Powerful Women in Consumer Technology 2019: Jennifer Danko
To see the full 2019 class of Powerful Women in Consumer Technology, please check out the program's home page.
Title: Vice President of Technology
Company: Nationwide Marketing Group
Tell us a little about your career history.
I started as an office manager for an independent appliance and electronics retailer. My first major project was to research and implement a point-of-sale software program. Two years after implementing this software program, I transitioned to work for the software company. I was offered the opportunity to work remotely, and for 10 years, I worked closely with retailers in the appliance, electronics and furniture categories to integrate the software into their businesses. During this time, I learned additional programming languages with the intention of connecting the point-of-sale information to a website. In 2007, I transitioned into web development full time and built a website platform that would specifically serve the needs of retailers in the home goods categories. I officially started Site on Time in 2008. We became a vendor partner for Nationwide Marketing Group as a website provider in 2011. A few years later, I added digital marketing to our service offerings, and we earned our Google Partner badge. In December 2017, Nationwide acquired Site on Time and has made major investments in our organization to continue to advance and build on the technology and the team.
What attracted you to a career in consumer technology?
The flexibility that technology gave me to stay connected to clients all over the country while working remotely. I could raise a family and still enjoy a rewarding career.
I am problem-solver by nature, and the ability to understand and implement technology to help make businesses run more efficiently or to help them advertise smarter motivates me every day. I truly love what I do.
Additionally, the power of technology allowed me the opportunity of building a business serving retailers all over the country. I could connect, communicate and coordinate with retailers just as efficiently and in some cases more than if I were at their business. Email, remote desktop software, chat and video conferencing made it possible to stay connected to each of my clients and provide answers and solutions faster than even local service providers could offer.
What are the best initiatives available to attract women to careers in technology—and what hurdles are left to overcome?
Initiatives that give women the option to work remotely, either full-time or part-time. Saving commute times and offering more flexible work hours attracts more women to consider careers in technology. It helps us to find better work/life balance that we all struggle with.
Initiatives for education opportunities to train more women to pursue careers in technology and to advance their careers. Technology advances every day and continued education and certifications are key to staying relevant.
Hurdles we still need to overcome are more opportunities for women in technology and exposure to more leadership roles. Creating more networking groups and leadership development training for women can help us to overcome these hurdles. This was in part why I helped form the initiative WIN (Women in Nationwide). I wanted to help encourage and develop more women leaders in both technology and business management.
What accomplishments are you most proud of in your career?
Building a company that I was able grow and ultimately sell is one of my proudest moments. Having another company recognize the value of something that you built and believe that it’s an asset is both a proud and rewarding moment.
I was also part of creating something that helps independent retailers compete locally against national chains. This a community of hard-working, smart and nimble retailers. and I am proud to both serve and partner with them to build the technology they need for continued success.
Last, but not least, being asked to join the Nationwide Marketing Group team. I am proud to serve our members alongside this amazing and committed team. Almost two years after officially becoming a part of the NMG family, I am prouder than ever to be a part of this organization. After more than 20 years of working independently or with a small team, it’s amazing to be a part of a large team that shares the same core values and goals.
Any closing thoughts you’d like to share?
I sincerely hope more women will consider a career in technology. I think we bring a different perspective and point of view that is much needed in tech positions. This has been an exciting industry to be a part of and if I had to go back more than 20 years ago, I would choose this career again. It is both rewarding and challenging to be part of a community of people that are always trying to find ways to improve efficiency, speed and accuracy of daily tasks or more innovative ways to connect with customers. We are always learning new ways to process information faster so that we can quickly improve how we manage all aspects of our business. It hasn’t always been easy, but it’s been worth it.