Inaugural Ada Lovelace Award Nominees Revealed

Idea acceleration company LookFar has launched the inaugural Ada Lovelace Prize to honor the achievements of one innovative female leader in the New Orleans technology community who exemplifies the technical foresight and intuition that characterized all of Ada Lovelace’s endeavors.

The Ada Lovelace Prize winner will be announced at the Woman of the Year in NOLA Tech Award Ceremony and Celebration on Tuesday, October 6 during NOLATech Week.

Confirmed judges include: Adele Tiblier, VP of marketing at TurboSquid; Max Gaudin, COO at Operation Spark; Hank Torbert, Principal at RLMcCall Capital Partners and EIR at The Idea Village; Carol Markowitz of NOCHI; and Tara Allegra Adams of Dinner Lab.

Below are this year’s award nominees in alphabetical order.

Torrie Adams – Head of Product Development & Support at Kickboard

Torrie_AdamsTorrie is a seasoned project manager and software engineer currently working to build out new software solutions and features for New Orleans ed-tech company Kickboard. Apart from coordinating development at Kickboard, Torrie is also the longtime President of New Orleans Women in Tech and spearheads the group’s efforts to further develop female tech talent in our city.

Julia Ballard – Editor-in-Chief at Silicon Bayou News

Julia_BallardAs Head Editor for Silicon Bayou News, Julia has developed her site into the leading resource for keeping the New Orleans tech community up-to-date with each new funding round, incorporation, and victory its members have. She also works as a curator for nonprofit organization Global Shapers Community.

Staacy Cannon – Founder at Grok + Banter

Staacy_CannonStaacy is the Founder of Grok + Banter, a New Orleans startup and recent inductee into Idea Village’s competitive IDEAx Accelerator program. Staacy has personally contributed to nearly every facet of her company’s operation, taking part in software development and physically setting up hardware in addition to her duties as business leader.

Andrea Chen – Executive Director at Propeller

Andrea_ChenThe Founder and Executive Director of Propeller, Andrea Chen has shaped the local incubator into a leading resource for social entrepreneurship in New Orleans and the proving grounds for numerous startups. Andrea also works as a board member of the New Orleans Business Alliance, and holds multiple honors, including New Orleans City Business’ 2010 Woman of the Year Award.

McKenzie Coco – Founder at FSC Interactive

Mckenzie_CocoA leading light in New Orleans’ rapidly evolving PR and Marketing industry, McKenzie is the Founder of FSC Interactive and has grown the company into a thriving 25-person strong operation. McKenzie’s willingness to adapt to change has seen FSC successfully leverage new technology on behalf of their clients. McKenzie also holds a board membership with Lighthouse Louisiana, a resource center for the blind.

Jennie Westerman Diemont – Founder & Creative Director at Deep Fried Advertising

Jennie_DiemontThe founder of New Orleans’ Deep Fried Advertising, Jennie has helmed her company through more than ten successful years, during which Deep Fried has grown from a tiny team to an award-winning boutique agency. In addition to her work with Deep Fried, Jennie is an active member of the Women’s Business Enterprise Council as well as the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce.

Wendy Dolan – Founder at Get Online NOLA

Wendy_DolanAs the Founder of Get Online NOLA, Wendy has given small business owners a new, affordable way to build a high-quality online presence. Programmer, business owner, and tireless community advocate, Wendy is also a founder and active board member of NOLA Women in Tech and does additional work on behalf of New Orleans’ chapter of the American Business Women’s Administration.

Andre Feigler – Founder & CEO of Enriched Schools

Andre_FeiglerA passionate educator and talented business leader, Andre is the Founder of New Orleans ed-tech platform, Enriched Schools. Andre’s efforts have grown her company from a solo operation to one active in New Orleans, Miami, and Washington DC. Apart from her work with Enriched, Andre is also the founder of Youth Run NOLA, a nonprofit running club for local students.

Ashley Guidry – Manufacturing Engineer at Boeing

Ashley_GuidryA Manufacturing Engineer stationed at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility, Ashley is part of a team responsible for manufacturing rockets that will play a role in, among other endeavors, NASA’s Mission to Mars. Ashley’s work to improve production methodologies for the Space Launch System’s Core Stage have placed her firmly at the frontier of current space flight efforts.

Andrea Hernandez – Founder at Merienda

Andrea_Hernandez2015 saw Andrea launch Merienda – a picnic planning and delivery startup – to immediate acclaim. A winning pitch on TechCrunch’s July TC Radio Pitch-Off and subsequent success on company discovery platform, Product Hunt, have helped make Merienda a growing force in the New Orleans startup ecosystem.

Jessica Inman – Director of Operations at Lucid

Jessica_InmanAs Lucid’s (formerly Federated Sample) Director of Operations, Jessica plays a key role at one of New Orleans’ most explosive young companies. Jessica’s own innovative drive during her growth from project manager to director of operations has helped propel her company to the forefront of the developing field of programmatic sampling.

Shercole King – Co Founder at Teens for Tech

Shercole_KingShercole is both a member and a supporter of New Orleans’ growing pool of technical talent. Her work as Systems Administrator at Via Link has seen her provide data analysis and website development to the homeless advocacy non-profit. Also a co-founder of Teens for Tech and volunteer for Operation Spark, Shercole has helped support and educate New Orleans youth interested in developing coding skills.

Christy Mitchell Luquire – Co-Founder & CFO at Lucid

Christy_Mitchell_LuquireChristy has the distinction of being both a co-founder of Lucid, and the current CFO of the recently rebranded New Orleans company. Apart from her work with Lucid, she has also distinguished herself as an investor and community leader with her work as a member of the NO/LA Angel Network and the New Orleans Junior League.

Allison Luzader – Graduate TA at the University of New Orleans

Allison_LuzaderAllison is a Computer Science graduate student at the University of New Orleans. Apart from her work as a TA and researcher at the university, she also holds a prestigious Software Engineering Apprenticeship with GE, where she has already been responsible for code contributions to multiple projects. Allison also acts as a mentor in the STARS Computing Corps.

Kristen McEntyre – Co-Founder & CEO at Tutti Dynamics


As Co-Founder and CEO of rapidly growing startup Tutti Dynamics, Kristen has overseen the creation and development of a new tech platform for music educators and students alike. A former investment banker and consultant, Kristen has also had a hand in creating two award-winning documentaries and was the longtime chair of The Friends of Max, a nonprofit that provided free support to school curriculums.

Nicky Mast – Director of Operations at Grok + Banter

Nicole_MastOne of the Silicon Bayou’s most effective advocates, Nicky is best known for her work as the organizer behind Idea Village’s New Orleans Entrepreneur Week and BarCampNOLA, two premier New Orleans tech events. She has recently taken a position at Grok + Banter, a rising New Orleans startup, as Director of Operations.

Crystal McDonald – Co-Founder & CEO at GoToInterview

Crystal_McdonaldCrystal is both Co-Founder and CEO of GoToInterview, a New Orleans startup that gives employers a chance to see a potential hire’s recorded interview before meeting them in person. 2015 saw the company win one of the region’s most lucrative startup prizes, after they took home $100,000 from Steve Case’s Rise of the Rest pitch competition. She also works with the New Orleans Women’s Professional Council and Children’s Bureau of New Orleans.

Jennifer Medbery – Founder & CEO at Kickboard

Jennifer_MedberyAs the Founder and CEO of Kickboard, Jennifer has helped lead a recent renaissance in the New Orleans ed-tech community. Long recognized for her vision and skill as a software developer, Jennifer has been previously honored as one of Forbes 30 Under 30: Education and continues to work as a true pioneer in her field.

Jacqueline Nelson – Application Developer at Mudbug Media

Jacqueline_NelsonA longtime engineer – software and otherwise – Jacqueline has designed everything from offshore oil rig equipment to paneling on the hulls of spacecraft. She currently works to build custom applications at New Orleans development company MudBug Media. Her enthusiasm and talent have also been the guiding force behind numerous Women in Tech Workshops.

Lindsay Nunez – Community Organizer at Tech Talent South

Lindsay_NunezThe coordinator of Tech Talent South’s New Orleans program, Lindsay has rapidly become one of our city’s most recognizable code evangelists. A firm believer in the importance of developing local talent, Lindsay has been responsible for recruiting new students to the TTS banner as well as forming key partnerships within New Orleans.

Dominique Riley – Digital Consultant at Creative Bloom

Dominique_RileyA former employee of the Solomon Group, Dominque has recently brought her talents to local software and website development company, Content Bloom, as a Digital Consultant. A graduate of coding boot camp Tech Talent South, Riley now works as a programmer and digital marketer.

Flor Serna – Founder & CEO at Electric Girls

Flor_SernaFounded in 2014, Electric Girls aims to become a bridge for girls interested in the fundamentals of electronics, programming, and similar STEM skills. Flor’s own background as an audio engineer led her to create the organization, which is looking forward to a new Fall cohort of 12 students after a successful crowdfunding campaign.

Rebecca Snook – Director of QA at TurboSquid

Rebecca_SnookA veteran in the field of QA and automated testing, Rebecca is one of the technical minds behind the continuing success of 3D model marketplace TurboSquid. Her expertise has also made her an educational leader in New Orleans and the leader of a new Women in Tech QA boot camp.

Dr. Michelle Thompson – Associate Professor at the University of New Orleans

Michelle_Thomson-876573-editedA member of the UNO faculty, Dr. Thomson has a long and distinguished track record in the field of geographic information systems – technology that she has used to make data-driven statements on the status of post-Katrina New Orleans. Dr. Thomson holds numerous publications and academic honors, most recently authoring a paper on the role of non-profits in disaster recovery.

The event is already sold out, but you can email LookFar directly if you would still like to attend.