Blog Category: Women in Tech

Audrey Mathis

Let’s give a warm Women in Tech Tuesday welcome to Audrey Mathis, the Director of 311 City Services at Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC). 

Audrey oversees the City of Chicago’s 24/7 non-emergency 311 contact center, the agency responsible for addressing City service requests and offering information regarding city programs, initiatives, and events.

Audrey attended college at the Illinois Institute of Technology, and then accepted a position with the City of Chicago. Over time she worked in several departments with an emphasis on project management and eventually joined the 311 team before being appointed 311 Director nearly nine years ago. Citing the trailblazing astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison as inspiration, Audrey notes that we can create a more inclusive tech industry by advocating for and focusing on STEM programs for women in minority communities beginning in the early elementary school levels. 

Outside of work, you can find Audrey singing, spending time with family and friends, and discussing good reads with her book club. 

Sarah Emas

It’s the last Women in Tech Tuesday of June! To close out this month, we’re recognizing our Senior Salesforce Consultant, Sarah Emas. Sarah manages Catalyst’s 311 product; as such, she engages with users and stakeholders to get their feedback, and then relays their insight to Catalyst’s development team to make the suggested enhancements.   

Since she interacts with clients so extensively, Sarah recalls some of the most influential advice that she has ever received is to never use acronyms in front of the client. She explains that acronyms can confuse clients and make them feel like they’re not making an informed decision. The underlying advice there is to always make clients feel as comfortable, empowered, and knowledgeable as possible, and this is a practice she brings to her day-to-day work at Catalyst.  

Sarah advises fellow women in STEM to speak up in meetings and offer ideas to supervisors in a one-on-one setting. Perceived inexperience can hinder a lot of women from leaning in, but Sarah notes that everyone, including and especially those with a fresh perspective, can be integral to bringing great ideas from idea conception to project closeout. 

Stacey Mansker-Young

Stacey joined the City of Chicago’s Department of Innovation and Technology 18 years ago, where she currently serves as the Deputy Commissioner of Policy, Planning, and Management. In this role, she holds the awesome responsibility of overseeing the Project Management office, Technology Policy Program, Information Technology Strategy Committee, Information Research Services, information and communications, and organizational change management.

Stacey’s career path in technology started during her high school years, in which she participated in STEM programs; she ultimately minored in Computer Science in college. Both experiences allowed Stacey to see first-hand that women were excelling in technology, giving her the confidence and assurance that she could successfully carve out a space for herself in male- dominated industries.In order to instill this confidence in other women, Stacey advises fellow women in STEM to use their voice and positions of power to stand up and empower one another. Advocating for access to STEM education, fostering networks of support, and opening up opportunities to fully lean in are the routes through which we can increase women’s representation in this field. Outside of the office, you can find Stacey volunteering at Ronald McDonald House Chicago with her family, as well as supporting the Glass Slipper Project, Mayfair Academy, Chicago’s Food Bank, and Working in the Schools.

Jenny Huang

Wishing a very happy Women in Tech Tuesday to you all!  We’re delighted to share more about one of Catalyst’s very own, Jenny Huang.  Jenny is one of our beloved Business Analysts, who works with a particular focus on our CHI311 solution for the City of Chicago.  

As a BA for CHI311, Jenny helps develop and implement tailored Salesforce solutions based on business requirements gathered from City of Chicago department leaders. Relatedly, she designs and configures customized digital document generation solutions with Salesforce data using @Congateam software. 

With such tasks, Jenny notes that she learns something new every single day and considers working with the @salesforce platform to be a rewarding experience. In IT, Jenny observes that the new information she learns can be applied almost instantly to make an immediate difference. She also never gets tired of seeing users content with the solutions she and the Catalyst team develop for them. 

Outside of work, you can find Jenny participating in (and winning!) table tennis tournaments, rocking out at karaoke, or biking.   

Cindy Talwar

Welcome back from the long weekend, folks! Believe it or not, it’s Tuesday…#WomenInTech Tuesday to be exact. Today, we recognize our Office Manager, Cindy.  

Cindy handles a variety of accounting functions and general administration in the office to keep the wheels of our firm turning. She is also responsible for the monthly payroll, employee benefits, on-boarding tasks for new team members, and supply inventory. Cindy was brought on board when “temporary” help was needed in 2005…here she is in 2019, as integral to the day-to-day functions of our company as ever! 

Cindy advises women in tech to always believe in themselves and take advantage of opportunities to lean in. 

When she’s not in the office, you can find Cindy at work in her garden, crafting, cooking, and snuggling up with her best furry pal, Toby. 


Nicole Nicholson

We’re back for another #WomenInTech Tuesday feature! Say hello to Nicole Nicholson, who is one of Catalyst’s stellar Project Managers and our Marketing Lead. 

As a PM, Nicole plays a critical role on our City of Chicago 311 modernization initiative. She manages the external/public-facing components of the project, particularly the CHI311 mobile app and the Community Portal available at, keeping the end user and their experiences using our platforms front-of-mind at all times. Internally, she leads the marketing efforts for our firm. In both roles, Nicole leverages the creativity cultivated from her content management and journalism background.  

In fact, Nicole’s background informs her approach to advocating for diversity in STEM. She insists that people who don’t have an educational background in a “pure” STEM field can certainly carve out a place for themselves in this industry. Nicole is a living example of this advice, and she has been a superstar on the Catalyst team for the past 5 years because of it! 

When she’s not in the office, you can find Nicole rock climbing at @brooklynboulders or diving into her next good read. 

Chelsie Gates

Wishing you a happy Women in Tech Tuesday…from Florida! We’re in Sarasota for the 2019 @agccp_311 conference, and today we’re spotlighting one of our Project Managers at the conference, Chelsie Gates. 

Chelsie was driven to work in tech after a printer mishap during her undergraduate years. After a printer inconveniently broke as she was trying to print a mid-term, she knew she wanted to work in the tech industry and do whatever she could to make technology easier to use and understand. 

The accessibility of technology is of the utmost importance to Catalyst and our clients. That said, Chelsie’s commitment to making tech more consumable for folks of all levels of technical sophistication has made her the integral team member that she is.  

Outside of the office, you can find Chelsie traveling back to her native Alabama, as well as spending time with her new puppy, Ollie. 

Alissa Ahn

Happy Women in Tech Tuesday, friends! Today, we’re delighted to share more about one of our Business Analysts, Alissa Ahn. As a BA, Alissa learns more about clients’ business processes, identifies their pain points, gathers requirements for an ideal solution, and employs best practices along the way.  

Alissa recalls that her most memorable experience at Catalyst was the day of her interview. She met with our COO and one of our Senior Project Managers, and the group ended up talking for hours…literally, hours! 

For Alissa, Catalyst came with more than a new job; it came with a family. It came with leaders that challenge our teams. It came with incredibly smart and supportive co-workers. Finally, it came with the opportunity to learn and to innovate in an ever-changing industry. 

When Alissa first started working at a different firm, a former colleague once asked her, “If the lead on your project was out sick, would you need to cancel meetings? Or could you step up to continue the project?” Since then, Alissa challenges herself every day to not fall into a pattern of mediocrity and leans in at every chance to do so. For that reason and many more, we are so grateful to have Alissa onboard! 

Natan Brown

Who’s ready for another #
WomenInTech Tuesday👋🏽 

Today we’re celebrating one of our Front-End Developers, Natan Brown. In Natan’s words, “I make things look pretty with code and imagination.” Her past experiences with graphic design and web development led her to Catalyst, and her work here blends these two talents together. Natan’s favorite things about Catalyst include our team-building events and parties, in-office birthday celebrations each month, and our beloved “Puppy Friday’s.”  

Natan encourages women in STEM to lean into opportunities and say “yes” when the moment presents itself. She boldly states, “Don’t be afraid to be the only woman in the room.” 

Gloria Zhang


Wishing a happy #WomeninTech Tuesday to all, friends! Today, we’re pleased to spotlight one of Catalyst’s brilliant Salesforce Consultants, Gloria Zhang. 

Gloria is a University of Illinois alumna and took full advantage of the University’s renowned STEM programs, curricula, and extracurricular organizations during her time as a student. Now as a Salesforce Consultant, Gloria taps into the technical and analytical skills refined during her undergrad career to customize the Salesforce platform in ways that most optimally support Catalyst’s clients. Gloria has been an integral member of the Catalyst team’s modernization of the City of Chicago’s non-emergency 311 system, and she considers the continuous development and improvement of the project to be one of her most memorable experiences at Catalyst. 

When not in the office, Gloria can be found breaking a sweat at the gym…or the dance machines at arcades! Thank you for sharing with us, Gloria!