About Us

Meet The CMD-IT Team

Valerie Taylor

Valerie Taylor

CEO

Valerie Taylor is the Director of the Mathematics and Computer Science Division and a Distinguished Fellow at Argonne National Laboratory. Her research is in the area of high-performance computing, with a focus on performance analysis, modeling and tuning of parallel, scientific applications.

Prior to joining Argonne, she was the Senior Associate Dean of Academic Affairs in the College of Engineering and a Regents Professor and the Royce E. Wisenbaker Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University. In 2003, she joined Texas A&M University as the Department Head of CSE, where she remained in that position until 2011.

Prior to joining Texas A&M, Valerie Taylor was a member of the faculty in the EECS Department at Northwestern University for eleven years. She is also the CEO & President of the Center for Minorities and People with Disabilities in IT (CMD-IT). Valerie Taylor is an IEEE Fellow, ACM Fellow, AAAS Fellow and has received numerous awards for distinguished research and leadership, including the 2001 IEEE Harriet B. Rigas Award for a woman with significant contributions in engineering education; the 2002 Outstanding Young Engineering Alumni from the University of California at Berkeley; the 2002 CRA Nico Habermann Award for increasing the diversity in computing; the 2005 Tapia Achievement Award for Scientific Scholarship, Civic Science, and Diversifying Computing; the 2018 Outstanding Electrical and Computer Engineering Award from Purdue University; and the 2020 Distinguished Alumni Award in Electrical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.

Valerie E. Taylor earned her B.S. in ECE and M.S. in Computer Engineering from Purdue University in 1985 and 1986, respectively, and a Ph.D. in EECS from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1991.

Chad Ross

Chad Ross

Director of Operations

Chad serves as the Operations Director at the Center for Minorities and People with Disabilities in IT (CMD-IT) and is responsible for the overall operations of the organization. Chad has served his entire career in the non-profit space leading in the departments of operations, accounting, information technology, and human resources. Chad is driven by the business goals of operational efficiency and balanced budgeting. Prior to joining CMD-IT, he was the COO of an international non-profit for six years and the CEO of a private K-12 school for ten years.

Chad holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Informatics with minors in Business Management and Information Technology from Indiana University. He also holds an Associate of Science in Computer Science.

In his spare time, Chad volunteers for other non-profits and plays an occasional round of golf.

Mikeva Nauden

Mikeva Nauden

Tapia Conference Director

Mikeva serves as the Tapia Conference Director at the Center for Minorities and People with Disabilities in IT (CMD-IT) and is responsible for the strategy, planning and execution of the Tapia Conference. Mikeva has over 25 years of experience within the financial services industry leading Application Development organizations, driving innovation and delivery of high-quality technical solutions while managing senior executive relationships and multi-million dollar business portfolios.

Mikeva holds a Bachelor of Science in Information Systems from the Illinois Institute of Technology. Her strong faith in God is the driving force in all that she does. Mikeva and family have a passion for helping others and often perform random acts of kindness, provide food and supplies to the homeless, and regularly support other charitable initiatives, including those within their community and church.

Timika Oridota

Timika Oridota

Senior Program Manager

Timika Oridota is the Senior Program Manager in Consortium of Advanced Science and Engineering at The University of Chicago and Center for Minorities and People with Disabilities in IT (CMD-IT). She is also a Baker University Instructional Design and Performance Technology (IDPT) Doctoral candidate with a research emphasis in virtual reality training tools impacting the self-awareness of empathy in nursing students. Timika is a Board Certified Master Mental health Coach and focuses on the use of technology to inform healthcare training and provide essential impact to survivors of traumatic experiences.

Prior to joining The University of Chicago, she was an EPIC Software Consultant with The University of Kansas Health System and a Learning Design Strategist with the American Academy of Family Physicians.

Sheila McShane

Sheila McShane

Business Development Director

Sheila joined CMD-IT in 2021 and currently serves as the organization’s Director of Business Development. As a seasoned nonprofit leader, Sheila brings a unique blend of business acumen and social impact passion to drive sustainable growth and advance the CMD-IT mission.

Thriving on building meaningful relationships with stakeholders, from corporate partners to other non-profit leaders, Sheila understands that their support drives our success.

With a Bachelor of Arts from Saint Louis University in Education, together with a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion certification from Cornell University, Sheila is crucial in helping craft innovative development strategies aligned with our organization’s goals.

Mitch Dowell

Mitch Dowell

Marketing Director

Mitch serves as the Marketing Director at the Center for Minorities and People with Disabilities in IT (CMD-IT) and is responsible for leading the development and execution of all marketing programs for the organization. Mitch has spent over 27 years working in both small tech start-ups as well as large, matrixed corporations – focused on brand transformation, brand experience, and design. Mitch is driven by the goal of integrating design thinking and audience-centered marketing as a catalyst for meaningful social change.

Mitch holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Science from the University of Maryland Global Campus, graduating with honors, magna cum laude. He also holds a certification from Cornell University in Change Management, and a Professional Certified Marketer Certification (PCM) from the American Marketing Association. He has also spoken at conferences and on TV, radio, and podcasts on topics related to marketing and branding. In his spare time, Mitch volunteers for various non-profits related to indigenous language revitalization and is an avid runner participating in numerous distance races each year.

Shannon Anderson

Shannon Anderson

Staff Administrative Assistant

As a dedicated member of our team, Shannon blends her multi-faceted administrative expertise with a passion for the CMD-IT mission. Her role encompasses essential tasks that keep our day-to-day operations and organization running smoothly.

Her passion for continuous improvement fuels her efforts to streamline processes, enhance efficiency, and enhance stakeholder experience – fostering an environment where everyone can shine. Furthermore, she is passionate about working at CMD-IT because of her strong involvement in the disabled community. Being the parent of a child with autism who has a passion for technology motivates her to collaborate with others and advocate for their inclusion and progression in society. This personal connection fuels her dedication to promoting diversity and accessibility in the tech industry.

Shannon holds a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology from Johnson C. Smith University. Given her background in law enforcement and criminology, she is deeply committed to upholding values of structure, compliance, and integrity in all that she does – driving forward the success and prosperity of both our organization and those we serve.

Get Involved

We invite you to become involved in CMD-IT by becoming a Partner, participating in a Community of Practice, providing resources, or donating.