Our Story

Lift Up MKE

Lift Up MKE a female owned technology company was founded by women with expansive experience in the technology workforce.  Though we are diverse women, we share a common objective, supported by a vast amount of knowledge and experience in different roles and at different levels of leadership and technology.  We each hold deep technical and leadership skills that we want to continue to share and cultivate within the community.   


We have a passion for community, diversity and technology.  These three passions are providing us the drive and support we need to help lift others up within the tech ecosystem.   We are making the community a diverse tech hub by providing diverse and safe tech events and training within the community.  Join us for our meetups, hackathons, and  training programs.

Our Team

Jennifer Ketz, MBA

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Senior Leader and Technologist who partners with executives to solve their problems through technology as an enabler.  After spending nearly two decades working in technology, Jenny has the experience, drive, heart, and passion to bring more talent and diversity to the technology workplace.


Jenny has changed the landscape for women at a MKE Fortune 100 company by partnering to implement the first paid parental leave for the company.  In addition to her parental advocacy, Jenny is a co-founder of a corporate women in technology, WIT, organization where they are changing the way women are recruited and retained in technology.  Jenny is also a strong community volunteer, advocating on behalf of technology and STEM initiatives.


Jenny holds a BS in Information Technology with a minor in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin La Crosse and MBA from Alverno College.   


As a lifelong learner, she is certified in SPC4, PMP, LOMA Level 1, and a recent graduate of RLF (Regional Leadership Forum) and member of SIM. 

Patricia Cabral-Mercado, MBA

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Technology Leader with over 20 years of industry experience in design, development, program management, product management, transformation, and leadership.  A culture catalyst who believes in developing leaders and building strong teams through coaching, mentoring, and empowerment.   Patricia is a strategic leader skilled in partnering with business leaders to develop usable products that align and achieve the business objectives.


Patricia  believes in the importance of having diverse perspectives at the leadership levels and in the significant gains for companies that embrace diverse perspectives.  Our biggest asset is the people and culture we create.


Patricia holds a BA in Information Technology from Marquette University and MBA from Marquette University.  


Patricia is certified in SPC4, and recent graduate of RLF (Regional Leadership Forum) and member of SIM.


Patricia has presented at the Society of Hispanic Engineers (SHPE) and Prospanica.

Our Coaches

Megan Sheffer-Czuta, PhD

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Dr. Megan Sheffer-Czuta is a Business Advisor for Northwestern Mutual (NM). Megan is responsible for managing the executive level relationships within business areas on behalf of the Enterprise and Data Analytics vertical. She works to provide strategic guidance and direction to partners by helping them to identify analytical opportunities with greatest financial benefits. Since joining NM, Megan has successfully led the Digital Analytics Research Team (E.g., web analytics) and the Advanced Analytics Team (predictive analytics).


Prior to joining NM, Megan served as the Director of Clinical Analytics for the Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare System (18 hospitals, three long-term care facilities, and 70 clinics) now part of the Ascension system. 


Megan’s career started out as a research scientist for the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Medicine and Public Health. Her research focused on studying population-based approaches to smoking cessation. 


Megan earned her doctoral degree in Oral Sciences from the University of Iowa and was also awarded a National Institutes of Health Training Grant. She also holds a Master’s in Public Health from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and a Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Megan is a co-organizer of Milwaukee’s Big Data and Advanced Analytics MeetUp and the Midwest Chapter of the Women in Big Data.

Amii LaPointe

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An assistant professor (adjunct+) at MSOE and chair of the UX Industrial Advisory Committee. In these roles, Amii teaches classes, develops curriculum, and works to build relationships with the local, national and international UX communities.

 

Prior to MSOE, Amii was the director of UX at Northwestern Mutual. Throughout her time at NM, Amii worked as a digital workplace (intranet) manager, user experience researcher, and user interface designer. She also worked for a small multi-media company as a lead Web Developer and a human-centered designer at a dotcom company. 


Amii holds a Master of Science in Technical Communication Management from Mercer University (Macon, GA) and a Bachelor of Science in Technical Communication from the University of Washington (Seattle, WA).

Tiffany Dillon

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Tiffany’s technology interest began in high school when she took her first programming class as sophomore. She attended and graduated from UW-Milwaukee with a MIS degree. She began her career as a database application developer at a utility company. She then moved into administering application databases for their customer service system and software deployment for several years.

 

She began at Northwestern Mutual in 2005 as an Application Analyst in Compliance IS and subsequently held roles as team lead for the server team and manager for the Enterprise Security Administration team. She’s currently an Assistant Director of Identity and Access Management at Northwestern Mutual where she leads three teams of engineers with great teams that maintain enterprise identities, access and privileged account management. The teams she manages provide enterprise account access to employees, financial representatives and contractors. She is accountable for driving and supporting access solutions for all digital platforms, all vendors and third-party software solutions. She is also accountable for partnering closely with various Cybersecurity teams.

Tiffany is a mentor with the Executive Women’s Forum (EWF). 


She’s a member of three employee resource groups where she mentor others working on their leadership skills. She’s played the role of Chair and Co-Chair for the United Way campaign. She’s also an active member of United Way’s Technology United organization. She’s an active member of the Women In Tech Community where strives to help put in place strategies to attract and retain women in the technology areas in the company. She regularly shares her technology knowledge on speaking panels and conferences when the opportunity is presented

Allyson Bubb, MBA

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Allyson (Ally) Bubb brings over 20 years of experience mentoring and developing people in the tech sector to her career coaching company, Work Authentically. She integrates first-hand knowledge of hiring and human resources in the corporate realm with proven coaching techniques to teach clients to discover and tell their best story to wow employers. She is passionate about fixing the leak in the technology pipeline by equipping women and non-binary individuals to leverage their distinctive strengths in leadership.


Ally earned a B.S. in Business Administration from Michigan Technological University and a M.B.A. from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She is an entrepreneur, coach, speaker, blogger, and author. You can connect with her at www.workauthentically.com or @workauthentic (Twitter) or @workauthentically (Instagram).

Julie Corduck

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Julie brings over 20 years of experience; with her career starting in the Tech industry as a programmer. For 13 years Julie worked her way through various positions and departments within the technology space; always questioning the ‘why are we doing this?’. Much to the delight of her leadership and peers. Julie followed her passion and moved into an operational process improvement role. 


There, Julie coached, consulted, taught and mentored Lean methodology to all levels of a company. Helping to drive a Lean transformation across an enterprise; creating a culture of empowered employees who make their daily work better. She truly believes that with Respect for Every Individual and Leading with Humility; one can create an open and trusting environment. Julie’s current role is at a Fortune 500 Company. She is helping with the transformation by coaching both the Lean and Agile principles.

 

Julie received her BS in Business with an emphasis in Management Information System. She is also a Six Sigma Black Belt, Certified Scrum Master, and has an equivalent to Lean certification. Julie’s philosophy is “There isn’t a single thing anyone does more during the week than work. So why not make it as productive and painless as possible. Future you will appreciate the effort you put into improvements today

Robert Saffell, CISSP, GRID, CSSP

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I grew up on military bases. In 1998, with very few good options in front of me, I enlisted into the Navy Nuclear Power Program. I became a nuclear reactor chemist and received my operator's license in 2000. I spent 4 of the next 6 years deployed on submarines.


In 2006, I took a job with Intel maintaining electron microscopes in a clean room in New Mexico. In 2007, I jumped on the chance to build a uranium enrichment plant - and that took 5 years. From 2012 through 2015, I contracted with several companies prior to landing at Northwestern 

Mutual, where I spent 4.5 years driving engineering training throughout the company. I joined the National Guard in 2013 as an Intelligence Analyst. I also briefly worked with WMD Response Unit before finally landed in a Cyber Warfare unit in Madison in 2016.


In 2019, I moved on to Rockwell Automation to focus on automation security.

Rolando Rivera

Rolando is an Network Infrastructure Manager at Northwestern Mutual. Rolando is responsible for managing the engineering and operations team to create and maintain Northwestern Mutual’s Network Infrastructure. His roles over the years have spanned administrating and supporting the network infrastructure, to creating and engineering network projects, to leading network engineer teams. He also has consulted in various small to medium size business along with non-project business over the past several years. He has 17 years’ experience in the Network Field along with various volunteers and business ventures’ that leveraged his technical skills. 


Rolando passion is mentoring and teaching the skills and knowledge that he has to growth and develop future leaders inside and out of the technical field.  Rolando holds a BA in MIS and Marketing from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee.