Professional Development

Super Power Moves: The top 9 leadership changes of #dctech in 2021

It was a year of shifts in leadership at some of the DC's area's top tech companies and organizations. Let's look back at some of the most noteworthy moves.

Current and former Byte Back CEOs Joe Paul and Elizabeth Lindsey.

(Courtesy photos)

In a year known for The Great Resignation, there are plenty of people in DC making changes in their day-to-day roles.

Every month or so, we round up some of the top changes among the community in what we like to call Power Moves. But as we reflect on the year as a whole, we like to round up some of the best of the best from the DMV’s technologists to highlight what’s changed on the scene.

Here are nine (well, really 14) of the biggest leadership changes in DC tech in 2021, arranged in chronological order:

Ximena Hartsock left Phone2Action.

After eight years at the Arlington, Virginia civic tech firm, Ximena Hartsock left the company she cofounded in January to start a new venture. Since she started the firm with Jeb Ory in 2012, the company grew to reach more than 1,000 clients in public affairs, government relations and advocacy, with 65 million users. In May, Steven Schneider of Logi Analytics was appointed CEO in May to succeed Hartsock. Then, in July, the company appointed Adrian Muniz as CFO and Mikhail Opletayev as its new CTO. Muniz comes to the position also from Logi Analytics, while Opletayev was previously the VP at Higher Logic and Real Magnet.

Phone2Action Founders Jeb Ory and Ximena Hartsock. (Courtesy photo)

Michael Parker, a 20-year exec, took over Beltway operations for Comcast.

Comcast’s Michael Parker (Courtesy photo)

In January, media giant Comcast named Michael Parker, who had been with the company for two decades, as the senior VP and top exec of its operations in the region, including DC, Maryland, Virginia, and parts of Delaware, North Carolina and West Virginia. Ahead of his appointment, Parker’s previous role was the senior VP of the company’s Keystone Region, which included Ohio and Pennsylvania in addition to Maryland and West Virginia.

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Kevin Hanes became the CEO of Cybrary.

Kevin Hanes (Courtesy photo)

In June, College Park, Maryland cybersecurity training org Cybrary gained a new CEO: Secureworks alum Kevin Hanes. Hanes had spent eight years in his previous role before landing the new position, and he told Technical.ly that he planned to accelerate the company’s growth and hone in on its cybersecurity focus. This year, Cybrary also added 600 cybersecurity apprenticeships to its network.

“I want to be the destination where if you’re a learner or if you’re a business and you need to get skilled up in cybersecurity, you come here,” Hanes told Technical.ly at the time.

Olga Osaghae took over as interim CIO at Howard University.

Olga Osaghae (photo via Linkedin).

While it’s an interim role, Osaghae had plenty of experience to lead the university’s IT department. After 13 years, she headed up enterprise technology services at Howard, managing anything from IT strategy to network opps and budgeting. In October, she also led the school through the unexpected challenge of a cyber attack that left it offline for days (some extra bragging rights, Osaghae was also the CTO of the year in our 2021 Technical.ly Awards in DC).

Penny Lee was named the first CEO of the Financial Technology Association.

Penny Lee. (Courtesy photo)

This summer saw the creation of a brand new position for the industry interest group the Financial Technology Association: CEO. Well-known DC connector Penny Lee took on the task. She was the former chief strategy officer at prominent local startup incubator 1776, chair of angel investment group K Street Capital and public affairs lead at Invariant, a D.C. government relations firm. In the new role, she announced plans to uphold and further develop standards that ensure fintech is inclusive and equitable.

“[We’ll be] finding opportunities to champion these issues, and continue to champion the notion that more diversity on your boards increases actual profitability,” Lee told Technical.ly. “More diversity encourages diversity of thought, which can only improve how you run your company.”

Ryan Ross departed Halcyon, but the incubator gained Dahna Goldstein.

Dahna Goldstein. (Courtesy photo)

At the end of July, Ryan Ross, chief innovation officer at Georgetown incubator Halcyon, stepped down from his role to take on a new position at Amazon Web Services, though he said he’d be the point of contact between the two companies. In response, Halcyon bumped up Dahna Goldstein, who joined the company in February as its first director of impact investing, to the new role of chief investment officer. This fall, the incubator also brought on Kraft alum Martha Metz as its board chair.

Kelcey Reed joined Opportunity@Work as CTO.

Kelcey Reed (Courtesy photo)

In August, Opportunity@Work, a downtown DC nonprofit focused on creating job opportunities for employees without college degrees, named Kelcey Reed as its new CTO. Reed replaced interim CTO Julie Elberfeld, a former Capital One executive with a passion for D&I initiatives. In the new gig, Reed told Technical.ly that he wanted the company to develop an API-centric system to help users better understand the workforce, job market and skills employers are seeking today. Once the system was created, he said, the organization could follow through on his plans to scale and expand into new markets faster.

Black Code Collective founder Taylor Poindexter joined the Spotify team.

Taylor Poindexter (Courtesy photo).

Black Code Collective cofounder Taylor Poindexter took on a new role as engineering manager at music streaming service Spotify. Crediting Twitter with connecting her to the new gig, Poindexter noted that she actually began her career in IT consulting before moving around to various tech roles in the DMV.

“My job hunt was made infinitely better by the amazing people on Twitter,” she wrote. “Complete strangers jumped to assist me in any way they could & it paid off ten fold. I will forever be grateful for this amazing community & I look forward to continuing to grow with you all.”

Byte Back lost (and then found) a CEO

Joe Paul and Elizabeth Lindsey. (Courtesy photo)

In March, longtime Byte Back CEO Elizabeth Lindsey left the NoMa digital literacy nonprofit for a role at national youth development nonprofit Urban Alliance (though she notably stayed in DC, as Urban Alliance is based in Dupont Circle). After a months-long search, the organization officially appointed Joe Paul in September, the former executive director of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.

While he’s new to the role, Paul told Technical.ly at the time that he had tons (nine pages, to be exact) of plans for how to expand Byte Back’s footprint nationally.

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