How Shana Glenzer became a DC tech leader - Technical.ly DC

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Sep. 4, 2015 9:15 am

How Shana Glenzer became a DC tech leader

Glenzer earned her tech chops with marketing gigs at successive tech firms, Blackboard, Social Radar and now Aquicore. But she built her network through meetup hustle.

Shana Glenzer is a frequent commentator on FOX Business.

(Screenshot via foxbusiness.com)

With her recent move to Aquicore, Shana Glenzer is in some ways coming back full circle.

The startup, which makes technology to monitor utilities usage in buildings, is based out of 7th Street, just a couple of blocks north of Blackboard’s Massachusetts Avenue digs.

That edtech giant is where Glenzer, 34, a familiar leader in #dctech, first cut her teeth in the tech industry. She rose rapidly through the ranks until she became regional sales manager for mobile solutions and negotiated a major deal with a network of more than 23 colleges.

In 2013, Blackboard cofounder Michael Chasen left to launch a geolocation-based social platform called SocialRadar.

Buzz was a vital part of the business plan, and Glenzer soon joined him as VP of social marketing.

“When SocialRadar was building this consumer app,” said Glenzer, “strategic marketing and advertising and PR” were essential to its success. But in May, SocialRadar pivoted to produce a geolocation toolkit for developers.

“Selling to app developers is a very different game, and it’s a lot less about marketing strategy and execution and a lot more about direct sales,” said Glenzer.

In a way, leading Aquicore’s marketing efforts still fits in with Glenzer’s career trajectory.

“My background of marketing disruptive technology in a very kind of old-school industry … was something that I experienced at Blackboard,” she said.

Glenzer will also bring to Aquicore the network and visibility that she has built over the years by becoming an ubiquitous figure in D.C. tech circles.

She’s an event organizer and connector and startup scene staple. TV-ready, passionate and well-spoken, she’s started to show up on the cable news circuit, a kind of tech spokeswoman beyond just the companies she is representing. A native of tiny York, Pa., and a graduate of tinier Messiah College, it was the edtech sector that helped bring her to DC. After climbing Blackboard, she got involved in the community by way of becoming a DC Tech Meetup regular in late 2012, back when the four-and-a-half-year-old institution was being regularly held at the Sixth & I synagogue.

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“Just two blocks from Blackboard,” said Glenzer. “It was just really easy for me to hop over there.”

The following year she met Stephanie Nguyen, whose startup Silica Labs was then based out of SocialRadar’s offices on 19th Street (located in Blackboard’s first office building, where the company is set to move back later this year).

The two women sought out ways to stay current on the surging D.C. tech event circle.

“We were just talking about women-in-tech things,” said Glenzer. Soon, they created their own antidote to the FOMO.

In 2014, they launched DCFemTech, an umbrella organization for local women-in-tech groups.

They then approached DC Tech Meetup organizers Peter Corbett and DJ Saul of iStrategyLabs, offering to organize a special women-in-tech edition. Soon after that, Glenzer and Nguyen became co-producers of the entire event series, which has now racked up more than 13,000 members on Meetup.com and is the prototype that oh so many local tech meetups follow today.

Glenzer first came in contact with Aquicore when the company was awarded $122,500 from the Digital DC Tech Fund, an initiative by former Mayor Vincent Gray to encourage the creation of a tech corridor in Shaw. She introduced the October DC Tech Meetup at which Gray announced the eight grantees.

“My favorite part of all this is just, I feel like I’m most good at being a connector,” said Glenzer. Like businesses, for communities someone has to do just that.

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