiceNow | Vice President Global Alliances

Sonia Dara
Chief of Staff, Microsoft Surface Marketing

Christine Puccio
Founder | MxW Associate Producer | WIC Board Advisor

Colleen O’Brien
Armoire | Chief Communications Officer

Evaristus Mainsah
Amazon | VP Advertising

Jeana Jorgenson
Google | Senior Director

Rajiv Kapoor
Chai Angels | Founder

Geetha Gandhi
Global Lead Cloud COE – Digital transformation, Global supply chain @ Avanade

Evaristus Mainsah
Amazon | VP Advertising

Kim Smith (WIC Board Emeritus)
IBM | Global Vice President

Joe Meyer

Joe Meyer
Port of Seattle | Economic Development Manager

Michael Kenney

Michael Kenney (WIC Board Advisor Emeritus)

VP, Business Development | DISCO

Our Team

Olivia Bechthold
Strategic Marketing

Tucker Stine
Communications Strategist

Carolina Berrios
Operations & Economic Development Efforts

Andrea Herrera
Partner Benefits

Marisa Pecoraro
Workforce Development Program Manager

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