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Here are some heartening statistics for women in technology: Women now make up more than half of new computer science graduates and junior developers entering the workforce, according to a March 2018 study from tech recruiting company HackerRank. Women under 25 are also 33% more likely to study computer science than those who were born before 1983, according to the study.
While these are certainly steps in the right direction, currently only about a quarter of professional computing jobs are held by women, according to the National Center for Women & Information Technology. Boosting this percentage will not only benefit the perception of women in tech, it will help meet the anticipated future demand for computer science professionals. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates 1.1 million computing-related job openings in the U.S. by 2024, but more than two-thirds of these jobs could go unfilled due to the insufficient pool of college graduates with computer-related degrees.
Hospitality Technology’s third annual Top Women in Restaurant Technology awards honor women from both restaurants and technology suppliers who have been making their mark in a male-dominated industry. These professionals are recognized for outstanding achievement in helping to reimagine restaurant processes and operations while demonstrating excellence in leadership, inventiveness and skill.
This year’s winners have all demonstrated incredible passion and accomplishments that will inspire the IT professionals of today and tomorrow. It is with great pride that Hospitality Technology, with sponsorship by 7Shifts (www.7shifts.com), introduces the 2019 Top Women in Restaurant Technology.
The Accidental Restaurant Tech Executive
Laura Rea Dickey, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit
Laura Rea Dickey didn’t plan for a career in restaurant technology. “This career path really chose me, not the other way around.”
Early in her career, she was able to learn, adapt and make an impact earlier by embracing all things digital. Opportunity, a curious mind and the desire to jump into an emerging, changing field created her path.
Now the CEO of Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, Dickey says she’s most proud of piloting Smokestack, Dickey’s proprietary data warehousing system. “Smokestack has significantly impacted the business and has allowed us to utilize insights effectively and strategically for the past seven years,” she says. She is also proud of launching Dickey’s proprietary point-of-sale system, which was created with the end user in mind. “Our POS meets our transaction coverage needs while also integrating our full technology suite — online ordering, third-party delivery, direct delivery, our catering CRM system, our loyalty program, our digital Ops forms and our data warehouse,” she says.
Dickey is passionate about data. “Insights drive business success,” she says. “Good data and the commitment to use it can be a huge catalyst for success and truly has been for our brand.”
Looking at 2019 and beyond, Dickey is optimistic about the impact IoT and AI will have on restaurants.
“I believe connection and automation, for example in kitchens or order processes or even scheduling, allows restaurant team members to redirect their time and efforts back to quality and culinary innovation.”