About

WITops is dedicated to developing knowledge and practical techniques to help technology companies engage and retain women and other diverse persons. We build actionable tested processes, techniques, guidance, measures, and educational games or other ways to encourage change and increase success for women at work. All that we do is grounded in a deep understanding of women’s lives and work experience.

WITops started with a set of dedicated volunteer professionals. Grass roots volunteerism is core to our approach to involve the industry in co-creating change. We partner with individuals, organizations, universities, and companies dedicated and passionate about helping women in technology thrive. By donating time and financial support we can make change as a STEM community.

WITops is a non-profit 501(c)(3) founded in 2018. Tax exempt status is pending.

Karen Holtzblatt is a noted technology thought leader, speaker and author. She founded WITops in 2018 to address the declining numbers and satisfaction of women in technology professions and other STEM careers.

Karen introduced Contextual Inquiry, now the industry standard for gathering field data to understand how technology impacts the way people work. Contextual Inquiry and the other Contextual Design techniques created a revolutionary approach for designing products and systems based on a deep understanding of the user’s world. WITops research and innovative intervention techniques are guided by the principles of Contextual Design.

Karen co-founded InContext Design in 1992 with Hugh Beyer to use Contextual Design techniques to coach product teams and deliver market data and design solutions to businesses across scores of industries in many countries. Their latest book, Contextual Design: Design for Life, is a complete update of the classic Contextual Design book used in universities and organizations worldwide. At InContext Karen has been working with product and design teams for over 30 years.

As a member of ACM SIGCHI (The Association of Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction) Karen was awarded membership to the CHI Academy a gathering of significant contributors and received the first Lifetime Award for Practice for her impact on the field.

Karen is also an Adjunct Research Scientist at the University of Maryland’s iSchool (College of Information Studies). Karen has worked with many universities to help design curriculum for training user experience professionals. She now collaborates with professors and students at UMD on projects related to WIT.

Karen has more than 30 years of teaching experience professionally, at conferences and university settings. She holds a doctorate in applied psychology from the University of Toronto.