Get to Know Cloud Girls

Our Story

When women in cloud technology come together to learn, empower, inspire and give back, great things can happen. That’s what Cloud Girls is all about.

Cloud Girls was founded in 2011 by Jo Peterson and Manon Buettner, two women in tech that were convinced that cloud technology would be a game changer. Having spent many years in delivering technology solutions to businesses, they were excited by value that cloud could bring to their clients. They wanted to connect with like-minded women. Finding an existing forum where women could meet to discuss cloud technologies proved challenging. Undaunted, Jo and Manon decided to form their own and created Cloud Girls as a home for women focused on cloud to share ideas and strategies.

Today, Cloud Girls is a non-profit organization made up of leading business, marketing and engineering executives in the next-generation technology space. Our conversations focus on cloud, IoT, security, AI, Blockchain and other emerging technologies. We work to educate ourselves, our group and our ecosystem.

One of our primary objectives is to provide thought leadership in our sphere of influence. You’ll find Cloud Girls’ members quoted in the media, serving on technology advisory boards and delivering keynote speeches across the U.S.

We’re devoted to supporting and developing female leaders in the tech industry. We unite under one simple notion—the evolving technology space is much better with women seated at the table and taking part in the conversation.

While we strive to reach forward, we also want to reach back. Charitable giving that enriches and impacts women is a strongly held core value and an integral part the organizational fabric.

Our Mission

Our mission is to unite female technology thought leaders to advance the conversation about cloud and emerging technology solutions through education, collaboration and inspiration for our companies, our customers, ourselves and the next generation of women in tech.

Our Vision

Our vision is to inspire and empower women as thought leaders in the evolving cloud and next-generation technology space.

Our Programs

Among our core values, we believes in Celebrating Success and Giving Back. These values are reflected in two of our programs:

Awards

Every year, Cloud Girls sponsors the “Women to Watch” Awards, which put the spotlight on talented women in the tech space who are advancing and shaping the cloud conversation. The yardstick for measurement is innovation, solution orientation and thought leadership.

Giving

We’re passionate about giving back to our community. Every year, we hold several campaigns to raise awareness, money and in-kind donations for causes that support women and girls. We invite our members, their companies, co-workers, families and friends to join our drives.

Our Board of Directors

Chair of the Philanthropy Work Group

Andrea Blubaugh

Blubaugh, senior IT strategist at BridgePointe, has more than 15 years’ experience facilitating the design, implementation and ongoing management of data center, cloud and WAN solutions. Her reputation for architecting solutions for organizations of all sizes – from Fortune 100 to small and medium businesses (SMBs) – has earned her numerous awards and honors. With a specific focus on the midmarket-to-enterprise space, Blubaugh works closely with IT teams as a true client advocate. As a result, she maintains strong client and provider relationships spanning the length of her career.

Blubaugh also is a board member and Philanthropy Work Group chair for Cloud Girls, a non-profit community of female technology advocates dedicated to education and thought leadership about the dynamic cloud ecosystem. “Cloud Girls has been an amazing organization that has been a privilege to be involved with,” she says. “Being surrounded by incredible women who are top in the industry to share ideas, knowledge and friendships with has been a valuable and rewarding experience.”

Chair of the Communications Work Group

Khali Henderson

Henderson is senior partner at BuzzTheory, a marketing services firm specializing in technology and channel markets. She heads up business development and serves as chief content officer, overseeing programs for a range of technology clients.

Henderson has more than 25 years of marketing, communications and content development experience in the technology industry, and is best known for her leadership as editor-in-chief of Channel Partners, the telecom and IT industry’s leading channel media and events brand. During her career, Henderson also developed and managed marketing communications programs for a range of technology companies and trade associations.

Henderson also is a board member and Communications Work Group chair for Cloud Girls, a non-profit community of female technology advocates dedicated to education and thought leadership about the dynamic cloud ecosystem; a former board member and Communications Committee chair for Alliance of Channel Women, a grassroots organization focused on advancing women’s careers in telecom and IT.  She is a former member of the Board of Trustees for the Telecom Channel Association (TCA), the first non-profit association for the telecom services channel.

Henderson is a frequent industry speaker and author. She is an Xpert columnist for Channel Futures (formerly MSP Mentor) on business, sales and marketing topics impacting VARs and MSPs.

An avid fan of science as well as science fiction, you’re as likely to encounter Khali at Comicon as you are a cutting-edge technology symposium.  Her favorite pastimes are reading and hanging out with her husband, four sons, and their pets, Willy and Tribble.

Officer & Chair of the Finance Work Group

Michelle Hyde

Hyde, is the principal consultant and founder of the Hyde Group. She has more than 20 years’ experience working with clients to overcome network infrastructure and data center challenges. While brokering services, Hyde quickly realized that many sales reps and independent brokers forgo the most important step in generating lasting, scalable solutions: the needs assessment and consulting legwork paramount to delivering meaningful ROI. This void in the marketplace—the absence of true client advocacy—is what propelled her to start and grow the Hyde Group.

Today, Hyde Group works with Fortune 1000 companies in the software development, banking, real estate, fast-moving consumer goods, technology, health care and many others.

Hyde is a certified member of the Washington State Office of Minority and Women’s Business Enterprises (OMWBE). She is a member of Women in Technology (WIT), International Association of Women (IAW), and the Washington Technology Industry Association (WTIA). She also actively serves on the Board of Directors and as Finance Chair for Cloud Girls, a non-profit community of female technology advocates dedicated to education and thought leadership about the dynamic cloud ecosystem.

Hyde has been a featured presenter at industry events held by AFCOM, Datacenter Dynamics, Datacenter Marketplace and others.

Co-founder, Officer & Chair of the Strategy & Brand Work Group

Jo Peterson

A 25-year technology veteran, Peterson is vice president of Cloud Services for Clarify360, a boutique sourcing and benchmarking consultancy focused on transforming technology into business advantage by providing custom, end-to-end solutions from a portfolio of more than 170 suppliers globally.

As an engineer and leading industry expert, Peterson sources net new technology footprints, and is an expert at optimizing and benchmarking existing environments. Her specialty is cloud enablement and optimization. She and her team focus primarily on cloud discovery, cloud planning, cloud migration, hybrid it architectures and cloud optimization and cloud security.

Previously, she held pre-sale technical, sales and management roles with companies, such as MCI, Intermedia/Digex and CenturyLink (formerly Qwest). She holds a master’s degree in business administration with an E-business concentration and a bachelor’s of science degree in Computer Information Systems. Additionally, she has multiple vendor technical certifications.

Peterson is a co-founder of for Cloud Girls, a non-profit community of female technology advocates dedicated to education and thought leadership about the dynamic cloud ecosystem. She serves on multiple provider advisory boards as well as the Channel Partners Editorial Advisory Board.

Peterson has been recognized as one of the leading Women of the Channel by CRN for the last three years (2016-18). She is consistently ranked as a Top 100 Cloud Social Influencer by Rise Global and Top 100 Key Influencer in IoT by Global Data.

As a featured keynote speaker and moderator on topics of cloud enablement, cloud optimization and cloud security, Peterson has spoken to audiences across the nation at premier industry events such Channel Partners Expo, IoT Emerge 2016, IoT World 2017 and 2018, Container World 2017 and 2018, LiveWorx 2017 and 2018.  In 2018, IBM invited her to be a Social VIP Influencer for THINK2018.  She also is a frequent contributor to IDG.

Chair of the Community Work Group

Tamara Prazak

Prazak is director of channel strategy for Flexential, which delivers differentiated core data center solutions of colocation and connectivity, as well as cloud, disaster recovery and professional services. She is responsible for developing and implementing strategy for strategic partnerships along with creating and delivering marketing and sales enablement content for channel partner programs. During her tenure at Flexential, Prazak helped to create and build the indirect channel program within the company, which now accounts for a significant portion of the company’s bookings. She has been with Flexential for six years, and has nearly 20 years of experience in technology and marketing.

Prazak is a member of the Board of Directors and Chair of the Community Work Group for Cloud Girls, a non-profit community of female technology advocates dedicated to education and thought leadership about the dynamic cloud ecosystem.

Prazak has a business administration degree from University of Illinois, and when she’s not working she enjoys spending time with her family and running.

Chair of the Membership Work Group

Laura Romero

An accomplished technology sales and channels professional, Romero brings more than 20 years of experience developing highly successful partner programs and global partnerships driving revenue of cloud, managed services and enterprise solutions.  She is currently responsible for the Global Partners & Alliances team and strategy for Plex Systems, a cloud-based manufacturing ERP and MES solution.

Previously, Romero engaged and managed successful partnerships for Taleo, driving channel revenue from emerging recruiting module solutions for SMB and enterprise markets. As a senior director at OpSource Inc., an enterprise cloud and managed services hosting provider, Romero produced 50 percent of the company’s revenue through the channel, enabling SaaS, ISVs, cloud platform vendors, telcos and distributor partners.

Romero earned multiple promotions over more than a dozen years with Oracle, charting wins in sales, business development and alliance and channels roles, and delivering more than $150 million in revenue.  As a senior leader in the Worldwide Alliance & Channels organization, Romero managed relationships with key global alliance partners Accenture, Adobe, CheckPoint Software and Symantec and captured significant revenue for database security and identify management products through the development and growth of partner ecosystems for enterprise security, governance, risk and compliance ISVs.  Prior to Oracle, Romero sold software for Triad Systems, a maker of solutions for automotive after-market retailers.

Romero’s partner and customer industry expertise extends across multiple verticals and sectors, including cloud platform, consulting and development, distribution and resellers, telcos, security, public sector and higher education.

When she’s not crisscrossing North America to build partner relationships, you can find Romero exploring emerging markets and technical trends, advocating best practices/reference architectures, and building community consensus about the vast and dynamic cloud ecosystem as an active member of Cloud Girls, a non-profit community of female technology advocates. She currently serves on the group’s Board of Directors and is Chair of the Membership Work Group.

She is also passionate about raising money and awareness for animal welfare and cancer research causes and is a Founding Member and Board Director of the Terry Patters Memorial Foundation Inc., supporting the UCSF Melanoma Center and previously, the Melanoma Research Foundation. Through these efforts, she has contributed to more than $200,000 raised for melanoma research.  She has previously served as Team Captain supporting the annual Avon Foundation Walk for Breast Cancer and continues to donate this cause as well as others.

Officer & Chair of the Operations Work Group

Michelle Ruyle

Ruyle is founder and CEO of Optimized Channel, where she leverages 20 years in channel technology sales to expertly guide SMB and midmarket clients to build, scale and optimize their cloud sales channels. Optimized Channel’s team of industry veterans assesses or defines a company’s channel strategy, enhances partner collaboration, and designs and implements a strategic business plan that expands channel revenue to achieve growth targets.

Through her prior senior channel sales roles with IBM, CenturyLink and XO Communications, Ruyle has cultivated high-value partner ecosystems that drive revenue growth of enterprise and SMB solutions across multiple verticals. Crediting her success to a maniacal focus on the customer, Ruyle has delivered multimillion-dollar sales results selling through, to and with partners, as well as driving adoption of innovative services, including cloud, AI, IoT, networking, security, voice and infrastructure solutions.

Ruyle is a founding member of Cloud Girls, a non-profit community of female technology advocates dedicated to education and thought leadership about the dynamic cloud ecosystem. Today, she serves as an Officer, Board Member and Chair of the Operations Work Group for the non-profit organization.

Chair of the Event Planning Work Group

Kedra Simm

Simm, director channel programs at Ciena, is a cloud partner and channel manager with extensive experience in the service provider industry worldwide. She is leading the efforts at Ciena in building the partner program incentives and expanding to new system integrators and alliance partners.

Simm has a background in engineering working across diverse industries from food production to hardware development to software solutions driven by the desire to constantly learn and build innovative programs and initiatives.

She spent more than 8 years at VMware designing and building the VMware Service Provider Program (VSPP) for more than 10,000 partners. When she is not creating channel awareness, Simm enjoys wandering new cities, playing golf and studying wine.

Simm is a member of the Board of Directors and Chair of the Event Planning Work Group for  Cloud Girls, a non-profit community of female technology advocates dedicated to education and thought leadership about the dynamic cloud ecosystem. She says being involved with Cloud Girls has been a wonderful source of inspiration and support for the past six years. “It’s great to have a group of like-minded individuals to bounce ideas off of and draw energy from.”

Our Members

Our membership roster includes women in tech with a range of roles – from sales and marketing to engineering – and a range of experience – from ambitious millennials to global leaders. Our common bond is our evangelism of cloud and emerging technology solutions and a commitment to lifelong learning.

Our Advisory Council

In 2018, Cloud Girls formed an Advisory Council of senior executives who focus their experience and influence on the group’s long-term intiatives, such as sponsorship and mentorship. The inaugural council members include:

Manon Buettner

Buettner is Principal and CEO of Nuvalo, a cloud enablement firm specializing in discovery, planning and migration initiatives for enterprises worldwide. She founded Nuvalo in 2010 parlaying her experience designing and selling infrastructure, colocation and managed services solutions for Qwest, AboveNet and Bay Networks.

Buettner is a contributing writer, educator, adviser and popular featured speaker at cloud, data center and network trade events including Channel Partners and Datacenter Dynamics.

She is co-founder of Cloud Girls and a former board member. She also is a member of Washington Technology Industry Association (WTIA), 7x24 Exchange, Women in Technology (WITI), and National Association of Professional Women (NAPW).

Pam Casale

Casale is a strategist and storyteller working with B2B tech companies serving medium and large enterprise companies. Her career includes executive positions at CSC (now DXC), Dimension Data Cloud, Intellitactics and Legent.

She puts her direct experience with dozens of technologies and companies to work to improve her clients’ go-to-market strategies and tactics as the leader of an on-demand team of creative and insightful professionals at ASAP Marketing Services LLC.

ASAP clients deliver a range of technologies, including containers, microservices, data protection and preservation, hybrid clouds for mission-critical applications, leading-edge analytics solutions, service management and new-age email services platforms.

Casale also hosts “From the Road,” a digital manual on tech marketing, featuring blog posts and podcast episodes.

Tina Gravel

Gravel is and award-winning executive with more than 25 years of experience in the IT outsourcing, cloud, security and SaaS industries. She now serves as Senior Vice President of Global Channels for CyxteraTechnologies, which offers an integrated, secure and cyber-resilient infrastructure platform for critical applications and systems.

Previously, she previously served as Senior Vice President of Global Channels and Strategic Alliances for Cryptzone, a Cyxtera Business, and before that was General Manager and Vice President for Dimension Data’s cloud services business in the Americas.

Gravel received the Cloud Girls’ Trailblazer Award in 2017 for her work in cloud computing and was named one of the “Women in the Channel” by CRN.

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