Wednesday, June 21, 2017 | 2 a.m.
Women in Las Vegas’ technology sector were honored this month at the fourth-annual Las Vegas Women in Technology Awards at Fresh Wata.
Ruth Hedges, chief executive officer and founder of TheGCCWorld.com and executive producer of the Global Crowdfunding Convention, was honored as High-Tech Woman of the Year, the evening's top award.
The award came as a surprise to Hedges, who attended the ceremony with her daughter, who happened to be in town that day.
“I was shocked … This was not planned and I didn’t have a speech ready or anything,” Hedges said. “All of a sudden they announced it and said it was equivalent to the best picture of the year at the Academy Awards, and then there was my picture on the screen.”
Working in the software industry since the early dot-com days, Hedges has focused on crowdfunding for the past few years. She even helped pass a bill through Congress that facilitates securities-based crowdfunding.
“I built a piece of technology called Crowdfunding CRM, which is a marketing automation system, a social media platform and a crowdfund planning tool,” Hedges said. “When you want to put together a crowdfunding campaign, it walks you through how to do that through a virtual vault and a planning tool.”
Crowdfunding CRM allows users to store all their content for when they’re ready to go to a Kickstarter or equity platform. Everything is there and ready to go to start raising money for their project.
Hedges is planning the next edition of the annual Global Crowdfunding Convention at Planet Hollywood in October.
“This is a gathering of the best crowdfunding industry leaders who have helped build this industry to $16 billion last year,” she said. “We put on this convention to educate people, because the average person doesn’t know anything about the industry … and we’re trying to get more of that money to come to Vegas. There are lots of companies here who know nothing about this who are trying to raise capital.”
Hedges was proud to among the women honored at the ceremony.
“It was very inspirational to see all these women there,” she said. “We need to continue to grow in this and expand these programs and gather more women in technology. We need to become a destination for women to come here and set up their technology companies.”
Other award winners included:
High-Tech Entrepreneur, Shannon Wilkinson, president and co-founder of Axiom Cyber Solutions.
High-Tech Mentor, Penny Grandon, senior manager of MTC Operations at Cox Communications — Southwest Region.
High-Tech Community Service,Sonia Petkewich, founder and CEO of Taurean Consulting Group.
High-Tech Rising Star, Heather Parks, CEO and Principal Consultant at Healliam Inc.
Twelve local female high school students also took home National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT) Aspirations in Computing Program awards.