Celebrating Women Entrepreneurs and Innovators

Every day, women entrepreneurs and the businesses they lead have a lasting impact on their communities, including those served by the Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council. On Nov. 19, we’ll join the nation in celebrating Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, a global celebration dedicated to honoring and empowering women in business. 

RBTC is proud to be supporting a wide range of local startups — including women-founded companies — through RAMP, the Regional Accelerator and Mentoring Program. 

These women-founded startups are among the companies in western and central Virginia that RAMP has impacted, and they are making innovative marks in a variety of industries:


Lennox McNeary, CEO and Founder

2021 RAMP cohort

Using blockchain technology, ArchiveCore provides healthcare employers “digital fingerprints of authenticity” that instantly verify the certifications held by medical professionals so new hires can start work faster.

Axon Acuity

Tammy Kemp, CEO and Founder

2022 RAMP cohort

Axon Acuity uses artificial intelligence and analytic software to help clinicians match high-risk patients with the right nurse, the right location, and the right resources in near real-time. This ultimately improves patient care and increases operational efficiency.

BEAM Diagnostics, Inc.

Sarah Snider, CEO and Founder

2018 RAMP cohort

BEAM Diagnostics is a digital healthcare company focused on data-driven behavioral health assessments to improve patient care. The first of many planning applications, BEACON is a mobile tablet application that generates a quantitative measure of a patient’s alcohol misuse to a clinician in under four minutes.

Cairina, Inc.

Jenny Munson, Co-Founder

Spring 2023 RAMP cohort

Cairina offers technologies that noninvasively measure biologic fluid flow through clinically standard imaging protocols for personalized medicine applications with the goal of predicting where cancerous tumors will grow and spread.

CodeOne Training Solutions

Allison Shok, Chief Strategy Officer and Co-Founder

Spring 2023 RAMP cohort

An American Heart Association training center, Code One Training Solutions uses technology to teach people to save lives through its BEACON CPR course as well as First Aid, EMT, and EMS continuing education classes, AED sales, and safety consulting.


Alex Hyler, Vice President and Chief Science Officer

2022 RAMP cohort

CytoRecovery is working to allow researchers to separate different kinds of cancer cells found in tumors, helping clinicians with disease understanding, therapy selections, and drug development.

Good Foods Group, LLC

Deborah Good, CEO

Fall 2023 RAMP cohort

Eating up to 6 grams of conjugated linoleic acid per day can help to maintain weight, build muscle, and lose fat. Good Foods Group plans to manufacture bars, shakes, chews, and coffee pods not currently available in the U.S. market that have 6 grams of CLA.


Tara Newberry, Founder

Fall 2023 RAMP Cohort

LymphaVibe provides wearable devices that support the at-home care of patients with lymphedema. Motors in these devices provide customized vibrations that replicate manual lymphatic drainage massages, allowing clinicians to prescribe personalized treatments to patients.

MicroHarmonics Corporation

Diane Kees, COO

2019 RAMP cohort

MicroHarmonics specializes in high-quality millimeter wave products that can be used for a variety of services on mobile and wireless networks. These include millimeter wave isolators operating from 25-400 gigahertz, millimeter wave circulators, and millimeter wave voltage variable attenuators, some of the most technologically advanced millimeter wave products available. 


Jessica Gilbertie, President, Chief Scientific Officer and Founder

2022 RAMP cohort

Qentoros is developing a biologic therapeutic to treat a variety of infectious or inflammatory conditions in animals and humans. The treatment is derived from horse blood platelets to treat chronic infection and encourage tissue healing.

RAMP is an affiliate of Verge, a strategic collaborative that includes the Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council. During the 12-week cohort program, startups receive $20,000 in non-equity funding, expert 1:1 mentoring, free office space with high-speed internet in downtown Roanoke’s Gill Building and more. 

Meet all the entrepreneurs in the Fall 2023 RAMP Cohort and learn more about their enterprises during Demo Day and Tech the Hall on Dec. 6 from 5 to 8:30 p.m. at the University Club of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. RSVP now.

RBTC’s First Annual Women’s Leadership Retreat, “Boxlore,” Empowers and Energizes

Over the weekend, the RBTC hosted their first ever overnight leadership retreat, “Boxlore,” for women in technology. To say it was a major success is an understatement! Over 60 women attended the leadership training retreat to participate in an invigorating mix of professional, personal, and team development at the beautiful Preserve at Crooked Run. Together, women learned to dismantle beliefs that limit true potential and gathered major takeaways on how to become “unboxed” in personal and professional life. 

“This inaugural event for the RBTC’s WoTech group was an incredible experience,” said RBTC Associate Director, Taylor Spellman. “Without the support of our member companies Bank of BotetourtBotetourt CountyLumos, and event partner Innovate Lynchburg this experience would not have been possible.”

The BoxLore program featured storytellers and keynote speakers including WoTech leader Wendi Pannell of Pannell Consulting and Cathie Brown of Innovate Lynchburg

Workshops were facilitated by KickStart Specialists a leadership development and coaching firm owned by Kate Foster and Bob Riley. Kate also served as the event’s keynote speaker. After spending over 20 years advancing through the ranks in corporate America, Kate left her successful career to follow her passion and open a business with the objective of helping people along their path. Her inspiring keynote address explored her belief that life limitations are mostly in our head and if we can change our thinking, we truly can change our world.

“Attending BoxLore was a good opportunity to spend time with other women in business and technology, and to get to know my own colleagues on a more personal level,” said Amy Bayse NorthWinds Technology’s Vice President of Sales and Professional Services.

Hazel Gaines, Project Manager, Security & Risk at NorthWinds Technologies added, “Attending BoxLore was phenomenal! Learning, growing, and relaxing together in an amazing environment was so refreshing. I hope to return again and again.” 

RBTC plans to continue empowering women in tech through their ongoing series WoTech and future leadership events. RBTC Executive Director Erin Burcham commented, “WoTech looks forward to working with partners in the Roanoke and New River Valleys to continue hosting an annual professional retreat each year to further connect the region’s leaders to programming, mentoring and leadership opportunities.”

WoTech includes monthly and quarterly events such as Morning Jolt, Lunch and Learn, and Power Hour.

What to Expect from WoTech in 2023

If you Google “women in technology,” many of the top results provide information about how to support colleagues in tech-based fields.

With monthly opportunities for professional development and social networking – the in-person kind! – WoTech is a safe space to share experiences and learn from others. It’s an opportunity to make new connections with career-oriented women, build each other up, and strengthen the skills needed to grow and thrive in today’s tech world.

“WoTech means a village of women where I can connect and grow, somewhere I don’t necessarily need to pre-explain what’s going on because they are living my experiences as well,” said Wendi Pannell, Vice President of Digital Content Production at Ozmo. “Women and allies that want to see me be successful, where I can also give back, save someone time by sharing my experiences and lessons learned.”

2 Opportunities to Get Involved

RBTC’s Women In Technology has had tremendous growth over the past year and is looking to grow our committee with additional strong women.

We are looking for the following roles:

  • Power Hour Committee Member
  • Committee Chair

These are excellent opportunities to give back to the WoTech community and take on a leadership role. WoTech is an incredibly supportive group that rallies around each other during any season that you are in. Interested in getting involved?

Upcoming WoTech Events

Get ready for a year full of amazing events with WoTech! Check out the first few we have set for 2023!

January 18 – Morning Jolt

January 26 – Power Hour

February 1 – Lunch & Learn

Spotlight on Wendi Pannell, 2022 Regional Leader Award Winner

At TechNite 2022 technology leaders, entrepreneurs, and companies were honored at an awards ceremony for their contributions to the thriving Roanoke-Blacksburg tech sector. Winners included Wendi Pannell, this year’s Regional Leader Award recipient!

Wendi was recognized for her success in the workplace, and her leadership in contributing significantly to the RBTC community. Wendi serves as the chairwoman for RBTC’s Women in Technology (WoTech) committee and is passionate about creating a supportive, empowering space for women in tech. She is a highly accomplished business, technology, and change management leader with a history of transforming operations through a combination of people, processes, and systems.

Throughout her career, she has made an impact in the planning and delivery of large-scale programs and facilitating cross-functional teams to realize new organizational visions. Her superpower lies in communicating insightful, data-driven recommendations that serve as the foundation for progressive change. She demonstrates her passion through coaching, growing, and influencing others in a fast-paced, executional culture, and maintaining high velocity.

She makes time for building the village for women in technology within the New River Valley as well as her three boys, three dogs, and husband in Blacksburg, VA.

Here’s more about Wendi, in her own words.

Where is your alma mater and what did you study?

Virginia Tech, Management Science and Information Technology Class of ’99 

How long have you been a member of/involved with RBTC?

I’ve been a part of RBTC for 3 years. When I moved to Blacksburg, I immediately got involved.

What does it mean to you to win the Regional Leader Award at TechNite?

Holy cow! I am so honored to be on the list with the other nominees and humbled that I was awarded. I am also thrilled that this gives more visibility to my passion around building a village of women in technology. I’m hoping this will afford me more platforms to use my enthusiasm for the continued growth of our technology community right here in our beautiful area.

What inspires you most professionally?

This is a great question! I get inspired everyday by women that are transparent about the good and the bad in their lives, by women that follow their hearts, and those that challenge the status quo. I’m equally inspired by people that stand up for others and constantly lift others up.

All-time favorite hype song?

“Badass Women” by Meghan Trainor is my current wake-up song.

Tell us a fun fact about you!

I have a tattoo of my 3 boys first initials in binary on my wrist, combining my love of data and kids. My husband is still wondering when I’ll add his initial!

Anything else we should know?

I am so excited about the synergy that is happening in our area around technology and biotech. What I would love to see is more of our teams—our hands on keyboards members—at more events. The only way we will build a stronger IT community is to do it together. Leaders, invite your teams to attend more RBTC events, help them find their village, encourage them to step out of their comfort zones, and GROW. 

RBTC Members Contribute $4K in Donations, Swag for Engineering Students

RBTC members are making a difference for students who are the future of the technology industry.

Members of the Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council (RBTC) donated $1,600 to support a talent initiative to keep female engineering students in the region and added another $2,500 in swag donations.

The drive for members of the Hypatia Community at Virginia Tech was facilitated by RBTC’s WoTech (Women in Technology), who helped plan the fundraiser, stuff care packages, and deliver 250 bags.

Hypatia is a residential learning community for women engineering students. 

Delivery day was more than just a drop-off. WoTech members also brought hot pizza and snacks as they were able to interact – in person – with about 100 students the last week of March.

It seems like the message to students was well-received: There is a village in the Roanoke and New River Valleys who care about the future of students and want to work to keep them in our region after graduation through internships and eventually long, successful careers. 

“We were so excited to directly interact with these awesome engineering students as they picked up goody bags, study gear, and sweet swag from our technology partners through the RBTC,” said Lea Hamblin, Employee Development Manager for Ozmo. “Through meaningful conversation, we learned that this is a gap that we need to continue to close in creating strong hiring pipelines in our region. Our hope is to continue to spread awareness and build relationships with our student community along with the RBTC’s continued support.”

WoTech exists to champion and celebrate women and diversity in our region’s growing tech community. The RBTC supports the WoTech Committee by assisting with yearly mentoring, and educational and network programming including Morning Jolts, Lunch & Learn, and the Power Hour series.  

Learn more about WoTech and join us for an upcoming event.

Everything You Need to Know About WoTech

If you Google “women in technology,” many of the top results provide information about how to support colleagues in tech-based fields.

With monthly opportunities for professional development and social networking – the in-person kind! – WoTech is a safe space to share experiences and learn from others. It’s an opportunity to make new connections with career-oriented women, build each other up, and strengthen the skills needed to grow and thrive in today’s tech world.

“WoTech means a village of women where I can connect and grow, somewhere I don’t necessarily need to pre-explain what’s going on because they are living my experiences as well,” said Wendi Pannell, Vice President of Digital Content Production at Ozmo. “Women and allies that want to see me be successful, where I can also give back, save someone time by sharing my experiences and lessons learned.”

What is WoTech?

WoTech exists to champion and celebrate women and diversity in our region’s growing tech community. Our aim is to support and connect women working in technology in any season through mentoring, education, networking, and events.

“WoTech gives me a village and tribe of people that support and encourage the ecosystem of women in technology,” said Katie Beach of Katie Beach Consulting. “This is so important to grow the entire technology sector as well as to support what is still a very small population of the technology workforce.”

WoTech is a space where strong women are encouraged to be their authentic selves and when they rise, they look behind and pull the next one up. It has been a safe space to share fears and failures, as well as celebrate successes. The goal of the group is to see each other grow and offer support along the way.

WoTech Mentoring and Networking

WoTech exists to fill a need in the community.

“We have a focus on women because we as women in IT saw the need to have a dedicated ‘space’ to talk about our challenges and a way to find each other so we can lift each other up,” Pannell said. “Especially in today’s world where we’re not running into each other at conferences or meetings or social events – it’s even more important to not feel isolated, not to stall your growth and an opportunity to make an even bigger impact. While the challenges we face as women in a male dominated space have improved greatly – there are still incredible opportunities to shine a light on what good looks like and challenge the status quo.”

There’s a lot of value in networks that can help you grow and develop in your career and help you feel comfortable within the greater tech community.

“I’ve learned over the past couple years that having a strong network truly does open a lot of doors. In the couple years I’ve been involved in WoTech, I’ve been amazed at how much my network has grown – both in quantity and quality,” said Amanda Smith, Product Manager at Qualtrax. “Not only will you get fantastic advice from women who have conquered some of the obstacles you may be right in the middle of, but you’ll find that each new connection really equates to several. I’m so much more comfortable going to RBTC and other local events knowing that I’ll find a least a couple people there I’ve met through WoTech. Having that strong support system can really build your confidence if you’re new to networking.”

How to Get Involved with WoTech

Getting involved with WoTech is easy. There are monthly opportunities to join in conversations and engage with the community or participate in a networking event.

Many women come to WoTech because they may feel alone in the workplace or like they have experiences that aren’t shared within their current networks. Others attend a meeting or networking event because they want to help get more connected in the constant-growing tech community.

“I really like that the regular events hosted by WoTech vary in style and purpose,” Smith said. “The Power Hour events appeal to those looking to network over a glass of wine, Morning Jolts are more of a casual open forum, and the quarterly events provide relevant content from quality speakers. There’s a nice mix of virtual and in-person options, and you can dip your toes by starting with events that aren’t traditional networking/social style events.”

Upcoming Events

Morning Jolt

  • Monthly coffee chats with relevant conversation and helpful tactics.
  • 3rd Wednesdays each month

Power Hour

  • Social networking filled with fun, new friends, and local spirits.
  • Quarterly (March, May, July, September)

Lunch & Learn

  • Top-notch speakers discussing forefront topics.
  • Quarterly (February, May, August, November)
Stay Connected

All RBTC members are invited to participate in WoTech events. If you aren’t a member or want more information about how to get involved, reach out to us or connect on LinkedIn.

WoTech Events Kick Off New Year

Through WoTech (Women in Tech), RBTC members have two opportunities to network with allies and inspire a new generation of women in technology-related industries.

Save the Date: Morning Jolt

On Jan. 19, we’ll host our first Morning Jolt of 2022. This online coffee chat, held on the third Wednesday of each month, connects women with relevant conversation covering various topics that are important to us. We’ll also have a virtual ‘board’ where you can post jobs, mentor requests and suggestions. Come as you are, liquids in the cup are optional, and jump in when you can!

WoTech Hypatia Care Package Donation Drive

Jan. 19 is also the deadline to donate to an initiative that supports our future colleagues. In collaboration with community partners, we are putting together care packages for engineering students in the Hypatia (Women) living-learning community at Virginia Tech … and we’d love your help!  We are accepting both monetary donations and swag to include in the 260 care packages we expect to hand out to welcome the students back for the Spring semester. 

“Only 22 percent of students in the College of Engineering are women,” says Kim Lester, Director of Pre-College Programs for Virginia Tech’s Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity (CEED). “Historically it’s been a man’s role. If you’re a female and you don’t have female role models you’re not likely to look into that. We honestly get a lot of women in the program because a teacher told them, ‘Hey, you’re really good at math and science.’ And it’s never really dawned on them that they could do that.”

Items to donate:

  • Stress ball
  • Lotion
  • Index cards
  • Pen/markers
  • Gum/mints
  • Push pins
  • Tea
  • Comfy socks
  • Adult coloring books
  • Colored pencils
  • Koozie and water bottle
  • Chapstick
  • Mask
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Granola bars
  • Fruit snacks
  • Money
Future Events
  • Feb. 9 – Lunch & Learn (Blacksburg). This quarterly session features top-notch speakers discussing forefront topics.
  • March 16 – Power Hour (Well Hung in Roanoke). A social networking filled with fun, new friends, and local spirits.

To learn more contact Ashleigh Beasley at ashleigh.beasley@rbtc.tech.