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Founding Story


Rachel Wilkins Patel is a creative technologist and educator who founded HER Ideas in Motion in 2010 to raise awareness about the need to encourage girls to pursue 21st century digital careers. Like girls in our program, Wilkins Patel had an early start in an underserved area outside of Cleveland, Ohio. She aligned a technical career with her technical arts education and began teaching girls to do the same. Wilkins Patel credits her success to quality teachers, artists and scientist who encouraged a self-exploration of math, technology and creative application. Wilkins Patel started her career as an analyst for engineering firm in Cleveland. She has helped shape STEAM outreach for multiple firms over her career, developed curriculum and trained other technologists to increase the participation of minorities in digital technology programs.

Wilkins Patel is currently a program manager at Google and serves as an advisor for the Center for Arts Inspired Learning. Wilkins Patel is an alum of Hollins University.

She received a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and a Master of Fine Arts in Screenwriting and Film from Hollins University.

HER Ideas in Motion was made possible by the professional technical mentors who gave of their time and talents to support the next generation of female leaders in technology. You can read a few of their stories on this spotlight blog.

Founding members who became vital contributors to the mission of HER Ideas in Motion and made the work possible include:

Founding Board Members:
Nicole Capuana, Chrissy Freeman, Carol Johnson, Andrew Laytin, Ajay Patel, Samantha Wright Wolfort, Lateefah Burns, Neha Dwivedi, Maya Lindenmuth, Rachel Lopez, Leslie Marcuse, Cassie Milicia, Keelin O'Neill, Lauren Rafferty

Community Leaders
Toby Alfred, Managing Director, Head of Customer Acquisition Direct to Consumer Lending at Goldman Sachs
Megan Barrett, Information & Technology Literacy Specialist, Cuyahoga County Public Library
Miriam Bennett, Professor, Media Arts & Studies, Cuyahoga Community College, Filmmaker at Moving Studios
Beth Berland, Community members, Orange School District
Nanci Coleman, Administrator, Cuyahoga Valley Career Center
Marsha Dobrzynski, Executive Director, Arts-inspired Learning
Nana Easter, CMSD, Warner Leadership Academy
Heather Havre, Dean, Laurel School
Raeann Hess, Chic Photography Studios
Danyll Jones Lockhart, Director of Programs, Great Lakes Science Center
Karen Leak, Early Career Engineer Development Manager, Rockwell Automation
Tiffany Rowan, Educator, Cleveland Heights Schools
Lynn Major, Business Leader, Progressive Insurance
Rebecca Ranallo, Information & Technology Literacy Manager, Cuyahoga County Public Library
Jon Stahl, CEO & President, LeanDog
Audrey Staton-Thompson, CMSD, Warner Leadership Academy
Marc Theodore, Operations Manager, thunder::tech
Stephanie Walters, Vice President, Falls Communication
Bruce Williams, Data Team Manager, thunder::tech