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Power Through Diversity

Jeanne Glass and Lisa Wood
Jeanne Glass (left) and Lisa Wood (right) are dedicated to delivering new levels of diversity within the mainframe platform. Photo by Alex McKnight

Addressing diversity on the mainframe and increasing the platform’s relevance is top of mind for many organizations, and VirtualZ Computing is no exception. VirtualZ is the first Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)-certified mainframe ISV. Jeanne Glass founded the company with the help of several co-founders, including Lisa Wood.

Both Glass and Wood are dedicated to delivering new levels of diversity within the mainframe platform. “Creating a women-owned business was important to me from the start,” Glass says. “The basis of VirtualZ was to become a women-owned business. Myself and all of our co-founders were equally committed to creating a diverse organization based on our women-owned certification.”

Becoming a WBENC-certified company was an important personal step for both women. This certification opens opportunities for VirtualZ to attend events for several WBENC divisions around the country, but there’s more to it. “My nieces and their kids have two founders of WBENC-certified companies in the family—my sister and I,” Glass says. “It’s important for the generations behind us to grow up with us as examples.”

For Wood, the WBENC certification has led to stirring dialogue between VirtualZ and other companies and suppliers. “We’ve met with billion-dollar companies and had conversations about the real value that women-owned businesses bring to their organizations and bottom line procurement metrics,” she says. “This dialogue was incredibly inspiring.”

VirtualZ was built on relationships that extend back to the 1980s. Glass collaborated with former connections from Broadcom (formerly CA Technologies) Marc Sokol, Vince Re and Mark Combs—all of whom contributed to the company’s roadmap and became co-founders of VirtualZ. Together, the companies' leadership have a cumulative 150 years of mainframe experience.

For VirtualZ, increasing diversity is one of the most effective ways to better the mainframe platform. “The mainframe industry wants new solutions to old problems, and a broadening of the customer and application base,” Wood says. “The data is showing that having diverse teams is a way to outperform and out-innovate.” One research study (bit.ly/2rFFwAK) shows that companies with more diversity in their teams end up with 19% more revenue on average, she notes.

Ultimately, VirtualZ’s mission is to give IT leaders the freedom to ignite and power the mainframe through increasing diversity on the platform and reshaping the way people think about mainframe optimization. “We’re a privately held, women-owned software company that loves the mainframe,” Glass says. “Our mission is personal to us, our aspirations are foundational and we’re proud of them.”

Keelia Estrada Moeller is the managing editor of IBM Systems magazine, IBM Z


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