Nancy Benovich Gilby, Ehrenberg Director of Entrepreneurship and Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Information, is the first-ever recipient of the Michigan Council of Women in Technology (MCWT) Foundation’s Woman of the Year Award.
She was honored with the award at MCWT’s annual Orange Carpet Gala on November 5 in Detroit. About 550 IT executives and leaders, suppliers and members of the Michigan IT community were in attendance.
Benovich Gilby, a Michigan alumna (BSE CE ’85, MSE CSE ’87) and entrepreneur with 10 successful high-tech startups to her credit, was nominated by students and local entrepreneurs whom she has coached, mentored, advised and taught.
“Professor Benovich Gilby’s many years of accomplishment as an educator, curriculum developer, and mentor in the traditionally male-dominated high-tech space is remarkable and inspirational,” said Cindy Warner, MCWT president. “Her additional contributions in support of female entrepreneurs here in Michigan made her the obvious choice for this honor.”
Benovich Gilby joined the School of Information in February 2014 as its first Ehrenberg Director of Entrepreneurship, after serving as a mentor to Michigan students interested in entrepreneurship for seven years through the U-M Center for Entrepreneurship. She developed the school’s entrepreneurial curriculum for its Bachelor of Science in Information program, which launched in 2014. In addition to coordinating entrepreneurial partnerships with other departments and schools at the university, she has expanded the school’s participation in events such as national competitions, startup treks, networking opportunities and client engagement. Benovich Gilby also serves on the advisory board for the Computer Science and Engineering Division at the College of Engineering.
A native Michigander, Benovich Gilby grew up in working class Warren, just north of downtown Detroit. Although she excelled in math and would become class valedictorian, she didn’t consider the possibility of attending the University of Michigan until a math teacher pushed her to apply.
While an engineering student at Michigan in the 1980s, Benovich Gilby landed a job in Dean James Duderstadt’s office that exposed her to planning and vendor presentations for a computing transition under which all users would move from large multi-user, mainframe systems to next-generation computing workstations. This first-hand view of powerful entrepreneurial thinking had a deep impact on her, igniting her imagination and spurring her to chart her own journey to make change through entrepreneurial endeavor.
“My experiences at Michigan were key to inspiring me and enabling my success as an entrepreneur in the fast-paced tech sector. My focus now is to give back by providing support, encouragement, and that ‘push’ so that more women and entrepreneurs can achieve their dreams,” says Benovich Gilby. “You can do it!”
MCWT launched the award to recognize women in Michigan leading or driving change for other women in information technology careers or fields of study. The nonprofit culled through award nominations to identify the woman who best personified its mission of inspiring and growing women in IT.
MCWT works to broadly reach young girls to get them to consider technology and deeply connects with women who choose the IT path – with the continued support of its 87 partners and 750 members. Find more information at www.mcwt.org and connect via LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube.