Austin Women in Technology President Cheryl Miller leads tech women of tomorrow into unchartered territory.
By Elizabeth Ucles, Photo courtesy of Austin Women in Technology
In her role as president of Austin Women in Technology, Cheryl Miller acts as a mentor for women, a role she has prepared for since she was a girl in Saudi Arabia. While born in Tennessee, Miller moved with her family to the Middle East for her father’s work in the oil industry when she was just 8 years old. There, she gained an interest in technology and began internships in the field.
After graduating from college in Tennessee, Miller briefly lived in Austin before moving to Houston. It was 1990, and she donned a hard hat and steel-toe boots while selling valves for global-engineering equipment manufacturers to chemical and petrochemical plants and refineries. After gaining experience on the Gulf Coast, Miller returned to Austin in 2008 to join her family.
Miller made a transition in her career when she began working at Luna Data Solutions, a women-owned technical-contract-staffing and recruiting-service agency.
By day, Miller works in top-line revenue-business development and offers technology-consulting services to private and public-sector companies, as well as matching talent for clients. Much of this type of work crosses into Miller’s duties as president of Austin Women in Technology, a position she happily took about two years ago.
Miller first became acquainted with the organization in 2010 when she attended a full-day conference. She was inspired by the sessions and knew she wanted to become immediately involved. Shortly after the conference, Miller attended Austin Women in Technology’s recruitment luncheon, where she learned of the group’s mission to connect, learn, grow and lead.
Miller started as a volunteer and shortly after, took on the role as the organization’s venue committee chair for a number of years. In 2016, Miller was asked to serve on the board. Since, Miller has found her true passion is helping women reach success in the technology industry.
“I think it’s really my love of mentoring others that makes this such a rewarding organization,” Miller says. “I love to mentor. I love to mentor here at work. I love to mentor in the organization and give women an opportunity to do things that they might not be able to have exposure to at work.”
In a highly competitive industry, Austin Women in Technology gives its members priceless experience to help them escalate in their respective fields. The nonprofit awards members with high interest by offering a safe place to step up and develop skill sets, regardless of prior promotions.
Since Austin Women in Technology acquired its charter in 2000, it’s gained traction and financial support through a variety of corporate sponsorships.
“I am really just amazed by the overwhelming support that we’re getting from companies that want to show diversity in the workplace,” Miller says. “[They] truly understand how it brings such a higher level of value when you can have a lot of diversity, both cultural and gender, into your organization.”
As a result, the organization’s social-media presence continues to accelerate, creating a platform for its 200-plus members to have access to events and job postings.
As a longtime member of Austin Women in Technology, Miller says her involvement changed her place in the industry.
“It’s a place where everybody in the organization is part of it so they can connect with other women, so they can help other women,” Miller says. “It’s about women helping women.”