A Taste of Technology and Coding for Women

Kenyatta Powers is the Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the Department of Human Services (DHS) in Maryland State Government. Kenyatta has served DHS for over 20 years as both a consultant and an employee in several different leadership positions. As CIO, she functions as a senior-level technology executive combining project management, technical expertise, and business proficiency to develop, execute, and manage strategic, statewide technology projects for the Department.

She is also a speaker and a mentor with a focus on motivation, Guiding Principles in Technology, Professional Development and Leadership. She is an advocate for exposing women, children and the underrepresented to the field of Computer Science and Technology. She aims to increase the number of women and minorities in the digital space by empowering them to become innovators in STEM and by providing resources and opportunities to learn about computer programming and engineering.

In addition to being a mentor in Women in Technology (WiT) and the Departments Mentor Program, Kenyatta consistently mentors and encourages her staff to partake in technological advancements. She spearheaded the Project Management Methodology Transformation initiative which transformed the entire Department from Waterfall to the Agile Methodology. This allowed her to present learning and advancement opportunities for her staff to grow and learn the new methodology as well as the new technology in the Departments Modernization Project.

Kenyatta is also a contributor to the Computer Science Education and Professional Development Findings Report which was requested by Maryland Governor, Larry Hogan. The report provides recommendations to help create innovative and sustainable ways to address gender and racial disparities in the STEM and IT fields. One of the primary goals is to identify disparity gaps, and work with organizations that engage the underrepresented to determine what’s needed to close the disparity gap.

In addition, Kenyatta has developed an Introduction to Information Technology Program that is designed to expose underrepresented youth and parents to the world of Technology. It will provide a platform identifying different IT careers and provide mentors, role models and a plan to continue pursuing an interest in IT. The goal is to provide an environment to motivate and inspire the underrepresented youth to become innovators through targeted exposure programs and mentoring collaboratives.

She is also a member of several Executive Information Technology (IT) Advisory Boards and was recently recognized for Outstanding Leadership in Information Technology. Kenyatta is also a leader in ministry and her passion for empowering and supporting Community Development initiatives through ministry assignments has made her a staple in the community.